**** Updated 1/15/12 ****

Most of you are coming into this post with the latest 5.0.1 jailbreak because it broke your iBooks app just like the 4.2.1 jailbreak in 2011. Thankfully, there’s a fix for you too. Just today, @saurik put out an update to Corona in Cydia. Version 1.0-4 is the latest edition of Corona and it’s supposed to fix your iBooks issues. Try that and you should be good to go.

I just recently updated my iPhone to 4.2.1 thanks to the greenpois0n jailbreak. Yes, I jailbreak… and I’m proud of it. There are many benefits to jailbreaking your iPhone like SBSettings, Activator, Infinifolders, etc. The real reason I jailbreak: because I can. I wouldn’t consider myself a rebel but I do like having the opportunity to install whatever I’d like onto my iPhone. Jailbreaking has received negative feedback from Apple since it gained popularity in 2007. They claim it voids the device’s warranty but anyone can easily restore the device to factory state via iTunes. Up until this point, the game has always been cat and mouse. Hackers exploit code, Apple fixes said code.

Today marks a new realization for me as a jailbreaker: Apple deliberately crippled my device.

Since using the greenpois0n jailbreak, I have been unable to open some of my iBooks that I rightfully purchased from the iBook Store. I thought it was a problem with the downloaded books, so I re-downloaded them. That didn’t work so I removed the iBooks from my iPhone and re-sync’d them from my computer… still no luck. Then I stumbled on a tweet from @comex tonight that really blew my mind.

It seems that before opening a DRMed book, iBooks drops an improperly signed binary, tries to execute it, and if it works concludes that the device is jailbroken and refuses to open the book.

Seriously? I verified the issue by opening the broken books on my iPad. I haven’t had a need to jailbreak the iPad so I’ve left it alone. Without much surprise and with no merriment, I was able to open the books just fine on the iPad. The same books, when opened on my iPhone, now tell me this:

There is a problem with the configuration of your iPhone. Please restore with iTunes and reinstall iBooks.

Yeah, okay. That message doesn’t appear when there’s actually a problem with my iPhone… so Apple obviously put it there as a big “screw you” to all of the jailbreakers out there. I’m seriously disappointed with Apple’s decision here. This probably won’t be the last ‘jailbreak check’ we run into but it’s definitely the first one we’ve noticed.

After doing some light reading on Twitter — many thanks to @pushfix — I was able to figure out that these ‘jailbreak checks’ have been there since iOS 4.0. They only show up with some jailbreaks and aren’t triggered by most jailbroken devices. Does that mean greenpois0n isn’t a good jailbreak solution? That depends on how much you like reading DRM’d iBooks. This new jailbreak actually removes a lot of OS restrictions put in place by Apple. The more restrictions you remove, the more likely you are to run into something like the iBooks failure. People much smarter than me are working on a way to fix this as it’s an extremely common issue with greenpois0n’d devices. According to @pushfix, they can either tell the device to return the proper answer to the jailbreak check or just bypass the feature entirely. Our hacker friends typically solve these problems quickly, so expect an update to the situation soon.

What legal consequences could come of this? Apple has locked me out of the iBooks that I legitimately paid for — what if the iPhone was my only device? The Library of Congress declared that it is completely legal to jailbreak your devices. It appears that Apple is throwing caution to the wind and opening themselves up for a slew of lawsuits over… iBooks. Really? Even if a corporation doesn’t like us messing with their perfect OS, they can’t stop us from doing what’s legal. By crippling our access to paid material, they’re writing, “Please. Sue us” on every jailbreakers forehead. Guess what? We have magic erasers and a high pain tolerance. Further still, it’s only a matter of time before we call Elle Woods.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. Do you think Apple has any right to cripple jailbroken devices?


The iPhone Dev Team has announced a new version of Pwnage Tool that will jailbreak your device using the “feedface” exploit developed by Chronic Dev. This new jailbreak fixes the iBooks issue. There will also be Cydia packages available to fix the iBooks jailbreak checks so we can all go back to reading our books. Now that @comex and @pushfix patched the problem, we’ll probably see the fix become universal and make its way over to the greenpois0n jailbreak as well.

Josh Carr
Josh founded eciov in 2008 and has overseen it's evolution into a lifestyle site. He enjoys all things digital, art, music, creativity -- anything that can evoke emotion. If he's not working on this site or at his day job as a UX Engineer, he's out riding his motorcycle or jumping his truck on trails in the mountains.
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