Apple Files for Patent to Kill Jailbroken iPhone Handsets, iPod touch and iPad

You paid good money for them, but Apple still wants to own your jailbroken iPhone, iPod touch and/or iPad. Aside from voiding warranties on jailbroken its popular iDevices, Apple is now looking to disable them, too. Steve Jobs & Co. have filed a patent that will allow Apple to identify and disable hardware that has been hacked, jailbroken or put to use in a manner which the company never intended. This effectively makes your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch the property of Apple and you, the customer who paid for the hardware and software, are just along for the ride.

Just because jailbreaking is now legal thanks to a recent DMCA ruling by the Library of Congress, it doesn’t mean that Apple is going to lie back and watch all its hard work go to pieces. The new patent filed by Apple seems to be designed to take a rather aggressive course of action as reported by Mashable:

However, the patent also covers methods for identifying devices that have been hacked, jailbroken, unlocked or had their SIM cards removed, such as monitoring sudden increases in memory usage that could “indicate that a hacking program is being run and that an unauthorized user may be using the electronic device.” Theoretically, Apple could then wipe personal data from these devices and then alert AT&T to “shutdown any telephone service to the electronic device, shutdown the electronic device itself, or otherwise suitably extract the functions of the electronic device.”

Of course, many of us believe that while Steve Jobs has done a fine job delivering an excellent user experience through his products, he and Apple have no right to tell us what to do with our iPhone handsets, iPad tablets or iPod touches once we’ve paid for it. Wipe personal data? Shut down telephone service or the device itself?! Yes, it’s all for our own good according to Jobs.

If you’re perfectly content with Apple products and software as they are out of the box, this may be of little or no concern to you. But if you like tweaking your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and loading up applications, approved by Apple or not, as you see fit, maybe it’s time to start looking toward Google and Android.

[Via: Mashable and The Register]

  • Richard B

    If Apple is so concerned with jailbroken iPhones then they ought quit practicing geographic discrimination and allow me to buy and use a legal iPhone then. It really irritates me that you can buy an iPhone in the bush in Bangladesh, but you can’t buy one in Wyoming, USA.

  • Kevin

    You’re assuming that Apple has evil plans. Perhaps this is so that a lost iPhone, even a jailbroken one, can be bricked to protect the data. I’m just saying, until we see how it is implemented this worry could be for nothing. If jailbreaking is legal, I doubt Apple can just brick you phone because it wants to (at least not without getting sued).

    • Marc Flores

      Yes, I’m assuming Apple has evil plans. Protecting lost or stolen iPhones is already available with MobileMe and its remote wipe capabilities and Find My iPhone.

  • Fil

    well, i really hope this doesnt get approved, but if for whatever reason it does, ill gladly sell my iphone and move to android.

  • Zack

    Christ, everything apple does you people think is negative. They wont do something that would dramatically kill their users. It’s going to be for good use, believe me. This Apple hate is even more annoying than overexcited apple fanboys. Since when does everyone believe what the internet has to say? Coming from an Android user and an iPad owner let me tell you, android is NOT ready for a tablet. It looks like its from 1995 and would be god awful the way it uses swiping from screen edge to edge.

    • Jordan M

      Zack, how does Android look like it is from 1995? It’s a slick interface. It may not be user friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s dated. If anything, you would think an icon-centric interface would appear more dated than anything.
      Furthermore, it is not Apple hate. As far as I can tell, this site does a pretty good job of balancing their articles, and not having a total bias. That’s something that’s hard to come by on tech sites. Plus, even if they were being anti-Apple, then go to any other tech-based site, because most of them are pro-Apple anyways.

      Anyway, thank you for bringing this to my attention, Marc. It makes me proud to be an Android user.

      • AsISeeit!


        You said that this website is balanced when reporting the news? I guess if they told you that the earth was flat that you would believe it.
        The article on this website left out the fact that this pattent was applied for way back in February way before it was ruled that it’s legal to jailbreak your phone.
        If you hate what Apple is doing, or you hate their products, why would you buy them or waste your time bitching about what happens? SIMPLE SOULTION, DON’T BUY ANYTHING APPLE AND STOP YOUR BITCHING AND MOANING.

  • ReaganElephant

    edit…But if you like tweaking your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and loading up applications, approved by Apple or not, as you see fit, maybe it’s time to start looking toward Palm & webOS.

  • marilou

    There’s no source for this story. No quotes , no patent, no verification whatsoever. Half the commenters are going all “Apple is evil” and the other half, “Apple does only good.”

    Y’all are all being jerked around. Sombody just wanted to toss some raw meat to hungry dogs to get a fight going. There’s nothing here.

  • DCD

    I smell lawsuit…Invasion of privacy…If this happens I hope many give up the I phone…Android doesn’t seem to have a problem….

