Does Apple really hate jailbreakers?

By , Mar 21, 2013

Jailbroken iPhone iPad mini running Cydia

The cat and mouse between Apple and the jailbreak community has been going on for about 6 years now. Every time a new jailbreak tool is released, taking advantage of some holes in Apple’s tight mobile operating system, you can bet your shirt that Apple will be quick at patching those holes with a software update.

Sometimes those software updates are released faster than others. For example, it took Apple 43 days to patch a series of vulnerabilities that allowed iOS 6 users to jailbreak their devices using evasi0n. In comparison, it took Apple only nine days to fix the bugs that were exploited by JailbreakMe 3.0.

The time difference can be easily explained by the fact that exploits like those used by JailbreakMe represent a much a higher security threat to iOS users than those used in evasi0n. Remember, JailbreakMe could be run directly from the device’s browser, thus exposing virtually every single iOS 4.3.3 user at the time to security risks. In comparison, evasi0n requires you to plug the device to a computer via USB. Clearly, the security threats is much lower with evasi0n.

This being said, every time Apple releases a software update that patches vulnerabilities used in a jailbreak, some enthusiastic jailbreakers are always quick at calling Apple names and accusing the company to actively fight the jailbreak community. “Apple hates jailbreakers. They just released a software update to kill the jailbreak,” you can often read every time an iOS update that patches a jailbreak is released. But is that really the truth? Does Apple really hate the jailbreak community or is it trying to protect the safety of its most popular operating system?

Each jailbreak tool released is the result of an incredible amount of work from one or several individuals. This work is entirely based on vulnerabilities in the operating system, allowing hackers to exploit these vulnerabilities and turn them into a working jailbreak. If there is no security hole in the system, there can’t be a jailbreak.

As minor as they might be, the problem for Apple is that these vulnerabilities represent a security threat to iOS users. Even though some of these vulnerabilities are really trivial, Apple just can’t afford not to fix them. Not only the company would come across as careless, but more importantly, it could open the door to more serious vulnerabilities being found and exploited, which could compromise the security of iOS and put users at risks of having their devices hacked and their personal information imperiled.

But of course, what are the chances of this doomsday scenario happening? The chances are really slim indeed, but it’s a risk that Apple doesn’t want to take, and to be quite honest, I completely understand that.

To answer my own question, no, Apple doesn’t hate jailbreakers. If anything, I believe Apple embraces the jailbreak community not only because it gives the company ideas about future features, but it also helps make iOS a safer operating system. Unfortunately, all this is to the detriment of jailbreak users like us. We want safer devices, but we also want to be able to jailbreak. You choose what’s more important to you – security or freedom – but you can’t blame Apple for doing its job and making sure its users are safe.

As for me, I made my choice. I choose freedom. I choose to potentially put my device at risk in order to enjoy the many benefits jailbreaking has to offer. But I also choose to respect Apple’s actions when it releases a software update that fixes exploits used in a jailbreak, because ultimately, this is for the greater good of all iOS users.

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  • maverick

    This comment was deleted before. Mods here might give a good reason for this.
    Only praises are accepted on iDB or bits of truth are burning…

    There is no “love” or “hate” from “bitten pome”. They’re one of the biggest organizations to make billions from their sheep. They don’t care about 3-4% of their customers who jailbreak. And they don’t care to make some peanuts from implementing and selling as apps great ideas from jailbreak developers. They only care about billions they make from iSheep. And to get control on the insatiable need of humans to solder their beloved devices in their life and share personal life with these devices.

    But the great jailbreak creators make a huge service to “bitten pome” as they show them how weak iOS is. And this service translate in other billions from advertising iOS as “high secure” and get contracts to sell hundred thousands of iDevices to other big organizations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cabloo Ali Al-salman

    apple sales went up after evasi0n jailbreak, maybe if there sales go down they will make a new update with a weak spot, just so we can jailbreak it, just wait till the ipad5 ipad mini2 and iphone 5s

  • http://twitter.com/coolstarorg CoolStar Org.

