As the grueling wait for an iOS 6 JB drags on, some fans are questioning whether jailbreaking is on the decline. Has Apple become too powerful to beat? Will we ever see another iDevice jailbreak? Is this the end of jailbreaking as we know it?
Well obviously jailbreaking isn’t dead. Even though there’s been a wait for the untethered iOS 6 JB, we already know it’s possible. Chpwn showed us pictures of Cydia on the iPhone 5 running iOS 6 the day after it was released back in September. And Planetbeing recently revealed that he has an untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.0.2 — it just hasn’t be released because it would burn valuable exploits.
Unfortunately, jailbreaking is just a hell of a lot more complicated now, and it’s not about to get any easier. Planetbeing’s current private JB makes use of at least four bugs, and they’ll need to find at least one or two more bugs to keep in reserve before they’re ready to release it publicly. Plus, according to i0n1c, Apple is adding even tougher security protections to iOS 6.1.
Apple has had a lot of time and a lot of iPhone iterations to get serious about security and close exploitable gaps. The first iPhone was relatively easy to jailbreak because there was basically no security at all. But Apple caught on quickly and learned from its mistakes, and the second iPhone was a lot harder to break than the first. And the third was harder still. Apple doesn’t make the same mistake twice, and it has a lot of resources to devote to bolstering security. It’s sort of like playing chess with a really precocious kid — you beat them easily the first time because they’ve never played before, but then they go and get some training and now they’re Bobby fucking Fischer.
Of course, whenever you introduce new code, there’s bound to be some bugs, and some of those bugs might be exploitable. That said, in order to jailbreak an iDevice, you first have to find bugs in the kernel — which is only a few thousand lines long — and then you have to find ways to get past the hardware-level security. As Apple builds more and more walls (and hires the best architects to do it), hackers have to be craftier and craftier at finding the cracks, and they have to find more and more cracks to get inside.
This is a game for grandmasters now. It takes a lot of time, a lot of thought, a lot of planning, and a lot of work. Fortunately for us, though, there are some incredibly talented players who are up to the challenge — and up for the challenge purely for the sake of the challenge. So as long as they’re around, I think the game will still be on.