  • mike

    another reason to not own apple products

  • Justin

    Well it’s a bit mixed up to me. If it can sense my heart beat and all that’s invasion of privacy and pretty much illegal they can’t do that.

    Otherwise jailbreaking, to me there’ no point except for using it to unlock your iPhone or otherwise to get cracked apps.

  • mearl10

    You all are forgetting the main issue at hand. This is on the same page as what happened to Napster, and it is all about making sure you, and your app developers get what is rightfully due to you. People jailbreak iPhones to get free content, that would otherwise require a fee to be paid. The way I see it is, you can go to Android and still pay for the apps they offer, but in the end, this is going to be something that will affect Android and Apple. Everyone on here who has an issue with it, are all thieves and should pay for what you are using… You knew it when you bought it, and if you bought it to jailbreak it, then you are the idiot that is getting caught…

    • BLand

      mearl10, I agree with you 100%. Apple’s profit margin comes from software, not hardware. To think that they should sell you a device, for little profit, and allow you to manipulate that device to STEAL, from them, absolutely ridiculous! These are the same whiners that complain about big business ‘Ethics’….. Get a job.

    • John Ashton

      Wowwow wooow stop right there, Ok some people kailbreak it for legit reasons for example Using Ultrasn0w for a Carrier Unlock. Not many people are that evil, I know its something they can do but not all people want to use it for ‘free’ apps. So before you go on about the illegal reason of jailbreaking, think of the people who just want to use alternative carriers apart from AT&T

    • TC

      Hey, now, not everyone jailbreaks for the cracked apps. Stealing apps is an opt-in activity. But just because some people use their iPhone for an illegal activity does not give Apple the right- or even the obligation- to monitor the user. Besides, I read “elsewhere” that this was being spun as a way to protect the data in a phone in the crucial minutes or hours before a user realizes that their phone is even gone. I think it’s a terrible idea because the owner of the phone is not making the decision to wipe it and kill their contract, so you might just be trading one headache for another. Imagine your car breaks down, you’re flustered and your heart is racing because you’re on your boss’s short list lately, you pick up your phone to call a towing service, you input your password incorrectly, and your iPhone is instantly transformed into a shiny piece of plastic and glass aaaand you can look forward to dealing with AT&T to get your service reactivated? I’m thinking that Apple is patenting this for a much more specialized use, corporate phones, government agencies, or their own engineers maybe…

    • live2learn

      I have a jailbroken I-pad and have paid for every app on it. I require openVPN and the only way to get and use it is on an jailbroken device. I am sure the developer would have rather sold through Apple, but like many programs out there it used parts of the operating system that Apple doesn’t allow. Well what to do toss it in the river? Apple does control “what, how and WHERE” you can use your Apple device, try traveling outside the USA with it, suspended account! It is more like you rented the hardware from Apple, except for the part where they took lots of your money and then changed the terms and conditions. It does seem like there needs to be more legal framework to prevent software companies from placing unreasonable conditions on the software or hardware, that you “have to” agree with or throw the product away. They don’t give you your money back , you know? And you “have to” connect to their software in order to use the hardware from day 1. What if you had to buy all PC software from Microsoft, would that be allowed?

      I love Apple the company, but not Apple the marketing company and lawyers. If you don’t think there is something wrong right now. Try to back up your applications to CD and restore them. They even tell you make a backup as you are responsible for that, but they won’t tell you how. Songs and pictures yes, but Apps no.

      I am frustrated, because the products work so well, but I will join the class action immediately the day they turn off my device, or more likely, make me take an OS upgrade that eliminates the ability to restore non-Apple data.

  • Carlos Fontes

    Another reason I love my Samsung Vibrant, which is my third Android phone so far.

    iPhone is a great product but look, a much as I love Ford Mustangs, there are Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers.

    I’m glad that people are seeing that there are options out there. My cousin is going to upgrade today and I’m going to try to talk her into trying out the Samsung Captivate because she doesn’t have T-Mobile (which is a shame).

  • Tommy

    I already started disliking Apple when they began pointing fingers at other smartphones for a problem they have with their antenna. Now, the fact that they can control what people do with the software on their phones, makes me dislike Apple even more. I’m really thankful I bought the Droid X. 🙂

  • Thor

    I think that the worst that should be done is that tampering with a device that I purchased is to void the warranty. iPods make a real nice portable hard drive. Just because someone may have tampered with a device doesn’t mean they are thieves. No, we are allowing Corporations to have too much control over our lives. Desktop computers weren’t really meant to be used as routers, but they serve right well for that purpose. Processors weren’t initially meant to be overclocked, but they worked fairly well with proper cooling. What I do with something I PAID for is MY business!!

Back to top ▴