Is Apple Going to Kill Jailbreaking with iOS 5?

May 27, 2011 - 25 Comments

Apple killing jailbreaking possibilities

Is Apple going to kill the jailbreak community as we know it with iOS 5? If this sounds crazy, consider some of the tweaks, rumors, and expected features in iOS 5 and iPhone 5:

  • Revamped iOS notification and all new widget system – who needs to use the hacks when Apple offers the real thing?
  • Rumors of Expose-style iOS multitasking – if Apple builds a superior multitasking feature, why bother with a 3rd party solution?
  • Cheaper & Pay-Go iPhones – a common reason to jailbreak an iPhone abroad is so that you can use it as a pay-go phone, Apple is reportedly interested in expanding directly into this market
  • More iPhone Carriers – one of the many reasons people jailbreak and unlock their phones is so they can use them on networks unsupported by Apple, but Apple is rumored to be planning to expand the iPhone to many more carriers
  • Over-the-Air automatic iOS updates – each new iOS update breaks existing jailbreaks, if Apple can push updates to your phone remotely, your jailbreak will become unusable anyway
  • Newer Hardware is Harder to Jailbreak – jailbreaking is getting harder on newer hardware, proof of this is the iPad 2, which still isn’t jailbroken despite being out for months. The next iPhone is expected to have the same internal hardware as the iPad 2, meaning it will be just as difficult to jailbreak

Remember, some of these features were once only possible with jailbroken hardware, but if Apple offers them natively through iOS 5 and new iPhones, what’s the point of jailbreaking and unlocking? If Apple is going to provide in iOS 5 and iPhone 5 what you now jailbreak for, why bother with the headaches of jailbreaking?

More evidence comes from an anonymous tipster sent a message to iDB that indicated that Apple is going to shake up the jailbreak community:

bad timing for jailbreak developers especially those working on notification. im not working on that but i know we are about to take the jb community by surprise

This was prior to TechCrunch publishing their report on the notification changes, but more interesting is that there’s an obvious hint of a broader agenda in that message.

This was followed quickly by another post at iDB that mentions a renowned jailbreaker just now giving up on the development of his revamped iOS notification system, they go on to speculate that he may have even been offered a job at Apple to develop the notifications for them directly.

Furthermore, there could be an economic incentive behind all of this, as iDB reminds us that nearly 10% of iPhones are jailbroken and buy apps through the Cydia store, that’s a lot of money left on the table by Apple. Jailbreaking is particularly popular in countries like China, where Apple is experiencing huge growth, but if Apple can offer the same features so many users are jailbreaking for, they’ll lose the incentive to jailbreak plus funnel that money into Apple’s App Store rather than a third party source.

Remember, jailbreaking isn’t illegal, but Apple has always frowned upon it for various reasons, and now Apple may have found a solution to squash the jailbreak community once and for all by essentially offering all the incentives natively. So will it happen? Is jailbreaking dead? We’ll soon find out.


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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad, iPhone


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  1. vonda hendrix says:

    Great article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “notification changes email form” to fill out?

  2. Blah says:

    Blah blah blah

  3. jaskirat says:

    guys im using the ios 5 in my iphone 4 so i jst need to knw dat is dere gonna be a proper jailbreak i mean by not using redsnow or smthng else ?????

  4. mz_products says:

    Hi, i just wanted to say that apple io5 beta will be able to jailbreak easily. Apple will not be able to stop hackers from jailbreaking io5. Io5 is just another copy of android 2.33 notification and the rest it is very creative i am on testing io5

  5. […] iPhone – June 27th, 2011 – Leave a Comment In another move suggesting that iOS 5 is aimed to kill jailbreaking, the infamous iPhone Dev Team is reporting that new versions of iOS 5 prevent future iOS versions […]

  6. King says:

    So isn’t there anything that people with iPhone 4s and basebands like 4.10.01 do? If jailbreaking simply isn’t possible with newer basebands the community is essentially dead in the long run, if newer devices keep coming out with newer basebands installed by default.

  7. […] for the AT&T and T-Mobile USA merger. Others are suggesting this is intended as another blow to the jailbreaking scene, since carrier unlocks are a popular reason for users to jailbreak their […]

  8. […] find this hiring confirmation especially significant when you consider that Apple may kill jailbreaking with iOS 5 simply by matching many of the features and incentives that currently only jailbreaking offers. If […]

  9. Don says:

    I’m going to continue to jailbreak until Apple allows apps in the store that will let me blacklist certain phone numbers and refuse unlisted/blocked calls. IE, never, since the carriers would crap the bed in panic if they alienated all the junk caller/telemarketing scum.

