Security researcher and hackerStefan Esser, a.k.a. “i0n1c,” is working on a compatible jailbreak for the first iOS 8 beta, which should be available soon. It might take a while longer, however, since Apple has apparently changed its directory structure for the containers that store native files, effectively throwing a monkey wrench into Esser’s plans to release a jailbreak in “a few hours” on Monday.
iOS 8 seems to have new root filesystem protections :P Or some of my patches go horribly wrong
— Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) June 3, 2014
Jailbreaking is the process some iPhone owners use to allow several features Apple doesn’t normally allow. In the past, it was especially useful because the iPhone couldn’t do things like double as a WiFi hotspot, let you install widgets, and hide default apps you don’t use.
It’s no secret Apple does everything it can to prevent jailbreaking, plugging holes and vulnerabilities as they’re discovered. After all, the company considers jailbreaking to be a violation of the end-user software licence agreement. Still, users try their best to sidestep Apple’s built-in defenses for the iPhone and iPad for the sake of customising their iOS experience, or simply because they can.
Jailbreaking becomes increasingly popular with each new iOS release, but in iOS 8, is jailbreaking even worth it?
At Monday’s WWDC keynote, Apple introduced a plethora of customisation features for users and developers alike, including 4,000 new application programming interfaces for home electronics, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S, iCloud, cameras, games, and more. It also introduced iOS “extensibility,” which will allow applications to talk to each other through Apple’s secure ecosystem and even project UI into originating apps, effectively enabling third-party apps to define how they want their content to be seen, shared, or acted upon in other apps.
Thanks to iOS 8 extensions, users will be able to customise their Notification Center widgets and import things like photo filters and even system-wide third-party keyboards, the latter feature being a big reason for jailbreaking in the first place.
In fact, many of the most popular jailbreaking features have been replaced with homegrown features in iOS 8. Thanks to the QuickReply feature, which allows users to instantly reply to notifications without needing to open an app, jailbreaking features like Couria and Auki will soon be obsolete.
iTouchSecure, the jailbreak feature that autofills passwords based on Touch ID inputs, will no longer necessary thanks to the new Touch ID API that will let you log into apps using your fingerprint. Even the OkSiri jailbreaking tweak, which allows users to summon Siri by speaking and not tapping the home button, will also be outmoded by Apple’s own improvements to Siri.
None of this means jailbreaking will go away anytime soon. There are still plenty of jailbreaking features Apple won’t be able to touch. Game emulators, for instance, are programs that mimic classic video games but would never fly on the App Store due to copyright issues.
But iOS 8 might signal the beginning of the end of casual jailbreaking, since most of the popular tweaks will soon become fully fledged features. At the same time, Apple may want the jailbreaking trend to continue, considering many of its most popular iOS features were originally popular jailbreak tweaks of their own.