back to article Apple cripples iBooks for jailbreakers

Apple has opened a new chapter in its campaign against hackers with a feature that prevents jailbroken iDevices from accessing iBooks. According to the Social Apples blog, iPhones and iPads running the latest iOS firmware contain a “jailbreak check” that automatically detects when the devices have been unlocked using the …


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  1. Stephen Hunt
    Jobs Horns

    In case you had forgotten

    Never buy Apple products.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Okey dokey...

      In light of the general argument that you shouldn't buy anything from manufacturers that tell you want to do, i take it you won't be buying Sony, Denon, Matsui, Hinari, Kenwood, Bang and Olufson, DELL, HP, MS, Philips, Hitatchi, EMC, Sun, Oracle, Nokia, fact you'd be best off avoiding buying anything as almost all products come with strings attached. Its how far you wish to compromise on the number of strings attached to your purchase.

      Personally I refuse to touch an Android device due to it's affiliation with Google who are, to my mind the lowest pondlife on the planet, harvesting people's habits and details to sell on to the highest bidder!

      1. Bugs R Us
        Gates Halo

        And you think Apple isn't doing the same?

        Don't be so naive, Apple is harvesting enough data to rival Google's processes. The difference is Apple doesn't have market share to profit from the collected data int he way Google can.

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        @ Okey dokey

        "...Denon, ..., DELL, HP, MS, ..."

        I'm a bit lost by your tangential hyperbole. I have PCs from both DELL and HP, and both are running software from MS. I also have a nice music player from Denon.

        The Denon music player will play MP3s, FLAC, and various other media files without bitching. I can install any software I want on both PCs, and I can run it.

        So why wouldn't I buy products from said companies?

        1. Mad Hacker


          Well Apple is restrictive but less restrictive than the companies you buy products from blissfully ignorantly. At least Apple doesn't have a license that forbids you from posting your opinion or test results about their products...

          As for jailbrakers MS has come down harder on people who jailbrake their XBOXs than Apple has on people who jailbrake their iPhones. In fact what MS did would be similar to Apple disabling all network services on their iPhone once they detected a jailbrake.

          Also you must've forgotten about this:

    2. NoneSuch

      Shouldn't it be...

      Never, EVER buy Apple products. ;-)

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      I don't see how you reach that conclusion

      Find me someone who had even noticed that iBooks is available. They've probably been barring jailbreakers since day one, it's just that nobody noticed yet.

      iBooks and iAds are to Apple as phones and tablets are to Microsoft: evidence of fallibility.

    4. Scorchio!!
      Thumb Up

      Re: In case you had forgotten

      "Never buy Apple products."

      Apple? Aren't they something to do with Kindle? ;-)

  2. devmapper

    XBMC runs on jailbroken Apple TVs

    XBMC requires a jailbroken Apple TV

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge


      Gotta love that Apple no seatbelt icon on the bottom right of the screen :)

      P.S. Remember not to buy Apple or Sony products. Thank you.

  3. bubba-bear


    Will the Kindle app work on a jail broken iPhone? If Kindle will work, the workaround is pretty easy.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      Kindle isn't a workaround if they stop providing their reader for the iOS platform due to the 30% cut requirement.

      Real workaround? Find something more Open.

  4. Piloti
    Jobs Horns

    This is what p1ss3s me off with Jobs 'n' co.....

    This is aprt of the reason why I think I will probably never buy anything from Apple.

    If I am going to spend £500 and over for some sort of device, whether that is a mobile 'phone or some sort of computer, either with or without a keyboard [and lets be honest, the I Pad is basically a screen without a keyboard, and without a lot of other things come to think of it...] ....then I want to use it as appropriate for me.

    Especially for legal content.

    What Apple is basically saying here is "you can pay top whack for a device, but don't go thinking you own it.... 'cos you don't."

    If the article is correct in it's assertion that even legal e'books will be barred from running on an I pad, then to to me smacks of restrictive practice.

    I legally buy some hardware, then make a change to it so that it will do what I want it to do, I buy some content and then Apple says Noooooooooo.

    Bollocks to them

    And if you buy one and then grumble, you only have yourself to blame.

    Avoid Apple like a severe bout of trepanning......


    1. j scott

      When will everyone learn?

      You _do_ own the hardware, you only _license_ the software though.

      1. David Hicks

        I agree

        I'm not really sure.

        Do I have to sign a license agreement before they take my money?

        No? Then I'd say I own that copy of the software, and like a paperback book, can scribble in it and alter it to my heart's desire as long as I don't give away or sell copies, or claim it was my work.

    2. Mad Hacker

      Sony did it...

