Fans of customizing iPhones and owners of the iPhone 5 got a huge boost when the popular jailbreak tool evasi0n launched for iOS 6 in February. One month on, downloads continue to rain in as Cydia — the alternative software that it provides access to — passed 14 million active monthly users on iOS 6.x devices, and 23 million overall.
To quickly explain evasi0n and Cydia to those that aren’t familiar with it. Cydia is arguably the most powerful alternative marketplace for Apple-centric devices. It provides users with a choice of applications, tweaks and modifications that help extend the capabilities of their device and overcome the limitations Apple sets. Evasi0n is one of a number of jailbreak tools which, when installed, enables device owners to access Cydia.
The figures themselves don’t directly relate to evasi0n, but it is likely to be responsible for the lion’s share of iOS 6 users — since it is the most prominent tool for the platform — and a large percent of the other users are likely to have downloaded it too. Eagerly awaited, it hit 7 million downloads after just four days.
The new figures, come from a member of the evad3rs – the team that develops evasi0n — and are via Cydia-creator Jay Freeman (@saurik), who has also validated them.
New statistic from @saurik: 14,051,500 unique devices have been seen running Cydia on iOS 6.x! 14 millions! and 23 millions any version.
– pod2g (@pod2g) March 2, 2013
The numbers are impressive but it is worth remembering that they come after one month of evasi0n’s launch. There’s no guarantee how many of these users — a lot of whom could be first time jailbreakers curiously drawn in by the noise around its release — will continue to use it beyond their early experience.
Equally, to give some context, Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones in its first fiscal quarter of 2013, so the number that choose to override its software is still relatively low.
It could get proportionally lower still since Apple is reported to be working on a new patch that will fill a number of the holes that evasi0n exploits, thus making it inoperable on devices that install the update once it is released. That’s according to evad3rs member David Wang (@planetbeing) who spoke to Forbes on the subject.
Far from defeated, Wang says the team will start over if the Apple update — which he believes will come out in around a month — does prevent the latest version of evasi0nfrom working.
“If they patch most of the bugs,” Wang says, “Then we’re starting from scratch.”
What is for sure, however, is that evasi0n has made jailbreaking a more mainstream activity than ever before, even with iOS 6.
Related reads: Jailbreaking: The community, the challenges and fighting Apple and Cydia and Jailbreak apps: The ecosystem, developers and increasing revenues
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