According to certain device management vendors, Apple, without an explanation of any kind, has dropped its own jailbreak detection API from iOS no less than six months after releasing it. The reasons behind this decision are a mystery, as Apple has declined to comment on the decision to abandon the API in the release of iOS 4.2.1.

Apple’s API let MDM (Master Data Management) applications access core information about the version of iOS running on any given device. Basically, the jailbreak detection API allowed certain applications to ask an iOS system if it had been compromised. Surprisingly, in the newly released iOS 4.2.1, that API is nowhere to be seen…

Network World gave the details on how this OS jailbreak query works,

“The new API was part of a bundle of mobile device management (MDM) APIs released in June with iOS 4.0. These APIs were available to third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria.

With the new APIs, these servers could access directly a range of features and information in iOS or on the device. But in the recently-released 4.2 version, the API intended for detecting jailbreaks has been either removed or disabled.”

When you jailbreak, you change a number of base operating system files. You also exploit a number of hidden, base OS features to bypass the limitations of only installing content from the App Store.

This specific jailbreak detection API seemed to only be applicable in an enterprise environment. There are concerns that a jailbroken device could spread malware by granting permission to unauthorized apps with access to the system’s file structure.

The MDM vendors that Apple originally gave this jailbreak detection API function mainly in the workplace for corporate infrastructure. A jailbroken iPhone has been something that the enterprise world has been nervous about from the beginning.

Network World explains how MDM vendors tried to detect jailbroken devices before and after Apple’s creation of the short-lived API,

“Previously, some MDM vendors had created their own series of OS checks to detect jailbreaks, analogous to those performed by an anti-virus application on a PC, to discover if a jailbreak had occurred.

But the new detection API gave these applications direct access to information in the OS. In theory, the iOS device then “confesses” that it has been jailbroken, thereby triggering automatic responses such as alerting the helpdesk or shutting down access to corporate Exchange Server e-mail.”

Why Apple discontinued this jailbreak query API remains a mystery. Apple is definitely still sticking to the policy that jailbreaking your iPhone voids your warranty.

Perhaps Apple’s decision to remove their jailbreak detection API coincides with recent triumphs in the jailbreak community; such as, the Dev Team’s iOS 4 unlock. Apple could be admitting defeat to the jailbreak community by no longer supporting a way of detecting if an iOS device is jailbroken or not.

Either way, the jailbreak developer community didn’t even bother with trying to fool this jailbreak detection API when it was in use. MuscleNerd, from the Dev Team, tweeted that, “Apple removed their “jailbreak detection API” in 4.2…we didn’t even attempt to fool it (honestly!)”

What do you think? Why would Apple have abandoned their jailbreak detection API?

  • They have some bigger trick up there sleeve, …….the cat and mouse game will never end !
    I also believe that geohot has a bag full of tricks , but his main approach is to finish the race first to get all the fame…all this is quite amusing doh!

    • Tony

      That pose looks absolutely great by the way Arampe! What’s your email address? I’m am iPad man are u one too?

  • Soto187

    Maybe Apple got tired of playing “the cat and mouse” game ..and they rather used there time for upcoming awesome features maybe..

    If JB void warranties couldn’t that cause to lose some customers that want a safe phone to buy?

  • Burge

    Or just perhaps Apple realised that by turning off a jailbroken phone thay are invading the privacy of the person who owns the phone….

  • Alvaro

    If jailbreaking voids the warranty, does restoring iOS without jailbreaking restore the warranty? Ridiculous. How will Apple know if a phone has been jailbroken in the past, therefore voiding the warranty?

  • boingo

    Im with Burge. Apple could actually leave themselves open to a big ass lawsuit if they facilitate closing down someones just because its jail-broken.
    jail-breaking was deemed LEGAL
    Apple Has nothing to do with how someone uses thier phone. i bought it from apple…therefore i get to do with it whatever i like.
    as far as apple saying jailbreaking voids the warranty…they sure as hell shouldn’t,
    jail-breaking is legal, at worst they could say they cant work on it, but to void warranty is just too much.
    i cant wait for someone to bring a lawsuit against them for that.

  • Tina

    My guess would be that they dropped it because it is no longer illegal to jailbreak the iPhone. So why would they need to bother pursuing it now?

  • Crazyapllefreak

    Jobs knows he has to open these types of doors to make it internationally use with other providers. Offcourse to make more like the future now a these days with kids that are 13 years old with an iPhone . What’s next is the question?

  • joeyasd

    jobs got scared of my 12 inch dick and he decided not to mess around with my dick, and he abandoned the api

  • Al

    So what the heck does this mean? Does it mean we can update a factory unlocked phone, and preserve the jailbroken status, without having to go through the whole drama over and over again? Thereby preserving all the applications? Who cares why Apple made this move? It’d be a good move, if and only if, the gargantuan pain in the ass of updating – jailbreaking becomes a non-issue.
    So please, I don’t mean to perpetuate the speculation… I just would like to get a straight, fucntionality answer to my question.


  • Z

    I don’t know if I am even talking about the same thing, but one may recall a pop up massage by Skype, saying that it is meant to work with ‘unmodified’ iPhones, but it never stopped it from working. So maybe the fact that it was Not working was the reason for removal.

