New un-jailbreaking tool Cydia Impactor for iOS has Android roots

jail cells
Pixabay (CC0)

Jailbreaking an iPhone is a process that has consequences – if you want to return to the walled garden, you generally have had to either accept an iOS update that could break your ability to jailbreak the device again in the future, or find a specific version of your firmware and install it manually.

Now, however, there’s a simpler way – developer Jay Freeman, better known as “Saurik” online, has released Cydia Impactor, a straightforward utility that lets iOS users roll back their jailbreaks without updating to a new version, preserving the ability to jailbreak again in the future.

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Impactor, according to Saurik’s website, has been around since 2013 as a tool for gaining root access to mobile devices running Android – iOS’s main platform rival. The iOS version shares the same code base, and hence, the same name. Saurik is probably best known for the main Cydia program, a replacement for the App Store available to jailbroken phones.

Cydia Impactor for iPhones is currently in beta, Saurik noted – it’ll work only with iOS 8.3 and 8.4 at the moment – and he also warned that it’s designed to completely wipe all data from the phone, so backups are necessary.  To use it, jailbroken iPhone owners will need to access it through the Cydia Installer, available via popular jailbreaking tools like Pangu.

Doing something similar to devices running Android is a different process – there’s a lot more diversity, so unlocking the bootloader and gaining root access to an Android device is dependent on who made it, who your mobile carrier is, and a host of other factors. The process can be complicated and tricky, simple, or even unnecessary – some Android handsets are sold unlocked.

But the fact that there’s a relatively simple rollback option available now for iOS jailbreakers that won’t prevent them from jailbreaking again has plenty of users excited – the announcement made headlines in the Apple blogosphere and the release thread on r/jailbreak contained a lot of praise for the new tool.

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