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Apple Quietly Drops iOS Jailbreak Detection API 164

Posted by kdawson
from the if-i-were-to-ask-you dept.
bednarz writes "Without explanation, Apple has disabled a jailbreak detection API in iOS, less than six months after introducing it. Device management vendors say the reasons for the decision are a mystery, but insist they can use alternatives to discover if an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad has been modified so it can load and alter applications outside of Apple's iTunes-based App Store."
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Apple Quietly Drops iOS Jailbreak Detection API

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:27PM (#34519456)

    If you can jailbreak the phone, you can trick the detection API. Once the system is "untrustable" it is not trustable.

  • Class action? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:40PM (#34519582) Homepage

    Jailbreaking became legally protected recently. Disabling functionality when a jailbreak is detected seems like it might open Apple to a class action lawsuit.

    I'm sure they're legally allowed to say that jailbreaking voids the warranty, but I'm not sure they're willing to risk crippling a jailbreaker's device with an api flag.

    "Sorry, you can't play our game because you jailbroke your phone" -- if Apple encouraged app developers to do this, things could get nasty.

    IANAL - this post is total speculation

  • Re:Reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zn0k (1082797) on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:58PM (#34519730)

    Damn skippy you don't jailbreak the phone that your workplace gave you. After all, they own that phone. Literally.

    Which is what the article is actually about - functionality that allows enterprise software to detect whether a phone deployed through that enterprise has been jailbroken. It's a simple part of compliance testing of work issued equipment.

  • Re:Reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Microlith (54737) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:02PM (#34519754)

    Assuming that is the only basis upon which it was used. However the vast, vast majority of iPhones I've seen used with work systems are personal devices and as the first poster noted once a phone is Jailbroken it can lie to you about everything.

    So they may be jailbreaking what is most likely their personal device, and they could easily load a hack that made it go "yeah I'm not jailbroken."

  • Re:Reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cmdahler (1428601) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:09PM (#34519842)
    Sigh. You really ought to RTFA, otherwise you just come across as a dumbshit. This story has nothing to do with preventing you from doing what you want with your i-Device. It has everything to do with an enterprise-provided and -owned device reporting itself to the enterprise-owner that you as the non-owner-user have jailbroken your i-Device, thus causing a security hole the size of the one in your backside in the enterprise's system. And yes, Virginia, the enterprise that owns said device does have the right to know if you're being said dumbshit and jailbreaking a device that you don't even own.
  • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @04:38AM (#34521970)

    > You'd think at some point these companies would realize they're never
    > going to be able to throw enough programming hours at a device to
    > keep literally tens of thousands of basement tinkers from eventually hijacking it.

    That's not the point. If that were the point, Apple could go all RIAA/MPAA DMCA-anti-circumvention on the authors of the jailbreak tools (and individual jailbreakers, for that matter). None of them are hard to find, after all. But Apple is still primarily a hardware company. And they get their money on said hardware whether you jailbreak or not. And even jailbreakers usually have a decent amount of AppStore purchases on their iPhones as well. After all, aside from Backgrounder and SBSettings, Cydia is pretty much a vast sea of crap.

    The point is to keep the barrier to entry for jailbreaking high enough that the Genius Bars don't have to deal with morons who do things like install openSSH, don't bother to set passwords, and get their phones rickrolled.

    To wit: Observe the reaction of the MPAA to DVD-Jon and deCSS vs Apple's reaction to him and PlayFair.

    MPAA: Sue, sue, and sue some more. Who cares if he's Swedish and US law doesn't apply there? Sue anyway. Also sue journalists for mentioning the existence of deCSS. Try to get Jon extradited and/or prosecuted under everything from the Berne Convention to the Treaty of Versailles.

    Apple: Ignore him until the RIAA squawks at them about the cracked DRM and do a minor point release to iTunes which breaks PlayFair which is, in turn, updated within 48 hours to work again. Carry on ignoring Jon until the RIAA squawks at them again.

  • Re:Reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Saturday December 11, 2010 @03:31PM (#34524796)

    > The base station is a long way down, and even at maximum transmit power
    > the connection is too unreliable for voice.

    No, do the math. 30,000 feet of empty air vs a mile of urban environment. The problem is a cell in a plane throws a very clear signal to every tower for miles around; All of which try to reply, hilarity ensues. And in the days of analog cell service there were only a couple hundred channels usable from any one cell site (to allow overlap) so a planeload of idiots trying to make calls would present a moving cellphone jammer to the system. And with digital the problem is only a little less horrible. The root of the problem is the cell network was conceived as a 2D environment and the problem of the Z axis's existence was left undefined.

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