R.I.P., iPhone jailbreaking

“For several years, it was common practice among iOS enthusiasts to ‘jailbreak’ their iPhones so they could enable additional functionality like screen recording and widget support,” Abhimanyu Ghoshal reports for TNW.

Jailbreaking was “once fueled by an active worldwide community with numerous crafty programmers who figured out how to bypass Apple’s device protections,” Ghoshal reports. “And with the closing of two major repositories on the Cydia alternative app store this month, the death knell for jailbreaking is ringing clear.”

“There hasn’t been a jailbreak for iOS 11 so far, even though it’s been months since it was released to the public,” Ghoshal reports. “There are no longer as many benefits to using cracked versions of iOS, and the one major draw lately was being able to install apps, themes and tweaks from Cydia. Now, with the ModMyi and ZodTTD/MacCiti repositories having shut down on the popular app store, there’ll be even fewer files available to fans.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Beginning shortly after the first iPhone was launched, and picking up steam in 2008, jailbreaking was a full-blown cultural and economic phenomenon. Hacking crews known by names such as the iPhone Dev Team, Chronic Dev, and evad3rs were some of the best iPhone hackers of their generation.,” Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Brian Merchant write for Motherboard. “They made both sport and crusade of breaking into Apple’s ascendant phone and opening the system up to rogue developers. A brilliant, iconoclastic software engineer named Jay Freeman gave venue to the hackers and developers by building Cydia, a sort of alternative App Store. At its height, Cydia, which predated the actual App Store, was a business pulling in millions of dollars in revenue, and offered users a way to experience the iPhone as a truly free and open computer.”

“Things, however, have changed,” Franceschi-Bicchierai and Merchant write. “The jailbreaking community is fractured, with many of its former members having joined private security firms or Apple itself. The few people still doing it privately are able to hold out for big payouts for finding iPhone vulnerabilities. And users themselves have stopped demanding jailbreaks, because Apple simply took jailbreakers’ best ideas and implemented them into iOS.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Somewhere along the way, give Apple’s rapid advancements to iOS, jailbreaking became more trouble than it was worth.


  1. Yep, count me as someone who left the scene. I developed a few jailbreak tweaks and apps, and jailbroke every iPhone from the original to the 6+.

    As iOS matured, there became fewer and fewer teaks and apps that we could make that stood out above and beyond stock iOS.

    Apple also started implementing features on roughly a quarterly basis. It became a decision on whether you wanted the benefits of a jailbroken iPhone versus an Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Music, etc…

    The gaps between jailbreak releases became too great. It would be one thing if you were always behind in either iOS, the features, or new iPhones themselves, but for someone like me you bought a new iPhone every launch day, it meant going longer and longer between jailbreaks, and after you learn to live without them, it’s easy not to bother.

    Finally, the last nail in the coffin for me was that the jailbreak community just became thoroughly toxic. While it was a very cool scene in the early days (original iPhone to 3G), and because a vibrant scene soon after, it eventually devolved into a lot of silly bickering, whining and general immaturity.

    Still, while I haven’t jailbroken in a while, I’m sad to see it go. It was nice to know that if I really wanted to do something, it was there, and it was something to keep interest in between the launch of a new iPhone and the rumors of the next.

  2. Well one the one tweak I would love to have back via a jailbreak is the ability to really be able to turn off my WiFi from the control center just like any normal sane person would do instead of Apples absolutely stupid way of doing it where it turns itself back on….absolutely non-Steve Jobs like.

  3. No mourning from me. Never interested in jailbreaking, hackintoshes, etc. I’ve been happy with my Apple products, and AppleCare Plus- wife and I had both phones replaced rather than repaired when we had issues. Upset I had to wait so long for a new iMac, but it worked out. And I’ll get my iPhone X yet…

  4. IOS is a perfect representation of Apple’s design arrogance. MIA Jony and his elves actually think that Apple, not you, is the only one who should decide on interface decisions like font, color, or icon.

    The sad thing is that the Mac isn’t much better.

    1. Still, it was worse under Jobs with his pretentious minimalist BS. It’s not like he made the more full featured as well as minimalist models and letting users choose. But that ran against his grain of total control.

      Cook has different reasons, reducing part count. I could see why operations, accounting, and stockholders care, but that’s it.

      1. Given the reality of Apple’s very high customer satisfaction rates it would seem users care as well, and users of Apple products are quite happy. Are some users unhappy? Certainly, but not very many. An overwhelming majority of Apple users are very, very happy. I thought you were the user’s champion, or something. Or does that only apply when the users agree with your take on Apple?

          1. That’s not an answer, it’s a deflection. You’re telling me you are right and a billion satisfied customers are wrong. That’s your story? Or… maybe… just maybe… what you want isn’t what other people want and it’s none of your damn business telling other people what they *should* want just because you don’t agree with it.

            1. Apple isn’t popular, the company has a minority market share across the board (mostly) and is criticized constantly in the media. Apple’s customers aren’t buying because the products or Apple are popular, they’re buying because they’re very satisfied with the experience. They find the utility to be excellent, otherwise they wouldn’t be highly satisfied.

              You’re quite the authoritarian, forcing your view of technology on others and insisting your way is the only right true way. Apple has a different view and a billion people (and growing) quite like it. Who are you to tell those customers they’re making the wrong choice? Oh wait, you know better and those customers are making wrong choices. *rolls eyes*

            2. They’re not popular, but their (“few” /s) are satisfied. Riiiight…..
              And I tell you once more, “what do all the people know”. Just because the iPhone is more computer than my mother in law needs, and she likes it, does not make it good for everyone, and it could be made better. Apple is playing the volume game. It’s a consumer goods company.

            3. What do all the people know? Well, some of them know what they want and they’re choosing Apple products and services. Others are making different choices.

              kevicosuave said it well: “Apple has taken a strategy that is different from most companies that prioritizes consistency and simplification over freedom of choice and options. Neither strategy is objectively better, just different.”

              You want something different from what Apple offers, and that isn’t better, it’s just different. You are really, really not getting the point that your view of tech is not objectively better, it truly is not. But you think it is.

              How about this, I’ll buy what I want and you buy what you want, that’s freedom. Take your authoritarian dictator hangup somewhere else.

            4. “Popularity does not mean right or truth, popularity is irrrelevant to utility.”

              Not as irrelevant as your single opinion. That is no counter to anything.

              Nicely said, Users, “How about this, I’ll buy what I want and you buy what you want, that’s freedom.”
              How about it, applecynic. Why not go buy some other products you actually like and get over this incessant whining?

            5. I have not dictated to you what to buy. That would be censoring you. Censoring is what Apple does, and I oppose. You guys take it so personally.

              You too @Sean. Perhaps we should just hold hands and sing Kumbaya?

            6. You said “I have not dictated to you what to buy. That would be censoring you.”

              That’s exactly what you’re trying to do when you constantly disparage Apple products and the users of those products. You’re nothing but a bully trying to push people into your view of technology. You are worse than what you accuse Apple of being.

    2. Arrogance?

      Apple has taken a strategy that is different from most companies that prioritizes consistency and simplification over freedom of choice and options. Neither strategy is objectively better, just different. Companies in various industries do this all the time, it’s all about product differentiation.

      Given Apple’s strategy here, combined with Apple being overwhelmingly successful, I think it’s ridiculous to call those driving this strategy “arrogant”.

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