The SkankPhone Incident

No, I did not find the cell phone belonging to [insert name of random female celebrity here].

I DID manage to screw up my iPhone. AGAIN. For the second time this week.

This time, as opposed to by some random force (my final theory on last time is that Apple is disabling jailbroken phones somehow, considering I wasn’t the only person to report the same problem on the same day), this was caused by my own stupidity.

First, a bit of history for you. Back in 2006, before the iPhone was released, Apple had two teams working on the iPhone. One had the real hardware, running on a fake system software, and the other had the real software, running on fake hardware. This way, the whole thing couldn’t leak at once before it was announced. Only Steve Jobs and 8-10 other people had ever seen both at once. At some time last year, someone came across one of the hardware prototypes. Sporting an extremely ugly UI, it also had an app called SkankPhone.

For nostalgic value, I decided I was going to copy it from the leaked prototype firmware and attempt to run it on my 3GS, running 3.1.2. I copied in the app and frameworks as directed by a forum post, and surely enough the SkankPhone icon reared its ugly head on my SpringBoard.

Anyway, I tried running it. A screen came up for a split second showing the full version of the picture on the icon. Then it disappeared. Then, I tried possibly the worst idea imaginable. I went into Terminal and tried running the thing as root. What do I get for my troubles? A message simply stating “Killed.”

Later on, I reboot for something. It skips my passcode entirely and sends me to my SpringBoard, only none of my icons launch when tapped. I had to lock it and unlock it again, and then enter my passcode, to make them functional. Needless to say, this is a huge security flaw, so it’s restore time.

Fortunately, even though I feel really stupid now for screwing up my phone twice in a week, at least I have a backup from two days ago this time, as opposed to two months ago. I spend the next two hours getting everything back to normal. If you know me in real life, don’t get any ideas. My phone always requires its (very long, alphanumeric with special characters) passcode when it should once again.

Now for theories on what happened. To be fair, there were two other things I did that could’ve been the actual cause. For one thing, I copied in the frameworks supposedly necessary for SkankPhone.app to run. For another, I installed some extended preferences thing that’s enabled through WinterBoard, and then proceeded to modify it. I’m still suspecting the times I tried running SkankPhone.app though. I can’t remember all the details of what it does, but I believe it also functioned as a prototype SpringBoard of sorts, very well meaning it could’ve overwritten necessary settings files used by SpringBoard with prototype versions that don’t cooperate well with 3.1.2. Regardless of what caused it, I’ve learned something today [End South Park reference]. Copying in prototype apps and frameworks, and WinterBoard extensions that “extend” your preferences app, are all dangerous and stupid ideas.

Considering I have all my stuff exactly back to normal (getting it this way has become almost routine for me ), this incident won’t affect the review series I was planning on writing (the v7 release post will also include a review of one of my favorite apps).

Speaking of v7, sadly, some of my plans didn’t work out, but I will spill the beans on something. It does involve changes to my blog, and the result is stunning, to say the least. I have a fully-working copy of my blog in its v7 form, minus this post and the last one. 8 days and I won’t have to have a separate copy of my blog just for me to stare at all day.

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