      So you wouldn't ever buy a PS3 or a product from Sony then either eh?

  5. Jess

    wouldnt an easy fix be

    For the jailbroken phone to be switchable between requiring signing and not.

    When run in signed mode, tricks like this wouldn't work.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Or use a pop-up to allow/disallow (trust?) specific unsigned apps to run

      ...once an unsigned app is "trusted", no more popups.

      Simples :)

      Of course, I have no idea how iOS works and can code about as well as I can perform brain surgery... so maybe not simple :)

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Brilliant idea...

        Actually, this sort of thing is a brilliant idea. It's already done on MacOS with stuff you download from some place other than the App Store. This would be a good way to guard against malware. Clearly, iBooks is trying to play the part of Trojan. It should be treated accordingly.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      re: switchable between requiring signing and not

      or just use a loader that prevents an app from loading anything else, rather than switching the whole OS. I admit I know nothing about the iOS architecture, so flame away ...

  6. Anonymous Coward


    People who want to legally purchase and read eBooks are blocked from doing so, but I'm guessing those who want to download them for free outside Apples ecosystem and use a different reader are free to work away?

    If the phone is already jailbroken I don't see people people feeling too bad about doing it illegally when the legal option is forcibly removed.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      "I don't see people people feeling too bad about doing it illegally when the legal option is forcibly removed"

      Just cut'n'paste into the Sony thread for double the votes :)

  7. danielm

    It only breaks purchased eBooks

    Just the ones with DRM, bought from the iBookstore, are affected. Free books, and those downloaded from, ahem, questionable sources, still work just fine. There doesn't seem to be any point to this other than annoying people. I can still use the Kindle app, and store (assuming it doesn't get booted), for purchasing books, and just use iBooks for the free stuff. Apple strengthen the view that all-your-iPhones-are-belong-to-them, and lose a few book sales in the process.

    1. Piloti

      Questionable source.... ?

      Are you saying Gutenberg is questionable ?

      I get most of my E-Books from there, which I then read on my Linux Pad, sorry, Linux netbook.

  8. Martin Usher

    What's the point?

    Apple, like Sony, are obsessed with keeping their users as their property. Why would I bother buying any of their products?

  9. SuperTim

    apple running unsigned code?

    does that mean that it is an officially sanctioned thing now? apple dont have to run unsigned code but enforce everybody else? i smell antitrust.

    1. Goat Jam

      Comprehension Fail

      No, they tell the device to run some unsigned code. In normal (un-jailbroken) circumstances the device will refuse to run the code. Result: No unsigned code is run.

      If the phone is jailbroken it will proceed to execute the unsigned code when it actually shouldn't and that is the point that everything grinds to a halt.

      Claiming that this amounts to apple "officially sanctioning" the running of unsigned code is pretty foolish.

      1. SuperTim

        Tell it to the judge!

        Applying one set of rules internally and another set for external developers can be seen as an antitrust measure. 3rd parties would not be allowed to develop an app with unsigned code, so this skews the field (as they can't prevent JB phones running their apps). That could be seen as an antitrust issue.

        The fact that apple try to run unsigned code on your handset and stop something else working could actually be taken as a deliberate crippling of functionality and that may even be illegal!

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    You run your own software on your own device so we're not going to let you buy any books

    Isn't that Apple shooting themselves in the foot?

    It's only going to be fixed in a couple of weeks anyway. Probably 'too fixed' (read any book in the iBookstore for free).

  11. raving angry loony

    so what?

    I've found iBook to be one of the more poorly designed ebook apps out there. Can't change background (to use less battery), can't stop rotation, can't do lots of things that better designed apps allow you to do. Stanza for me on my old iPod touch thank you. Although I now have a dedicated ebook reader, so it's not an issue.

    Reminds me of Apple's inclusion of virtual desktops. There was a good application for that in MacOSX - so they "competed" with it by building in a poorly designed, less configurable version. Worked though - looks like they managed to kill the better designed application.

    Apple is learning lots of tricks from Microsoft. Unfortunately, they're learning all the unethical, underhanded, possibly illegal tricks, and trying to "compete" through the use of legal restrictions as hammers rather than with any actual innovation.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      @so what? #

      I think you're confused - the purpose of iBooks isn't to read books it's to buy them.

      Once you've iPaid for something then Apple don't want you distracted by reading it - that might delay the time before you go back and iPay again.

    2. Aleph0

      LCD power drain...

      ... is the same whatever the background color is (unlike OLED screens), so to conserve battery charge you'll have to resort to lowering screen brightness.

