Is jailbreaking dead? No. A quick search on Twitter or on Reddit, and it’s obvious that the passion for jailbreaking continues to ebb and flow throughout the community. Jailbreaking isn’t dead as some may think, but no one can discount the fact that it’s entered a sustained lull.
Such a lull is normal for jailbreaking, as there have always been periods of downtime when no public jailbreak is available for the latest iOS firmware. Jailbreaking is cyclical. We’ve seen this happen time and again, and the same holds true for this latest lull.
However, as we get deeper into the overall iOS lifecycle, and as new abilities like sideloading become a reality, the motivation to jailbreak has lessened for many.
Jailbreaking originally sprung from an intense desire to run native applications on the iPhone, and we’ve long passed such a need. In fact, many of the motivations for jailbreaking have been addressed by Apple in the past few major iOS updates.
The state of jailbreak
The last widely-usable jailbreak was released back in October of 2015. That means that it’s been over six months since we last saw a public jailbreak released that really mattered. I’m not counting the iOS 9.1 jailbreak that was released back in March, because by then, most users were already upgraded to a later firmware version with no way to downgrade.
I’m also quick to dismiss the recent Apple TV 4 jailbreak. Although the efforts made to bring a tvOS jailbreak to reality are admirable, like the iOS 9.1 jailbreak for iOS, only a handful of users could actually benefit from it.
In the half-year or so since the last public release, there have been rumors of new jailbreaks, people posing as hackers pretending to have their own jailbreak, etc. The fact is that no one knows, despite what they may claim, when a jailbreak for iOS 9.3.1 or above will be released. The only people who know are the people doing the actual work, and perhaps a few close associates around them.
Given the current state of jailbreaking, sideloading has risen as an alternative of sorts. Of course, sideloading will never outright replace jailbreaking, but it can be a nice alternative for specific applications. For example, Extensify continues to be popular amongst former jailbreakers, and tools like UnlimApps’ ppsideloader, continue to thrive as well. There’s even a dedicated Reddit community based on sideloading iOS apps.
Throughout the entire down period, there have been quite a few substantial and meaningful jailbreak tweaks released. In the following video, I take a look at five such jailbreak tweaks that are worth trying. All of the listed tweaks are free except for LiveRinging, which is $1.99.
- LiveRinging – brings video to your incoming call screen.
- IGExperiments – access Instagram’s new white layout and more.
- Marquee – bring scrolling to long folder names.
- SwipyFolders – perform gestures on SpringBoard folders.
- TinyPlayer Lite – a tiny music player that can be invoked with Activator.
As long as there are still hackers that are willing to invest time packaging exploits in a way that users can take advantage of, then jailbreaking will always be here. The only way that jailbreaking will die is if the hackers creating the tools pack up their bags and go home.
Although it’s still possible that we could see a tool for iOS 9.3.x, it’s more likely that hackers are holding off for an iOS 10 jailbreak. That is, of course, unless iOS 10 fixes an exploit that they use.
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