Stefan Esser, better known as i0n1c, is a prominent member of the jailbreak community. His untethered exploit was responsible for the jailbreak that lasted from iOS 4 to 4.3.3, and he has been contributing to the Dev Team for quite some time.

i0n1c’s untethered jailbreak may have been killed in iOS 5, but he’s got a new and very controversial idea for another iOS 5 jailbreak in the future: blocking access to pirated apps.

It’s no secret that app piracy is one of the main reason people jailbreak the iPhone. Once jailbroken, you have access to repositories that provide free copies of paid apps in the App Store and Cydia Store.

i0n1c, like most developers, hates app piracy. For the most part, people that create apps view piracy as stealing. And the jailbreak scene has been responsible for the ease of access to pirated content that is available today.

The idea of a jailbreak that intentionally blocks pirated apps from running on the device is a very interesting one indeed. If i0n1c does indeed provide the untethered exploit for iOS 5, he could very well implement such a restriction in his jailbreak. At this point, it sounds like he’s only contemplating that possibility.

How do you feel about this? Is it up to the person that creates the jailbreak to determine if users can pirate apps or not? Should that power be in the hands of devs like i0n1c? If pirated content is no longer available in a jailbreak, would you even jailbreak at all?

There’s a lot to think about.

  • apptrackr ftw

    do you download movies? Yes you do. Do you download Music? Yes you do. Do you download software? Yes you do Do you download games? Yes you do. So pls stfu, whats the difference downloading iphone ipps, or movies, games etc etc on computer? I jailbreaked first time at al just so I could download apps, then I found out that I could do so much more.

    • Are you a developer? No. Are you a developer? No. Are you a developer? No Are you a developer? No. So please stfu. Every single download that you get illegally is a loss of money, and time. You might say, “oh, one person will not do much”. But when you multiply these 1 person * 1,000,000 downloaders. That is a major loss of money.

      • Bob

        Typical evil – it’s only about the money right?

      • Igeek

        I’m a developer… If you have cash coming in from different sources who cares if you pirate apps… Same difference as movies and what not… Be real people it’s 2011… Don’t want people to pirate stuff then STOP MAKING JAILBREAKS cry babies lol 

      • Chad

        What’s the point of jailbreaking if you can’t get stuff you want. If you wanna be told what you can install or do on the iPhone then stick with a stock device , in other words don’t make a tweak if you don’t want it to get took

      • Jso

        Are you an idiot? Yes. Are you retarted? Yes. Do you know a single thing about business? No.

        These so called pirated apps aren’t causing any tangible loss whatsoever. In fact, Upon further investigation, studies have shown that over 90 percent of users who have “pirated” the app in questioned, never would have bought the app in the first place. And of that 90 percent, I’d bet at least 20 percent end up buying the app, or a different app for timely–easy updates, or to support the developers.

        If you’re a developer, create a business model by which a user is enticed to continue supporting your work, I.e with additional features, exclusives, dlc, etc.

        Piracy of music has dropped dramatically since the proliferation of easy-access to legal downloads and reasonably priced subscriptions. The problem lies with the business model. Rules, laws, and regulations only delay what’s good for EVERYONE: easy access and reasonable pricing.

  • Math

    It is basically okay of him to implement it! But with that said, everyone does it, it will maybe take a month or two, and people will be able to get pirated software.

    • Ives

      Right on!!!!

      • Ives

        Right on Igeek!!!!

  • I would feel very comfortable with that. Since jailbreaking my phone, I have gone on the pirated repositories initially. Once I downloaded the software, I preferred to go ahead and order the official version. For the $1 to $5 for most apps, it is worth getting an authorized copy with legitimate licenses and benefit for its developer.

    I don’t use the pirated repositories any more. Websites like this provide enough of a review to evaluate whether I want to invest in an app or not. Pirated software is just not worth the hassle or possible virus load.

    So whether i0n1c prevents piracy or not, I am off of those repositories.

  • TMA

    Sure I would still jailbreak! The main intention of jailbreaking is removing Apple’s restrictions and change the user interface etc, not to install pirated apps. I personally hate the fact that so many people use it to install pirated apps, because tha gives apple a legit reason to officially hate jailbreak(ers). On the other hand adding DRM to a jailbreak would sorta defeat the purpose of a jailbreak which promotes open source development. Well, not quite. I dislike the idea of added DRM but i dislike the knowledge tha people use jailbreaks for all the wron reasons even more, so yeah, I’d support that.