    3. Annihilator

      You can lock rotation

      But, inexplicably, you can only lock the rotation via the iOS settings. And only if the device is capable of multi-tasking. Clearly it's a very CPU intensive option that only the latest hardware can support.

      Apple, who loves ya baby?

  12. Alastair MacDiarmid

    I don't have an purchased ebooks and mine seems fine.

    Only use it as a pdf reader and for freebees anyway, everything else is on kindle......

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    To anyone still using iBooks, check out Stanza. By far the most configurable and simple ebook reader available to the iPad/iPhone. Backlight control by dragging up and down the centre of the screen, useful if you dip in and out of ebooks while waiting for the bus and then picking it up in bed.

    As is, my iPad is jailbroken although still the tethered jailbreak. I should get round to using the new one but I've only restarted my iPad twice in the last three months, one of those was my brother running the battery flat after a massive Angry Birds session!

    I knew what I was getting with the iPad, I also knew with some patience and hard work by those cleverer than me (Geohot et al) it can do just about anything I want it to. I've stopped carrying my laptop, if there is something I need a PC for, iTap RDP works well, I can stream videos to the pad with Air Video (in any codec my Windows machine can play, re-encoded on the fly), when the battery will not hold more than an 80% charge, $99 will get me a refurbished iPad, hopefully one without the big scratch I've put across the back of mine!

    iTunes for Windows still sucks though, have to run the bloody thing of a fast SSD just to make it usable.

    1. EyeCU
      Jobs Horns

      Wrong problem

      The problem is people like you who are willing to give Apple their cash but jump through hoops in order to get the thing working the way they want it to. While iDiots are still willing to do this Apple will carry on getting more draconian with every year that passes. The only way to change their business practices is to make them sit up and take notice that their profits are dropping which can only happen when people stop buying their crap.

      Remember, Apple market themselves as a 'Premium' company and yet most of their products are way behind that of their competitors. If I pay top prices for anything I expect it to be able to do everything it is capable of and not be artificially crippled or missing features that appear in much lower priced devices.

  14. Bill Coleman

    this is why i'm really starting to dislike apple these days...

    ok, fair enough if i mess with how the phone works then void my warranty. that's cool, i understand that. but apple's behaviour towards their customers who custom mod their gear is to treat them like they are guilty of some nefarious and punishable crime that is somehow akin to copyright violation - like you have perverted your device into an illegal Frankenstein version. You deserve to be punished and they will get you.

    Let's cut to the chase, this is all about forcing people through the precious app store. Let's get this very clear: side stepping the app store is NOT ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING! It's not even in the same ball park.

    the hostile attitude they are taking to their customers for daring to "think different" is a ticking time bomb. I for one can't wait for it to blow up in their face.

  15. OrsonX
    Jobs Horns

    I'm lovin my recently jailbroken iPhone 3G

    Finally got my own SMS alert and ring tones.

    Have got background wallpaper - which works PERFECTLY (why was this kept from the 3G?)

    Have now got a live clock icon which, get this, actually shows the right time (instead of 10.15 perpetually).

    Have got SB settings so I can turn things on and off with ease... such an improvement!

    And Apple wonders why people jailbreak?

    1. Annihilator


      A proper battery gauge on the 3G? That was my favourite.

      What was rather odd is that I've since reverted it to "official" iOS, as the battery drained a bit too fast for my liking (not sure why), but the battery gauge has persisted. Identical FW on g/f's phone (same hardware), it's not there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "own SMS alert and ring tones"


      come on Apple, how hard is it to do?

      1. Frank Bough


        I've been using custom ringtones ever since I got my iPhone, and I've never jailbroken anything. If you have iTunes, you can make custom ringtones.

  16. conel

    The Point!

    It's a struggle to see what you'd do with an atv without it being jailbroken. I just bought one to run XBMC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      How's it going?

      Been thinking about doing this myself. Do tell :)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple finds itself in the same predicament as Sony"

    yup, they're both arseholes

  18. Mike Flugennock

    One word:


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Book v1.0

      The worst thing that can happen is your bookmark (Library Card) might fall out, losing your place.

      1. Marky W


        ...if you're, ahem, caught short, you can rip out some pages and use them to wipe up.

        Try *that* with an iPad, I dare you.

  19. shade82000

    Could somebody please explain to me...

    ...why jailbreaking an iphone was exempted from the DMCA but sony are still allowed to sue people?

  20. Bugs R Us

    No biggie

    The iPhone's days are numbered. Long live Android.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me suggets as counter argument...

    I'm no megafan of Apple - they're just as bad as MS and Google.

    However, I'm a developer. I don't want people pirating my games. Jailbroken phones allow sideloading of pirated games, therefore jailbreaking is bad and I would like to see it Apple find a way to stamp down on it.

