Apple Lifts Its “Jailbreak” Censor on iTunes

Source: iTunes/ Apple

Last Thursday, users noticed that Apple had censored the word “jailbreak” on a number of content items in iTunes. Song titles that contained the said word, especially those found in compilation albums and soundtracks, had been filtered to read “j*******k”.

That included songs from the Gossip’s That’s Not What I Heard album and Sonic Syndicate’s Eden Fire. However, there were instances when the term remained legible, like Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak album. In addition to music, the company also censored a two-dimensional shooter game called Jailbreak.

In fact, the censorship ran across all iTunes content, such as podcast episodes, iTunes U episodes, and even iBooks. However, it only affected the US iTunes store, as stores in other countries were still showing word without the censorship asterisks.

Apple, on the other hand, addressed the issue later that afternoon. The company lifted the censorship and the word started to appear across iTunes without being filtered.

Censoring the Word to Prevent Software Piracy

It’s no wonder that Apple would want to censor the term. Artists and song titles aside, jailbreaking refers to hacking iOS devices to enable users to install custom software and tweaks without the company’s knowledge.

It is through jailbreaking that hackers were able to create their own apps, which are available via Cydia. It is an alternative storefront that is similar to the App Store. The online application offers free and paid apps that let users install custom tweaks, user interface themes, and other software that don’t adhere with the company’s iOS developer agreement. Thus, hacking an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch would void the device’s warranty.

Although jailbreaking is considered legal, it could be used for software piracy—which is against the law. It is the main reason the company is fighting against jailbreaking.

It should be recalled that the company has claimed damages for jailbreaking after arguing with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the issue three years ago. They stated that “modifications can readily cause significant problems in the operation of the iPhone.” This includes damage to the device’s battery, network operations, security, and operation of application programs.


Apparently, there is a debate whether Apple censored the “jailbreak” word on purpose or by mistake. As it turns out, the company just wanted to filter applications that contain the word, but it accidentally extended the censorship across iTunes.

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