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Jailbreaking Information for iOS Devices

What is jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking unlocks the security settings on your device so that you have admin control over it. After it's jailbroken, others could potentially have admin control over it, too. On an Android device, this same process is called "rooting."

Sometimes people jailbreak their devices intentionally — for example, to change the SIM card when they travel abroad, or to use the device with a different carrier. Other times they might not know their device is jailbroken — they might have visited a website or downloaded a document that altered the device's settings.

Why does it matter if a phone is jailbroken?

When an iOS device is jailbroken, its built-in security features are compromised. For example, by design, iOS "sandboxes" its applications so that data from one app can't be read or altered by another one. When you jailbreak your phone, you're vulnerable to hackers who could steal your passwords and data, or install malware on your device.

In addition, you won't receive software updates and security patches if your device is jailbroken.

Some of you work with data that Stanford categorizes as Moderate or High Risk. If you work with High Risk Data, you must use a device that offers hardware encryption, that has not been jailbroken, and that employs the security settings and features that can be automatically configured for you by MDM.

Jailbreak detection

Stanford can determine through its network services whether or not your device was jailbroken. MDM notifies you of this status because:

  • You may need to un-jailbreak your phone to remain in compliance with the requirements of your job.
  • You might not know that the data on your device is at risk — for example, your banking apps, your Facebook account, and anything else that requires a secure login.

How to un-jailbreak your device

  1. Connect your iOS device to iTunes.
  2. In the left sidebar in iTunes, select your device.
  3. Click the Summary tab in the main window, then click the Restore button.
  4. Click Back Up when you see a pop-up message that asks if you want to back up your device, then click Restore again. Your device will first be returned to factory default settings before restoring it.
  5. Wait while iTunes goes through the backup process and until you see the iPhone is activated message.
  6. Click Restore from restore your apps, music, and data back onto the phone. Any jailbroken apps won't be transferred back to the device.
Last modified March 30, 2017