As you know, I've been writing jailbreak stories and updates since just a few days after the iPhone 5 and the latest iOS 6 released. I've learned a lot along the way and now, not only do I know the difference between an app and a tweak, I also have figured out what Cydia is all about and how to save my SHSH blobs. In addition, I've gotten pretty good at spotting frauds as they surface as I have developed a kind of unnatural obsession with the jailbreak scene. As such, I am usually the first to hit the web with the latest jailbreak developments.
Well, when iPhone Dev Team member, @planetbeing, tweeted his progress concerning the much-coveted iOS 6 untethered jailbreak we've yet to see surface, I didn't write about it immediately, and trust me--the readers let me know! Quite honestly, though I spoke to @planetbeing the night he tweeted his latest progress, I held off on posting as there were pieces of the bigger jailbreak puzzle I was trying to put together.
It has taken nearly a week of pondering, but here is my latest iOS 6 and 6.0.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S, iPad Mini and other non-jailbroken devices progress report. Just so you know however, this post will also contain a fair bit of personal speculation on the subject and, therefore, please take it with a grain of salt.
It is a bit long, but if you hang with me, I think you'll be glad you did.
So, before we get going on the new stuff, lets do a quick recap of what we know so far....
The last couple of weeks have been looking pretty grim in terms the release of an iOS 6 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S, iPad Mini and other non-jailbroken devices. We've seen numerous frauds surface along the way, and have found ourselves desperate for updates of any kind from the Devs. Early last month, we were pleasantly surprised when iPhone Dev Team member @MuscleNerd, tweeted that redsn0w had been updated, allowing downgrades to old iOS 5 systems with saved SHSH blobs, while older devices-- such as the iPhone 3GS--were now able to enjoy a fully untethered iOS 6 jailbreak, complete with Cydia support.
Soon after, we were thrilled to discover more hopeful tweets regarding @plantebeing's work on the iOS 6 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5. Through Twitter, he informed us of at least three key vulnerabilities he had found, which were yielding him a nearly fully tethered jailbreak--though he was working for an untethered.
Upgraded the #failbreak with a kernel exploit so tweaks actually work on iPhone 5. :D Almost a full tethered JB, though need dev account.
— planetbeing (@planetbeing) October 18, 2012
Things really appeared hopeful at that point, but soon darkness filled the stage, as weeks went by with nothing more being tweeted from @planetbeing or any of the other Devs. concerning the much awaited jailbreak.
With the advent of the iOS 6.0.1 update, and Apple's quick closing of the 6.0 signing window, many found themselves unable to save old SHSH blobs and were now stuck even one update further from the untethered jailbreak they were hoping for.
The wait, combined with this latest one-up by Apple, seemed to drive the community into a feeling of despair as many began to fear that perhaps Apple had grown too smart for the Devs and the days of jailbreaking were swiftly coming to an end.
And this appeared to be true, as at every turn we heard more and more hackers and developers alike letting people know, iOS6 and the iPhone 5 were indeed quite an adversary with which to contend.
Well, last weekend things appeared, ironically, to become brighter and grimmer both at the same time as former Chronic Dev-Team member, Joshua Hill, aka @p0sixninja, tweeted something that looked like iOS 6 jailbreak hope. He informed us that he was working to gain access to the AES engine (keys) for iPhone 5 on iOS 6 and also the bootROM dump. If he was successful, it seemed we would be well on our way to the iOS 6 jailbreak, complete with Cydia support, we are all hoping for. The only hitch here is this--there is a chance he isn't working a jailbreak at all....
See Joshua Hill aka, @p0sixninja, is one tough cookie to figure out. By his own admission, the only time he actually tweets is when he has been drinking, leading to some very erratic and moody posts--though this may be just the type of joke he likes to put out over the Twitter feed.
— Joshua Hill (@p0sixninja) November 12, 2012
After watching him for a while now, it seems he gets a kick out of riling folks up, though deep down I think he's a pretty alright guy and definitely a mastermind on the jailbreak scene.
