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16 January, 2009

Unlocking the iphone

As we all know, iPhone is Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) locked. This means iphone was designed for and can be used by one carrier—AT&T in the United States—and offers a limited set of iPhone-compatible voice and data plans. Within weeks of its release, a hacker named iZsh created a tool named iASign, which allowed iPhone owners to unlock and use their phones with AT&T/Cingular plans that were not designed for the iPhone, including pay-as-you-go plans.


A month or two later, the iPhone Dev Team hackers released the iUnlock and anySIM tools (see Figure above), which allowed the iPhone to be unlocked and used with any Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) SIM from around the world.Within days of its release, the iPhone had been unlocked and used in dozens of countries,from Malaysia to Jamaica and from Norway to Pakistan.

Reacting to the iPhone Unlock tool, Steve Jobs said, “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. We try to stay ahead. People will try to break in, and it’s our job to stop them breaking in.” In late September 2007, Apple issued the following statement in a press release:

Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software,which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.Apple plans to release the next iPhone software update,containing many new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store(, later this week.Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones.Users whomake unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty.The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.

After releasing firmware update 1.1.1 for iPhone, Apple refused warranty service to bothunlocked phones and phoneswith third-party applications. Caveat emptorand hacker beware.

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