  • javierE186

    The idea was not his, he actually got the idea from someone he was speaking with via twitter.

    • He also wanted that person to get him without the zero

  • i jailbreak for AppSync so i can develop apps. Sure i use the repo. I dont use installous

  • James

    I’m all for it. But once it’s released won’t someone else just find a way around it? It’ll be a cat and mouse game within the JB community.

  • EthanBB

    I would like to know how without it I will downgrade my apps when they suddenly stop working after upgrade.
    And if he will do it, it will stand maybe for week or two. I think It’s waste of time.

    • dfgbhfdv

      That is the only reason I use Installous. My Angry Birds saves from my PC used to work perfectly fine on 1.5.1 but then on 1.5.3 it all stopped working.

  • BloodRain

    out of his mind,you have something to offer awsome,but if you want to determine who i do with my idevice, might as well call him st3v3 or somthing like that. i jailbreak so i can do what i want,not be told by another person what to do,or how it will be done,if such a thing did come into this wonderful world of ours,i know there will be another bandwagon to jump on,and people will jump,i dont see this being the end all.this person may be smart,but i would become dedicated to jailbreaking..a …jailbreak.that make sense?

    yeah we’d have to be jailbreaking the jailbreak..funny huh

    • Computerology101

      LOL. Nice comment about Steve Jobs and his tendency to restrict us iPhone users.

  • BloodRain

    Lol i meant WHAT not who,my device dosnt get put anywhere it shouldnt

  • 877

    Given ios5 features, I would not bother to jb if I couldn’t use installous. Or I would wait for the next unrestricted jb…

  • luis9251

    he should not do it maybe most americans ignore it but the itunes and app store us very limited in other countries. i live in colombia and i rely on installous since even some free apps are unaviable in the colombian appstore

    • 2meu

      Asi se habla parcero

  • Nat

    I’d never jail break there would be no point for me as all the other jailbreak tweaks are pointless to me. 🙁

  • david

    lol then why jailbreak? seriously installous is the number 1 reason…. followed by ifile and saferia download manager.

  • Jude

    Here’s the thing. Even if they “Block” Installous. Installous can just move domain or change teh website name. THEN BAM! Pirate apps are back. Someone in the jailbreak community had tried this before. BUT IT DIDN’T WORK due to the very reason i stated.
    They can’t block Ipa’s either becuase cydia itself contains IPA’s. ( IPA is the FILE TYPE of your apps )

    • Fapp_le

      Oh only if you realized how it works. It wouldnt block Install0us. It wont allow Pirated apps to be installed. No matter if through SSH or Install0us.

      Only problem is that it would TOTALLY MESS UP the OS so it is not possible.

      Learn the facts. I have lost all faith in his reporting skills from this post

  • Fapp_le

    Obviously you didn’t investigate the story to the fullest extent. I’m not goin to do your job for you cause I don’t get paid for it like you. This is how rumors get started and you obviously posted it on a whim. #1 You can’t build a jailbreak that blocks pirated apps cause it screws with other shit. #2 It would not be a part of this community because this would stand against all the rights that we have as users to be free from restrictions (That actually came from Powers That Be in the Community) like the “Regulations” that Fapple Rules With An Iron Fist. #3 It was also stated that the Hackers who make the Piracy software and Crack all the Tweaks would only have a minor setback before they found a loophole like the Dev Team use to exploit the IOS Software for Us.

    In closing I’m not going to call you names or throw low blows Alex. I only insist that you do some “Investigating Journalism” and try to set your article right before you cause a Frenzy with the ones who don’t have access to The Powers That Be on Twitter or common sense not to take your word as The Absolute Truth.

    I am really disappointed in this article.

    And just so you know I am fully Antipiracy but I wouldn’t stand for a Jailbreak that was going to implement more regulations instead of Freeing my iDevice.

    Thanx Alex for your time

    And I seriously hope you take my thoughts into consideration.

    • Anonymous

      He will remove this post like he removed mine, and I thought there was such a thing as freedom of speech.

      • Fapp_le

        I copied it to my notebook so I’ll just repostThat is pretty effed up though. I have only stated facts that came from Dev Team members. While he posted half truth and Fiction

    • Thanks for stating your concern. Sorry you feel so strongly.

      As far as your 3 issues go:
      1. I never stated any sort of factual claim about the ability to actually block pirated apps in a jailbreak. I simple wrote a SPECULATIVE piece based off the whimsical thought of an actual hacker that would know those specifics. Obviously, i0n1c seems to think that it could (and I do mean “could”) be a possibility. The headline of this article says “could.”

