If this is not the most scandalous thing in tech, I don’t know what is. An iPhone running Android. That is what Project Sandcastle is all about.
David Wang has been the mastermind of the project. His goal is to find possible ways to run Android on your iPhone. Recent success registered by the project is based on the initial breakthrough Wang had about a decade ago when he found a way to run Google’s mobile platform on an iPhone 3G.
Wang and his team at cybersecurity startup Corellium have released a hack that lets you install Android on an iPhone 7. They call their work “Project Sandcastle,” because, as the team wrote on their website, sandcastles “provide an opportunity to create something new from the limitless bounds of your imagination.”
Thomas brewster from Forbs got a hands-on with the hack. The hack is based on the checkra1n jailbreak, the privilege escalation of an Apple device for the purpose of removing software restrictions imposed by Apple on iOS. This particular jailbreak is only available for a few devices including the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPod Touch, but Chris Wade, co-founder of Corellium, says the project is planning support for more devices soon.
He also says, based on the jailbreak the hack depends on, it may not ever work on any iPhones older than the 5S or newer than the X. There may be hope for getting the hack to work on devices outside the bracket of the supported devices provided by project Sandcastle except a new jailbreak is found.
The underlying vulnerabilities exploited by the checkra1n probably is particularly advantageous for the project because it probably won’t ever be fixed by Apple, meaning it should work in perpetuity for relevant devices.
If you want to try this hack for your device, you can head over to ProjectSandcastle.org and follow the instructions. The site only went up this week as Corellium is constantly working on updates to its Android for iPhone which is in a beta testing stage, so expectations of a full and smooth Android experience will not be a feasible one for now. The project runs Android 10 on the iPhone but things like the camera or being able to install apps from Google Play won’t work.
As you would probably expect, making Android run on the iPhone was not an easy feat for the team at Corellium. Wang expressed thoughts about the project on a call with Forbes. This is mainly because of the ever-increasing security updates Apple provides for its system. Over the last decade, Apple has been upping the security of its devices.
“The big challenge was that the Apple hardware is both undocumented and nonstandard. Our team knows more about it than most outside Apple, but we still had to put in a considerable amount of work to build drivers for it,”
Right now, Corellium is in the middle of being sued by Apple. Previous reports around August of 2019 show that Apple took Corellium to court, claiming that the startup breached copyright laws by creating software versions of the iPhone for security and testing.
This project aimed at deconstructing the walled garden Apple has put up and protected since the iPhone launched will bring up a lot of stir in the tech community, breaking the walls of partition between Android and Apple devices. An iPhone 7 running android 10, hmm!!