Jailbreak Detection API Dropped from iOS 4.2
Apple has quietly dropped a jailbreak detection API from the latest iOS 4.2 update. This feature was only introduced six month ago. It is somewhat puzzling that Apple would choose to remove this feature from the iOS so soon after introducing it to the platform. Apple and the jailbreak community have been playing a game of cat and mouse ever since the App Store was first introduced in 2008.
The jailbreak detection API is part of Apple’s mobile device management (MDM) API that was released back in June with the introduction of iOS 4.0. The detection API works by asking the operating system if it has been compromised in any way. Jailbreaks usually change operating system files to gain access to the iOS, so that users can install non-approved apps. Apple routinely issues updates to circumvent these exploits requiring jailbreak developers to find new ways of gaining access to the iOS.
For most iPhone users, jailbreaking an iOS device is just a way to install unapproved apps, install customizations and in general, have more control over their devices. For enterprise users, where maintaining tight security is a top priority, jailbreaking an iPhone can be a real headache for network administrators. Some corporations have created their own ways of checking the integrity of a users iPhone by attempting to carry out actions that a non-jailbroken iPhone would not be able to perform. If the iPhone is able to operate unauthorized actions, the iPhone in question can have its access to the corporate network disabled.
The fact that Apple has dropped jailbreak detection should be a good thing for the jailbreak community. It would appear that jailbreak developers have become so adept at countering any security measures that Apple can come up with, that there is no one solution for maintaining a closed operating system. This can only be good news for the jailbreak community, unless of course, Apple has something new waiting in the wings. Lets hope not because I would hate too loose all of my favorite jailbreak apps.