A cross-platform build system for creating iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows programs.



Rootless introduces a new target location, /var/jb/. All projects will have to be recompiled to reference resources from and install to /var/jb. This involves changing the internal structure of .deb’s to include this new path and specifying library and framework install paths using @rpath instead of absolute paths. Theos will handle both of these changes for you.

  • For more information on what @rpath is and how it works, see Mike Ash’s informative blog post.
  • To learn more about the specifics of the rootless implementation, see The Apple Wiki.


Theos supports building for the rootless scheme in a few ways:

  • Provides rootless-compatible libraries and frameworks in $THEOS_VENDOR_LIBRARY_PATH/iphone/rootless
    • User-provided rootless libraries/frameworks should be placed in $THEOS_LIBRARY_PATH/iphone/rootless
  • Provides rootless.h – a header that contains convenient macros to easily convert rootful paths to rootless ones in your code at compile-time, assuming you compile for the rootless scheme (see below)
    • Courtesy of opa334
  • THEOS_PACKAGE_SCHEME=rootless – a variable to enable a handful of internal changes including:
    • Searching for libraries and frameworks when linking in $THEOS_LIBRARY_PATH/iphone/rootless and $THEOS_VENDOR_LIBRARY_PATH/iphone/rootless
    • Handling install_name changes to use @rpath for libraries and frameworks
    • Passing the relevant rpaths to the linker so your project can find the linked rootless libraries and frameworks on-device
      • With rootless v2, this now includes both the /var/jb/ rpaths as well as the @loader_path/.jbroot/ rpaths in order to provide support for jailbreaks with relocated jbroots
    • Packaging the project and additional $(THEOS_LAYOUT_DIR) items with the appropriate install prefix (THEOS_PACKAGE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/var/jb)
    • Sharing the install prefix with the compiler for use in your code
    • Setting the package architecture to iphoneos-arm64


  • Utilizes libroot in order to obtain correct prefix on all jailbreak platforms
    • The libroot static archive is thus linked unconditionally, though it will have no effect if its functions are unused
  • Provides two variations:
    • ROOT_PATH_NS for Obj-C strings
    • ROOT_PATH for C strings

    and can be used with Obj-C strings like so:

      #import <rootless.h>
      NSString *dylibPath = ROOT_PATH_NS(@"/Library/MobileSubstrate/DynamicLibraries/libFLEX.dylib");

Important Notes:

  • You must run make clean when switching between a rootful and rootless build

  • The iOS 14 arm64e ABI mentioned in arm64e Deployment is now required for the relevant devices

    • Currently, it’s only possible to build for the new ABI on macOS as the necessary ld64 changes, included in Xcode, have not been made open source
      • Unfortunately, this newer toolchain does not support building for the old ABI. If you want to maintain support for earlier versions, you can grab the toolchain from an earlier Xcode release as specified in arm64e Deployment and switch between it and the newer toolchain as desired by setting the PREFIX variable to the older toolchain’s bin (i.e., <xcode-ver>.xctoolchain/usr/bin/) in your project’s makefile
    • That being said, developers on other platforms can circumvent this if necessary:
      • By using GitHub Actions to compile your tweaks
      • By using a macOS virtual machine
        • See KVM on Linux and VMware on Windows
      • By using allemande (static old ABI converter)
        • This is currently the best solution if you cannot use macOS and Xcode
        • It does not work with tweaks containing Swift code (including the Cephei v2.0 library)
      • By adding oldabi as a dependency to their package (preferably only for testing or as a last resort as it applies system-wide and may cause instability for users)
        • If you intend to release packages without the oldabi dependency, make sure to uninstall oldabi from your device during testing to avoid accidentally releasing a tweak that silently relies on it without your knowledge!
    • Please note: this only applies to arm64e binaries (i.e., system binaries and libraries). It does not apply to App Store apps or regular CLI binaries where arm64e is unused due to its unstable ABI. That is, you can continue compiling tweaks for non-system apps with any toolchain and do not need to target arm64e for your apps or CLI binaries.

Additional notes:

  • You do not need to create separate package identifiers for rootful/rootless versions of the same package
    • Newer versions of rootless-compatible package managers (e.g., Sileo and Zebra) will present only the compatible version to users
    • Cydia will display duplicate packages, but both point to the rootful version
      • This can be corrected with cyarchfix by PoomSmart
    • The behavior of other package managers varies and may or may not supply the correct package to users
  • All files should be placed in /var/jb
    • Please ensure that any additional resources you provide (e.g., newly created or laid out files and directories) are stored in a prefixed path and not a rootful path, as the latter could lead to jailbreak detection in a non-jailbroken state
  • This new rootless scheme only supports iOS 15+, which itself only supports newer devices
    • This means that you do not need to compile for legacy architectures (e.g., armv7(s) or older) if you were previously and can bump your deployment target to 15.0 when building for rootless
  • If desired, you can conditionally check for the package scheme in your project’s Makefile to selectively apply rootless build settings:
      ifeq ($(THEOS_PACKAGE_SCHEME),rootless)
          ARCHS = arm64 arm64e
          TARGET = iphone:clang:latest:15.0
          ARCHS = armv7 armv7s arm64 arm64e
          TARGET = iphone:clang:latest:7.0