iOS jailbreakers woke up to an early Christmas present this morning as the hacking group evad3rs released the first version of evasi0n7, the first jailbreak for iOS 7. This is not a present, however, for the faint of heart, as it has not been thoroughly tested. Jay Freeman’s (aka saurik), the developer of Cydia, the leading app store for jailbreak apps, writes on Hacker News that he “got no lead time on evasi0n7, nor was I asked for an official iOS 7 Cydia; I was not given builds, nor was I asked for things to test.”
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The Healthcare.gov-like haste with which this has been released may be in response to reports last week (since denied) that someone close to the evad3rs group “had stolen the jailbreak and sold it to a private buyer.” Whether or not this is true, it is odd that the group also did not give Freeman the opportunity to test the new jailbreak with his Mobile Substrate framework, which allows 3rd-party developers to provide extensions to system functions on jailbroken devices, and is an important component in the jailbreak ecosystem. “In fact,” Freeman writes, “@evad3rs didn’t even try my testing build of Substrate I gave core developers, so they didn’t notice a fundamental incompatibility.” Whoops.
And in fact the first intrepid early adopters are reporting problems, but when you are on the bleeding edge you expect there to be problems. But, as Petteri Pyyny writes on the AfterDawn blog, “the process itself should be done only by a person who knows what they’re doing: jailbreaking, if gone bad, can “brick” your device and you’ll most likely lose your warranty as well (depends on jurisdiction you live in).”
What are people going to do with their jailbroken iOS 7 devices (once the jailbreak actually works)? Other commentors on Hacker News discussed simple things like being able to choose default apps, using apps unavailable for iOS, like f.lux, and tether their phones to their computers free of charge all the way to being able to use Bitcoin related apps on their phones.
Jailbreak fans can contribute to evad3rs PayPal account to support Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure that work to maintain the legality of jailbreaking. They might want to contribute to saurik as well since it is clear that a lot of the code that makes jailbroken phones work well is maintained by Freeman.
Apple should be watching what people choose to do with their iOS 7 jailbreaks. In the past, the jailbreak community has provided valuable clues to functions users want that Apple has not supported yet. This Christmas, it is fair to say, the jailbreak elves will be busy!
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