      2. I never made any claims about this issue being a “good” or “bad” thing for the community. I actually agree that blocking pirated content in a jailbreak isn’t right. It goes against the very principles of jailbreaking. The whole point of this article was to start a discussion (which it obviously did).

      3. I do believe that people will find a way to go around such a restriction if someone like i0n1c did in fact introduce it. Pirates will always be pirates.

      The only reason I chose to respond to your comment is because you did decide to NOT act like 80% of commentors and call me a douche and leave it at that. So I appreciate your civility.

      As far as my “reporting skills” are concerned, that’s your opinion. This is an iPhone blog and I don’t claim to have all the answers. I simply asked questions in this article.

      • Drew Jackson

        @Fapp_le, if you are disappointed in Alex’s reporting skills, I am officially disappointed in your reading and critical thinking abilities. I think Alex thoroughly covered the basis of reasons why your statement was rather nonfactual including “Not reading the title” and “Not choosing a side whether it was right or wrong”. I am also confused on how Alex did not investigate the entire story yet you are aware of the internal facts of this case? Yet you say you aren’t going to do his job and find out the facts which disproves my last theory of you actually knowing what you are talking about. And you know how rumors get started? By developers making twitter posts about the possibility of working on a new jailbreak with a certain reason behind doing so, and that’s what happened. No one twisted i0n1c’s words or statement, he simply presented it and asked the community to weigh in.

        I was impressed that although there was a lack of comprehension from the article he didn’t sprinkle his message with the general terms of “douche”, etc, so as Alex said Kudos. And sorry to be a grammar Nazi but maybe it is Investigative Journalism not Investigating Journalism. Only because you were using the line to trash him I just thought it should be corrected.

        I am also sure there is enough freedom of speech on the blog to go around, but if you choose to be a pompous jerk and yell “fire” in a crowded theater well then you are getting kicked out of the movie (hopefully I didn’t go over your head there with the analogy). If I start stringing up curse words or obscenities, or talk about how Pokemon are better then X-Men (off topic), does my post deserve to fill up space interrupting the flow of information on the blog? Can I spam advertisement for my personal web site? If you would like to speak the “truth” and are mad that people aren’t doing so, create a very popular iPhone blog, become a contributor, and then write incredibly honest, truthful and factual blog posts, let internet trolls rant and rave and complain and then come back and write Alex an apology once you acknowledge you were one of them. It’s ok to disagree with someone or create a debate, but just because you didn’t use foul language doesn’t make your argument an intelligent one. Thanks! 🙂

      • Fapp_le

        @Alex @Drew Jackson all I’m saying is you posted “If i0n1c does indeed provide the untethered exploit for iOS 5, he could very well implement such a restriction in his jailbreak.”

        It is clearly stated last night that no he could not implement it in his untether without a massive buggy outcome. It would not work. He cannot implement it. That was a Half Truth that was squashed last night. The restriction would actually search out anything with a Value Of Zero, which pirated apps have, and in turn other OS dependencies have also.

        Your article said that he could. And for the Half Truth statement, half truth means half the story.

        I feel that I have no apologies to offer. I just would have rather seen a more in depth article explaining the rest of the story. But I do respect you as an author and yes we all have rights to our own opinions.

        @Drew Jackson didn’t know I had to post correct grammar to get my point across. But instead of me being a “pompous jerk” can we just settle on what I really am. An asshole

        Thank you both for your time.

    • They usually don’t most of these articles are straight copied/pasted or stolen from other sites I haven’t seen a “real” article to date with the exception of sebastiens rant @PC Mag Editor in Chief Lance Ulanoff which was actually good and to the point a bit long but actually factual.
      Follow the people on twitter like @apptrackr or @chronic most of the times they say things to be flippant or ironically humorous but it isn’t always news or facts.
      This blog I see as entertainment and sometimes and I “stress” sometimes factual.

  • Kevin

    I’m sure the piracy would still continue, it’s something that isn’t easy to stop. If there was a way to stop it forever on iOS 5, I wouldn’t even bother jailbreaking… I mean why would I? All the features that I loved from Cydia are available already on the OS.

  • AnotherBrian

    I’m down with removing pirated apps, I only jailbreak for the extra features in the system anyway. All of the jailbreak apps I use are paid jailbreak apps unless they are free tweaks. I want to keep getting good apps, so I don’t mind paying at all to keep developers happy.

