It’s now been nearly twelve months since the last full public jailbreak was released and in the opinion of those individuals who made jailbreaking popular, it is, unfortunately, slowly dying.
First, let’s see what Jailbreaking is all about. Jailbreaking is the art of hacking into Apple’s ultra-secure iOS operating system and unlocking it—and thus allowing users to customize the phone, and write or install any software unimpeded by Apple’s restrictions. The world’s first jailbreaking step-by-step procedure, discovered in 2007, was posted online for all to see. Subsequent jailbreaks were used by millions of people.
“like jailbreaking is basically dead at this point.”
Jay Freeman, the creator, and maintainer of Cydia wonders what device owners now get at the other end of a jailbreak.
“It used to be that you got killer features that almost were the reason you owned the phone. And now you get a small minor modification.”
Freeman is, of course, talking about the fact that when jailbreaking first became hugely popular, the iPhone didn’t have millions of apps to choose from, and the underlying iOS wasn’t as jam-packed with features and functionality as it currently is. He further went on to clarify it all on in a Reddit post:
I no longer ever come across a person and go “dude, you should jailbreak”. This is something I used to do constantly; I would occasionally look at people like they were idiots if they didn’t jailbreak, and I have gone so far as, when dealing with recalcitrant people at developer conferences who insist that they hate the entire idea of jailbreaking, to call into question how anyone can even call themselves a developer and not have a jailbroken device.
Now, I just can’t do that: the process is sufficiently broken and painful and awkwardly dangerous that when people ask me about jailbreaking I just give them this sad spiel about how I think the community would have been much better off had iOS 10 not been jailbroken at all.
This is not exactly what the enthusiastic jailbreaking community wants to hear from those individuals who they look up to and often rely on to keep the scene alive and kicking as part of the cat and mouse game with Apple.
As you may already know, device owners used to jailbreak in order to expand the capabilities of iOS, but now, thanks to Apple’s progression of the platform, a lot of features taken from popular tweaks and packages now sit directly within the operating system natively.
It seems that decline in jailbreak releases may also be put down to the fact that a lot of well-known and highly capable security researchers and hackers – who potentially made their name in the jailbreaking community – have since taken that fame to move on to well paid and respected jobs for well-known security and research companies. It’s almost as if the world of jailbreaking has been a very well viewed showcase for those individuals to progress or even forge their careers. And that’s perfectly fine and understandable. There’s than the fact that well-funded companies are offering extremely large bounties of up to $1 million for those who find vulnerabilities in iOS. That means it is more lucrative to sell than to actually create a free public jailbreak.
So it seems that sadly, jailbreaking is fading away. There’s currently an iOS 11 Beta Jailbreak going on but it’s very unstable and has a lot of bugs. Maybe it will improve over time but as far as we know it’s getting difficult to keep your iPhone safely jailbroken.