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Apple forbids jailbreaking, more w/latest iPhone NDA

updated 02:50 am EDT, Thu April 2, 2009

Apple forbids jailbreaking

Apple is taking a more aggressive stance against developers who create apps for "jailbroken" iPhones. According to a new report, the Cupertino-based company recently updated its "iPhone Developer Program License Agreement" - the agreement to which all iPhone developers are required to adhere -- to explicitly disallow jailbreaking, assisting in jailbreaking, and developing and distributing jailbreak apps. The Ars Technica report says that while previous agreements forbade the creation of apps that violate privacy, facilitate crimes, or violate intellectual property laws, the new one restricts developers from jailbreaking their own phones.

The new agreement also restricts developers from assisting others in "jailbreaking their phones, including (but not limited to) working on projects such as QuickPwn or PwnageTool." In response to an exemption filing by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apple in February publicly defined its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking, arguing that it represents copyright infringement and a DMCA violation. (The EFF proposal asked for an exemption that would allow jailbreaking of iPhones or other handsets, effectively liberating the devices to run applications other than those obtained from Apple's own iTunes App Store.)

In addition, the report says that developers are also "forbidden from using the iPhone OS, SDK, or other developer tools to develop applications for distribution in any way other than the App Store or Ad Hoc distribution." The new agreement puts significant restrictions on distribution, which is now only available via the App Store -- at Apple's sole discretion.

Some developers who have been frustrated for months by silence or lack of approval from Apple for App Store submission process have either discontinued development or begun distributing their applications on third-party or unofficial App Stores such as Cydia.

The report notes that updated portions of the (confidential) agreement specifically restrict jailbreaking or circumventing Apple's built-in iPhone OS security. While such agreements will not likely third-parties such as the iPhone Development Team who create the jailbreaking and unlocking apps, it will likely discourage developers from submitting their unapproved or rejected app on other distribution outlets that offer alternatives for customers interested in buying, testing, or installing with their software.

(e)You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so; and

(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.

Last September, Apple extended its iPhone Developer NDA by restricting the information that developers could discuss publicly by telling developers in its App Store rejection letters that "the information contained in this message is under non-disclosure." While discussion of details in iPhone development is generally restricted, numerous developers have complained publicly about rejections without repercussion.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    As if this is gonna...

    ...change anything.

    As long as it's possible to jailbrek a device, it will be done.
    End users want's to be able to make their own desitions, and not be dictated by a company.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too big for thar britches

    This is wrong in so many ways. Where is the bloody Justice Department when you need them? Out to tea with the SEC I suppose. Why do we need to be paying for this huge bloated government and all its agencies when they never do anything? Madoff rips off people to tune of 50 billion, and the SEC does nothing (even though they are warned); a hurricane barrels straight toward New Orleans, but FIMA does nothing, either before or after it hits; foreign extremist want to learn to fly planes, but not land them and the flight schools warn the CIA/FBI, but nothing is done about it. Not a single bureaucrat loses their job in any instance. Where is the accountability? Now Apple is blatantly breaking anti-trust laws and there is no response from Washington. Why do we need them? Where is the change, Mr. Obama? It's time for the states to start taking action themselves.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Part of the listed portion from Apple Developer agreement was there for a very long time, and is very obvious in its essence. The rest is invented by Arstechnica on April fool day.

    Just an example on how easily people can stop thinking for themselves even when presented with the original info.

  1. Darylal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Remember 1984?

    Remember when Apple used to Think Different and tell us why 1984 won't be like 1984? My how the tables have turned! This long time Apple user is more then happy to throw a hammer to jail break his phone.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Btch and moan

    Apple is asking its developers to sign an agreement that they will not break laws. Period.

    It does not say that Apple will go crazy chasing them down.

    But it does allow Apple to charge them with a crime or breakage of a contract if they go crazy and Apple is forced to fight them in court.

    Like ID theft, try to find a law that actually makes it wrong to steal someones identity. It aint there. Cause lawmakers long ago could not conceive of it.

    Just a thought,

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1984 indeed

    Yes, Darylal, 1984 indeed. This is why I don't play in Apple's playground anymore at home; still stuck with them at work.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why Apple?

    How come nobody ever complains at Nintendo, Sony, etc. about their semi-closed platform? I can't sell Nintendo games without licensing through them, and their development agreements have the same "don't hack our stuff" clause.

    If the iPhone was completely open, and everyone ran apps that were poorly written, and ran down the batter in 30 seconds, people would be complaining about how unstable and crappy the iPhone is and that Apple should do something about it so the iPhone platform survives.

    Well, this is apple preemptively doing something about it. There's nothing illegal or anti-trust about it. The iPhone is not a monopoly. Go buy an Android if you don't like it.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    hayesk is right.

    ibugv4, why are you here? go away if you don't play in apple's playground anymore. geesh. simple enough stuff.

    so, ms is going to allow all third party developers to hack windows any way they want so their software can run the way they want it to? yeah. good luck with that. but hey, enjoy their playground.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    is this like how your parents forbids their kids from drinking until they're 21?

    The reason Apple is trying to do this is to try to keep the device under their control as long as possible, so they can get their kick-backs and revenue streams.

    I wonder how long it will take apple to start thinking they should be getting 30% cuts from sales of all OS X software sold.

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