The 2013-2014 iPad is a dead weight for many. Apple no longer releases updates for them, so the necessary applications on these tablets do not work. However, someone has decided to give new life to the old iPad.
A developer Konrad Dybcio and a Linux enthusiast nicknamed “quaack723” are working to run the Linux kernel version 5.18 on the old iPad Air 2. It looks like they’re using the postmarket OS distribution based on Alpine Linux. This is a free open-source operating system that was created mainly for Android smartphones.
In the very first tweet about the project, Dubcio used the hashtag “checkm8”, hinting that they are using the checkm8 exploit to access the tablet. Currently, they managed to run Linux on some iPads on A7 and A8 chips, in particular, on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and several generations of iPad mini. However, the following tweets from the developer suggest that this can be done on any gadget with A7 and A8. Including the iPhone 5S and the original HomePod.
Took us >1 year (way too long) but, @quaack723 and I got it working after I realized we were missing a oneliner 😎
— Konrad Dybcio ✝️ (@konradybcio) June 1, 2022
Work on the project is still in its initial stage. The photos provided by the developer show the basic launch process, which fails due to the inability to mount the file system. The simplest things, such as Bluetooth or USB support, don’t work either. Setting up network, audio, and graphics features will be a challenge for developers.
Apple stopped releasing updates for most iOS and iPadOS on A7 and A8 chips. Linux support could bring them back to life as retro game consoles, simple home servers, and for implementing other tasks that the low-power Arm processors of the day could handle.