How can I find out if my iOS device has been jailbroken (with a drive-by exploit for example)?

Is there an app for that?

  • 2
    I don't think a driveby jailbreak even exists. There were jailbreaks that you could initiate in Safari for certain versions of iOS, but as far a I know nothing like that was ever exploited for nefarious purposes. What version of iOS are you running? Nov 6, 2012 at 19:59
  • 1
    It's a reasonable question in the case where the users phone was out of their control for a little while. I imagine it would also be useful for people who arrive at this page suspious that a jelous other half has installed some stealth tracking app
    – Joe
    Dec 7, 2012 at 8:34

4 Answers 4


It can be difficult it if was done stealthily (for example - it's fairly easy to hide things like Cydia) - my approach would be to see if iBooks or Skype work - iBooks has historically been broken by jailbreaks and Skype is designed to prevent use on a jailbroken device (which is annoying if you want to use skype, but excellent if you want to know if you are on a jailbroken device).

  • 1
    Skype works just fine on JB devices (for years now) and iBooks is no longer an issue either. Your suggestions are sorely outdated and this should not have been accepted as the answer.
    – user10355
    Mar 31, 2013 at 15:49

Basically, if you can execute arbitrary code or write to arbitrary disk locations, you're jailbroken.

iOS security researcher Stefan Esser (also knows as i0n1c) has developed an application called System and Security Info to determine if an iOS device is currently jailbroken by testing for the abilities that you gain from jailbreaking.

Update: Apple has taken down System and Security Info.


A jailbreak is essentially 3 points:

  • Patching the kernel to bypass code signing enforcement
  • Making the system partition writable
  • Providing a way of actually accessing it via one of more of:
    • AFC2 server for USB access
    • SSH server for wireless or tunneled USB access
    • A file management app

To check for the presence of AFC2 it is sufficient to use a dedicated PC app such as iFunBox while checking for SSH is harder due to the ability for a dedicated individual (or software!) to change the listening port from the standard 22. And this 3rd point isn't even formally required to call it a jailbreak.

You can check for the 2nd point by checking the /etc/fstab file, and since having access to the root partition would easily demonstrate being jailbroken the only alternative would be a SSH ramdisk.

If you're really paranoid about it and don't care for some potentially wasted space if your device was indeed jailbroken, you can create a local backup via iTunes and restore the OS followed by the backup.

  • The last two points have nothing to do with JB'ing. SSH is not installed by default and must be done so by the user. The entire filesystem is always writeable, it's just that the root account is not made available until the JB.
    – user10355
    Mar 31, 2013 at 15:52
  • No. The system partition is read-only on stock iOS, and I did warn that checking for some filesystem access is not an ultimately reliable method…
    – Ryccardo
    Mar 31, 2013 at 19:32
  • No it is not. Root has write access to nearly all the files. You can verify this by jailbreaking and checking file permissions on any number of system files. You are completely wrong I'm afraid. This fact is actually pretty obvious as iOS has to open, write to, and execute a number of system files to function. It could not operate in a read-only environment. You are confused between the users root and mobile.
    – user10355
    Apr 1, 2013 at 5:17
  • Marking a filesystem as ro in /etc/fstab has priority even over "root doesn't even have to care about permissions" (of course, root can thus remount it read/write which could be possible without editing fstab by running a command on every boot, but nobody with a sane mind would do that :>)
    – Ryccardo
    Apr 1, 2013 at 9:21

Well if you are on iOS 6 then it is not possible, you would also have a Cydia application on your screen, like this:

enter image description here

  • Just so you know, iOS 6 has been Jailbroken for the A4 devices and the 3GS since day 1. Dec 14, 2012 at 20:11

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