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Have an old iPad lying around? You might be able to make it run Linux soon

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GNU
Linux
Mac

If you have a 2013- or 2014-era iPad sitting around unused because it's not getting updates from Apple anymore and has stopped running the apps you need, some developers are working on an alternative software solution for you. Developer Konrad Dybcio and a Linux enthusiast going by "quaack723" have collaborated to get Linux kernel version 5.18 booting on an old iPad Air 2, a major feat for a device that was designed to never run any operating system other than Apple's.

The project appears to use an Alpine Linux-based distribution called "postmarketOS," a relatively small but actively developed distribution made primarily for Android devices. Dybcio used a "checkm8" hashtag in his initial tweet about the project, strongly implying that they used the "Checkm8" bootrom exploit published back in 2019 to access the hardware. For now, the developers only have Linux running on some older iPad hardware using A7 and A8-based chips—this includes the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and a few generations of iPad mini. But subsequent tweets imply that it will be possible to get Linux up and running on any device with an A7 or A8 in it, including the iPhone 5S and the original HomePod.

This isn't the only project devoted to running Linux on Apple's hardware. One project, Asahi Linux, has been dedicated to reverse-engineering support for the M1 chips in Apple's Macs and sending the patches upstream so that they can be integrated into the Linux kernel. Another, Project Sandcastle, has a build of Android up and running on an iPhone 7. Apps like iSH will give you a Linux shell running on top of iOS or iPadOS—not the same as running Linux on the hardware directly, but useful in some circumstances.

Read more

Older iPads May Soon Be Able To Run Linux

  • Older iPads May Soon Be Able To Run Linux

    Older iPads with the Apple A7- and A8-based chips may soon be able to run Linux. "Developer Konrad Dybcio and a Linux enthusiast going by "quaack723" have collaborated to get Linux kernel version 5.18 booting on an old iPad Air 2, a major feat for a device that was designed to never run any operating system other than Apple's," reports Ars Technica.

Thom Holwerda

Now you can boot Linux on Apple devices with A7 and A8 series...

  • Now you can boot Linux on Apple devices with A7 and A8 series chips

    Apple makes it famously difficult to run anything other than iOS on iPhones and iPads. But from time to time hackers have found ways to install different operating systems.

    The latest example? Now you can boot Linux on iPhones, iPads, and other devices released around 2013 and 2014 thanks to a new project from Kondrad Dybcio and Markuss Broks.

Boot Mainline Linux On Apple A7, A8 And A8X Devices

  • Boot Mainline Linux On Apple A7, A8 And A8X Devices

    [Konrad Dybcio] tells about his journey booting Linux on A7/8/8X processors, playing around with an old iPhone 5 he’s got in a drawer. It’s been a two-year “revisit every now and then” journey, motivationally fueled by the things like Linux on M1 Macs announcement. In the end, what we have here is a way to boot mainline Linux on a few less-than-modern but still very usable iPhones, and a fun story about getting there.

Linux on iPhones and iPads

  • Lilbits: Linux on iPhones and iPads, Brave Search emerges from beta, and a DIY retro audio player made with modern tech

    The developers who disclosed a new way to boot Linux on jailbroken Apple devices this month initially explained that their method worked on devices with Apple A7, A8, and A8X chips. But they later added support for A9 and A10 series chips… and now you can boot Linux on an iPhone or iPad with an Apple A11 chip as well.

    But there’s a difference between booting and operating system and having everything run smoothly. Case in point: so far it looks like the touchscreen isn’t functional on Apple devices running Linux. Neither are cameras, speakers, or a bunch of other things. But that could change over time. And if you’re curious to know what hardware is working on devices with specific chips, now there’s a resource that will let you know.

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