Untethered iPhone jailbreak works, but it won't be released

The hacker fears Apple will fix the bugs in iOS 6.1, making it harder to develop future jailbreaks

A famed iPhone hacker has developed a fresh way to jailbreak Apple's iOS 6 operating system in order to install unauthorized apps, but he says he won't release it.

David Wang wrote on Reddit that he discovered several flaws that allow iOS 6 to be jailbroken, which would allow users to install applications not approved by Apple for its App Store.

But Wang, who goes by "@planetbeing" on Twitter, said he won't release the jailbreak. Apple moves quickly to repair such flaws, and showing his hand now might prevent Wang from being able to access the device's firmware in future.

"Releasing it would burn an exploit we want to save for ourselves so we can always get in to look at new firmware and help [jailbreaking] in the future," he wrote.

Jailbreaking the iPhone is legal under an exception in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But Apple hates the practice and can void the warranty on a phone whose software has been tampered with.

The jailbreak is an "untethered" one, meaning the iOS 6 device does not need to be connected to a computer in order to work. A tethered jailbreak exists for iOS 6 using "limera1n," which is a USB exploit. The problem with that jailbreak is that it is not persistent: an iOS 6 device would need to be jailbroken again if it is rebooted.

With this jailbreak, Wang has managed to overcome stronger security protections Apple engineered into iOS 6. With each new iteration of the OS, it has become more difficult to jailbreak. Hackers essentially need to find several bugs in order to be successful.

Wang said he used more than four software flaws for his latest jailbreak, which works on iOS version 6.0.2 on an iPhone 5. But Apple is likely to release iOS 6.1 soon, which means the company could fix the software to block Wang's exploit if it were disclosed.

The 6.1 version might also take away some other software bugs he's found, so "there's no point in sacrificing the many bugs" the update won't fix if the exploit isn't released, Wang wrote.

But jailbreak enthusiasts should not despair. There are likely more vulnerabilities in Apple's software waiting to be found, Wang wrote, "so while jailbreaking is getting harder, reports of its death are highly exaggerated."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppletelecommunicationapplicationsiosMobile OSesmobile

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?