We manage a large number of iOS devices in an enterprise environment and are finding Apple's management utilities lacking. I wonder if there are any options for jailbreaking which do not entail completely opening the system up.

I have no intention of thwarting the code-signing system and having to deal with the complications that raises, or installing unauthorized apps; my thoughts are merely that our administration options would be greater if we were able to access the system partition so we could manage plist files through ssh or another tool.

Is this possible? Or is access to these setting files intrinsically linked to the code-signing system for apps?

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    Is partially jailbroken like the proverbial question of being partially pregnant? It's kind of a similar binary definition from how I see it. Do you mind if I edit that out to clarify what you're asking? – bmike Apr 17 '13 at 19:41
  • As I understand it, jailbreaking a device does at least two distinct things (and probably several others): disabling the code-signing system which prevents unsigned software from running on the device, and allowing full filesystem access to the disk0s1s1 and disk0s1s2 partitions where system and application files are stored. I am wondering if there is any way to enable remote access to these files without modifying the code-signing system, or needlessly modifying the system in any other ways. – S Walker Apr 18 '13 at 16:28
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    Let's put that level of detail in the question! I wonder if this is the XY problem where you need X and jailbreaking is your best guess how to accomplish it. It would be better to just dig into exactly why you want access to the filesystem and why enterprise level MDM don't work for you. – bmike Apr 18 '13 at 18:56
  • I think I answered that quite explicitly in my question; I would like to be able to deploy and manage plist files so we can configure all settings for apps and system preferences. These files are stored in the disk0s1s1 and disk0s1s2 partitions which are not accessible in a standard configuration. – S Walker Apr 26 '13 at 15:19
  • (My apologies for not responding sooner; for some reason stackexchange is not notifying me of new responses.) – S Walker Apr 26 '13 at 15:19

Old question, and I'm sure you have answered yourself already, but I'll mention the Apple iOS management tool "Apple Configurator" (didn't find a good link for a tutorial).

It looks like you can lock down a few things.

One interest for "home use": it's the only way to lock down device pairing. Lets say someone wants the info on your iOS device. If it's unlocked for any reason, you just plug it into some device with iTunes, say "Trust" and now you have iTunes-level file system access (which is a lot).

LATE EDIT: Apple has mostly filled the “iTunes hole” in recent iterations of iOS. You need a password to pair the phone now, and iOS 11.4 seems to want a password every 7 days (much like TouchID requires a password after a bit of time).


Jailbreaking is jailbreaking, but you could install tweaks (or hire someone to write them) that patch up on system files and folders.

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