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Apple says iPhone unlocking may cause permanent damage

post #1 of 93
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Apple said Monday 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.

The Cupertino-based company said it 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," the company wrote in a statement to the press. "Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty."

Apple added that the "permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone's warranty."

The iPhone maker's announcement reflects an increasingly consistent anti-modification policy from the company, which is likely the result of pressure from AT&T to enforce the multi-year exclusivity agreement between itself and Apple.

In one recent incident reported by Mac news site MacNN, a customer discovered that Apple had refused service on his iPhone at a company retail store and even suggested that the phone would be permanently blacklisted from further support regardless of how well it was restored to factory conditions.

Both moves are likely to put Apple's claims of possible permanent damage under close scrutiny, as the company will be responsible -- if perhaps unintentionally -- for breaking otherwise functional iPhones.

Update: TUAW offers a quick-and-dirty guide to relocking an iPhone.
post #2 of 93
OOH!

Prepare for the smackdown!
post #3 of 93
naughty naught!
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post #4 of 93
Bah.. scare tactics.
post #5 of 93
Ooooh... I wonder if they're purposefully going to put something in this new update that will fry all those suckers hacked phones...

Sent from my iPhone
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Sent from my iPhone
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post #6 of 93
Awesome! Let all the bricks be thrown to the trash. Patience, people. till the time is right.

What day will the latest and greatest update be available?
post #7 of 93
This sounds bogus to me.
Unless the "Restore" option doesn't actually restore to the original factory specifications, then you should always be able to restore to the non-hacked version of the iPhone software and then update.

Can't wait for the next update to come out though!
post #8 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by SurfRat View Post

Ooooh... I wonder if they're purposefully going to put something in this new update that will fry all those suckers hacked phones...


They might, if their agreement with AT&T calls for that. Or, they just may already have tested and discovered that their next update breaks hacked phones without any intent, and they want no part of diagnosing and cleaning up the mess so they're giving fair warning.

In either case, the hacking companies may be able to develop fixes of their own, so you're not necessarily without any support. (Which still doesn't help your warranty.)
post #9 of 93
Why bother, to go to T-Mobile and lose visual voicemail and still pay about the same plan fees? Doesn't make sense at all. ATT's Unity Plan is the bomb.
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post #10 of 93
As long as the update includes something useful, I could care less about what happens to the people that have "UNLOCKED" their iPHONE. I had a Nintendo Emulator on there for a week. It was cool at first, but lost it's novelty in about a week. I certainly didn't want to risk a Firmware update totally bricking my $500 investment because I thought it would be fun to play Mike Tyson's Punch-Out on my iPhone.

I think they were referring to people using their phones with T-Mobile, but either way, the phone does what it's supposed to do out of the box. Certainly not worth the risk.

Just give us something useful like SLINGPLAYER.
post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe in miami View Post

Why bother, to go to T-Mobile and lose visual voicemail and still pay about the same plan fees? Doesn't make sense at all. ATT's Unity Plan is the bomb.

I hear ya, Joe. Thankfully, I have no problems with my AT&T iPhone account and didn't have to pull any tricks. I'm a satisfied customer. But I'm guessing the unlocking folks will continue to provide updates in a tit-for-tat fashion for some time to come.

Now bring on that software update, Apple! Keeps getting better...
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by donlphi View Post

As long as the update includes something useful, I could care less about what happens to the people that have "UNLOCKED" their iPHONE. I had a Nintendo Emulator on there for a week. It was cool at first, but lost it's novelty in about a week. I certainly didn't want to risk a Firmware update totally bricking my $500 investment because I thought it would be fun to play Mike Tyson's Punch-Out on my iPhone.

I think they were referring to people using their phones with T-Mobile, but either way, the phone does what it's supposed to do out of the box. Certainly not worth the risk.

Just give us something useful like SLINGPLAYER.

