Jailbreak Overview Updated September 22, 2016


Jailbreaking generally refers to the removal of iOS software restrictions on Apple devices by means of software exploits. Jailbreaking affords root access to the iOS file system, allowing users to install tweaks and utilities that provide extensive functionality to iOS.

Jailbreak tools vary from jailbreak to jailbreak. Some tools consist of tiny utilities that must be executed from a Mac or Windows machine, while other jailbreak methods can be executed right on device without needing to connect to a computer.

Jailbreaks have been released for all iOS hardware categories, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. The most recent Apple TV jailbreak, made available for the 4th generation Apple TV, required users to stay on an earlier version of tvOS. Of all iOS-related devices to date, only the third-generation Apple TV never saw a jailbreak during its lifetime.

Since jailbreaking takes advantage of security vulnerabilities, Apple works hard to patch these vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerability is patched, a new version of iOS is released and the signing window for previous susceptible versions are closed, making it impossible for users to upgrade or downgrade to the vulnerable version of iOS.

Cydia, a third-party app and tweak resource, is frequently mentioned in the same breath as jailbreaking, although it has nothing to do with the exploits responsible for the jailbreak itself. Cydia is by far the most popular way for jailbroken users to acquire apps and tweaks to modify their jailbroken devices.

The most recent jailbreak is from Chinese hacking team, Pangu. Pangu’s jailbreak works with iOS versions 9.3.3, 9.3.2, 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2.1, and 9.2. The Pangu jailbreak is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. At the moment, Pangu’s official iOS 9.3.3 jailbreak is Windows-only, and available in Chinese.

81 Jailbreak stories

June 2011 - September 2016

Jailbreak Stories September 22

AAPL: 114.62

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The iPhone 7 hit the market just a week ago, but hackers have already started work on attempting to jailbreak the device. As noted by Motherboard, one teenage hacker has already had success in jailbreaking the iPhone 7 running iOS 10. In fact, the 19-year-old developer, Luca Todesco, claims to have successfully done so in just 24 hours…

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Jailbreak Stories August 29

AAPL: 106.82

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Update: The app in question appears to be pulled about 40 minutes after news broke.

We haven’t test this on our own devices, but Reddit certainly seems to believe this App Store-approved app claiming to be a Dribbble client can jailbreak 64-bit iPhones running iOS 9.3.3. You’ll need to already be on iOS 9.3.3, however, and downgrading from iOS 9.3.4 or higher isn’t possible.

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Jailbreak Stories August 24

AAPL: 108.03

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Apple today stopped signing iOS 9.3.3, effectively ending user’s ability to either upgrade or downgrade to that version of iOS. Apple also today stopped signing iOS 9.3.2.

In most circumstances, such a signing closure wouldn’t be noteworthy, but since a jailbreak was released for iOS 9.3.3, it’s worth noting. expand full story


Jailbreak Stories August 18

AAPL: 109.08

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As someone who used to be heavily into jailbreaking, I’ve seen quite a few interesting and noteworthy tweaks come across my desk over the years.

Needless to say, after seven or eight years of jailbreaking, it takes a lot to impress me, but that’s exactly what developer Elias Limneos was able to do. In fact, his new tweak, entitled AnsweringMachine, looked so intriguing that it convinced me to jailbreak my iPhone just to take it for a test drive.

One feature of the tweak allows users to receive transcribed voicemails, similar to the Voicemail transcription feature in iOS 10. Have a look at our hands-on video to see it in action. expand full story

Jailbreak Stories August 4

AAPL: 105.87

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Apple hasn’t often made appearances at the Black Hat hacker conference, but this year Cupertino is Thinking Different™ about security.  Head of Apple security, Ivan Krstic, today said the company would pay huge (up to $200K) bug bounties to invited researchers who find and report vulnerabilities in certain Apple software.

Screenshot 2016-08-04 21.04.28A quick breakdown of max. payments:

  • Secure boot firmware: $200,000
  • Extraction of confidential material protected by the Secure Enclave Processor: $100,000
  • Execution of arbitrary code w/kernel privs: $50,000
  • Unauthorized access to iCloud account data on Apple Servers: $50,000
  • Access from a sandboxed process to user data outside of that sandbox: $25,000

Earlier this year, the FBI paid out under $1M to extract the data from the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone. Perhaps Apple is trying to eliminate these lucrative back doors into its crown jewel software.  expand full story

Jailbreak Stories July 30

AAPL: 104.21

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There’s been a lot of pent up anticipation for the iOS 9.3.3 jailbreak, and Pangu, the Chinese security researchers behind the latest tool, have answered the call.

Unfortunately, it appears that some jailbreakers have had various accounts compromised after jailbreaking, and several users on the popular subreddit r/jailbreak have corroborated these claims.

To be fair, it’s possible that these reported breaches are just a big coincidence, or that a compromise occurred after the tool left Pangu’s hands for distribution. Whatever the reason, however, it highlights one of the potential risks involved with jailbreaking. expand full story


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