    If you work for minimum wage you don’t need a iPhone anyway. If your from a restricted country I can understand that. If you want to try before you buy get a Android!

  • ME

    Software piracy isn’t theft. It’s piracy.

    Put differentl­y, if the car in your driveway was software and I pirated it, you’d still have a car in the morning, and I’d be driving a copy of it that I couldn’t register at the DMV. -Madbunny

    • Fapp_le


    • Ade


    • Timohty/klouud

      But that was money the developer should have been compensated with. In essence, you didn’t actually steal anything you just prevented the rightful person from receiving deserved compensation for a product that you should have paid for and didn’t… on second thought… that sounds a lot like stealing to me.

  • Mripod64

    I like to try the app first, if I like it then I’ll pay for it….but I don’t like his idea..

  • Dick Fontaine

    I’m not going to begrudge someone for a couple of dollars…if I end up not liking the app then I’ve lost two dollars, so what

  • Biasland

    If Apple can’t do it, why would anyone think that these minors can do it? Just BS.

    • JB

      Great point! If it were possible, we probably would have seen it by now.

      Besides, how would he differentiate unsigned JB apps via Cydia versus cracked IPA’s? I expect them to be the same to the OS.

  • simo

    The whole point of jail-breaking is to unlock the possibilities of an iDevice and to let the user do what they want to do including pirate app’s I dont care if he blocks cydia pirating as all those devs are worth there salt and are worth the price tag. But the app store can be hit and miss.

  • gtfxxx

    Smart idea, BUT… if you do the restriction, you are no better than apple. I mean the only reason we jailbreak and you work so hard to provide us with a jailbreak, is because apple is restricting us and the users of the product. And now you are going to create a program that restricts jailbreakers….

  • Yes, I agree with ion1c! Jailbreaking is about an art how we do anything to our devices, bypass every *USELESS* restrictions on Apple without VIOLATING the rules. Piracy is a crime!

  • mersim

    if there are no pirated apps for iphone i go buy me an fucking android device

  • RanKer

    Bad idea, i jailbreak because i want to use Pirated copies. not using his Jailbreak, just waiting some JB that gives ability to run pirated apps.

  • Jared

    I am a little at a loss on this one. I used to jailbreak but gave it up due to the constant conflicts with different tweaks on different versions of iOS. So. My confusion. If you block access to these tweaks some paid and some not, what’s the point of jailbreaking?

    What am I missing. I am at work with my head in something else.

    Anyone explain to me why a jailbreak blocking app and tweaks would be of any good (assuming that your baseband is not unlockable).


  • A3sthetix

    As a dev, I want people to pirate my app. If they really like it and it’s solid, people buy it because they want to contribute to future development. What pisses me off is apps that are overpriced and don’t deliver. When there is not trial, even I pirate apps because I want to make sure I’m not throwing money out the window. ion1c can go ahead and rock this type of jailbreak. It won’t be long before someone comes along and codes something to circumvent his blockage.

  • dfgbhfdv

    I’m so happy now. I have about a million friends that jailbreak, and I’m the only one who doesn’t use Installous (well I used to before I was old enough to get an iTunes account, but not anymore). It is so annoying seeing them keep going on Installous and illegally getting those paid apps that I work hard to pay for and they just hack them off of Installous.

  • Dave

    What ever happen to supporters of small-time developers. There will always be a scene for pirated apps as there will always be a scene for jailbreaking phones. I think by blocking pirated apps, is almost identical to the idea of Apple blocking exploits. Even I can say that I’ve tested apps (pirated) before I buy. We all know that pirating is bad for everyone, but are you really happy purchasing a ‘crap-app’ that does nothing it states in it’s description.

  • BFD. It will take all of about 5 minutes before somebody puts up a “fix” for such a jailbreak and it makes its way into a repo somewhere. Pirates will install that and go on with their lives.

  • bob dole


  • vik071

    Jailbreakers will be jailbreakers and pirates will be pirates…

  • rileyfreeman

    i use some of the cracked apps before purchasing them. sorry devs but i cant just take your word that your app is going to work the way u say it will or that it will do what i want it to do. your wording may come off differently to other people. but if i like it, i definitely will buy it. i had yourtube and safari download manager cracked and after seeing how useful it was, i bought them both.

    i paid for slideaway and i completely dislike it. unfortunately there was no free trial and it wasnt cracked at the time. but it was a waste of my money.

    then people need to realize some things are just because u have no choice. nba gametime was a free app that was in the canadian store last year and was not in it this year initially, i got the cracked copy of a free app due to the country restriction. i got a cracked copy of adult swims app because it wasnt in the canadian app store. i would have gladly given them the 99cents but i couldnt. so sometimes u have no choice.

    i understand his reasoning but they are just going to hack his jailbreak so he shouldnt even waste his time with it.

