For those of you who emulate older video games on your iPhone, Apple is putting an end to that practice. As of iOS 8.1, using emulators on your iPhone will become significantly more difficult. More specifically, this update will close a loophole that allowed people to download emulators without having to jailbreak their phones. This is despite jailbreaking being perfectly legal since 2010 (although it will void your warranty).
What is (was) the loophole?
The loophole, known colloquially as the Date Trick, involved you rolling back the date on your iPhone and then downloading emulators through Safari. The newest update will prevent this, although it’s not clear how it will work. Apple might force all iOS devices to sync themselves to a universal time, or, failing that, simply fix the bug at the root of this.
News of Apple fixing the loophole first came from the emulation community; specifically, the developers of the GBA emulator GBA4iOS. Apple releases iOS updates early for developers. Upon downloading the 8.1 beta, the GBA4iOS team wrote about the loophole fix. They write that:
“it’s already causing panic among iOS emulator aficionados… The Date Trick fuels the emulator communities nowadays… Without it, everything looks bleak.”