Watching his tweets of late, however, one can barely discern the jokes from the reality as he seems to oscillate between trying to one-up rival iPhone Dev-Team member @MuscleNerd, and tweeting small tidbits of the progress he is or isn't making on the "something bigger" he claims is in the works.
Of course most of us are hoping that the "something" he speaks of is an iOS 6 or 6.0.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5. However, a close acquaintance of Hill's claims, at this point, the jailbreak is not on @p0sixninjas to-do list.
Tweeter @CA13RA1, who is working with Joshua Hill, informed me on Twitter this morning not to look for a jailbreak from Joshua Hill, stating that,
"P0sixninja won't be releasing any jailbreak for iOS 6"
When another anxious tweeter chimed in, asking if it was too difficult, @CA13RA1 replied,
"He's working on better things".
Of course we are all curious what could be better than an iOS 6 or 6.0.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5, as it's really hard to imagine that anything else could be. On a personally speculative level, however, I wouldn't discount him altogether. In fact, I would wager to say he knows that an iOS 6 untethered jailbreak release is in the bag, and therefore, has better things to spend his time on. But more on that in a moment...
On Twitter last night, Joshua Hill aka, @p0sixninja, posted something that leads me to believe we need to continue watching this guy as, whatever the mystery is he's working on, it is sure to benefit us all.
Here is what he said:
Even if I quit Chronic-Dev, I can never quit chronic, or developing (it's a developed chronic condition)
— Joshua Hill (@p0sixninja) November 15, 2012
In addition, earlier this week Hill tweeted the reasons why he is obsessed with developer work:
"I do it to push Apple and the security community forward and help make myself feel safer"
Taking these two tweets in conjunction, no matter what you may think of the prickly posts of this sometimes erratic tweet, Joshua Hill exemplifies everything we would want in a jailbreak developer. A healthy level of fire and defiance, the ability to think outside the box, and a passion for improving the security of products we as a civilization have come to depend on for most aspects of our life and work. I think Steve Jobs would be proud of him. But again, more on that in a moment...
So, with Joshua Hill off our jailbreak hopeful list, you may be wondering what is going on with rest of the Chronic Dev and iPhone Dev-Team members who seem to have fallen off the radar. Well, as most of you know, over the weekend, iPhone Dev-Team member @planetbeing tweeted something promising in terms his progress on the iOS 6 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5 other non-jailbroken devices. The tweets appeared after a fiasco on the Apple App store, involving a fraudulent app developer who posted a look-alike IntelliScreenX app. IntelliScreenX is a jailbreak tweak which was co-developed by @planetbeing. In response to Apple's failure detecting the scam early, @planetbeing tweeted this:
"I helped make IntelliScreenX and the scammer on the App Store is ripping off both us and App Store customers"
Attached to this tweet was a photo of an iPhone 5 running the real IntelliScreenX Cydia tweak.
For those who may have been too slow to realize the significance, @planetbeing made sure to tweet out some things which teased us into the reality that an iOS 6 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5, and other non-jailbroken Apple devices is actually in the works. Here is what he posted:
"Probably the only photo you will see of an iPhone 5 running a Cydia tweak"
This tweet quickly disappeared; however, and a few seconds later, it was replaced with this one:
"BTW, you won't find any of the fake JBs showing tweaks running. :P"
Moments later, a million questions concerning the progress flooded Twitter as @planetbeing indulged us with further details on the progress.
"Can't say too much, but we're still missing critical pieces so it's not releasable right now. Believe me, we'd love to release it asap.... It's mostly working, as you can see, but I run into weird bugs every day and have to fix them as they come up."
In addition, David Wang, aka, @planetbeing, informed us that the jailbreak in the works would most likely be untethered while also posing a grim reality for future devices:
"It's unlikely we'll see a tethered JB for later devices. They'll likely be untethered or nothing unless we find a bootrom bug.
Now, this is the place where I go on another one of my speculatory tangents... so beware. What follows are only my thoughts--nothing more. Don't take them as a facts, just food for thought.
If you tie together information tweeted by @planetbeing and @p0sixninja, it suddenly makes sense to me why Joshua Hill is NOT working the iOS 6 jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S and other non-jailbroken devices. Rather, what he may be working on is hope for future systems and devices.
