Apple has been fighting a war against jailbreaking since the first iPhone was jailbroken back in 2007. The ‘war’ usually goes like this; the jailbreakers find an exploit and then Apple push out an update to block the exploit in a never ending cycle. However, recently, coming across a reliable jailbreak has been hard. iOS 6 had a jailbreak ready the day it released, however, iOS 7 is still locked down.
A jailbreak is essentially someone gaining root access to the system. When that happens, modders are then able to give the everyday jailbreakers the privileges to tweak what shouldn’t be tweaked and install unapproved software. Gaining such access usually requires finding a bug or a vulnerability either in the iOS software itself, or the boot ROM. Hardware vulnerabilities can also be found in the Apple A-chips, but these are less common.
There are two types of jailbreaks, untethered and tethered. Many of the bugs that lead to jailbreaks only lead to the tethered kind of jailbreaks. A tethered jailbreak essentially means that you’ll need to plug your iDevice into a computer running a piece of jailbreak software every time you boot the device. This means that if you’re not around a computer with the relevant software, your phone is just an expensive brick.
As such, many users don’t tend to deal with a tethered jailbreak and prefer to wait for an untethered one to hit the scene. An untethered jailbreak is essentially a permanent jailbreak that works without needing to plug it into the computer to boot up each time. However, these are much harder to develop.
There was a time when there was multiple jailbreak suites just waiting to jailbreak your devices. Many even had multiple exploits to pull out of their magic hat when Apple fixed the one they were using. However, that is no longer true. With Apple seemingly continuing to harden their system against even the most minor of bugs. There hasn’t even been a jailbreak for iOS 6.1.4, the most recent version prior to iOS 7.
The team behind the popular jailbreak tool, Evasi0n, has said that there is in fact an exploit in the works. However, this could simply be one of those unreliable tethered iOS 7 jailbreaks. Even if it works at all, Apple will patch that hole quickly in one of the upcoming bug releases. (Read more about recent iOS 7 bugs here).