What Is Jailbreaking?

iOS jailbreaking is the privilege escalation of an Apple device for the purpose of removing software restrictions imposed by Apple on iOS, tvOS, iPadOS and watchOS operating systems. This is typically done by using a series of kernel patches. Jailbreaking permits root access in Apple's mobile operating system, allowing the installation of software that is unavailable through the official Apple App Store. Many types of jailbreaking are available, for different versions. Because Apple publicly disapproves of jailbreaking, Apple has implemented hardware and software fixes to the vulnerabilities used in jailbreaks, meaning that many versions of iOS are not jailbroken immediately. It is analogous to rooting on Android, although software unavailable on Google Play can be installed on Android without rooting.

Device Customization

Since software programs available through APT or Installer.app (legacy) are not required to adhere to App Store guidelines, many of them are not typical self-contained apps but instead are extensions and customization options for iOS and other apps (commonly called tweaks). Users install these programs for purposes including personalization and customization of the interface by tweaks developed by developers and designers, adding desired features and fixing annoyances, and making development work on the device easier by providing access to the filesystem and command-line tools. Many Chinese iOS device owners also jailbreak their phones to install third-party Chinese character input systems because they are easier to use than Apple's.

Carrier Unlocking

Jailbreaking also opens the possibility for using software to unofficially unlock carrier-locked iPhones so they can be used with other carriers. Software-based unlocks have been available since September 2007, with each tool applying to a specific iPhone model and baseband version (or multiple models and versions). This includes the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G models. An example of unlocking an iPhone through a Jailbreak utility would be Redsn0w. Through this software, iPhone users will be able to create a custom IPSW and unlock their device. Moreover, during the unlocking process, there are options to install Cydia the iPad baseband.

Installation Of Malware

Computer criminals may jailbreak an iPhone to install malware or target jailbroken iPhones on which malware can be installed more easily. The Italian cybersecurity company Hacking Team, which sells hacking software to law enforcement agencies, advised police to jailbreak iPhones to allow tracking software to be installed on them.

Software Piracy

On iPhones, the installation of consumer software is generally restricted to installation through the App Store. Jailbreaking, therefore, allows the installation of pirated applications. It has been suggested that a major motivation for Apple to prevent jailbreaking is to protect the income of its App Store, including third-party developers and allow the buildup of a sustainable market for third-party software. However, the installation of pirated applications is also possible without jailbreaking, taking advantage of enterprise certificates to facilitate distribution of modified or pirated releases of popular applications.