Jailbroken iPhone: Apple’s remote kill switch

By Peter Chubb - Aug 22, 2010

Apple understand how frustrating it is when a user loses or has their iPhone stolen, which is why the Cupertino company plans to patent a remote kill switch. However, the system will also detect if a handset has been jailbroken and then render the handset useless. Apple seems in a constant battle to keep up jailbreaking, the latest is the iPhone iOS 4.0.2 Jailbreak and Unlock.

According to Neil Hughes from AppleInsider most phone makers already have this kill switch, but Apple plans to go further with theirs and will brick any of their devices. Looking at the diagram below you will see just how simple the system is; it shows that any abnormal activity could lead to the device being shutdown remotely.

We have to wonder what is Apple’s main focus here, is it for the user if their device is stolen, or more for them when one of their products gets jailbroken? We are not certain if such a feature would be implemented, it will be like Apple watching you 24/7.

Hughes already points out that there is already an app called Find My iPhone, which is good enough to locate your handset if you have misplaced it or it has been stolen. Do you believe that Apple should be allowed to brick your iPhone if it had been jailbroken?

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Also See: WWDC 2018 event dated early for iOS 12, new iPad Pro?

  • Goldmine56

    I am receiving messages from apple that I have to restore my iphone and I have to reboot. It is getting worst and today I lost all my text messages when I finally got my phone back with my service. I have received this message 3 times this week every other day. I brought my iphone and it is paid for and yes it is unlocked. Now Apple is trying to kill my iphone and they told me I have to upgrade my phone. I told them if I ever needed help or need to call someone and my phone does not have service because of their messages: that would not be good. I believe I have rights too. If anyone else is having problems please post.

  • Take it easy peeps, apple won’t use this to kill your phone because it’s jailbroken, that’s just a bunch of speculation to grab a headline.

    But I still disabled apple killswitch in SBSettings, you know, just in case

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  • Julian

    I agree with Chris James. As soon as the Killswitch bricked the first iphone it will take about 24 hours till there’s an app for that. I personally don’t worry because around 20% of the iphones are jailbroken and that would be mass destruction, so Apple could NEVER even dare to pull it through. Just think of the free promotion on the streets, all these iphone users! Otherwise we would all use Froyo (android 2.2) as the only boot option. Damn Steve, just don’t get greedy, it’s not your invention. PS: neither was the iPod!

  • (dot,dot,dot) done

    i think apple should just stick to warranty killing, when you buy an iphone, its in your possesion, and one big company shouldn't damage other people's personal property.

  • Smarty

    If apple does this everyone can simply trade phones and the phone they will posses will no longer be under any type of contract and will render the killswitch obsolete to jailbreakers. Further more software update could disable the killswitch. I think we should killswitch apple lol

  • Jason

    Just like Microsoft kicked Apples butt so will another phone manufacturer soon. Apple are getting way too greedy.

    Apple have already 'banned' flash on the iPhone & iPad, just how far will they push all of us until we get so fed up that we just dump them?

    Don't push it Apple! Just remember the customer ALWAYS has the last say! Another Microsoft is just around the corner.

    You have been warned.

  • Tariq

    That’s just stupid. Even though I probably won’t Jailbreak my iPhone anytime soon I still believe that after paying alot of money for the pho e you should be able to us it however you want if you take resposibilty for anything that happens. If Apple to decide to do this I for one will be going back to using HTC phones as they offer alot mor freedom and personalisation.

  • G-Nome

    It's already been proven in court that jailbreaking is LEGAL, if an that's a very small if, apple tries to brick iPhones for their OWNERS jailbreaking their device, there's gonna be a line around the courthouse of people suing the crap out of apple. I say bring it apple, I'll be first in line

    • Nathaniel

      I am with you on this one. In the beginning of the decloration of independence, it says "We the people." We the people of America have the right to do what we want. Unless if it is illegal, life threatening or threatening the government. And last time I checked jailbreaking your iPhone is not a threat. APPLE!! YOU CAN NOT AND WILL NOT CONTROL YOUR BUYERS!!

  • Chris James

    There is already a way for jailbroken apple users to prevent the killswitch, downloading a package from cydia known as "Boss Prefs' " gives the user an option to disable the killswitch, thats the beauty of Jailbreaking 🙂 the killswitch is software thats written into the idevices OS, which is software, Jailbreaking is the pet name given to the process of altering the OS, if the OS can be altered so that third party apps' can be run on the device im sure the software that allows apple to remotely block the device can be altered to say "screw you apple, we own the device its our choice what we do with it" and disable the kilswitch function or remove the code from the OS that allows the function of a killswitch completely

  • Jobs Is a Douche!

    It doesnt really matter whether or not Apple implements this kill switch. Each time a new OS is released, a new jailbreak soon follows. More than likely, if this kill switch comes out, a new jailbreak will follow which will disable the switch in the process. Someone out there will figure it out and find a way around it.

  • harold Thomas

    It is IRONIC that Apple railed against Big Brother in the initial Superbowl ad for Macs, and here they are being the poster boy for BIG BROTHER. I have an IPhone and will be done with my contract in a few months. After my commitment to ATT i think it is my phone. If i bought a car from GM, using GMAC, and I utilized OnStar for the life of my finalicial obligation would GM have the right to deactivate my car when I stopped using OnStar? The mindset at Apple has always been elitist but this really crosses the line. When I unlock the phone and go with T-Mobile…how will they find me to send the "Bricking?" Let the congregation say AMEN!

  • WaltFrench

    Blatant FUD.

    First, a patent is merely a claim to be able to do something without somebody else — whether Microsoft, Oracle or PatentTroll Inc — claiming that Apple owes them money for the idea.

    Second, you assert that Apple will render a user's phone inoperable against his will. That clearly would be grounds for Apple getting sued and all the bad PR that'd go with it. Besides, the patent's justification for why it would be invoked is at the user's direct request. So you've utterly turned the idea on its head.

    Third, although you cite FindMyPhone, you're certainly aware that only a small fraction of iPhone users have set up the capability, that they pay extra for it, and that a clever hacker can subvert it if they have stolen the phone.

    So disinformation campaign in the cause of Blatant Eyeball Trolling by Product-Reviews.Net. A thousand times worse than whatever Apple will do with this proposed capability.

  • jds

    This is going too far. I can understand that Apple does not want users to jailbreak new phones that under contract. But once the contract is over Apple should have no reason to resort to these kind of tactics. The phone is paid for and Apple should have no control over it.

    • tj

      ya we even have a law under for it its called freedom of speech apple once we buy it, its our own choice of what we can do so apple should not be controlling us for this apple should think this over before congress comes in and kills their buisness

  • Bob Forsberg

    One step too far mein Führer.

  • Richard Cantave

    So i wonder what they'll tell me if my phone suddenly gets remotely bricked as a result of someone other than me jailbreaking it without my consent, just like many people did to the Phones in several apple stores when Jailbreakme.com became available. Apple needs to focus on more important things such as permanent fixes for their hardware defaults. ive had every single iphone which came out so far and i've jailbroken each and everyone of them, "I" paid for my phones so why should they tell me what i can or cannot do with it as long as i agree to be responsible for any issues as a result of tampering with the software.