What is the current state of the iOS Jailbreak community, and does anyone care anymore?
This is one of those questions that I find myself asking with more and more regularity than ever before. I have always been an early adopter of sorts. I enjoy beta versions of software, even if just for the thrill of trying something new. I fully accept that whatever I am “testing” might be a little buggy or unpredictable at times–that’s all part of the process. Along with my love for the early adopter mentality, is my propensity to tinker. However, this desire has tapered off in recent years with the maturity of iOS as a platform.
The first software version of the iPhone has come along way since it was introduced way back in 2007. With the release of the iPad in 2009, iPhone OS officially became iOS, and the iPad was pre-loaded with version 3.2 at launch. It wasn’t until iOS 4.2.1 was released in November of 2010, that all iOS devices were finally running the same software version. The Jailbreak community was originally born from the lack of any App Store to run native apps on the iPhone (iOS 2.0 introduced the App Store). Hackers, programers and users alike wanted to be able to add functionality to their iPhones that Web apps just couldn’t come close to providing.
Over the years, Apple has poached ideas and talent from the Jailbreak community in an attempt to keep iOS current and relevant in the quickly changing and evolving world of mobile computing. This approach has had a mostly positive affect on iOS as a platform. More importantly, though, it has also in many ways legitimized the continued need for a Jailbreak community. Separate arms of the same team, Jailbreak programmers are free to continue their work to bring new, fresh ideas to the sand-boxed platform that is iOS. Furthermore, Apple can watch from afar, while patching security holes (exploits) the Jailbreak community discovers and implement ideas and tweaks that these same hackers create.
Does anyone still Jailbreak their iPads?
Quick show of hands how many of you Jailbreak your iPad? I would guess not too many anymore. Even though Jailbreaking has always been for iOS as a platform, I would suspect that the ratio of iPhone to iPad users who Jailbreak their devices is in excess of 2-to-1. Still, there are many who have enjoyed Jailbreaking their iPads over the years–myself included. Having said that, after the initial release of the Pangu iOS 8 Jailbreak tool, I updated without pause the next time Apple released a newer version of iOS. Am I in the minority here, or is this what has become the status quo for the future of Jailbreaking on the iPad, or by extension, iOS in general?
If you are a fan of Jailbreaking your iPad, what version are you currently running? The latest available Jailbreak covers up to iOS 8.1.2. Recent chatter suggests that a Jailbreak for iOS 8.2 from the Chinese team TaiG, might be released around the 2015 Mobile Security Summit (MSS) in Beijing at the end of March, even though iOS 8.3 beta has already been released to developers. The Jailbreak community is a diverse group of talented developers, programmers and hackers that work on their own time to develop the Jailbreaks we all use for free. Perhaps the rise to prominence of the Chinese Jailbreak teams of Pangu and Taig have influenced the progression of Jailbreaking here in the US? It’s true, they had a rough start. First impressions can have a lasting impact on trust regardless of the lengths made to correct wrongs. The race to be the first is often motivated by a big pay-day, rather than what is in the best interest of the community as a whole. If history is any indicator, previous Jailbreak teams have been very mindful with regard to wasting valuable exploits–even if they, too, benefit financially from their success.
For me, Jailbreaking my iPad and iPhone is not as exciting or as rewarding as it used to be. Perhaps it’s the fact that the community is changing and evolving and I am not as familiar with the key players as I once was. Perhaps iOS has matured as a platform to a degree where Jailbreaking my iPad isn’t as appealing as it once was. Perhaps I’m just too old and don’t care about changing my themes and the look of all my icons like I once was. I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect all of these contribute in my decision. I do know there are still plenty of interested users who will gladly debate the merits of Jailbreaking their device, even in 2015. If you are one of them, what do you like about Jailbreaking your iPad now-a-days? What are your favorite tweaks, apps and otherwise unavailable third party settings you would like to run on your iPad? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.