Skip to main content

Checkm8 iOS exploit could make for a new unpatchable iPhone jailbreak

It looks like there’s another potentially huge iOS exploit out there. According to a security researcher who goes by the name “axi0mX” on Twitter, there’s a vulnerability for any iOS device that has an Apple A5 chip through an Apple A11 chip, which includes the likes of the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPad models dating back to the iPad 2. The researcher calls the exploit “checkm8” and released it on Twitter.

The exploit itself is a so-called bootrom exploit, which basically means that it’s a vulnerability in the device’s ROM, or read-only-memory, rather than the software. That means that Apple can’t fix the issue with a software update, so devices with the affected chips are basically permanently vulnerable.

It’s a pretty significant find, and could make for the first unpatchable jailbreak for iPhones in a number of years. The last publicly released iPhone bootrom exploit was released for the iPhone 4 in 2010, and it could allow anyone with a device that features an A5 to A11 chip to jailbreak their phones, if they so choose. There are other jailbreaks available to iPhones, but they’re based on software flaws and can be patched.

Of course, you won’t be able to jailbreak your iPhone with this exploit right away — and you still may never be able to. First, someone has to create a jailbreak that exploits the vulnerability, and there’s no guarantee that will ever happen. Still, known jailbreak developer Pwn20wnd seems to be interested in the exploit, and may well create a jailbreak that makes use of it.

Checkm8 could have other implications, too. According to axi0mX, it could ultimately be used to downgrade to older versions of iOS without Apple’s involvement, and it could be used to dual boot iOS. Of course, it could also be used by hackers, however it does need physical access to the device to work, so at least hackers won’t be able to make use of it remotely.

The exploit is currently available on GitHub, but it’s marked as a beta release right now. Jailbreaking exploits often come with easy-to-use tools that enable users to take advantage of them — but for now, checkm8 is still very technical and could brick an iPhone if used without the proper technical knowledge. Of course, we never recommend that you jailbreak an iPhone, as it voids the device’s warranty, makes for a less secure device, and could render your device unusable if something goes wrong.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
How I use my Apple Watch and iPhone to manage my diabetes
iPhone 15 Pro showing One Drop app and kit.

It’s November, which means it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, with World Diabetes Day recently happening on November 14. According to data from the Apple Heart and Movement Study (AHMS) and Apple Women’s Health Study (AWHS), there are about 537 million adults worldwide who are currently living with diabetes, with that number potentially reaching 643 million by 2030. In the U.S. alone, about two out of five people will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and more than one in three adults have elevated glucose levels that put them in the pre-diabetes zone.

I was pre-diabetic since my college years (it runs in both sides of my family), but then my doctor officially diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes around early 2018. However, I was told that my case was more “mild” than others and that taking some medication — while also cutting out carbs and sweets, plus daily exercise — can help me keep it under control.

Read more
The iPhone is getting out of control
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro showing the screens.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When Apple launched the original iPhone in 2007, it was as easy as could be — it was just the iPhone. There was only one model, and when you said you wanted an iPhone, the sales rep would know which one you meant ... because that was all there was.

Read more
This iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 camera test is closer than I expected
Purple iPhone 14 (left) and a green iPhone 15 in hand.

Every year, we get a new iPhone; that’s just the way it goes. And one of the biggest upgrades each year is with the camera system.

Though the spotlight is typically on the Pro models of the iPhone, Apple gave us a pretty significant upgrade this year with the standard iPhone 15. Of course, it’s not as feature-packed as the iPhone 15 Pro, but Apple brought the Dynamic Island and USB-C to the regular iPhone 15, and even bumped up the camera to a whopping 48MP.

Read more