When Apple announced iOS 5, one feature that seemed to excite people quite a lot was the fact that it was totally “PC-free.” This means that you never have to plug your iDevice into a computer to update, sync, backup and download. One aspect essential to making this system work, Apple said, is over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
OTA updates, which have been absent from every previous version of iOS, were greeted with cheers and applause when Apple announced they would be part of iOS 5. Many customers could not wait to get their hands on it and rushed to download the first beta. Unfortunately, though, the feature was not running on the first beta. Or the second. Or the third.
However, I am happy to report that in iOS 5 beta 4 (released yesterday) we finally get to see OTA updates in action. Users running beta 3 on their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch were able to update to the fourth beta simply by going to System Preferences, navigating to “Software Update” and pressing download.
Now, when this feature was announced, I wondered how this would affect jailbroken devices. After all, updating a device usually undoes the jailbreak. Today it appears we have an answer to that question.
A member of the iPhone Dev-Team known as MuscleNerd sent out a tweet saying:
The 5.0b4 OTA update won’t work on JB devices due to an explicit check of /Applications..almost like a present from Apple
So OTA updates just don’t work on jailbroken devices. When attempted, the update fails every time. While this may initially be a disappointment, MuscleNerd said it was a “present” from Apple because, as I said before, an OTA update would un-jailbreak a device. If I had to guess, I’d say that the slew of hackers out there would prefer not have the ability to preform OTA updates over having them work, but un-jailbreaking their devices in the process.
What’s more, jailbreakers can still update to beta 4, they just have to do it the old fashioned way and then use the updated redsn0w to re-apply the jailbreak.
Jailbreakers out there – how do you feel about this? Was I right in assuming you’d rather keep your hack in favor of OTA updates, or would you rather be able to update your device on the fly? Share your views in the comments below or send me a tweet.