Technology

Untethered iOS 12 Jailbreak Demoed By Researcher. Is A Public Release On Cards?

Untethered iOS 12 Jailbreak
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Apple has just released the iOS 12 final build to the public, and the jailbreak community is already looking forward to a full-fledged untethered iOS 12 jailbreak. Developers and security researchers are busy digging into the iOS 12 code to find exploits. Some of them had already found bugs in the mobile operating system soon after Apple released the iOS 12 beta months ago. Is an untethered iOS 12 jailbreak on the horizon? Let’s see what the developers and researchers are up to.

Alibaba researchers show an untethered iOS 12 jailbreak

A team of researchers at Alibaba’s Pandora Labs have released a video demonstrating what they claim is an untethered iOS 12 jailbreak running on last year’s iPhone X. The latest iPhone XS and XS Max haven’t yet hit the store shelves. The Alibaba team jailbroke the iOS 12 less than 24 hours after its public release. It’s not yet known what bug they exploited to liberate their iPhone X running iOS 12.

It is Alibaba’s in-house jailbreak solution, so it’s unlikely to be released to the public. These companies look for loopholes in mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android for security purposes. Most of the times they end up reporting back to Apple or Google about the issue to get it fixed (and win a handsome bounty in the process).

As seen in the video, the Alibaba researcher uses the Pandora app to liberate the iOS 12 software on the iPhone X. It’s an untethered iOS 12 jailbreak, meaning users won’t have to use the jailbreak IPA again and again to re-jailbreak the device every time they restart it.

What are other developers up to?

Even if Alibaba doesn’t release it to the public, we know it’s possible to jailbreak the iOS 12. So, we can expect developers such as Luca Todesco or Coolstar – who have released iOS jailbreaks in the past – to find out a way to liberate iOS 12 devices and put it in the public domain. In fact, Luca Todesco is already on to something.

Todesco said in a tweet Monday that he had “pwned” the iOS 12 final build. The developer didn’t reveal much about it but he added that he was able to do it “on first try” without changing even a single line of code in his previous project. It means the Cupertino company has made no noticeable changes to the software from the iOS 12 beta 12 to the Golden Master build. It could be the beginning of a new iOS 12 jailbreak tool down the road.

Before Apple pushed out the final iOS 12 build to the public, Todesco had released a video showing himself hacking the operating system. He plans to share another video on Twitter soon, where he could reveal more details.

Previously, Tencent Keen Lab researcher Liang Chen had released a video showing Cydia installed on an iPhone X running the iOS 12 beta software. However, Apple has fixed the bug exploited by Liang Chen in the final build after Chen reported it to the tech giant.

Security researcher Simone Ferrini had also managed to pwn iOS 12 beta 12. Ferrini and his colleagues had not only identified the exploit but also achieved the kernel read/write access. Ferrini works for TRUEL IT. It’s unclear whether the bug he exploited has been fixed in the iOS 12 final build. All these exploits show it’s not impossible to jailbreak the iOS 12 software, though it’s too early to say whether we will see a public jailbreak tool.

It’s worth pointing out that jailbreaking is not a good idea for everyone, and Apple doesn’t recommend it. In fact, the tech giant has warned users that jailbreaking could void the warranty on their devices. It also removes the built-in security layers in iOS, exposing you to malware and hacking attempts. It could also disrupt the normal services and apps such as FaceTime, iCloud, iMessage, Apple Pay, and even third-party apps.

Meanwhile, Apple has released the iOS 12.1 beta to developers. Registered developers will be able to download it from Apple’s Developer Center or as an over the air (OTA) update. The iOS 12.1 beta includes support for Group FaceTime, which Apple had dropped from the iOS 12. Group FaceTime allows you to make audio or video calls with up to 32 people.