Is it possible for you to run Android’s operating system in your iPhone? This sound like heresy for the purists out there, but it has been done and not just once, but twice. You have probably heard about certain hackers who inserted Linux’ kernel into an iPhone back in 2008. Well, the same developers behind the hack, namely Chris Wade and David Wang, did it again, but this time, they were able to install Android’s OS into Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7S, through Project Sandcastle, much to the chagrin of the company.
These two developers are the people behind the startup, Corellium, which Apple is currently suing due to their sale of iOS virtual machines or VMs. According to the case filed by Apple, the startup that specializes in mobile device virtualization, violated the company’s intellectual property rights because of their creation of replicas that weren’t licensed by Apple. Corellium’s Project Sandcastle was only made possible through the virtualization of Apple’s operating system.
How Corellium was able to Port Android’s OS to iPhone
According to Chris Wade and David Wang, they won’t be able to port the Android operating system to iPhone quickly, without the aid of Corellium’s platform where it virtualizes a smartphone’s hardware. This platform basically reproduces the hardware of different mobile devices but in software form. This helps their customers to install operating systems that are based on ARM on any servers that are ARM-based. With Corellium’s groundbreaking program, engineers can take advantage of efficient, scalable, as well as innovative tools not only for research and testing, but also for training and even for developing new products too.
The two further stated that through this program, together with their extensive knowledge of not just Android’s operating system, but also the hardware of Apple’s iPhone, they were able to bring Android to iPhone models.
It is possible to port Android’s operating system to other hardware due to their SoC architecture. If the Android OS can be installed on an x86 chip or ARM, it will be easy to do the same procedure to various devices as long as they are equipped with similar architecture.
One example here was Android being ported to Nintendo’s Switch. This happened because of the Nvidia Tegra Chip which was the same as that of Shield TV by Nvidia. However, in order to port Android to Apple’s device, Corellium had to write several drivers in order to interface the program into the iPhone’s hardware as well as their APFS filing system.
However, the co-founders stated that the current Android installed on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is still in its beta stage. What this means is that its capabilities are currently limited so you may want to hold for a while before attempting to install Android OS on your own iPhone.
Apple Sued the Startup Company Last Year
Like it was mentioned before, Apple wasn’t really pleased with Corellium’s platform, and has since sued the start up company for violating their copyright laws. This is due to Corellium’s replication of iPhone’s hardware but in software form to test if they can run Android’s operating system in it. Apple’s legal representatives stated that the small firm is earning money by commercializing their replication of Apple’s copyrighted applications, programs, and operating system that are currently being used not just on their iPhones, but also their iPads, and other gears. The lawyers further said that even though Corellium claimed that they were simply providing engineers and developers the tools for research, the main goal of the company was to earn income through copyright infringement. They further claimed that Corellium were encouraging their users to put any discoveries in the open market to be sold to those who will bid highly.
To make things interesting, the tech giant had considered purchasing Virtual, which was the predecessor of Corellium, based on a report by Forbes. It is clear that that relationship didn’t have any happy ending.
Corellium returned fire by criticizing the tech giant staying that Apple’s iPhone keeps their users restricted in terms of operating their devices. They iterated that when a user purchases an iPhone, they already own the device’s hardware. By installing Android’s operating system on the iPhone, it gives the user the option to choose what OS to use on their device.
Although Apple users may be intrigued in using Corellium’s Project Sandcastle, the current version is still limited. Aside from being applicable to iPhones 7 and its other sibling, it doesn’t offer any support for Bluetooth, audio output, modem for cellular, as well as camera. The only thing that it is currently running is the read-only access to the device’s system storage and that’s it. You can’t even download any applications from Android’s Google Play on your iPhone. Still, if you aren’t bothered by these limitations, and you just want to see what the fuss is all about, you can download the said application from Corellium’s website.