Why iBooks doesn't play nicely with Jailbreak

Why iBooks doesn't play nicely with Jailbreak

If you launch iBooks on a Jailbroken iPhone there's a good chance you'll get an error message and not be able to open any of your legitimately purchased iBooks content. This is NOT a new problem -- many of us here at TiPb have been having this problem for a while and with older versions of iBooks. Some thought it was a bug with iBooks or an issue with certain releases of redsn0w or greenpois0n Jailbreak tools, but iPhone dev-team member @comex finally figured out what was causing it.

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.

This is what the binary does:

int main() { return 42; }

The complete message you get is:

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

If you do restore your iPhone you will, of course, lose your Jailbreak. If you're an avid iBooks user and can't live it without it that's a choice you'll have to make. Why Apple is only choosing to do this with iBooks and not other iTunes content, like media and apps is unknown.

Again, this is not a new problem but with iOS 4.2.1 getting an untethered Jailbreak courtesy of greenpois0n (and iOS 4.2.6 for the Verizon iPhone), it's probably something more and more people have noticed and been complaining about. Hopefully the Jailbreak community comes up with a fix, otherwise Apple and iBooks might lose a lot of #TeamJailbreak customers to Amazon's Kindle store...

Have you had trouble using iBooks on your Jailbroken iPhone? Does it bother you enough that you'll restore or just stop using iBooks?

[@comex]

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Why iBooks doesn't play nicely with Jailbreak

50 Comments

Hope they don't do that to iTunes and the ap store. It's not illegal to jailbreak anyways so what gives. I could care less about reading books on this tiny screen but hope this doesn't extend to their other apps. I love my jailbreak.

You're right, it is not illegal, but apple does not have to support it either. That said, it would be in their best interest at this point to do it, but of course if they pull the Kindle app then we're all screwed.

No, we won't be screwed. We'll just buy the kindle book on the website, run in through unswindle to make it a non-DRM'd epub, and read it in Stanza.

ibook work fine on my idevice but most of my books are those free one they have in the apple book store. fyi, i have 4.2.1 greenpoison untethered jailbreak.

I don't think anyone can say that's the case. There's no indication they go out of their way to break it. Jailbreaking works only by exploiting holes in the firmware and OS. Apple often patches the holes that jailbreaking exploits, but that's a legitimate move to support the integrity and security of the platform. If that happens to kill a jailbreak in the process, so be it. Frankly, my opinion is that they're ambivalent about jailbreaking. If anything, they may be thankful to the jailbreak community for identifying potential holes that they may not have found otherwise. Most of their actions seem to support this theory.

No indication that they go out of their way??? They call an improperly signed executable that serves no purpose but to detect whether the device is jailbroken, and you call that not going out of their way?

They wont do it ... They know many people buy iphones and jailbreak them.. So as long as they sell iDevices...

This was happening to me ENDLESSLY on 4.1, but I haven't seen it since updating to 4.2.1. However, I was always able to get around it (somehow) by opening and closing the book in question very quickly about 3-4 times. Don't know why or how it worked, but it did, and I continued reading. No matter how you cut it, though, this is really lame.

Same with me, I saw this on 4.1 but ever since updating to 4.2.1 the problem went away. At least I know of a workaround (hey, if it works it works, right?) if it crops up now, thanks Seth!

This is smart on the part of Apple. Try it with an app most do not use and see if it can be figured out. What's to say that other developers will not include the same code...

I hardly use iBooks because I think their selection is a joke. I think this will further push me away from their app towards the Kindle app if I want to read a book at a whopping 3.5 inches.

I bought 1 ibook which is now broken so thanks Apple! You helped me make the decision to not buy anymore even if there is a work-around for this at some point. Looks like I'll install the Kindle app and go with that.

It bothers me a lot, but not enough to reinstall. I just GOT my iPhone 4 jailbroken and configured with tools that I can't normally use. There is no way I'm going to lose that so I can read a book on the smaller screen.
My iPad on the other hand, I'm going to have to blow that away and reinstall. That's what I read on anyway.
Turns out it only affects purchased books. The free books and PDFs I have on my iPhone still work.
So be it. Maybe I'll just crack the book.... :)

I only read books on my iPad use Kindle. My iPad is not jailbroken, but have been thinking about it. Does this also affect jailbroken iPads?

Comex already found a fix. It will most likely be implemented soon into the Jailbreak tools, according to MuscleNerd.

This problem did not exist with iBooks v1.2 on v3.2.2 firmware jailbroken with limerain. I had purchased a few books which worked fine but after updating to v4.2.1 with greenpoison it gives this error. On stock firmware I read the book and then deleted it. This would keep me from purchasing any more books from the iBooks store in the future!

Yep, ran into this problem myself. You can eventually get the book opened in iBooks on a jailbroken phone if you just keep opening and closing ibooks but after my umpteenth time of doing that I've switched to nook and kindle apps. No more iBooks for me.

If he found the fix that is great news folks but apple will not give up it's fight that easily!

The reasons for me just keep stacking up to move to Android or BB.
My Jailbroken iphone does EVERYTHING I want it to. But Jobs & Co, want to cripple it and force it to do everything THEY want it to do.
I only have 3 jailbreak apps that I really need and apple cuts even one of them, then I am gone.
TV Out - Not doable without jailbreak.
MyWi - I don't want to pay AT&T for this.
Ultrasnow Unlock - I don't want to pay $1000 for a factory unlocked version

I hear you there but believe me, anything Apple does to block or affect a JB the devs will figure out and defeat Apple just as they have since this began. It might take a little while but eventually they will win over Apple.

yeah....same issues as i read over in androidcentral with some of their phone. u try to stop ppl from jailbreaking/rooting it...it's like an open invitation for these developers to do it even more.

I love my iPad and the iPhone have a factory unlocked one but I have legitimate book purchases which I cannot read which sux thanks to Crapples policy to make jailbroken devices render them useless. I had purchases worth over 70 $ in books I will move to the kindle app. Screw them.

Do we care? The iBooks app, and the selection of iBooks isn't worth bothering with. I've used the Nook reader from day one, and there's always the Kindle reader.
Chances are excellent that if all else fails, we'll see a jailbreak ebook reader that will do both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So phooey on you, Apple.

Looked for 5 different books in iBooks over the holidays. Not a single one was available. It's also painfully slow compared to the other readers. It's pretty, and has potential, but it's certainly not a deal breaker for a JB at this point. If they starting doing this with other iTunes content, obviously that would be a huge problem. In the meantime, I'm a new JB'er and loving it!

I couldn't agree more. Every book I have wanted to read is not available in the iBook Store. Of course it is available on Amazon though so this bug doesn't bother me really.

Obviously vanilla iOS is still better than anything else out there or jailbreakers would migrate to android. I've yet to see anything compelling enough to jailbreak for (other than the illegal features), and I sure as heck won't spend any money on apps that could be worthless the next time Apple issues a firmware update. I also can't stand the thought of not being able to update my OS the same day Apple releases it.
That being said, I'm not on a Team pure crusade. I don't care what people do with their iPhones as long as i'm not the tech support for them. What does annoy me, however, is the entitlement issues some of you have. Apple has the right to fight jailbreaking. Apple also has the right to do what it takes to make sure their devices aren't being used for theft of product or services. If that breaks things for you, oh well. That fun comes with the territory. Having the "right" to jailbreak != Apple has no right to deter or outright keep people from doing it. If you feel like you are being bullied maybe it's time to find a different playground.

I don't think people can blame Apple for trying to stop people from jailbreaking. But at the same time Apple needs to realize a lot of people all over the world want extra features that they think we don't need. They need to stop thinking they know what's best for us consumers and include more features that people have been asking for or make it more customizable so people can add these missing features.

Apple has always trimmed the fat from their products. That's why everyone and their mother can use them. It's a really tough thing to give people everything they want without complicating things. The good thing is they have some competition now and any shortfall in the product line (e.g. Notifications) will be called to their attention. These popular features will no doubt improve over time, and they will be implemented right the first time. Although i don't think features like themes and GUI tweaks will ever make the list.

I have never had this issue on any of my iDevices. I have a jb 3Gs, iPad, and iTouch. iBooks works perfectly fine on 4.2.1

I wish Apple would perform a similar jailbreak check at a higher-level during boot time. I want to know if my iPhone has been jailbroken by someone/something without my knowledge or permission.

Good job I have not jailbroken this iPhone 4 as I have over 600 book, PDF mac/iphone mags and PDF user guides on it and I need to use iBooks as it's the only app that I can use VoiceOver on when I can't be asked to read it myself. Looks like I won't be getting hotspot for free then

Im in 4.3 and I can't even open iBooks. Tried with 1.3 and 1.2 and nothing. When trying to open iBooks I see the bookshelf empty for a second and then shuts down.

Odd...!. I just located your site by hunting for financial spreadbetting' on Google. But I have not located any articles or blog posts about that on right here?