Apple Left iOS 10 Beta Kernel Unencrypted On Purpose To Optimize Performance And Security

Earlier this week it appeared that Apple had opened up some code within iOS 10. Apple refused to comment about the change at the time. On Wednesday, however, Apple remarked that it had experimented with this lack of encryption in order to optimize the operating system's performance without compromising security.

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iOS10 comes with 3D touch, emojification, and- an unencrypted kernel?

The company previously wrapped the kernel in protections that had to be broken or worked around. This is one of the many reasons that the FBI paid an unidentified third-party to hack into an iPhone used by a perpetrator of last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Apple fought a United States court order to provide a backdoor to allow the FBI to access a the suspected iPhone. Apple argued that weakening security with the aim of advancing security would leave their millions of users vulnerable. If more people report bugs to Apple, it could make it harder and more expensive for law enforcements and governments to pay third-party hackers.

This lack of encryption means that the Apple code will be under a lot of scrutiny, although Apple does not currently run a bug bounty program that pays researchers to alert it to flaws. Forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski remarked, “Opening up the OS might help other researchers to find and report bugs, by giving everyone just as much visibility as an advanced and well-funded research team might have.”


Traditionally Apple has limited what its software could do. The philosophy has generally been that the more closed the software is, the more secure the phone will be. This move could potentially  be used by "jailbreakers" - people who release code that removes an operating system's restrictions to allow a wider range of software to be used.