iOS 8.1 blocks ‘date trick’ loophole that allows emulators on iPhone and iPad


Playing Pokemon on iPhone 6 Plus using GBA4iOS. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
Playing Pokemon on iPhone 6 Plus using GBA4iOS. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

A neat trick that allows old console emulators and other unapproved apps to be installed on iOS devices without jailbreaking is set to be wiped out with iOS 8.1. Apple has finally taken action against the “date trick” many users have long been taking advantage of, and it’s going to make playing your favorite SNES and Game Boy games much harder.

For many years, the only way to install emulators and other apps that didn’t conform to Apple’s guidelines was by jailbreaking your iOS device and using third-party app stores like Cydia. But for many, this was more trouble than it was worth for the sake of a few old games.

Then developers discovered the “date trick” that allows unapproved apps to be installed without hacking simply by rolling back the date and time on an iOS device and downloading apps through Safari. This is now the preferred method of gaining access to apps like GBA4iOS or Popcorn Time without losing things like software updates and support from Apple.

But according to the team behind GBA4iOS, Apple has blocked the loophole in its recent iOS 8.1 beta.

In a blog post entitled “Apple Is Slowly Killing Everything We Love,” Dario Sepulveda writes, “iOS 8.1 beta was seeded to developers yesterday and it’s already causing panic among iOS emulator aficionados… The Date Trick fuels the emulator communities nowadays… Without it, everything looks bleak.”

Indeed it does. Of course, it did seem inevitable that this would come sooner or later; Apple has been working to put a stop to jailbreaking since it started back in 2007 — the same year the iPhone made its debut — so it has always seemed unlikely the Cupertino company would just turn a blind eye to this. But it’s a massive shame.

If you haven’t already, install a few emulators on your iPhone or iPad now and enjoy some of your favorite retro games while you still can.

Source: GBA4iOS

Via: PocketGamer

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  • ed lanum

    Or just not update to iOS 8.1

  • Anthony Velazquez

    Or don’t buy Nintendo products until they finally get smart and cash in on iOS users by making their games available to them. Shit, if they were smart they would make a controller while they are at it.

    • Much as I love Nintendo, they’re just as bad with the walled garden as Apple, and I think its highly unlikely we’ll ever see classic Nintendo games on a non-Nintendo console/device.

    • David Baba

      That would be fucking stupid to do. If Nintendo offered their games on iOS it would mean suicide.

      • Michael Blank

        Well I just look and evaluate all the money they spend to develop their clunky pieces of mobile hardware, which then sidetracked them from producing more and more games and making them more and more intuitive and amazing.

        If they would simply design a piece of hardware that would wrap around the iPhone as a game case so to speak and sell that for let’s say $79 bucks.

        They would make a killer amount of profit, and profit quick, look at Angry Birds and the company behind it, look how large the franchise has gotten and how far it is expanded, it’s gone absolutely crazy, and you look at their cost in comparison to Nintendo’s cost, they make a tremendous more amount of profit for every dollar they spend in producing what they produce.

      • Philip Kunhardt

        Quick profits are why our economic sucks.

        People need to look at the long-game, which Nintendo is and has always done. More to the point, they have the built up bank account from their smashing Wii sales that they don’t need a quick buck. They can look at the future comfortably.

      • Casey Penk

        Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, just laid off some people and their revenues are rapidly shrinking. That tells me that they didn’t build a sustainable business with long-term value. As is true of any fad.

    • Philip Kunhardt

      Or actually buy Nintendo systems. Nintendo makes both hardware and software. They make their past software available too on their modern hardware. Their hardware is innovative. The phone model would KILL the company, and if you actually care about their amazing games, and giving them their fair share for their work on them, you’ll buy the hardware that lets you play those games.

    • Casey Penk

      People were screaming at Apple to do this in the ’90s. Glad they didn’t listen.

  • Apple could just pretend to not see this ‘trick’ and let people use it with their unmodified OS’. Otherwise they are forcing people either to not update to their latest software, or go back to the good old Jailbreak. Specially now that apps like Popcorn Time are being released in Cydia. I will certainly go for one of these options.

  • Melty3219

    “Apple Is Slowly Killing Everything We Love,” – Really?, over dramatic much?

    This is an illegal emulator used to play pirated ROMS, and that’s what the majority use it for. None of this weak “Playing backups” excuse.

