iOS 10 Kernel Unencrypted: How This Move May Benefit iPhones

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The launch of Apple’s upcoming operating system, iOS 10, will be very interesting, particularly for developers, who now have access to its inner workings for the first time. Apple announced a preview of iOS 10 at WWDC last week and developers discovered that the system kernel is open. While pundits speculated unencrypting the iOS kernel may have been an accident or misstep, Apple has confirmed to several sources the move was intentional.

“The kernel cache doesn’t contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we’re able to optimize the operating system’s performance without compromising security,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

In the past, Apple has encrypted its entire system, which has made iPhones sought after because of top-notch security. Though iOS is often the primary mobile platform for developers, Apple’s stringent lockdown of the system has made it difficult for collaborative parties to take the system to a higher and more user friendly level.

Here are some ways the unencrypted iOS kernel may benefit iPhones and their users.

Better performance, particularly for older devices

Having a fully encrypted disk made iOS one of the safer operating systems on the market, but this has often meant sacrifices in terms of performance. Apps and general functions on iPhones and iPads may not run as smoothly, because iOS takes power from the devices’ processor to keep its disk locked down. The unencrypted kernel frees up power that can now go to running handsets and tablets. Extreme Tech notes that older iOS devices in particular may benefit from this, as they often are most susceptible to glitches and bugs when updating to a new system.

Better security

As per its statement, Apple assures that while the iOS kernel is now open, partitions that contain user information remain encrypted. This keeps Apple’s most basic form of security intact. However, with the iOS kernel open, Apple will now have a large network of developers that will delve into the system and can possibly catch flaws and vulnerabilities that can be patched more quickly, according to TechCrunch .

More interesting software development

Apple has always shared its API for creating applications; however, with the iOS kernel now open, developers have the opportunity to integrate iOS features -- once hardwired into the system -- onto third-party applications. This means developers can create more creative and more useful app features. Some developers are especially excited about potentially integrating Siri into their applications.

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