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.