  10. Joe Schmoe says:

    Really!? The real reason people jailbroke there devices is so that the can steal from app developers.

  11. […] has any practical use, you have to admit it’s an impressive hack, and this is exactly why Apple won’t ever completely kill jailbreaking even if they match many of the other benefits. stLight.options({ […]

  12. Peter says:

    Tired of Apple making life difficult, next phone is going to be android !

    • Alex says:

      Same here, for same reasons. Can’t wait to do what I want with my phone without having to jailbreak

  13. Weili says:

    Jailbreaking will exist (or at least the demand for it) as long as the iPhone doesn’t do EVERYTHING. There will ALWAYS be a feature or function that the iPhone doesn’t do but people would like it to.

  14. B0bby says:

    This is sooo STUPID of apple just to take the time and do stuff like this. It’s like building an awesome car with a speed limiter on 80.

    We will do anything to find that speedlimiter and race over it with 150.

    Jailbreak For Ever !!

  15. B0bby says:

    I Have a Jailbreak because of this::

    I can increase brightness + decrease brightness from everywhere just with a single slide over the status bar

    I can play music just by pushing volume up and then down. and i can hit next song if i hold my volume up and previous song if i hold my volume down.

    I can rotate the whole screen with SBRotator wich.

    I can turn wifi/bluetooth/3G/Edge off from anywhere i want. fast and simple

    I can decrease the brightness more than i could.

    I Can REMOVE the launchdeamons that are slowing my iphone down.

    I can use ifile wich is a filecommander very usefull

    I can use many apps like volumebooster even more volume. and many many others that are very usefull.

    Without jb, the iphone is like a nokia to me.

  16. Bob says:

    Can’t see Jailbreaking going away — unless it’s not possible. Just look at the iPhone 4 unlock situation with basebands higher than 1.59. Doubt we’ll ever get an unlock for them.

    I have a jailbroken iPhone 4 and do not do it to get pirated apps. I, in fact, have paid for many Cydia apps. I jailbreak for a few specific reasons, most of which Apple — if it listened to its customers — could implement.

    1 — Ease of use customization — Springboard hacks allow me to have fast fast access to on/off toggles for 3G/Edge/Wifi and other items. Automator lets me assign new gestures — such as double-tapping clock — to open apps (Settings, in my case.) Infinite Folders lets me put more than 12 apps in one folder, which is a stupid Apple limit. And, as noted, widgets offered by such things as Intelliscreen make use of waste lock screen. All these combine make phone so much more pleasant to use.

    2 — System Hacks. Not likely to be ever approved by Apple, these things let me use the “computer in my pocket” the way I want, not the way Apple wants. I have Fake Location to allow me to watch blacked-out MLB games (inside the US) or Netflix (while outside the US.); MyWi to handle the (light amount of) tethering (inside the US) that I do. Yes, it’s not perfect anymore, I know, but if you don’t abuse it, ATT won’t bother you.; My3G to let me run Facetime et al over 3G. And, the reason I jailbroke my phone, TVOut Cydia app to let me put the darn MLB games on my TV, which At Bat 11 won’t normally do.

    The extra functionality and power of jailbroken apps is something people will continue to want. The customizations are nice, but if we got workable alternatives from Apple, I’d take them.

    Certainly my phone is far less stable jailbroken and the notification bug — even using Push Doctor, et al — is annoying. But am I willing to give up my baseball TV Out, my location spoofing to avoid blackout games and my free tethering for stability? No.

    Bring on the JB for iPad 2 please.

  17. cyrozap says:

    Apple would have to allow emulators and other similar apps to even begin to reduce the number of people jailbreaking.

  18. nomnomnom says:

    jailbreaking ain’t goin anywhere

  19. Kevin says:

    So long they add the ability to assign your own text alert sounds I’ll be happy!

    Oh, and a shortcut for quick toggle for things like bluetooth instead of having to go through menus.

  20. motionblurred says:

    TBH I’d guess that many users jailbreak is for tethering & pirating apps with customizations being a distant third. For that reason alone it is going to continue.

    I’m quite happy with iOS without jailbreaking but then again I was lucky to get Handy Light when it was out. ;)

    • Douglas says:

      tethering can’t even be done reliably anymore in the USA because of AT&T and Verizon detecting it


  21. Anonymous says:

    Answer to title of the post: no.

  22. Parakeet says:

    Not so fast, there will always be room for customizing and improving iOS, and the jailbreak devs are often the ones to come up with good ideas first like the App Store model and multitasking. That said, if Apple offers a superior software solution, unlocked hardware, and room to open the hood, nobody will need to use a jailbreak in the first place. So this is really in Apple’s hands, but I don’t think jailbreaking is ever going to die.

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