Jailbreaking is annoying

Mar 20, 2014

This post is mainly a personal rant about how I view jailbreaking. If you don’t agree, feel feee to voice your concerns in a civil manner instead of just blindly bashing.

Instabilities

It seems as if there’s a collection of tweaks and other software that can cause a phone to utterly break. I mean ‘break’ in terms of a user perspective (such as a broken SpringBoard). Imagine that you are in the following scenario. You have a jailbroken iPhone and you never back up your device to iCloud or iTunes. You then install a faulty tweak and then cannot remove it, you are forced to restore your device if you cannot fix the problem. This is not a good scenario at all, as the user loses data no matter what (provided they don’t know how to back it up).

Yes, tweaks and all are cool things, but as they are additional pieces of software that hook deeply into system APIs, they will incur additional stability issues that aren’t even part of the normal release OS. This is even worse on an Android device (as far as I’ve heard), but I don’t really have anything much to say because I don’t own a proper Android device.

The user should not be able to break their phone entirely by installing bad software. The App Store provides a solution to this problem by enforcing the usage of sandboxed applications, however, they’re sandboxed (which provides an issue for ‘power users’). There’s no winning this argument at all.

Dangerous Things

Jailbreaks and all also reduce system security integrity (usually by disabling methods for enforced code signature verification and also enabling things such as task_for_pid and RWX memory mappings). For the general user, this might not pose an issue, but for an attacker? The reduced integrity helps them.

Remember, governments and all can use many sorts of subversive utilities in order to grab data off your device. If it isn’t locked down properly (like it is by default on standard iOS, just for example), baddies can grab your personal data. This isn’t a risk I like to take personally (at least on my own devices).

The real issue comes where you have an improperly secured device (which is the case on many of them), as it becomes incredibly trivial to break in and access data which you should simply not be able to.

Cool Factor

Although tweaks and extensions provide many interesting concepts, they are incredibly trivial things. Jailbreaking and all provides users with a way of extending their devices and making them ‘uniquely’ theirs. I don’t view customization as an incredibly important thing personally, this will obviously differ for you depending on your views.

Tweaks such as MessageBox by @b3ll or Zephyr by @chpwn provide functionality that just isn’t there in stock iOS, but I wouldn’t like to risk my device’s integrity and security just for the use of a shiny new thing on my lock screen.

Bad tweaks can also cause your device to break in mysterious ways, as mentioned above, perhaps causing you to need to restore your device back to factory settings.

Argh matey!

Don’t even get me started. It’s pretty obvious that many people subvert security subsystems on their device for the express purpose of running ‘so-called’ unsigned applications (otherwise known as copied AppStore apps or cracked iOS tweaks or somesuch). Obviously, this poses a moral and ethical issue for developers and users alike.

There is also a parallel into the world of game console hacking here too, many consoles were hacked for the express purpose of piracy. Some might have originally been for ‘homebrew’, but it all just devolves into simple piracy at the end.

Don’t get me wrong, AppSync is useful for allowing people to install user-developed applications from Xcode without the need for a provisioning profile, but again, there-in lies the moral issue of you installing your own applications or your ‘own’ applications.

Summary

Jailbreaking provides users with a way to customize their devices, but the entire subversion of the device’s inbuilt integrity provides people with extreme risks that they should take attention to. There are pros and cons with everything in life.

I prefer to run stock iOS. Jailbreaking is annoying. I’d prefer to not risk my device’s integrity.

(I’m looking at you @plus_chan. Don’t wreck your SpringBoard again.)

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