First iPhone jailbreak in years made possible by Apple security screwup

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Cydia
We haven't Cydia on our iPhones in forever.
Photo: Alex Heath

Jailbreaking your up-to-date iPhone and iPad is finally possible again for the first time in years thanks to a big software goof by Apple.

Security researcher Pwn20wnd published a full jailbreak for iOS 12.4 today after discovering that Apple accidentally unpatched a security flaw in iOS 12.4 that it had fixed in iOS 12.3. The jailbreak makes it possible to completely customize nearly all aspects of your iPhone and iPad software, but there are some risks too.

While jailbreaking was popular among some iPhone users during the device’s early years it’s been pretty much dead for a few years now. Even Jay Freeman, the guy that created the first major jailbreak app store Cydia, admitted two years ago that there aren’t that many reasons to jailbreak anymore. It’s also gotten a lot harder to jailbreak up-to-date iPhones.

iPhone and iPad owners running iOS 12.4 can jailbreak their devices by visiting Pwn20wnd’s Github page for Undecimus. Jailbreaking your iPhone lets you install app that aren’t approved by Apple. That also opens you up to potential attacks as well though so proceed at your own risk.

Security researchers that discover zero-day exploits that are required for jailbreaking usually keep their secrets to themselves. Many tech companies will pay $1 million or more for information about bugs that give attackers unfettered access to iPhones. Apple recently increased its own bug bounty to attract more hackers to help them.

This is the first public jailbreak in a long time and likely won’t be available for long. Apple will likely come out with an iOS 12.4.1 patch as soon as later today and then stop signing iOS 12.4. Anyone that wants to relive the glory of the jailbreaking days better act fast.