    Nintendo already removed another emulator earlier this year and Apple are simply plugging up a security loophole.

    If anything blame Nintendo for not embracing Smartphones. Sega already have their classic games as apps for sale, why can’t Nintendo?

    • CockSuckerMutherFucker

      Emulators are not illegal. Using a bug is also not illegal, Apple had a long time to fix it.

      • Philip Kunhardt

        Emulators are not illegal, but are used 99% of the time for illegal purposes. Few people ever use them to play emulator-original games.

      • Kr00

        Actually, emulators are breaching the copyright laws, so technically they’re breaking the law, and infringing on the rights holders IP. Sony have sued many software developers who have written code for Playstation emulators, for years. Apple wouldn’t know about this bug unless they were alerted by someone like Nintendo.

    • Casey Penk

      Sega doesn’t produce its own hardware anymore, so it’s not cannibalizing any of its other businesses by making its games multiplatform. Nintendo would be.

  • Chris Russell

    Will these emulators stop working on iOS 8.1 or will we just not be able to download any more of them?

    • avksom

      this is what I’m wondering as well.. maybe you’ll just need to install an earlier iOS 8, install the app and then update iOS to the current one.

    • David Baba

      They’ll stop working if you update.

  • Private_Eyescream

    Great job Apple. We salute you (for removing something that many people enjoyed and regularly used) and appreciate your intelligence (in driving those many customers to other non-iPhone devices so that Apple loses long-term profits and shrinks their market share).

    This is almost a brilliant a move as when Microsoft BANNED over 1 million XBOX customers a few years back (because angering over a million paying customers *NEVER* has any negative response in a company’s market share for their other devices — how well is WIndows 8 doing again? Ohhhhhh, gee how did *THAT* happen?)

    Once again we must applaud Tim Cook’s business skills in deciding that having people handing the Apple Mega-Corporation money for his products is a strongly negative thing to happen and that getting money from customers is a mistake which Tim Cook is actively trying to stop happening.

    • Philip Kunhardt

      Really, they should be commended for closing loopholes that allowed thieves to steal software from other companies. Seriously.

      • DigDug2k

        Just to be clear, the closed loophole is “allowing users to install what they want on their phone”. The fact that they can be used for something illegal, doesn’t make everyone who uses them a thief.

    • Kr00

      Not a very intelligent argument there. Piracy is illegal and allowing pirating apps to run on any device is not in any company’s interest. But I guess you don’t mind stealing stuff from other people.

  • Datafiend

    You could just get a Android device.

    • Kr00

      Where the pirated apps are free along with the malware.

      • You’re one of the biggest trolls I’ve ever seen. I’ve never gotten any malware on any of my Android devices and nobody I know has too. You’re pretty stupid if you manage to do it.

      • Kr00

        Maybe you should read all the security warnings from government departments on the 400,000 malware attacks each year on android devices, and the latest number of flashlight apps that actually contain malware . Sorry your too blind (or stupid) to see the deleterious affect an open platform is. How am “I” the troll? This is an Apple forum is it not, what the hell are you here for? Troll indeed. Buzz off horse fly.

      • And to get any of those you have to install an apk. When you enable 3rd party sources it tells you the risks. BTW, I also have an iPod Touch 5th Gen too. The only fanboy here is you. Hop off Apple’s dick.

      • Kr00

        How mature of you! I see no point in trying to have an adult conversation with a child. Bye!

      • OK, that’s funny. I have no reason to hate either side. I’m just telling the you the truth. But, you know, have fun baby.

      • Kr00

        Cult of android is next door sad sack.

      • Lol, you’re the one with no life.

  • Philip Kunhardt

    Buy a Nintendo console or quit whining. Playing of Nintendo games on Mac hardware is illegal.

    • DigDug2k

      Heh. There is some great irony is hearing people who buy into the biggest walled garden
      in the world somehow say “If you don’t want to support walled gardens, don’t buy
      Nintendo hardware.”

  • TJ

    Boohoo, Apple’s preventing me from using illegal software to run pirated versions of console games. Oh, and they are also closing a loophole that allows developers to include malware in their software, or even worse, a third party intercepts and installs malware into the developer’s software.

    Your beef should be with Nintendo and not with Apple.

    • The software isn’t illegal, the downloaded ROMs are.