Consumers who have jailbroken Apple devices were worried a few months back as Apple Inc. introduced the jailbreak detection API with the iOS 4 update. Now, however, the Cupertino-based company has decided to disable the API with the iOS 4.2 update. it was either disabled or removed by Apple for no apparent reason. While Apple has declined to comment on the matter, IT departments seem to be finding reason to worry.
A report says:
This detection API let the [Mobile Device Management] applications in effect ask the operating system if it had been compromised. Jailbreak exploits typically change a number of operating system files, and exploit one or another low-level OS features to let users directly load their own or third-party applications.
“We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” says Joe Owen, vice president of engineering at Sybase, which offers the Afaria device management software. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”
With the API, vendors of software for Apple devices could detect jailbroken devices. Now, however, experts say that these device management software vendors would need to find another way to tell if a device has been jailbroken.
Some analysts speculate that Apple was tired of fighting hackers who seem to always seem to find a way to jailbreak their devices no matter what measures Apple puts in place.
Apple must have its reasons for removing or disabling the API, and perhaps it’s even temporary. As we see above, most MDM companies – like Good Technology - seem to be running perfectly fine without Apple’s help, and are accustomed to running a battery of checks on the OS when scanning for jailbroken devices. But until Apple responds, MDM companies will just have to go back to the way things were before Apple introduced the API to make life a little easier on those MDM apps.