Block and parry: Apple blocks iBooks for jailbreakers, community finds way around

For those who love picking up a digital tome via the iBookstore, but also love freeing their iPhone or iPod touch from certain Apple-enforced restrictions, it looked like there was a tough choice brewing today.

According to Josh Carr over at Social Apples, an update to the iBooks app delivered last week packed a nasty, hidden surprise for those with jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches. From iBooks version 1.2.1 on, the app thew in an improperly signed binary before opening a DRM-protected book. If the device executed the binary, the app concluded the device is jailbroken and displays this ambiguous error:

''There is a problem with the configuration of your iPhone. Please restore with iTunes and reinstall iBooks.''

Mr Carr found that the issue has actually been around since iOS 4.0, but apparently became far more prevalent with the recent release of the greenpois0n jailbreak for iOS 4.2.1. As many commentators have pointed out, this latest move against jailbreakers by Apple raises an interesting question - in July last year, the Library of Congress declared jailbreaking completely legal. The iBooks ''trick'' seems to fly in the face of that decision, though it hardly comes as a surprise given Apple's long-held opposition to jailbreaking.

But as has become typical in the cat-and-mouse game between the company that Steve built and the jailbreak community, enterprising developers weren't about to remain idle. Within hours, the infamous iPhone Dev Team had updated the Pwnage Tool to include previous work by the Chronic Dev Team, as well as a fix for the iBooks issue. The iPhone Dev Team also pointed out that the typical lag time between a new iOS release and a new jailbreak may not be as long in the case of iOS 4.3, expected to be released within weeks, if not sooner. Yesterday, security researcher Stefan Esser hinted via Twitter that he had an untethered iOS 4.3 jailbreak ready to roll.

Image Credit: TiPb

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29 Comments

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What a joke of a move...

I mean... refuse jb'ers to use something that does not fill your wallet, Apple! LOL... fail much?

My jb iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1 and greenpois0n rc5 is doing fine with iBooks by the way...

GS:lin

Apple is allowed to do this. Just like Microsoft bans you from Xbox Live if your console is modded. You may not even be downloading games/apps illegally, but the majority of people are.

Here's the thing though: I hate Apple. I don't need iBooks, I can just use the Kindle App. In fact, I would be using an Android device instead of an iPod Touch, except it was kinda my B-Day present, so, yeah...

spsf said,
I got tired of it...
I'll buy an android phone a$ $oon a$ po$ible!

Damn man your S key is messing up hardcore!

It's a shame theirs still a need to Jailbreak to be honest. I dont have many gripes with Apple over the iPhone but their "control" over the device is the only thing that would prevent me ever buying one as a personal phone (that and the lack of a decent qwerty keyboard)

There isn't an absolute need to jailbreak, to be honest. Apple has (albeit slowly) brought most of the advantages of JB'ing over to the actual/official OS. Could you explain exactly what bothers you about this "control" over the device?

Manish said,
There isn't an absolute need to jailbreak, to be honest. Apple has (albeit slowly) brought most of the advantages of JB'ing over to the actual/official OS. Could you explain exactly what bothers you about this "control" over the device?

The problem is their control over what you do with the device your purchased. Nobody wants to have their personal stuff under the control of a guy that thinks he can determine what you can or cannot do with your phone (carrier). If that's what Apple wants give the phone free, I will not complain for something I did not pay for, punto e basta.

Muaitai said,

The problem is their control over what you do with the device your purchased. Nobody wants to have their personal stuff under the control of a guy that thinks he can determine what you can or cannot do with your phone (carrier). If that's what Apple wants give the phone free, I will not complain for something I did not pay for, punto e basta.

I wonder if people were still having control arguments back in the day where the only customization and control over your phone was the ability to swap the faceplate and change its color. Boy how times have changed!

Muaitai said,

The problem is their control over what you do with the device your purchased.

I'm asking what specifically though. Is it just the concept or is there an actual issue in using the iPhone?

Tanshin said,

I wonder if people were still having control arguments back in the day where the only customization and control over your phone was the ability to swap the faceplate and change its color. Boy how times have changed!

because back then only black and white screen.

Manish said,
There isn't an absolute need to jailbreak, to be honest. Apple has (albeit slowly) brought most of the advantages of JB'ing over to the actual/official OS. Could you explain exactly what bothers you about this "control" over the device?

How about not being able to disable the auto screen flip when the thing is rotated? I don't actually own one, I'm just a support monkey, but I've had a request to try and disable this feature because the user was having trouble with it flipping while he was texting.
There were apps, but they needed the device to be jailbroken, so there was not much I could do with it being a company phone.

Ironically, I had to tell the guy to hold it differently...

smooth_criminal1990 said,

How about not being able to disable the auto screen flip when the thing is rotated?

1. Double-tap the home button (bringing up the background app list)
2. Swipe left (to get to where the iPod controls are)
3. Click on the 1st icon to lock orientation

No JB'ing required, only iOS 4.

Anything else?

Manish said,

1. Double-tap the home button (bringing up the background app list)
2. Swipe left (to get to where the iPod controls are)
3. Click on the 1st icon to lock orientation

No JB'ing required, only iOS 4.

Anything else?

Yes, a time machine, to help people do this for the three years prior

Manish said,
Anything else that doesn't involve whinging about the past?

His point has clearly gone over your head.

Basically rather than wait for apple to bring basic features to the phone we use jailbreaking to get them immediately

another fine example is being able to turn 3g on/off where ever I may be

also insomnia is very useful it keeps wifi active even when the screen is off and I can also activate that from anywhere

note I'm still on 3.0 as 4.0+ doesn't offer anything urgent enough for me to upgrade (I need to do a complete backup and wipe the phone before I upgrade for unrelated reasons)

DDStriker said,

His point has clearly gone over your head.

I think my point has gone over your head. I never asked what the benefits of JB'ing were. My question - "Anything else?" - refers to my original reply, where I was asking someone to clarify (and possibly provide examples of) what they meant about Apple's "control" over the device. The rotation issue was someone else's attempt to showcase said control. I merely pointed out that there is, in fact, a solution (without needing to JB).

SpeedyTheSnail said,
How is it illegal? It was declared legal to jailbreak your OWN PAID DEVICE just a little while ago
By the library of congress which does means nothing. They don't make the law, now if you telling me that the congress approved that jailbreaking is legal that's different.

Unix2 said,
By the library of congress which does means nothing. They don't make the law, now if you telling me that the congress approved that jailbreaking is legal that's different.

Actually, in the case of copyright law, the LOC does in effect make the law, since they are tasked every few years with reviewing possible exceptions to the DMCA and other copyright laws.

http://www.copyright.gov/1201/

Unix2 said,
By the library of congress which does means nothing. They don't make the law, now if you telling me that the congress approved that jailbreaking is legal that's different.

I think you got it wrong, the LOC does make the law on copyright issues and once they determine that jailbreak is legal in has to be enforced. I would suggest a class lawsuit.

SpeedyTheSnail said,
How is it illegal? It was declared legal to jailbreak your OWN PAID DEVICE just a little while ago

Preventing apps running on Jailbreaking devices isn't the same as preventing jailbreaking/going against the ruling that made jailbreaking legal.

Copyright owners aren't mandated to make their IP available on devices which have been compromised. That would in effect overrule DRM, which the ruling does not do.

Nice try apple and an interesting way to try and detect a jailbreak, I don't know anyone else though but if the iPhone looked like the one in the picture I think I would like one

Teebor said,
I don't know anyone else though but if the iPhone looked like the one in the picture I think I would like one.

Me too