    I think that Apple should instead port Gatekeeper to iOS. OS X uses it, and it works well, and I think iOS should too. That way, if people don’t want security risks they can stick with the default “Identified Developers & App Store” and we jailbreakers can choose “Anywhere”

  • http://twitter.com/Lagax_ Lagax

    You forgot ont thing: why does apple make downgrading that hard if they only want to close security holes? That’s kind of useless, because the “normal” user would not downgrade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laszlo.italia Laszlo Marsi

    You know what i hope apple see this thread!

  • http://twitter.com/DDVawesome David

    I think they should let the user choose which iOS version the user want to use on their device. Jailbreakers can choose to stay on 6.1.2 for the jailbreak, and non Jailbreakers can choose to update. The problem now is that if you’ll need to restore, you automatic need to update.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000833912284 Ashley Nicole

      yup, that’s what happened to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000833912284 Ashley Nicole

    I wonder if people went on strike with apple products(doubt they will) would apple change the way they are doing stuff? It wasn’t my choice to update my phone, it needed to be rebooted and the only possible way to get my phone back up and running was to update the software ughhhh!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Whitaker/100000796710385 Greg Whitaker

    For the most part I agree but I have to ask why apple actively opposes the jb community in other areas, such as making it difficult to impossible to use iTunes to install older versions of iOS for those of us who embrace jb. I’m still running 5.1.1 because I can’t find a way to update to 6.1.2 as iTunes will only let me upgrade to the newest release. This seems vindictive to me. It’s one thing to patch a security breach but it’s altogether different to refuse customers the right to accept those breaches and choose to risk it or not. I don’t think apple hates jailbreakers but I certainly don’t think they respect us as paying customers and that’s a significant issue I’ll be taking into considerstion next time I’m in the market for a new phone.

  • Yunan Ardhi

    i think ios 7 use some idea from jailbreak tweaks

  • Nikolas Kovack

    If iOS 7 is jailbreak proof…

    Hello Android!

    iOS is SO BORING and not customizable without a jailbreak. I have a few tweaks that let me change the size of my icons, automatically close a folder after you open an app inside it, put icons anywhere on the screen, and also add samsungs smart pause feature.
    A stock iPhone could never DREAM of doing any of these, and on top of that there’s THOUSANDS of other AMAZING tweaks.

  • Nikolas Kovack

    They frown on Jailbreaking, because think of it like this:
    If you install SBSettings, and it fucks your phone up somehow, and the camera stops working, or it bricks your phone, IT’S NOT APPLES FAULT, it’s jailbreaks fault, so they would just rather not deal with all that.

  • Kai

    How come nothing is working for iPhone 5??

  • Rick Kreuk

    All exploits in evasi0n could only be misused if the device was activated, didn’t have a passcode lock and if it was connected to a computer. There was NO good reason for Apple to fix the “security holes”. I see them as “freedom gates”.

  • ChristianPasquariello

    It took me all of ten minutes to decide to jailbreak a brand new Ipad. Having experience with rooting and computers in general I’m not worried.

  • David Michel

    The whole Freedom vs. Security thing is giving me Assassin’s Creed vibes

  • Xander Chettinger

    I choose Freedom, its way more important, I can take care of security myself…

  • Andros

    Or how about something even more radical. How about Apple just release an official “Jailbreak”, as in, have an option in iOS itself that unlocks the phone. That way, anyone who wants to officially unlock their phone, presses the Apple supplied “unlock”, clicks on the 10 pages of permissions and waivers from Apple, and bam, your phone is unlocked. No need to rely on hackers to do this. Keeps the people who don’t care about Jailbreak happy (they don’t have to click on unlock) and makes the Jailbreakers happy (they give up their rights for support from Apple anyway if they unofficially Jailbreak).

    But of course, it’s Apple, so that will never happen.

  • Jacob61916

    If Apple really did hate jailbreakers, they could have banned serial numbers from Apple services if jailbroken like how Microsoft bans modded xboxs when connected.