A Reddit user who goes by the name “newhacker1746 ” has successfully ported Ubuntu to a jailbroken iPhone 7. Check out the full video demonstration of the Linux bootup process below.
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Ubuntu 20.04 booted on a jailbroken iPhone 7
Daniel Rodriguez aka newhacker1746 has successfully booted Ubuntu 20.04 on an iPhone. The user also posted the installation details on the Linux subreddit. You can check out the complete tutorial here.
It is compatible only with devices with the A10 Fusion system-on-chip (iPhone 7, iPhone 7 plus, and iPod touch 7th generation). Apparently, the kernel fork for Ubuntu does not support any chip other than the A10.
As usual, we don’t recommend installing Ubuntu on your daily driver. If you have a spare device lying around, then go ahead and give it a whirl.
Here’s the video demonstration of Ubuntu booting up in the command line mode.
As surprising as it may sound, this is not the first time a Linux distro has been ported to the Apple iPhone.
Back in the golden days of jailbreaking, David Wang aka planetbeing tried porting Linux to the iPhone. Coding the drivers from scratch, however, proved to be too difficult of a task.
There’s no GPU support for Ubuntu at the moment. Currently, Ubuntu relies on the generic frame buffer provided by the device’s operating system as a fallback measure.
This port is based on the infamous Sandcastle project. For the uninitiated, Project Sandcastle lets you install Android and Linux on your iPhone as a secondary firmware on top of the stock iOS operating system.
Goodbye iOS… welcome Linux
When you boot into Ubuntu/Linux on an iPhone, your mobile device is not an iPhone anymore. You’re essentially using a Linux mobile device.
The USB ethernet gadget driver takes over the endpoint. The mobile device gets an IP address on your network as a computer. You might think of it as a powerful Raspberry Pi at this point.
Rodriguez also posted a video of booting Ubuntu to the GUI with a full desktop running on an iPhone.
Contrary to popular belief, simply booting into Linux will not let you run checkra1n jailbreak without connecting to a computer.
The reason being that checkra1n exploits a vulnerability in the DFU mode of an iPhone. The iOS operating system does not have access to it since the DFU mode is implemented at the hardware level.
Nevertheless, this is a watershed moment for the jailbreak community! It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Linux on the iPhone.