    Also, locking down the handset is a necessary evil to maintain reliability. Although I wish apps could integrate with system apps and extend functionality, I know from past experience with Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile that deep integration will practically guarantee frequest resets. The iPhone is the most stable smartphone I've ever owned and because that is important to me, I tolerate the limitations.

    I suggest that trying this device through iBooks is a prelude to attempting it through iTunes. If successful, it would make it much harder to Jailbreak.

    1. Robert Heffernan
      Jobs Horns

      Counter Counter Argument

      I too am no megafan or apple and I too am a developer.

      As far as I am concerned, the rights of the consumer trump the rights of the developer. After all, if there are no consumers, developers sell nothing, and you also don't want to alienate your customers. Also in my experience, most pirates are in the camp of they were never going to buy it in the first place, so it's not exactly a lost sale.

      As for locking down the device.. it's an evil yes, but not a necessary one. If the OS can't maintain a stable, reliable operating environment without resorting to such draconian '1984' style measures then it fails one of the most basic functions of an Operating System.

      So long as your app is well written, adheres to the defined APIs, and generally a well behaved piece of code then any instability and lack of performance is the users problem, not yours. It's been that way in the desktop space since the dawn of time, mobile devices deserve no special exemption from the rule.

      In regards to your situation of wanting your apps protected from jailbroken devices, then apple has shown you the way. Have your app try to run incorrectly signed code, if it fails, run as normal. If it runs, kill your app, or if you wanted to make money off the pirates, start popping ads up in your app.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Jailbroken phones MAY run pirated games, but they DO allow many wonderful things that Apple have decided you don't want/need. We don't force everyone to use butter knives. Steak knives MAY be used to kill people, therefore steak knives = bad? (dunno why I chose knives, probably just hungry, but you get the point)

      If a user wants reliability then not jailbreaking is obviously the way to go, but if they want to do all the cool things that are possible but not permitted by Apple then that is their (now thankfully legal) right, and they accept the associated risks.

      Me = Developer with William Wallace shouting "FREEDOM" in me ear

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: I don't want people pirating my games

      You /think/ you don't want people pirating your games. Actually it might turn out that piracy resulted in much greater distribution and exposure, and you ended up benefiting overall. Or it might turn out that piracy was insignificant and had virtually no effect on the bottom line.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    In Latin means both Apple and Evil.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Much as I like my iPhone... this rate, I suspect it may be the last time I buy an Apple product.

  24. Lol 1

    If you make it idiot proof...

    Circumventing DRM, there [should be] an app for that.

    Sounds like iPhoners badly need a Cydia app now called MiBook (hint, hint, hintedy, hint Apple) that bypasses the jailbreak check.

  25. Bruce Hoult

    Old news

    The latest JailBreak has already worked around this.

  26. JaitcH

    If unlocking an iThingy is legal and I buy an iBook and it doesn't work ...

    I would sue Apple for consumer fraud.

    Since US users can lawfully unlock their fruit-ware this doesn't break any criminal or civil laws. If I buy an iBook this should work on anything legal including anything from Apple.

    I have a feeling that jobs might have put his foot over the line on this one, even more so if there is no warning about dysfunctionality given in the purchasing process.

    Obviously the answer is not to buy iBooks, which will reduce the amount of cash leaches from your wallet.

    I wonder if he will try this in Europe?

  27. David Cantrell

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    iBooks? What's that? Is it an inferior clone of Stanza?

  28. David Lucke


    Oh dear, Apple's rubbish ebook reader is now even more rubbish. Boohoo. More users for the much better Stanza, then.

    News at 11: Apple continues to shoot self in foot

  29. D. M
    Gates Horns

    Vote with your money

    The only message Apple will hear, and the only way you can help, is STOPPING giving any money to Apple.

  30. Confuciousmobil
    Thumb Up


    There is a simple fix for this in Cydia now at the machackpc repo.

    I'm not sure of the legalities of Apple selling iBooks and then stopping you reading them on a legitimately Jailbroken device though.

  31. NoneSuch

    How about...

    ...just buying buying a book?

    Stable, well established and mature technology.

    No cables.

    No batteries.

    No e-commerce charges.

    Works great in the brightest sunlight.

    Can take it to the beach and not worry about sand or salt spray.

    When you page flip with your finger there is no lag or software patent payments involved.

    After reading it you can give it to someone else.

    Who is going to steal it?

    and Apple gets nothing.

    Plus, if the "cloud" ever crashes or you experience WiFi errors you still have your book. The elegant concepts work best.

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