What you need to know
- Correllium has found a way to run Android on iPhones.
- It only works on some iPhones.
- Apple's likely to be less than pleased with the development.
Cybersecurity startup Correllium has found a way to run Android on some iPhones, and it's making it available to anyone who wants to try it. Apple isn't going to be best pleased with the development, and it's already locked in a court battle with the company.
Correllium is calling the whole thing Project Sandcastle, apparently as a dig at Apple's sandboxing efforts. It lives at projectsandcastle.org, and that's where you can go to find out tons more information. But Forbes has already taken it for a spin.
According to the report, Corellium is simply trying to unlock Apple's hardware so as to allow users to do what we want with it. Corellium CEO Amanda Gorton told Forbes that Project Sandcastle is about "having fun building something new from the sand — from the literal silicon of the hardware".
"Apple restricts iPhone users to operate inside a sandbox, but users own that hardware, and they should be able to use that hardware the way they want. So where sandboxes create limits and boundaries on the hardware that users own, sandcastles provide an opportunity to create something new and wonderful from the limitless bounds of your imagination."
The hack uses the popular checkra1n jailbreak as its jumping-off point, which in turn means it will only work with specific devices. Apple's latest iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are out, for example.
The hack is currently limited to a handful of devices: the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and the iPod Touch, but Chris Wade, cofounder of Corellium, says more support is coming. And it may not ever work on any iPhones older than the 5S or newer than the X. That's because the hack uses the checkra1n jailbreak to launch, which won't work on the 11 model or above. If a new jailbreak is found, however, it could be possible Android for iPhone will work on the most recent Apple devices. And given the underlying vulnerabilities exploited by checkra1n probably won't ever be fixed by Apple, it should work in perpetuity for relevant devices.
This isn't the first time that Apple and Corellium have locked swords. The iPhone maker accuses Corellium of selling iPhone replicas in the form of "virtual iPhone devices" that people can then use as a way to find further exploits. This latest move isn't one that will calm the tensions between the two companies.
Not that Corellium seems to care. David Wang, co-founder of the company, hopes that this will push others to build on the work that has already been done.
Wang says he's excited to see what the community does with the team's work. "Even old devices could potentially be recycled without the issue of being locked to another user's iCloud account or risking someone else's data. We're excited to see where the community takes it. We hope that it helps inspire other developers to keep pushing the mobile ecosystem forward."