As Apple matures iOS every year with new features, many worry that jailbreaking will lose its appeal. Are the glory days over? All signs point to no.
A highly-anticipated jailbreak called Evasi0n was unleashed yesterday for the full gambit of iOS devices, including the iPhone 5. So many people jailbroke at once that Cydia, the jailbreak alternative to the App Store, buckled under the weight for hours. Based on early traffic numbers, iOS 6 has been jailbroken by millions of users in less than two days. Evasi0n reveals that jailbreaking is far from dead.
“24 hours later, Cydia had logged 1.7 million devices that were cracked by Evasi0n”
Forbes spoke with Cydia creator Jay Freeman about the jailbreak release yesterday, and according to his data, evasi0n was download over 800,000 times within the first six hours of availability. One of the ‘Evad3r’ hackers behind Evasi0n, pod2g, tweeted that Evasi0n had been downloaded over 100,000 times in only 10 minutes. 24 hours later, Cydia had logged 1.7 million devices that were cracked by Evasi0n.
The release of jailbreak directly coincides with how many people use Cydia. It took nearly 12 hours for Cydia’s payment system to come back online after its servers started getting repeatedly hammered during yesterday’s release. Freeman tweeted some graphs showcasing the huge spike in traffic yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t until this morning that server stress started to plateau and the majority of users were able to start purchasing tweaks. Some aspects of Cydia are still struggling to load, but overall things look like they’re back to normal.
Unlike past jailbreaks, the public knew exactly when evasi0n was dropping for iOS 6.1. That meant hundreds of thousands of users refreshing the evasi0n website yesterday. According to Freeman, the timed release was the reason Cydia screeched to a halt so suddenly. “So, the thing that is different about this jailbreak is that @evad3rs provided a specific time; normally, usage follows a wave of discovery.”
Pod2g has revealed the analytics for the evasi0n website leading up to the release yesterday:
Another hacker being evasi0n known as planetbeing also spoke with Forbes about the complicated nature of the jailbreak. Evasi0n uses five new bugs in iOS that Apple has yet to patch, and “that’s one more than Stuxnet, the malware built by the NSA to destroy centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.”
The last Absinthe jailbreak for the iPhone 4S was also downloaded over one million times in 24 hours. While a couple million users is still only a small fraction of the entire iOS user base, jailbreaking still represents a vocal, vibrant community that is thriving. Developers are still creating new, innovative tweaks for Cydia, like Auxo. The boundaries of iOS will always need to be pushed.
Will jailbreaking die eventually? It very well could. But for now, hacking iOS still has its advantages. Apple may not like it, but a lot of other people do.