Apple users continue to enjoy their iOS 7 devices while the technology giant continues to work on the next iteration of iOS 7 software, iOS 7.1.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS 7.1 beta 3 was released to developers through official channels on Tuesday morning, with bug fixes, features and improvements for Apple’s flagship mobile operating system.
While iOS 7.1 has yet to be released for users of the iPhone 5S, 5C, iPad Air, iPod Touch and other supported iOS devices, developers have already been tinkering with iOS 7.1 beta 3 software in order to make their apps compatible with iOS 7.1 well before its release. Developers of non App Store apps and tweaks have also been paying attention to iOS 7.1 beta 3 as well.
Since the release of the Evasi0n 7 jailbreak, both jailbreak developers and tweak developers have been waiting patiently to see if Apple would use the release of iOS 7.1 to patch the security holes used by the Evasi0n 7 jailbreak.
Unlike Apple approved apps on the App Store, developers of unapproved tweaks and mods rely on jailbreaks in order to get their apps out to the public through iOS developer and technology consultant Jay Freeman’s (Saurik) Cydia app and the growing number of jailbreak app repositories such as BigBoss, Modmyi and more.
Since iOS jailbreaks such as Evasi0n 7 rely heavily on iOS security exploits, the question isn’t whether or not Apple will patch the holes, but when they will close them, rendering the Evasi0n 7 iOS jailbreak useless when iOS is finally patched.
For now, it seems like Apple hasn’t shut down the party for jailbreak users and developers.
iH8Snow, one of the developers behind the P0sixspwn iOS 6.1.3-6.1.5 jailbreak sent out this tweet on Tuesday:
Since everyone seems super worried... Today's iOS 7.1 beta 3 (11D5127c) does NOT patch evasi0n7. Another beta probably will though!
â€” iH8sn0w (@iH8sn0w) January 7, 2014
An unofficial patched version of Evasi0n 7 was also released the same day, enabling iOS developers and iOS beta software users to jailbreak iOS 7.1 beta 3.
Does this mean an iOS 7.1 jailbreak will be available upon its final release sometime in March 2014? It’s highly unlikely.
Jailbreak developers have always played a sort of cat-and-mouse game with Apple ever since the original iPhone’s release in 2007. Even if the exploits used by Evasi0n 7 aren’t patched by Apple in later iOS 7.1 beta software, jailbreak developers will not know for sure what security exploits will be closed until the “golden master,” or GM is released by Apple to developers, which will indicate that iOS 7.1 is ready for general public release.
As iOS has matured, security exploits have been harder to find for jailbreak developers to use to jailbreak iOS devices, since Apple has clearly been paying attention to the jailbreak scene and patching devices as exploits are revealed. More often than not, Apple has acknowledged jailbreak developer contributions to making them aware to exploits present in iOS. For example, the Evad3rs jailbreak development team has been credited with several exploit finds in patch notes released by Apple back in March 2013.
The discovery of new iOS exploits may have also been hampered by the release of the P0sixspwn iOS 6.1.3-6.1.5 untethered jailbreak which supposedly “burned” an exploit that iOS jailbreak developer, Comex found but never publicly disclosed. However, others familiar with the iOS jailbreak developer scene dismiss this claim, explaining that the exploit had already been patched for iOS 7.1.
Probably that you don't understand when I say highly valuable. It's something jailbreakers refused to use for years. Was found by @comex...
â€” pod2g (@pod2g) December 30, 2013
So someone says that the "valuable burned exploit" is actually fixed in iOS 7.1. So this whole drama started by @evad3rs is for nothing?
â€” Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) December 30, 2013
When the security holes used by Evasi0n are finally patched, the clock will start up again as iOS jailbreak developers race to be the first to find exploits that can be used in a publically releasable jailbreak.
While the release of Evasi0n broke the trend of the ever increasing time it took to jailbreak a new iOS device after its launch date, it’s currently unclear how much more difficult it will be for iOS developers to jailbreak iOS 7.1 and future versions.
Will we have to wait months for the iOS 7.1 jailbreak or will developers quickly find iOS security exploits they can use to release a public jailbreak? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Luke Villapaz is a Multimedia Producer at the International Business Times. He comes from a diverse media background working freelance in production and photography. Luke...