This so known as tethered or semi-tethered jailbreak situation in Redsn0w 0.9.6b4 however only applies to the new devices like: iPhone 3GS (new bootrom), iPhone 4, iPad, iPod touch 2G (MC Model), iPod touch 3G and the iPod touch 4G. Old devices like iPhone 3GS (old bootrom), iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G (Non-MC Model) can be jailbroken-untethered right now using this latest version of Redsn0w. So until and unless Comex > of Spirit and JailbreakMe fame comes up with another untethered hack for iOS 4.2.1, the jailbreak we get for the newer devices will be tethered (or semi-tethered).
NOTE: Those of you who rely on a carrier unlock MUST STAY AWAY from Redsn0w and iOS 4.2.1.
Follow the step by step instructions posted below to jailbreak iOS 4.2.1 with Redsn0w 0.9.6b4:
Step 1: Download iOS 4.2.1 for your version of iOS device.
Step 2: Update/Restore to iOS 4.2.1 firmware using the IPSW file you just downloaded via iTunes 10.1.
Step 3: Start Redsn0w 0.9.6b4 and point it to iOS 4.2.1 firmware to proceed with the jailbreak.
Step 4: Now select “Install Cydia” and click “Next”. Optionally (if available), you can also select any other option you like.
Step 5: Now make sure your device is both OFF and PLUGGED IN to the computer before you click “Next”.
At this stage you will be presented with a screen where you will have to quickly hold “Power” button and then while holding the “Power” button, you will now have to hold “Home” button too. Now after few seconds release “Power” button but keep holding “Home” button until installation begins.
Step 6: Sit back and enjoy while redsn0w will do all the rest for you. Once done, your iPhone or iPod touch will restart automatically and you will find it jailbroken on the latest iOS 4.2.1 firmware.
For iPhone 4, 3GS (New Bootrom), iPod touch 4G / 3G / 2G, iPad ONLY:
Step 7: Now from here onwards, whenever you want to do anything related to jailbreak like SSHing into your device, or running Cydia, you must first run your device in the so called “jailbroken state” on every reboot by using “Just boot tethered right now” option in Redsn0w.