Apple released the first developer preview of iOS 10 at WWDC last week with many new features, but did not mention that a big surprise was waiting for developers at the core of the operating system. The iOS 10 kernel was released unencrypted, the first time Apple has done that for any version of iOS. Many thought that it was an oversight that would be rectified with the next update. However, the company has now responded saying that this was in fact a strategic move, and was done to optimise the OS performance.
The Cupertino giant told TechCrunch that, "The kernel cache doesn't contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we're able to optimise the operating system's performance without compromising security."
The kernel in an operating system determines how programs access the underlying hardware, enforcing security and optimising performance. By leaving the kernel unencrypted, developers can look at the code and learn how it works, alongside possible security flaws. While this could potentially lead to more hacks, bugs and vulnerabilities found by third parties can also be quickly closed by the company.
Opening up of the kernel is quite a bold move from Apple. The company is known for its secrecy, and all the previous iOS kernels have been encrypted to keep developers in the dark. However, Apple has started to become more transparent recently.