iOS 8.1 plugs security hole that made it easy to install emulators

Apple logoThe next version of iOS may not be an upgrade for fans who use their iDevices to emulate classic games. The latest beta version of iOS 8.1 removes the famous (or infamous) "Date Trick" workaround used by iOS emulator makers to bypass App Store restrictions on their work, without the need to jailbreak the device.

Apple rules have long prevented emulators for classic game consoles and computers from appearing on the App Store, though some have managed to sneak their way through briefly (or more officially through a licensing deal with rights holders). Since last year, though, the makers of emulators like GBA4iOS and SNES emulator SiOS have relied on a loophole called the "Date Trick" to allow these apps (and ROM files) to be downloaded and installed through the built-in Safari browser. The trick gets around restrictions on unsigned apps by setting the device's date back at least two months, allowing users to easily run emulators to their heart's content without jailbreaking.

iOS 8.1 plugs security hole that made it easy to install emulators

iOS 8.1 beta testers are reporting those days of easy emulation seem to be coming to an end in the latest update, though. GBA4iOS tester Dario Sepulveda writes that iOS 8.1 Beta 2 blocks the Date Trick workaround, cutting off the ability to install the app.

"Unsurprisingly so, this was a long-time coming; we knew this would one day arrive," Sepulveda writes. "After the Date Trick became famous earlier last year our panic subsided and we learned to live a period of peace knowing that even though some of our favorite emulators' certificates were revoked by Apple, we could still install these emulators by rolling our date back - we came to believe it was something that would last. Apple, it seems, had other plans."

"The Date Trick fuels the emulator communities nowadays... without it, everything looks bleak," he continues.

It's not guaranteed that this fix will make it into the final release of iOS 8.1, expected later this month, but it seems likely that Apple has finally plugged what it sees as a security hole. iOS users can still jailbreak their iDevices and download emulators through various third-party app stores, of course, but that means giving up access to Apple's official support, opening yourself up to security risks, and waiting for new jailbreaks every time Apple patches the OS. If you don't want to do that, well...there are some good classic console emulation options on OS X these days.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, iOS, OSes

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