Yeah, the market has spoken... c'mon, Apple, release an official SDK (not hacks) and let the fun begin.
post #13 of 93
Someone said scare tactics. Maybe there are those who are not scared to loose 400-600 dollars. I believe I am on safe ground when I say that may be a small club. Most people are scared and wait and see.
post #14 of 93
This is a total scare tactic. Apple won't do a perma-brick update. They almost certainly will do one that returns unlocked iphones to a locked, out-of-the-box state, but specifically targeting users who are exercising their legal right under the DMCA to unlock their phones is asking for a class action suit. Whether unlocking voids the warranty or not I have no idea, but it seems like a case of "thou doth protest too much"...they mentioned it twice in a very brief statement.
post #15 of 93
I bet some of this is due to the firmware updates that some of these hacks use. I don't think these are reversed when you restore the software on the iPhone...
post #16 of 93
I have to say, I'm very surprised and even disappointed in forum-members' resistance to phone unlocking!

There are many reasons to unlock... say, for one, to avoid paying ridiculously high termination fees, to use out of country, to use without a data plan...

And there isn't much of a reason for Apple to oppose unlocking. Sure they get a few extra bucks of AT&T's phone plan revenue... but it's nothing compared to all the extra plans they will sell. In fact, the only motivation I see is for Apple to maintain their contract with AT&T, but y'know, if they lost it, I'm sure many other carriers would be eager to allow interoperability with the iPhone on their networks.

People deserve the freedom of choice, which is precisely why the DMCA legalizes the unlocking of phones.

-Clive

By the way, I do not own an iPhone, and I use AT&T, so no, I am not biased.
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post #17 of 93
I am shocked at the naivety of some members here. You all seem to be forgetting that iPhone is available only in one country at present - there are billions of people who live outside of its sales area. Here, Apple will actually gain money by selling phones to people who cannot legally sign a contract with AT&T because they are not US residents.

Seriously, this is a mess. Quite why this device wasn't just sold SIM free is beyond me.
post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe in miami View Post

Why bother, to go to T-Mobile and lose visual voicemail and still pay about the same plan fees? Doesn't make sense at all. ATT's Unity Plan is the bomb.

Why bother indeed sigining with a Telco that shares all your data with the intelligence community.
post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmillers View Post

This sounds bogus to me.
Unless the "Restore" option doesn't actually restore to the original factory specifications, then you should always be able to restore to the non-hacked version of the iPhone software and then update.

Can't wait for the next update to come out though!

My question is, does 'unlocked' included the 'jailbreaking' or only the SIM unlocking?

I can say for sure that 'restore' does NOT go back fully to factory conditions. For example, I installed a lot of third-party stuff and then got suspicious that it was causing some problems (turned out to be a red herring) but I restored the firmware. I then added back some of the third party stuff and those programs preferences were NOT removed. I had the same RSS list I had before, etc.

So no, restore is not a 100% restore.

As far as SIM unlocking, I believe this involves overwriting firmware that would not normally be restored in any case as I would expect that its intended to be read-only.

edit (AP report)

As reported by AP this is only SIM unlocking, not jailbreaking.

Quote:
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Apple Inc. on Monday warned iPhone owners who have used unauthorized programs to unlock the cellular service feature of their handsets that they may end up with a phone that doesn't work after the company's next software update for it.

Since the iPhone debuted in June, hackers have posted a number of methods online to make it possible to use the iPhone on cellular networks other than AT&T, which is the exclusive official carrier for the iPhone.
Apple executives say they have discovered that many of those unauthorized unlocking programs cause some software damage to iPhones. Now, a software update that Apple plans to issue later this week that will add features such as accessibility to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store may end up making the touch-screen cell phone completely inoperable if it has been hacked into.
"This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview. "It's unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences."
As with any Apple product, hacking into the iPhone will void its warranty, Apple said.
Apple has sold over a million iPhones since it hit the market June 29.
post #20 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe in miami View Post

Why bother, to go to T-Mobile and lose visual voicemail and still pay about the same plan fees? Doesn't make sense at all. ATT's Unity Plan is the bomb.

