News: If You Use Snapchat, Don't Jailbreak Your iPhone

If You Use Snapchat, Don't Jailbreak Your iPhone

Recently, a user on Reddit complained that their Snapchat account had been temporarily banned because Snapchat noticed the user's account was going through a third-party service. In reality, the account in question was running on a jailbroken iPhone, and it was far from the first to be banned by the messaging app.

If you look around, you'll find similar stories from other jailbroken users. It's not uncommon and should serve as a warning to anyone who wants to jailbreak but uses Snapchat daily to chat with their friends. To continue using the app on your iPhone without any major hiccups, then don't jailbreak.

Why You Can't Use Unauthorized Apps & Plugins

According to Snapchat's terms of service, only approved third-party apps can work with Snapchat via Snap Kit. Examples of approved apps include SoundHound, Tinder, and Pandora. Snapchat claims this rule is in place to protect you, the user, as malicious third-parties could harm your account, your device, or your data.

With those rules in place, any app, tweak, or plugin that uses your Snapchat username and password to connect to Snapchat's servers without going through Snap Kit, or that alters the original Snapchat app in some way, is fodder for the company to ban your account.

Every once in a while, these apps will show up in the App Store and are removed just as fast as they appeared. However, most of these apps can now be sideloaded on any non-jailbroken iPhone or installed from Cydia on one that is jailbroken.

Snapchat gives the following examples as apps and tweaks that are unauthorized:

Using the Real Snapchat on a Jailbreak Can Also Cause Bans

While the apps and plugins above will undoubtedly put you at risk for a ban, they aren't the only way to face an account lockout. Merely using the official Snapchat app on a jailbroken iPhone can be enough of an offense, with bans arriving without warning.

As far as we can tell, Snapchat has been giving jailbreak-fans trouble for years, but has cracked down on users more in recent months, possibly due to new jailbreak updates.

How Does Snapchat Know You're Jailbroken Anyway?

According to CokePokes, a well-known iOS hacker, Snapchat records everything you do in its app. So, if you install a tweak — Snapchat-related or not — that then communicates with the Snapchat app in any way, Snapchat will know your account is violating its terms of service:

It seems like you guys already forgot how Snapchat bans work. Snapchat records what you do in their app. So if you installed a [expletive] tweak that hooks Snapchat it'll make a note of it. Then Snapchat could pull the trigger 1–5 months later & use that record against you.

It's not simply the act of running Snapchat on a jailbroken device — it's your tweaks alerting Snapchat. And not just tweaks that are directly related to Snapchat! If you can't use tweaks, what's the point of jailbreaking?

What Can You Do About It?

In its defense, Snapchat provides tips for jailbroken users to avoid getting banned from the app. The company discloses that it cannot endorse these tips, but it nonetheless concedes that some users have reported success by using them:

  • Disabling Cydia Substrate using the "NoSub" tweak. This can disable the substrate, which is the platform that makes tweaks possible, for just the app needed without affecting other apps.
  • Uninstalling the "xCon" tweak, a plugin that is supposed to prevent apps from detecting jailbreaks.
  • Using a "jailbroken iOS cleaning app" like iCleaner, if unofficial apps have been installed and then uninstalled, to wipe any trace of them.

Again, none of these are guaranteed to work. In fact, we know the first tip is far from foolproof, as users have complained they still receive bans with only the "NoSub" tweak installed on their iPhones. So, if you want to jailbreak, you're going to have to put your Snapchat habit aside or at least use another device to do your Snapchatting.

Cover image by Thought Catalog/Unsplash

1 Comment

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