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Tuesday, April 05, 2011, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Toyota pulls ad campaign for jailbroken iPhones at Apple's request

After a custom theme created for jailbroken iPhones to promote the Scion car brand gained attention, Apple requested that Toyota abandon the campaign, and the carmaker complied.

Toyota complied with Apple's request to "maintain their good relationship with Apple," a person associated with the advertising campaign reportedly told Kyle Matthews of ModMyi. The theme has been available on Cydia, an alternative iPhone application store, since Feb. 10, and an accompanying Scion campaign was running on the enthusiast website.

"Jailbreaking" is a term used to describe hacking iOS devices in order to allow them to run unauthorized code. A standard, out-of-the-box iPhone or iPad cannot run software that is unsigned by Apple, but jailbroken devices can be used to display custom themes or skins.

Toyota, with its advertising firm Velti, developed a custom theme for jailbroken devices, available for download on Cydia. The theme, which changed application icons, wallpaper and the unlock screen, promoted Toyota's Scion brand of vehicles.

Matthews was contacted by a representative from Velti who asked him to remove the Scion theme from his site's repository for the Cydia application store. In addition, the Scion advertising campaign was stopped.

While users have been able to change the wallpaper on their iPhone starting with the release of iOS 4 last year, Apple does not allow the level of customization offered through jailbreaking. And while the U.S. government has officially declared that the act of jailbreaking is not illegal, Apple has fought against the warranty voiding process.

Jailbreak


Jailbreaking allows access to legitimate, legal third-party software, both free and paid, through Cydia. But while jailbreaking itself is not illegal, the process can be used to pirate software from Apple's App Store.

In addition to potential piracy, Apple has also cited security concerns with jailbreaking, as the process takes advantage of exploits in the iOS software. Apple has fought with the jailbreaking community, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game and plugging security holes as hackers look to exploit them.