Last-minute issues delaying checkra1n launch, but release still imminent

Hacker and checkra1n team member Luca Todesco took the stage at POC2019 in Seoul, South Korea early Friday morning to talk about checkra1n, an upcoming checkm8 exploit-based jailbreak tool that would work with A5-A11 devices. But perhaps more intriguingly, sporadic teasers indicated that the tool would be released sometime after his presentation there.

The last official update we have from Todesco himself is that the checkra1n release was delayed longer than expected following the presentation, but it was still supposed to launch sometime today. With the day now over and still no official checkra1n jailbreak launch at the time of this writing, you wouldn’t be alone if you were twiddling your thumbs and wondering what was happening.

Based on a number of leaks that made their way to /r/jailbreak Friday afternoon, it appears that some last-minute reliability and stability issues needed addressed before checkra1n could be deemed ready for an official public release.

Initially, these ‘issues’ were particularly vague, and we had nothing substantial to go by, but a more recent update from someone familiar with the tool’s internal development now indicates that a problem with checkra1n’s rootfs restore feature causing boot-loops is to blame for these unforeseen delays.

For those unaware, rootfs restore is a component in modern jailbreak tools that allows the user to ‘restore’ back to an un-jailbroken state without updating their firmware. This is particularly useful when Apple stops signing a particular version of iOS because it effectively lets you sell your handset as ‘jailbreakable’ rather than ‘non-jailbreakable’ and earn more money by selling to those who want to jailbreak.

There have been no updates regarding checkra1n’s release timeframe, but tidbits surrounding what the initial release will be like have allegedly leaked. Here’s what we know:

  • checkra1n will be macOS-only at the start, with Linux and Windows versions of the tool being released later down the road
  • The macOS release could be CLI-only (this means you’d have to use a command line interface like Terminal), with a GUI interface launching in the near future

Much of the jailbreak community uses Windows PCs as opposed to Macs because they tend to be substantially cheaper, but it’s worth noting that the initial macOS-only release should work with Hackintosh computers (home-built PCs running a hacked installation of macOS) and that you can always ‘borrow’ someone else’s Mac to jailbreak initially if you wanted to.

As of now, it remains to be seen if the checkra1n team can still deliver a jailbreak launch today, but like anyone else with a good head on their shoulders, we’d much rather see these critical bugs squashed before a public jailbreak launch to ensure things go as smoothly as possible for everyone.

What are your thoughts about the current situation? Discuss in the comments.