iOS 14 leaks come from early build obtained by hackers

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iOS 14 on an iPhone 11
Hackers reportedly got an iPhone 11 running iOS 14 months ago.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Details on iOS 14 started leaking out in February, with sources claiming to have a leaked copy of the next iPhone operating system. An investigation by Vice apparently confirms that researchers and hackers really got access to an iOS version more than half a year before its release.

The original source is an iPhone 11 running a development version of iOS 14 from December, according to Vice. The device was supposedly obtained from a company in China, and the software extracted. It has since been widely distributed in the hacker community.

The source of plenty of iOS 14 leaks

Details of iOS 14 began to come to light this winter, just about all of them claiming to be based on a leaked version of the operating system.

In February, screenshots of a new iPhone multitasking layout appeared, and so did images of Apple’s over-the-ear headphones. The public found out that iPhones could act as car keys in March. That same month included details of iOS 14’s built-in augmented reality viewer.

Now that the existence of the leaked version has been essentially confirmed, there’s far more reason to believe nearly all these reports about iOS 14 features. That said, the leaked version is from almost a year before the final release so it’s surely not 100% accurate.

To be clear, there’s nothing unusual about iOS details surfacing early. That happens every year. But those were based on hearsay and perhaps an occasional screenshot. Not a whole copy of the operating system no longer under Apple’s control. There hasn’t been a leak this significant since a prototype iPhone 4 was accidentally left in bar.