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Apple Has Dropped Jailbreak Detection API in the iOS 4.2.1 Firmware

Network World has reported that an API that was initially introduced in the first iOS 4 firmware; to detect if an iDevice had been jailbroken, has now been removed in the iOS 4.2.1 firmware.This API was actually used in some applications like AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria, to detect for unauthorized modifications to the iDevice’s filesystem. With this API gone, developers who have previously implemented this API will need to get creative and create their own solution to checking for if an iDevice has been jailbroken.

The reason why the API disappeared is not clear, but it is believed that work on the API was abandonned after the U.S. government agreed to legalize jailbreaks earlier this year.

Interestingly enough, some developers focused on building apps for the enterprise market such as Sybase actually used the API, in order to prevent their apps from being hacked or redistributed without a license – note that these developers were not notified by Apple that the feature would disappear after the introduction of iOS 4.2.

The API was originally built by Apple as a way to prevent:
– iOS devices from being hacked
– Apps piracy
– Users from unlocking their subsidized phones and tablets

Apple never really had the chance to enforce the use of the API, as the U.S. government decision to legalize jailbreaking came right after the launch of iOS 4.

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