It's not just for the US, and even in the US, there are plenty of places that ATT doesn't serve. Even for just travelling, you get robbed with extraordinarily high roaming fees even when the phone is "off", you may as well just leave the thing at home and buy a cheap temporary phone while overseas. All that could be easily avoided, and possibly still allow email & SMS checking if it allowed the user to pop in another SIM.

Anyway, I call this FUD to the highest degree. It's one thing for Apple to say they aren't responsible for supporting modified phones (I think they said that), it's another to say that it's got a notable chance to break the unit.
post #21 of 93
Agreed. This is a mess. Why cant Apple sell the iPhone unlocked NOW, in all the countries that dont have iphones for sale?
Visual voice mail - thats the only thing that would be lost. Big deal.
EDGE plans here in Canada are insanely expensive - impossible to use in fact, but I have an unlocked iPhone, running on Rogers, use the WiFi, great phone, and great emails etc. etc.

All this fuss - sell the iPhone unlocked Apple, please!

I can legally drive to Washington State, buy an iPhone, legally unlock it, legally use it on my network (I asked them, they said its fine).

I can see Apple wanting unlimited data plans, so it works as designed, but unfortunately, data plans like that arent available everywhere.

When (if?) it comes to Canada, I will simply change my Rogers plan to an iPhone plan.
Until then, I will take the risk, because this phone has made my life SO much easier.
post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmillers View Post

This sounds bogus to me.
Unless the "Restore" option doesn't actually restore to the original factory specifications, then you should always be able to restore to the non-hacked version of the iPhone software and then update.

Can't wait for the next update to come out though!

It may sound bogus to you, but it certainly is possible.

Some of the unlocking methods use firmware modifications to work. If you know anything about firmware, then you know that if it is updated, and what it is updating isn't correct, the update might go south.

Remember, they said that "many" of the unlocking methods might have this problem. They didn't say "all".
post #23 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by aross99 View Post

I bet some of this is due to the firmware updates that some of these hacks use. I don't think these are reversed when you restore the software on the iPhone...

That's correct.
post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

I am shocked at the naivety of some members here. You all seem to be forgetting that iPhone is available only in one country at present - there are billions of people who live outside of its sales area. Here, Apple will actually gain money by selling phones to people who cannot legally sign a contract with AT&T because they are not US residents.

Seriously, this is a mess. Quite why this device wasn't just sold SIM free is beyond me.

It was sold that way for two very good, and, I must say, obvious reasons.

If Apple sold the phone SIM-free, then no company would be interested in modifying their network to have Visual Voicemail, which is a big selling point for the phone.

Apple would also not be able to get revenue sharing.

These are two very good reasons why Apple is doing what they are.
post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

People deserve the freedom of choice, which is precisely why the DMCA legalizes the unlocking of phones.

Umm, the DMCA doesn't legalize phone unlocking. The Library of Congress exemption just says that the DMCA doesn't apply to those who do.
post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bladerunner View Post

Why bother indeed sigining with a Telco that shares all your data with the intelligence community.

Because, even if you don't know it, no doubt, every telco around the world does this with their local government, even though you will likely never hear of it.
post #27 of 93
$499 iPhone + $175 termination fee Vs. $800 unlocked iPhone. Am I missing something else? Oh and unlimited data is included on ATT's price plan. Would it be the same on T-mobile?
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post #28 of 93
I'm ashamed of Apple and a fair number of forum members for their attitudes!

Apple made a phone that can't roam in another country without generating a $500+ bill, with no calls made or recieved. This phone is a quad-band, international phone. A $500 bill for a two week vacation might not be the end of the world, but it is outrageous for such a device.

Likewise, every phone I am aware of being on the market for over 4 months has been unlocked. This is the first time I have ever heard of a manufacturer complaining. The manufacturers might make it harder on the next model in response, but you already bought what you paid for, and their interests are over.