  • Ade

    i will not jailbreaking my ipad ios 5 if not suport hacked app anymore !!

  • Telejeesus

    I JB for Cydia tweaks and apps. I have quite list in Cydia for paid tweaks/apps. But I have also used tweaks/apps from Cydia free(pirated). And I think its good way to know if that tweak/app work like it should(coz not nearly every paid tweak have trial period. And some of them get your phone all messed up.)
    I have Installous also. It GREAT way to test App Store apps. I have then bought apps that I use and like. Plus I get updates faster from normal app store. Then there is programs that cost 80€-> that I use like 2 times a year… I have two of those and I have to say I have pirated them 🙁 (its not any exuce that I use them only 2 times/year I know LOL)

    I think i0n1c try to make jailbreaking more Apple friendly if there is no pirated apps. But I am 100% sure Steve dont like JB even then lol 😉

    So let ppl choose if they download pirated apps or not !!! I would have never bought so many apps if pirasy have not been allowed after JB. Dunno you guys. 🙂

  • Ian

    It doesn’t look like Apple is suffering too much from people using pirated apps, if it wasn’t for the iPhone being able to be jailbroken I wouldn’t have bought one, so Apple got my $800 for my iPhone anyway. I have still bought plenty of apps that I think are worth the money, but there are plenty out there that are not. I think let the users decide what they would like to do and of course continue donating to the developers, as I have done by the way 🙂 so that we can continue enjoying the extra features that jailbreaking brings.

  • Not much to say about piracy here, but jailbreaking is to unlock possibilities. Not restrict them.

  • Not much to say about piracy here, but jailbreaking is to unlock possibilities. Not restrict them. That’s Apple’s job.

  • Well it should obviously be in the hands of the Jailbreaker NOT the Jailbreak Creator. If the person wants to steal apps let them. Maybe they will get in trouble, maybe they won’t. Who cares? I don’t it’s not my problem. But………. It is up to him if he wants to or not because he is the genious that knows how to do the jailbreaking and create them. Even if he does decide to block the pirated apps, I won’t hate him… I couldn’t hate someone who helped us all at one point. He did create the best untethered jailbreaks.

  • holr

    Simple solution, make all apps free and stuff them with adverts and in-app-purchases! Wait a second…

  • T

    people like steve jobs alredy have a lot of money, we don’t, why doesn’t steve jobs make apps that he pays for and gives it to us for free, because he wants money even though he has a lot.. so then why must i feel sorry for him… if pirated software stops … IM NOT DOWLOADING JAILBREAKING

  • Alec

    the tweet is fkae. there isnt a tweet on i0n1c’s twitter that says that from the past 5 months…

  • Alec

    the tweet is fake. there isnt a tweet on i0n1c’s twitter that says that from the past 5 months…

  • vijer

    There are very few paid apps that I want and the price is low enough not to matter. I didn’t break my iPhone to pirate apps I did it for all the great features Apple was too stupid to develop. What would we do without SB Settings or No Rotation or Winterboard.

    I would probably buy more apps if I could test them first, after all paying even $1 for crap is still a waste of money, especially if any of it goes to Apple.

  • The main reason I run jail broken devices is for Installous. If I had to pay for all my apps, I would use my iDevices less. Allow Installous and Apple’s hardware sales go up, but the software sales don’t.

  • jailbreakers make me so mad, the games are only 69p. Hmm u can afford an iphone but not 69p for a game. Tightass. Lets not forget more games that arent sold wont be made again in future. And i read someone said jailbreaking is safe, umm no it aint it leaves ur phone more prone viruses and hacking. And people think that if u restore it apple aint gunna know u jaibroke it. Wow bunch of idiots its apple not an apple.

  • And all u noobs who say try before u buy i guess all ur computers are hacked chipped or whatever. U people make me sick ur killing music. Making a good go at films and now u want to ruin the game industry.

  • Jailbreaking was invented to counteract Apple’s “Total control of the user experience and software pipeline” policy. Esser just sounds like he wants to do the same thing, essentially with _him_ in charge of _your_ device.