George Francis Hotz (born October 2, 1989), alias geohot, or simply mil, is an American hacker known for unlocking the iPhone, allowing the phone to be used with other wireless carriers, contrary to AT&T and Apple’s intent. Additionally, he developed the limera1n jailbreak tool, which used his limera1n bootromexploit. He is also noted for hacking the PlayStation 3 and subsequently being sued by and settling with Sony.
Hotz grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey, the son of Marie Minichiello and George Hotz. He attended the Bergen County Academies, a magnet public high school. He was in AEDT (Academy for Engineering and Design Technology). He graduated with a 2.7 GPA and completed his required community service 3 hours before graduation. Hotz is an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program.
Additionally, George Hotz attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for a short period of time. He started his major as a Biotechnology – Bioinformatics option major in August 2007, but withdrew from the institution soon after.
In March 2012, Hotz was booked and charged with felony marijuana possession in Sierra Blanca, Texas on his way to SXSW conference in Austin.
As of 2013, he is a sophomore at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science.
In June, 2007, Hotz became the first person to carrier unlock an iPhone. According to Hotz’s blog, he traded his 2nd unlocked 8 GB iPhone to Terry Daidone, the founder of Certicell, for a Nissan 350Z and three 8 GB iPhones. Hotz said he wanted to give the iPhones to the other members of the team who created the hack with him. Hotz’s hardware-based unlocking technique has largely been replaced by software unlocking that does not require dis-assembly of the iPhone. On February 8, 2008, Hotz developed the software unlock for the iPhone’s new bootloader version 4.6 that was previously only achievable with a “testpoint based hardware unlock”. On July 3, 2009, Hotz announced purplera1n, the first public software exploit for jailbreaking the iPhone 3GS. Details were posted on his blog.
On October 13, 2009, at 3:20AM Hotz released blackra1n, a jailbreak for all iPhones and iPod Touches. The only caveat was that the iPod touch third generation would need a “tethered jailbreak” to work. On October 30, 2009, Hotz released Blackra1n RC2, an update to his previous blackra1n utility. This version allows MC Model iPod Touch 2G (8 GB iPod Touch, third generation) and new-bootrom iPhone 3GS users to jailbreak their iPod touches as well. (tethered jailbreak only) On October 31, 2009, Hotz announced the impending release of Blackra1n RC3, this version to include blacksn0w which would allow SIM unlock of all iPhones using Blacksn0w RC1. Blacksn0w released on November 3, 2009.
On March 27, 2010, Hotz established a website for his newest jailbreak software, limera1n. On June 24, 2010, Hotz wrote on Twitter that he had no plans to release a new jailbreak. He has told people looking for a jailbreak release to ‘keep an eye on Spirit, the currently used program for 3.1.x jailbreaking. On July 10, 2010, Hotz published that he had been able to jailbreak an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.0. As evidence, he provided a picture of the device executing Cydia. On July 13, 2010, Hotz announced his retirement from jailbreaking, saying that it’s not fun as it used to be, and people were taking too serious something he used to do just as a distraction.
On October 8, 2010, Hotz confirmed he was releasing a Jailbreak on 10/11/10, one day after the release of Greenpois0n. He also posted a picture of limera1n running on an iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch fourth generation, iPhone 4 and on the iPad. On October 9, 2010, Hotz released limera1n Beta 1 – without support for the 3GS (due to a problem with the bootrom). This suspended the release of the SHAtter exploit in the form of greenpois0n, due for release the next day. On the limera1n website, he claims this was to make the Chronic Dev team “do the right thing” – presumably implying that they should save their jailbreak exploit for fifth generation devices. He later went on to release three more betas, containing support for iPhone 3GS models, along with various bug fixes and other stability enhancements. On October 11, 2010, Hotz released what appears to be the final version of his jailbreak (RC1b). Hotz also put on his website that the Mac version of this jailbreak is “coming in 7 years”, but was released about 2 weeks later.