Jailbreaking Apple iOS is dead. These are the opinions posted by Apple users in some online forums when questions about jailbreaking come up. How so? The only jailbreak tools for iOS 10.x came from Italian hacker Luca Todesco. Hacker teams such as Pangu, PP Jailbreak, or even the now silent TaiG, has yet to come up with a jailbreak tool, not even teasers.

Unlike in the past when jailbreak tools were released regularly, hacker teams suddenly remained silent. Developments of iOS Jailbreak Tool stopped. But while these known hackers have yet to say something, other security research expert’s recent actions have spoken a loud voice.

Based on recent events, it seems jailbreaking has taken a new form.

No jailbreak tool for newer iOS versions

Since Apple released iOS 10 back in September of 2016, there are only two known jailbreak tools made available to the public: mach_portal + Yalu and yalu102. Both these jailbreak tools were created by Luca, with the second tool getting some help from Marco Grassi, a senior security researcher from KeenLab.

Speaking of KeenLab, senior research security expert Liang Chen made headlines at the Mobile Security Conference (MOSEC) event held in Shanghai, China last June. Chen got the full attention of the audience after he showed three iPhones running Cydia. Two iPhones were running iOS 10.3.2, while the third iPhone runs on iOS 11 beta version.

The thing is, Chen did not say whether they will release a jailbreak tool for iOS 10.3.2, or not. Chen’s demo at MOSEC sent a message disproving the earlier belief that the new Apple File System (APFS) cannot be jailbroken.

Exploiting iOS 10.3.2

White hat hacker and security researcher Ian Beer, known for discovering a number of Apple security vulnerabilities, made headlines anew.

As Beer explained, an exploit appears on iOS 10.3.2 via CVE-2017-7047 when XPC processes large data objects, creating an entry point.

However, it should be clearly pointed out that Beer’s recent Apple security exploit is not a jailbreak tool.

Nevertheless, the flaw/s he identified can be adapted to create a jailbreak tool. Who will explore this exploit and will come up with a jailbreak tool -- this remains a good question.

Jailbreak taking new form

If you still haven’t followed yet, there is now a new trend of exploiting Apple iOS. Hackers no longer create jailbreak tools. Instead, they let people know the iOS vulnerability and leave it at that. Whether someone will exploit the entry is another story. Beer’s case is one good example. Another is Chen’s demo at MOSEC.

So why do these hackers no longer create jailbreak tools? There were rumors a few months ago that Apple contracted third-party security firms to exploit iOS so their security team can focus on resolution, and not search for loopholes. If this is true, releasing a jailbreak tool violates their contract with Apple.

So, does this mean jailbreaking iOS is dead? Probably, but this could also be interpreted as “passing the baton”.