Jailbreaking iOS 5 results in the loss of 'over-the-air' updates

Jailbreaking iOS 5 could do more than simply annoy Apple, even after it was declared a completely legal practice. The popular mobile operating system, used on Apple's iPod Touch line-up, iPhones, and iPads, has recently reached its fifth incarnation. iOS 5 brings a number of new changes and improvements to the OS and is scheduled for release later in the year. Apple has been providing support in the form of pre-release versions of iOS 5, in order to allow developers to sample and prepare for its imminent release. As ZDNet reports however, jailbreaking iOS 5 in order to unlock additional features will result in the removal of 'over-the-air', or automatic, updating.

Beta 4 of iOS 5 was the first version to be downloadable 'over-the-air'; in other words, without having the Apple device connected directly to a computer. However, with this change comes a change in how Apple intend to counter the jailbreaking community. The new approach they are taking is similar to the approach Google took from the very start with their Android OS, whereby if the operating system is modified, then it ceases to receive wireless updates. With Android, the process is known as 'rooting' one's phone, in order to access features that were never officially supported, or were never intended for public usage. Android also allows for the installation of custom ROMs, which is similar to different community distributions of the Linux OS.

Users of iOS 5 Beta 3 will still be able to update to Beta 4 even after having jailbroken their device, if they accept plugging their Apple product into their computer and updating via iTunes. To many people, this may not pose an issue; as it has been the update method they have used for all previous updates. One positive for those running a jailbroken version of the iOS firmware is that the chances of accidentally losing their modifications are extremely slim now, unless they download and update using iTunes.

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21 Comments

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Makes sense from a technical perspective - when jailbroken you can modify all sorts of system files. Since the OTA updates only contains changes from the last release of the OS, there's no way you can guarantee a "safe" update on a jailbroken device using just a delta.

I don't think Apple should instill checkers to see if you are jailbroken. That's like saying the DMV checks your car for a device that is deemed legal and says you can't renew your car registration.

ccoltmanm said,
I don't think Apple should instill checkers to see if you are jailbroken. That's like saying the DMV checks your car for a device that is deemed legal and says you can't renew your car registration.

More like buying a car from a dealership, modifying it and taking it back for a service and the dealer refusing to service the car as it has been modified.

ccoltmanm said,
I don't think Apple should instill checkers to see if you are jailbroken. That's like saying the DMV checks your car for a device that is deemed legal and says you can't renew your car registration.

Worst analogy ever?

Last I checked, the DMV does not sell, service or warranty cars...

Sounds good. My procedure was always iOS update, jailbreak, iOS update comes out, wait for the jailbreak to be updated for it (within hours?), rinse and repeat as necessary. So now we don't accidentally get "jailed" and lose stuff; total win.

Soulsiphon said,
Sounds good. My procedure was always iOS update, jailbreak, iOS update comes out, wait for the jailbreak to be updated for it (within hours?), rinse and repeat as necessary. So now we don't accidentally get "jailed" and lose stuff; total win.

Exactly. I read an article and the jailbreak community is actually happy about this

This article is flawed. As has been said above, if you jail break your iOS device you don't want it to update OTA, you want to download the file through iTunes so you can jailbreak it again.

This is a good thing, as then if you're jailbroken you don't accidentally or got force updated to a new firmware where a jailbreak is not out

TechDudeGeorge said,
This is a good thing, as then if you're jailbroken you don't accidentally or got force updated to a new firmware where a jailbreak is not out

Yeah... It seems like Apple is actually trying to help jailbreakers.

TechDudeGeorge said,
This is a good thing, as then if you're jailbroken you don't accidentally or got force updated to a new firmware where a jailbreak is not out

Exactly what I was thinking....

TechDudeGeorge said,
This is a good thing, as then if you're jailbroken you don't accidentally or got force updated to a new firmware where a jailbreak is not out

This is what I was thinking. Though I'm sure Apple just wants to punish those who have jailbroken their devices. I think this will help those with jailbroken devices more than it will hurt.

TechDudeGeorge said,
This is a good thing, as then if you're jailbroken you don't accidentally or got force updated to a new firmware where a jailbreak is not out

Exactly! This is basically a failsafe for jailbreakers - you have to unjailbreak before you update the os.

so you are going to need to download a new jailbreaking tool (and the IPSW) on your pc each time you want to upgrade and keep jailbroken. Where is the problem exactly?
With android its kind of more a pain because if you want to go back from a custom rom its a bit tricky because OEMs usually dont publish the roms, just the updates to the roms.