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We have an iPad that is jailbroken and I'd like to upgrade it to iOS 5.1. What is the proper procedure for upgrading a jailbroken device? Do I have to back up the jail break data before upgrading? Or do I have to "un-jailbreak" it first?

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Just so you know, you won't be able to have a tethered JailBreak if you update. – Andrew Larsson Mar 10 '12 at 7:24
@AndrewLarsson Thanks for letting me know! – daviesgeek Mar 17 '12 at 22:24
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You will require iTunes. Connect the device, then right click on it in the iTunes side bar. Select "Back Up." Allow it to runs its course. Close iTunes.

Then put the device into DFU mode:

1) Power off the device.
2) Disconnect it.
3) Hold the power button for 2 secs.
4) Without letting go of the power button, press and hold the home button for 10 secs.
5) Let go of the power button but not the home button for another 10 secs.

Reconnect the device and launch iTunes. It will detect your iPad and inform you it is in recovery mode. From there, it will check for the newest available update (5.1), download it and install it. When that completes, simply restore your device from the backup you made earlier.

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I will try it out and let you know how it works. Thanks so much for a quick reply! – daviesgeek Mar 9 '12 at 22:11
@daviesgeek Sure thing. All jailbroken devices must be updated in this manner. They are not subject to the delta updates that can now be done right from the device unfortunately. The method I laid out above is the sure fire way to guarantee a problem free update. – user10355 Mar 10 '12 at 9:57

I faced problem when I tried to upgrade my jailbroken iPhone to iOS 6:

  1. Keep the iPhone in DFU mode
  2. Connect it with iTunes.
  3. Click on restore. This will do the rest.

Note: Make sure you take a backup before heading this procedure.

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Just upgrade and do a tethered jailbreak with redsn0w 0.9.10b6 or the latest sn0wbreeze. That's what I did.

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