The bad news just keeps coming for Apple. The US Government has ruled that owners of the iPhone are legally able to ‘jailbreak’ their phones, a process that allows then to run unvalidated code of the machines.
Owners usually jailbreak iPhones so to run programs not obtained via iTunes. This typically includes things such as software emulators, feature-rich programs that boost functionality or, more often than not, illegally pirated software.
Until now Apple has successfully argued that ‘jailbreaking’ a phone contravened a federal law that prohibits users from bypassing technical measures implemented by companies in their products.
However, one inclusion a new set of modifications to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has created a number of new exemptions – including mobile handsets, of which the iPhone obviously is one.
The ruling will also apply to Google Android devices.
Apple has never prosecuted anyone for jailbreaking an iPhone, instead preferring to disable known hacks via its regular firmware updates. Though running pirated software remains illegal, the news will still likely prove a boost for the already healthy hacker community that surrounds Apple’s device.
“Apple's goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone, and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris told the AP.