Rooting your iPhone is a practice strongly discouraged by Apple. However, the Apple brand has not hesitated to send rooted iPhones to several security experts, so they can dissect iOS without being hampered by the usual security systems.
In July 2020, Apple launched the Apple Security Research Device Program, a brand new program dedicated to searching for security vulnerabilities on iOS. As Google or Microsoft already do, the Apple brand invites computer security experts to analyze Apple devices and the operating system from every angle, in order to find exploitable vulnerabilities.
Of course, who says bug hunting says reward to the key. The Cupertino firm is promising $1.5 million for the most deserving researchers. However, this new program is not open to all. Apple has carefully selected the participants and as our colleagues at macRumors tell us, the experts will soon be able to start working.
Indeed, Apple claims to have sent the first test smartphones to researchers. These iPhones are a bit special, since they are all rooted. In order to ensure that expert searches are not hampered by the usual locking devices, Apple has chosen to disable them.
The Apple brand wants researchers to be able to install any tool on these iPhones to test the operating system. Participants also have access to a complete documentation and a dedicated forum on which they can interact directly with Apple engineers. These rooted iPhones will be on loan for a year, and will have to be returned to Apple once this deadline has passed. However, researchers wishing to continue their research will be able to apply for an extension of the loan.
As a reminder, Apple offered in 2019 a million dollars to whoever will succeed in hacking the iPhone. This bug-hunting program was open to everyone (a first for Apple), and participants were invited to hack the iOS core without the iPhone owner resorting to any interaction.