Apple Pulls Jailbreak Detection API from iOS

Apple has apparently pulled code from the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system that could be used to detect whether or not an iOS device had been jailbroken, or hacked to allow the installation of unauthorized third-party applications.

Apple introduced the OS-level tool with iOS 4, but shut the feature off with the recently released iOS 4.2.1 update, according to Networkworld. Without the API available, developers wanting to check to make sure iOS devices they manage haven’t been been jailbroken will have to use other methods.

Jailbreak detection API: It’s gone

“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, said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen.

Enterprise-level IT teams could use the API before it was pulled to ask iOS if it had been compromised. “We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” Mr. Owen said.

Shutting down the API, while useful for companies worried about the potential security risks jailbreaking poses, won’t leave companies and developers out in the cold. There are other methods they can use to detect jailbroken devices, and in many cases those solutions are already in place.

Apple hasn’t commented on its decision to pull the API. The move shouldn’t, however, be interpreted as Apple endorsing jailbreaking.