Jailbreaking Is Basically Dead

Image: From iStock and Tombstone Maker

When the first iOS devices were released, savvy hackers got to work on breaking down Apple's walled garden so users could install their own apps. That process, jailbreaking, relied on finding vulnerabilities in iOS that could be exploited to side-load apps and UI customisation. But, over the last few years, Apple has shutdown the number of vulnerabilities that are exploitable in this way. Over the last week, the ModMyi and ZodTTD/MacCiti repositories closed down, leaving just one default repository for Cydia.

There's little doubt that when the first iPhone operating system, it was called iPhone OS until version 4 when it was renamed iOS, it was a work in progress. You couldn't even copy/paste content and it wasn't until about a year after the release of the first iPhone that we got apps. Apple's approach of locking down the OS gave developers plenty of motivation to create their own mods.

But, these two repositories shutting down is a sign that iOS has reached a level of maturity where the big benefits of jailbreaking are seriously diminished.

Cydia's creator Jay Freeman said to Motherboad, "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".

I suspect the other nail in the jailbreaking coffin was been Android. If you want to tweak the user interface and play with non-sanctioned apps, Android gives you plenty of opportunity to do so without the hassle of jailbreaking.

It's been a while since I bothered with a jailbreak. Are any Lifehacker readers still jailbreaking their devices? Is it worth the effort?



    I'm with Android and don't bother anymore. It does everything I want and the hassle and more secure OS just makes it more of a pain than anything.

    Yup and yup. Lots of reasons. Including, but not limited too:
    * having ownership over the bloody expensive device you bought.
    * development inside and outside of the box
    * unlimited customization
    * swapping out the manufacturers nasty spyware riddled, slow, ugly ROM's (want more reasons?) get out of Apples bleak walled garden.

    Thanks to project treble porting ROM's is now a breeze. It's at this level were true innovation is occurring. Not by multi-national corporations figuring out new and improved ways to screw more money out of you.

      So what are you doing with your phone that requires this? And please elaborate on the unlimited customisation.

        customisation on the android I had was fun......for a week, then it didn't even matter anymore. Back on iOS now, don't regret it one bit.

          I have an iPad and droid. Honestly cant stand the iOS UI. It's nauseatingly terrible. The grid on my launcher is doubled in density and themed with a paid icon pack to ensure maximum minimalism.

        Yeah, I often wonder what a current phone doesn't do that makes it worth jailbreaking.

        I personally prefer the privacy stance apple has over android, I used to jailbreak my phone, but it got to the point where there really wasn't anything I wanted to do that the phone wouldn't do.

      The problem is that custom ROMs are important for Android because the factory defaults are bloated, and support gets dropped fairly quickly. iOS at least runs well on modern handsets out of the box.

      Use Android myself but custom ROMs are basically fixing problems that shouldn't exist in the first place.

        You've got some serious performance tweaks and an insane amount of UI customisability which you just can not do without a custom ROM. MIUI for example or Cyanogen or PAC-Man.

    I mean jailbreaking kinda lost its purpose with the rise of Android. If you really wanted that much customization you would buy an android phone. If you want to be locked in and heavily restricted youd buy an Iphone.

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