    Just a thought.

  • AngelX

    I Think Apple should (or are thinking about) start making only Pre-Jailbroken and Unlocked phones ! cause in India when you buy an iPhone its factory unlocked, so you never ever think about unlocking it and stuff!
    plus the reason why apple does NOT allow non app-store apps to be installed (before jailbreaking) is cause they dont get a part of the revenue from lets say ‘apps on cydia’ , BUT they are missing the bigger picture, you cant imagine the kind of increase in sales if an iPhone did not have all these hassels of unlocking and jailbreaking. Just buy an iPhone and put any SIM card in it!, download any apps on it!! do what you want with it!……….

    But here is the problem with this idea!
    *When you buy the iPhone with a contract you get it at a subsidized rate! and end up paying only like $200 instead of $750 (or something) if you dont want the contract!
    *This is the same problem we have in India… dont get iPhones here as a part of a contract….you HAVE to pay $750 for the whole deal its crazy…..only a few people can afford it this way!

    If only they could work around this and somehow make the iPhone a ‘Free’ phone. (free in reference to Jailbreak and unlocks)

  • iURLas

    there is no point including the JB API because the iPhone can be restored to it’s original firmware state using iTunes and Apple would not be able to tell the difference. Apple just swap a refurbished iPhone (yes, you are not getting a new iPhone!!!) and continues to count your warranty down. also in the longer term iPhones will not be exclusive a carrier (e.g. Asia & Europe) so unlocking (a consumer’s basic right) is no longer an issue. more carriers selling iPhones = more profits for Apple so why bother.

    • Z

      Don’t be so naive. There is always a way to tell whether or not the phone was jailbroken. The data cell cannot be completely erased, unless something else is rewritten instead.

      There was a jb app, can’t recall the name of it, that writes 0 (null) data onto the empty space. This way you can be assured it’s not possible to identify.

  • Ben

    Whether apple admit it or not, the JB community is essential to apples development programme.

    Most of the new features in 4.0 onwards are stolen from jail breakers.

    The JB community allows apple to do it’s research on the cheap. Take folders for instance. Originally a JB app – now mainstream.

  • ahmad



  • ahmad

    Hi , i need help how to jailbreak iphone 4 4.2.2 firmware 03.10.01.


    • jtorress

      Did you make it?? I need to do this too, my email at bottom, please!!

  • Tsais

    well, Apple has dropped a lot in some industry popularity statistics
    (don’t ask me for the sources, can’t be bothered to look them up now, just google it or something)

    I for one am tired of fighting Steve every step of the way, my next phone is Android – no need to fight an egotistical control freak there:

    1) Jailbreaking takes days with careful research and sorting out all the different tutorials with often conflicting information, scoping out which of a dozen tools is right for your iPhone+iOS+baseband+bootrom versions

    2) Moving iTunes libraries to a new computer without loosing your ratings is slow and annoying

    3) Can’t sync iPhone with your desktop when at home/office and also with your laptop when underway. ridiculous!

    4) extra hoops to jump through for eBooks, Ringtones, audiobooks…

    5) can’t synchronize with anything but Outlook? What? Maybe I’m missing something…?

    6) widgets? dissallowed pfffft…

    Mind you, I think the iPhone 4 looks real nice, but so does the HTC stuff, and the Desire HD won’t shatter into a thousand pieces like my friend’s iPhone did, when she handed it to someone who failed to get a grip on it… Wish I had that in a slo-mo HD video 😉

    Maybe I’ll feel weird, lonely and bored when I don’t have to do this jailbreaking thing anymore?

    And look at the press Apple got for its pettystinky little Mac App Store rules…
    I think if Steve doesn’t wanna self-destruct Apple before he croaks (which could be his plan), he’ll have to start laying low on his evil dictator antics.

  • Steve Jobs

    We didn’t mean that with “Think Different”,
    that was just the ad agency going out on a limb…

    and if you Think Different, your warranty will be void.

  • Joe T

    The API is added software. Perhaps apple found some kind of flaw in the API that would have made it easier to find an exploit. I’m no hacker. but it stands to reason that if the API scans apps or the iOS to determine if the iPhone is jailbroken, couldnt a good hacker reprogram the API code to detect an exploit? Think about it. Cydia can easily fake apples server, allowing you to downgrade your os. Who’s to say apple didn’t realize the API could be used against them and got rid of it. Or the API it’s self was an easy exploit for a jailbreak.

    Apple hates jailbreaking and says it voids your warranty, but all I have to do is restore it and any sign of a jailbreak is gone. So why would they stop using it so fast? The API was their way of being able to actually identify who jailbroke their iphones. And would for the first real time allow them to legally refuse to repair your phone within the warranty period. Example: the headphone jack breaks so you restore the phone and go into apple. Now this isn’t a problem that a jailbreak would cause. But apple would be well within their rights to say you tampered with the iPhone so were not covering the repair under warranty. You can pay us to fix it or leave. The API would save them money on warranty work and skew the repair/defective products statistics in their favor.