Apple Genius Bar’s “Behavior Scan” Software (Jailbreakers be warned!)

By March 16, 2010Uncategorized

For quite some time I have had issues with my iPhone 3G’s battery life. This week it had gotten to the point that even with my Mophie Juice Pack Air that I would be getting the dreaded 20% battery warning around 7-8pm each night (after taking my iPhone off the charger around 8am). So I took it to the Apple Store to have them look at it. I also took it there due to having cracked plastic near my headphone jack. This was causing audio to drop out when listening to music on my iPhone via headphones.

The Genius I worked with hooked my iPhone up to one of their MacBooks and asked me to accept an agreement that “would send a bunch of 1s and 0s to Apple about my iPhone.” I was assured that no personal information would be transmitted. Yeah, OK (I don’t fully buy that)…

But that’s beside the point. The first thing the Genius said is that he saw a lot of unresponsive apps on my phone. The second thing he indicated was that an update to the new 3.1.3 version of the iPhone OS would possibly cure my battery life issues. I’ve heard that song and dance over and over again and wouldn’t believe it for a minute. They’ve said that about every single iPhone OS update but none have delivered any significant battery life improvement, IMHO.

Then came the surprise. As the Genius scrolled down in his “Behavior Scan” report of my iPhone, up came a section entitled “Third-Party Apps.” What did this show? An entry labeled “Cydia_”… Oh, crap. The next thing I know the Apple Genius turns to me and says “There’s your battery problem. You’re using third-party apps.” I replied by telling him that I had jailbroken my iPhone once a while back and that I indeed did see a slight decrease in battery life which then prompted me to go back to a stock version of the iPhone OS. He replied “Well when we see that, we typically won’t do anything for the customer. Jailbreaking voids the warranty and after that, Apple won’t honor it.” First thing that went through my mind was “Oh, crap…” especially since I had purchased AppleCare for my iPhone (as it has been beneficial on my other laptops, except for my latest one. I’ll tell that support nightmare some other time).

So here I sat thinking that I was screwed, that I had voided my warranty and any chance of receiving help from Apple regarding my iPhone for all of eternity, even with AppleCare. However, the next few words out of the Genius’ mouth were like music to my ears. “Well, we’re going to replace your iPhone for you due to the crack/hardware issue you’re having near the headphone port. Keep in mind this has nothing to do with the battery life issue, especially since you had used third-party apps. If it wasn’t for your hardware issue, you definitely wouldn’t be getting a replacement…”

Then came the unfortunate part. That particular Apple Store was out of iPhone 3G replacements. The Genius asked if I was from around the area, which I technically am but am attending school in Indiana and am only home due to Spring Break. He stated that a replacement would take two to three days to arrive. Damn, I’ll be back in Indiana by that point. He then suggested I call the Apple Store in Indianapolis and set up an appointment/replacement with them. He also added notes to my account (that from what he explained were tied to the serial number of my iPhone) which would indicate that I should receive a replacement. So, I’ll be off to do so in a few days.

So what did I learn from this visit (and what should you take away from my story)?

  1. Apple can detect if you’ve jailbroken/used third-party apps
  2. If you are going to take a jailbroken iPhone in to the Apple Store, MAKE SURE YOU RESTORE IT USING DFU MODE… And that no matter what you do, Apple is going to suggest you upgrade to the latest and greatest OS revision. So if you’re going to go in with the intent of getting an exchange (and you’re certain you’re going to get one), just go ahead and restore (NOT UPGRADE) to the latest iPhone OS revision. HOWEVER/DISCLAIMER: Apple can also see your last restore date. So if you restore right before you go, they will probably tell you there isn’t enough data available for them to determine if you’re having a problem or not…
  3. Apple can tie a note to your iPhone’s serial number… meaning that if they determine you used third-party apps/jailbroke at any time, they can add a note that pops up whenever you take that specific phone in for service/repair. Now here comes my question… what if you get a new/replacement iPhone? Does the note carry over to it? (I’d venture to guess that Apple has a way of making a permanent/global note on you, your account, etc.)
  4. Apple still (somewhat) cares about their customers, even if they’re jailbreakers… Just make sure you’re bringing it in for an issue that’s NOT software related :-p
  5. I probably forgot something else I learned. If I did, I’ll add it to this list…

Also, in my time at the Apple Store/viewing their Behavior Scan software, I was able to observe that the report indicated the following data:

  • iPhone OS Version
  • Last restore date
  • Last sync and/or backup date
  • Dropped call statistics (including by day of the week)
  • Battery statistics including charge cycles/number of charges, original capacity, current capacity, etc
  • Usage time since last charge
  • Third-Party Apps

This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just what I can recall off of the top of my head. So again, let me just reiterate — Jailbreaking voids your warranty and Apple can tell if you’ve jailbroken with their Behavior Scan tool, so be careful!

2 Comments

  • Maddy says:

    Hey! Thanks for the article. I know you said Apple can tell if you’ve jailbroken with their Behaviour Scan tool, but does that include if you’ve done a DFU Mode restore?

    I wasn’t clear on whether it did or not.

    Cheers, M.

  • Noah says:

    Hi Maddy,

    If you do a DFU restore to a stock iPhone/iOS image, it won’t be able to detect if you previously jailbroke your iPhone. However Apple will be able to know the last date you restored your iPhone (which is fine, you can just state that you did a restore to see if that helped fix the problem you were having).

    However, the problem with doing a DFU mode restore is that the Behavior Scan software looks at trends (on application usage, battery usage, etc). If you restore your iPhone right before heading to the Apple Store, there is a possibility that the Genius Bar would say that there is not enough historical data for them to make a diagnosis.

    Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply