Jailbreaking pioneers say iPhone jailbreaking is dead


Cydia creator Jay Freeman says he doesn't recommend jailbreaking your iPhone anymore.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It’s been months since the last iOS 10 jailbreak has been released. And according to the guys that originally made jailbreaking a huge craze, you shouldn’t get your hopes up about jailbreaking your iPhone ever again.

In fact, even if you could jailbreak iOS 10, Jay Freeman — the guy who invented Cydia, which was the App Store before the App Store was the App Store — says he doesn’t recommend it.

Jailbreaking is officially dead.

For a great article detailing the rise of jailbreaking alongside the original iPhone, Motherboard got in touch with jailbreaking pioneers such as Nicholas Allegra, Jay Freeman and Michael Wang to reveal the hurdles they jumped through to break into Apple’s walled garden for the good of all iPhone owners.

“I feel like jailbreak’s basically dead at this point,” Allegra, aka comex, told publication. Revitalizing the jailbreaking scene would take a great rising hacker, he said. But the most promising one, Luca Todesco, said this year that he’s quitting the jailbreak scene.

When the iPhone came out 10 years ago, it didn’t have third-party apps. It didn’t even have a game. But thanks to jailbreakers like Allegra, Freeman (aka Saurik) and the iPhone Dev Team (a group not affiliated with Apple), the capable smartphone got pushed to the limits as jailbreakers installed third-party apps and tweaks without Cupertino’s permission.

During the prime of Apple’s cat-and-mouse game with developers, new jailbreaks got released within months of each other. Now the iPhone’s security has become so locked down, it takes several valuable exploits to pull off a complete jailbreak — and there’s little payoff for users.

No need to jailbreak anymore

“What do you get in the end?” Freeman asks Motherboard in the interview. “It used to be that you got killer features that almost were the reason you owned the phone. And now you get a small minor modification.”

The death of jailbreaking has been caused by four things:

1) Apple’s increased security made jailbreaking harder.
2) If a hacker finds a vulnerability, he or she can make up to $1 million by selling it.
3) Most of the best jailbreakers moved on to high-paying security jobs.
4) If you can jailbreak an iPhone, you’re exposing it to security vulnerabilities.

“That turns into, like, a death spiral, where when you get fewer people bothering to jailbreak you get fewer developers targeting interesting things, which means there’s less reasons for people to jailbreak,” Freeman says. “Which means there’s fewer people jailbreaking, which causes there to be less developers bothering to target it. And then you slowly die.”


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