Apple is a trillion-dollar company that prides itself on its flawless, reliable, and efficient products. Users know that once they buy a product from Apple, they’re set for many years to come.
As these devices age and with many software updates, the old iPads are unable to run applications. However, if you have an old iPad sitting around at home, we’ve got exciting news for you. Your outdated iPad might soon be able to run Linux. Yes, you heard that right!
Developers partner up to run Linux on an iPad Air 2
iPad software is locked in a way that it’s not possible to run other operating systems. Still, a Linux expert, who goes by the username ‘quaack723‘ on Twitter, and developer Konrad Dybcio are determined to tackle this challenge.
The two partnered up more than one year ago to run Linux on an old iPad Air 2, using an Alpine Linux-based distribution titled ‘postmarketOS.’ Although, the distribution is relatively advanced and was made specifically for Android devices.
They have managed to run the Linux operating system on iPads fitted with A7 and A8 chips, and other generations of the iPad Mini. However, soon they will be able to run the operating system on any device with the A7 or A8 chip, like the iPhone 5S.
In his tweet about the impressive milestone, Dybcio used the hashtag ‘Checkm8,’ which indicates that to gain access to the hardware, they used the “checkm8” bootrom exploit made public in 2019.
The pictures show a basic boot process fails because of the inability to mount a filesystem. Dybcio also noted that Bluetooth and USB support are not working on the iPad. Getting the device to run more functions will be a mountain to climb, but this tweet could garner other developers’ attention who might assist in the ambitious task.
Other projects to run Linux on Apple hardware
This project is not the first of its kind; Asahi Linux is a scheme aimed at reverse-engineering support for Apple Mac’s M1 chips and then transferring the patches upstream so they can be incorporated into the Linux kernel.
Similarly, Project Sandcastle managed to get an Android functioning on an iPhone 7. As promising as the projects are, they are still in early development, and a lot needs to be done.
Even if the developers are able to run Linux, the outdated devices won’t function as efficiently as general-purpose machines, as they’re slower than modern devices.