Using QEMU, a developer successfully emulates the initial iPhone OS version on a computer
Hackintosh tools have made it possible to run macOS on non-Apple computers for years. However, up until this point, virtually no one has been able to run iOS on other platforms. The initial iPhone OS version has been successfully emulated by one developer (remember that name?). on a computer that employs QEMU.
Emulated iPhone OS 1.0 without iPhone hardware.
Martijn de Vos, also known as devos50, has used a lot of reverse engineering to create an emulation of the very first version of the iPhone operating system that was made available for the first-generation iPod touch in 2007, shortly after the iPhone was released. Because the developer had to figure out how to simulate hardware components like multitouch support, the project took more than a year to complete.
De Vos explains in a blog post that the challenging part was imitating the iPod touch’s hardware components. Since implementing the iPhone version would require emulating even more components, the developer decided to emulate the initial iPod OS build rather than the iPhone version.
De Vos also chose iPhone OS 1.0 because it has fewer security features than more recent versions of the operating system. The developer elaborated, “The emulation of such devices will be much more difficult and time-consuming because contemporary Apple devices contain many additional hardware components such as neural engines, secure enclaves, and a variety of sensors.”
It’s interesting to note that OpeniBoot, an open-source implementation of Apple’s bootloader, was the only factor that brought the project to fruition. Even though the project was shelved a long time ago, it made it possible for iPhone and iPod touch owners to install Android.
But is it working?
The final project appears to be quite functional, despite a few bugs, and QEMU, an open source virtualization platform, has successfully emulated iPhone OS 1.0.
The majority of pre-installed applications function perfectly, and the system can be completely navigated with a mouse and keyboard. There are a circumstances that make the framework crash, however it’s as yet great to see a rendition of iOS being imitated on another stage.
The developer points out that this is probably the first time an open-source tool has been used to emulate the iPhone operating system. Corellium, for instance, sells virtual iOS gadgets, yet all apparatuses and code are private. Although creating your own virtual machine is not exactly simple, de Vos has provided all the necessary information in a blog post for those who are interested.
De Vos wants to emulate an iPod touch from the second generation, which came with iPhone OS 2.1, for his next project.