December 23, 2013
New iOS7 Jailbreak Rush Released Without Proper Testing
Bryan P. Carpender for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Christmas came a few days early this year for iOS jailbreakers frustrated by the lack of a hack for Apple’s latest iOS 7. Yesterday, hacking group evad3rs released the first version of evasiOn7, the first jailbreak for iOS7. It’s quick, it only takes 5 minutes to install and it comes with step-by-step installation instructions. Plus, it works on both Windows and OS X devices.
Jailbreaking is the process used to modify the operating system on an iDevice, such as an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It gives the user greater control over their device, allowing them to install apps and content from sources other than the official App Store.
While some are excited about its arrival, others feel this latest jailbreak came too early, as it has not been thoroughly tested. Jay Freeman, the developer of Cydia, the leading app store for jailbreak apps, states that he “got no lead time on evasi0n7, nor was I asked for an official iOS 7 Cydia; I was not given builds, nor was I asked for things to test.”
One reason for the rush release might be tied to panic surrounding rumors that the iOS7 jailbreak had been secretly sold to a third party who planned to monetize it. It’s customary that jailbreaks are free to users, but to offer a jailbreak on a paid site, even if it is only for a very limited time, could prove to be extremely lucrative.
In any case, the rush release of evasiOn7 robbed Freeman of the opportunity to test it with his Mobile Substrate framework, which allows third-party developers to provide extensions to system functions on jailbroken devices.
“Evad3rs didn't even try my testing build of Substrate I gave core developers, so they didn't notice a fundamental incompatibility,” says Freeman. “This means they are going to have to push a new version of their untether to fix this oversight before I can push newer builds of Substrate.”
The debate over jailbreaking has been going on for some time.
Those in favor of it want to be able to install apps and content beyond those sanctioned by Apple. Jailbreakers feel that Apple’s controls are too restrictive and that it sometimes prevents certain apps from being made available in the App Store in order to protect its own business interests.
Apple is clearly no fan of jailbreaking. For starters, it likes to exercise tremendous control over its iOS-based products, including limiting users’ ability to customize the look and feel of their devices, as well as preventing them from installing software that didn’t come from the proprietary App Store.
By preventing these changes, Apple hopes to ensure that the devices run smoothly and with fewer errors, which results in a uniformly high-quality user experience. By limiting installation of apps only to those from the App Store, the company is able to maintain a minimum of security and coding quality. This reduces security flaws in these devices and reduces the chances of malicious apps infecting users’ devices.
While Apple is expected to close the loops opened by evasiOn7, it has no immediate countermeasures in place. It continues to recommend that users not jailbreak their devices to avoid risking security vulnerabilities, unreliable voice and data, shortened battery life and the inability to apply future software updates.
Hopefully, Apple is paying close attention to the jailbreak community and taking some notes. It could get some extremely valuable insights into functions that users want but that Apple doesn’t yet support.
Like anything, jailbreaking has its pros and cons. On one hand, it could give you more customization of the apps and content on your iOS device. On the other hand, if not done by someone familiar with the process, jailbreaking could invalidate your warranty and 'brick' your device, leaving you with a very expensive paperweight.
A word of caution to anyone considering a jailbreak: back up your data! Better to be safe than sorry. You might not always have a “get out of jailbreak free” card to use.