You see, what @planetbeing is working on right now is a kernel exploit, which has to do with software vulnerabilities. These are okay, but often become irrelevant when a new iOS update surfaces. Thus, the reason it is common practice for Devs to tell people not to upgrade devices when updates emerge, as patches to jailbreaks may be present in the updates.
We know, however, from what Joshua Hill has tweeted, he is working on find AES decryption keys and a bootROM dump. A bootROM dump is one of the most powerful kinds of exploits a hacker can get and cannot be patched by system updates. Rather, it requires a change at the hardware level. A change such as the connector change in the iPhone 5.
When asked at the HITB panel in Malaysia whether or not the jailbreak scene may ever see another bootROM jailbreak, @MuscleNerd appeared highly skeptical, as it has not been achieved for the 4S or iPhone 5. However, David aka, @planetbeing, answered fellow iPhone Dev-Team member @MuscleNerd's cynicism with a question of his own. One which I believe is very telling in this situation. He said,
"There's a chance they might have changed the bootROM with the new iPhone 5 right?"
To which @MuscleNerd responded hesitantly,
"Right....its just that, I mean, you mean as far as our being able to dump it?"
@Planetbeing clarifying further said,
"Right, well, I mean the iPhone 5 uses a different connector, there might be a chance that they changed the bootROM , there might be a chance they introduced some bugs to it with that change, and there might be a chance they didn't make it as securely unreadable as um...we haven't really looked at it is the truth...."
To this @Musclenerd conceded,
"Right well there's still a lot to be done with that, especially with the new connector, figuring out, even at the hardware level how to use the new connector."
Well, it seems to me that someone now is looking further at possible bootROM bugs and his name is Joshua Hill. If my speculations are correct, this would be an admirable goal, as we have already heard rumors that an iPhone 5S and possibly iPhone 6 is in the works. It all rather makes me believe Joshua Hill, in typical Steve Jobs style, is moving to where the puck is going, not where it has been.
If this is true, then it makes sense why he is tweeting about his quest for a bootROM exploit in light of his friend's assertion that an iOS 6 jailbreak is not on his to-do list. As the man said, he is working on something much bigger. But again, that would be just me speculating as I often do.
As an aside, please don't pester the Devs--especially @p0sixninja, as friends of his tell me he doesn't care for the attention--he just wants to work on his project. Also, as a reminder, don't take my speculations as gospel truths, proclaiming them in the jailbreak town square...these are just food for thought.
At any rate, returning back to the @planetbeing front, while his photos and tweets were certainly hopeful, it seemed jailbreakers wouldn't be satisfied till they heard something more about the ETA. As one tweeter @Jwbolfer eagerly asked,
"Do you think you are weeks or months away? Not gonna hold ya to it lol but just curious."
To which @planetbeing good-naturedly replied,
" Yeah, that's the kind of thing if I say anything about, they beat me with clubs on IRC."
To which @p0sixninka jokingly replied,
"We don't use clubs on IRC, we use trouts!!"
I don't know about you, but it sounds to me like David Wang aka @planetbeing would love to tell us more, but if he did he'd have to answer to the other Devs. The responses, however, are so much in tune with his general and enthusiastic personality, you can't help but liking this guy. We got our first taste of how much Wang loves what he does when we saw him in the Malaysia HITB panel discussion. If you didn't see make sure to check it out below.
As a closing thought, @planetbeing left us with this humorous ETA tweet:
So there you have it--the one day of the week we can rest is Sunday, but as for every other day, keep watching and waiting.
Though, again, I don't want to raise any false hopes, I really think we are getting in the final hours on this thing guys and Christmas just may hold a special gift for jailbreakers around the globe. One in the form of an iOS 6 or 6.0.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5.
Stay hopeful and stay tuned in to iDigitalTimes.com as you know I will bring you any news I can in the developing iOS 6 untethered jailbreak process.
Perhaps this Christmas will be a white one, with sn0w for all of us--and our iOS 6 devices...
Like this article?
or like her Facebook Page for latest stories and updates.