iOS security researchers who applied for Apple’s Security Research Device Program, announced in June, are reporting that Apple has finally started shipping specially-configured iPhones.

MacRumors has more:

Apple is notifying the first researchers who will be receiving these special iPhones as of today and the Cupertino company says that the devices will be sent out right away. Under the terms of the program, participating security researchers will be provided with iPhones that are on loan for one year, though it will be possible to extend the loan period.

Available to those who have been accepted in the company’s Security Research Device Program, these phones have root access enabled by default. Similar to jailbreaking, this allows for “unique code execution and containment policies”, differing from standard iOS.

According to Apple:

As part of Apple’s commitment to security, this program is designed to help improve security for all iOS users, bring more researchers to iPhone and improve efficiency for those who already work on iOS security. It features an iPhone dedicated exclusively to security research, with unique code execution and containemnt policies.

Researchers can use these specially-configured iPhones to access the shell.

Moreover, security policies allow these devices to run any development tools. iOS\ researchers are also free to choose entitlement as needed. Other than these key changes, these rooted phones function as close to a standard iPhone as possible. The devices are handed out on a 12-month renewable basis and remain the property of Apple throughout.

iOS researchers can apply for the Security Research Device Program on Apple’s website.