Old iPhone exploit opens Nintendo Switch to jailbreaking

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The Nintendo Switch's flexible Joy-Con controllers work just fine with a Mac (but not an iPhone).
The Switch might be jailbroken soon.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Nintendo Switch owners may soon be able to install third-party applications on the new gaming console thanks to an old Apple security flaw.

Although the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a web browser, it uses Apple’s WebKit in order to render web pages. Noted iPhone jailbreaker qwertyoruiop recently discovered that the Switch could be easily hacked just by running the Pangu jailbreak tool for iOS on it.

Qwertyoruiop clarified on Twitter today that he hasn’t actually jailbroken the Switch yet, but he has discovered a viable starting point for further research. The proof of concept he created shows that it is possible for users to execute code in the browser.

The hack uses an old bug from iOS 9.3.5 that Apple patched a year ago. For some reason, Nintendo didn’t patch the hole for launch.

Once a Switch jailbreak has been created, owners of Nintendo’s new hybrid gaming console may be able to install their own web browser, third-party applications and even old NES ROMS.

Nintendo’s careless security may worry some Switch owners. But in order to execute the hack, attackers need physical access to the device. It looks like all of your embarrassing gaming data is safe for now.