With this attitude, Apple risks a serious class-action lawsuit. It's just silly.

As for the whole jailbreak/SDK issue, well... they should have seen that one coming when they suggested that applications could just be javascript over an active internet connection. I don't know how the hell they pulled that one off with a straight face! Some of the applications on the iPhone are a complete joke... the calculator comes to mind. Is a square root key that much to ask for? I hope Apple steps up to the plate soon, or they will quickly lose any "higher ground" arguments that they might have been able to play before.
post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

I'm ashamed of Apple and a fair number of forum members for their attitudes!

Apple made a phone that can't roam in another country without generating a $500+ bill, with no calls made or recieved. This phone is a quad-band, international phone. A $500 bill for a two week vacation might not be the end of the world, but it is outrageous for such a device.

That's not Apple's fault. It's the fault of the carrier. You can just turn off the auto checking for the mail App.

Quote:
Likewise, every phone I am aware of being on the market for over 4 months has been unlocked. This is the first time I have ever heard of a manufacturer complaining. The manufacturers might make it harder on the next model in response, but you already bought what you paid for, and their interests are over.

With this attitude, Apple risks a serious class-action lawsuit. It's just silly.

I can't see a serious class action suit over this. Everyone who gets this phone understands how the contract works. They chose to buy it.

Quote:
As for the whole jailbreak/SDK issue, well... they should have seen that one coming when they suggested that applications could just be javascript over an active internet connection. I don't know how the hell they pulled that one off with a straight face! Some of the applications on the iPhone are a complete joke... the calculator comes to mind. Is a square root key that much to ask for? I hope Apple steps up to the plate soon, or they will quickly lose any "higher ground" arguments that they might have been able to play before.

Well, we'll see what happens.
post #30 of 93
AAPL is doing the right thing for investors who are risking their capital on the iPhone's success.

I would like to see them follow up with lawsuits to bankrupt both the scofflaw providers of unlocks and the equally criminal element that seeks to use these hacks which deprive AAPL and T of revenues that rightly reward them for their time and skill.
post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not Apple's fault. It's the fault of the carrier. You can just turn off the auto checking for the mail App.



I can't see a serious class action suit over this. Everyone who gets this phone understands how the contract works. They chose to buy it.



Well, we'll see what happens.

Outrageous international roaming/data charges are an issue for globetrekers, agreed. Just curious, is it the same for owners of Blackberries, Q and Treo's. Any ATT blackberry owners that travel abroad?
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post #32 of 93
Bricking the phone might be possible if Apple has setup chips similar to those found in those cash cards that blow teeny tiny fuses each time you use money out of them. In other words, the fuse cannot be regenerated.

Imagine a part of the firmware that does a checksum and if it ain't what it should be, blows out the fuse.
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomaspin View Post

I would like to see them follow up with lawsuits to bankrupt both the scofflaw providers of unlocks and the equally criminal element that seeks to use these hacks which deprive AAPL and T of revenues that rightly reward them for their time and skill.

For the last time: phone unlocking is not illegal!

-Clive
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post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

For the last time: phone unlocking is not illegal!

-Clive

It isn't the question of whether it is ok to unlock your own phone. It is a question as to whether it's lawful to supply software to others for that purpose.

That isn't settled yet.

It's similar to prohibition. It was legal to have, and to drink alcohol. It was illegal to make it for someone else, or to sell it.
post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I have to say, I'm very surprised and even disappointed in forum-members' resistance to phone unlocking!

There are many reasons to unlock... say, for one, to avoid paying ridiculously high termination fees, to use out of country, to use without a data plan...



People deserve the freedom of choice, which is precisely why the DMCA legalizes the unlocking of phones.

-Clive

By the way, I do not own an iPhone, and I use AT&T, so no, I am not biased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

I am shocked at the naivety of some members here. You all seem to be forgetting that iPhone is available only in one country at present - there are billions of people who live outside of its sales area. Here, Apple will actually gain money by selling phones to people who cannot legally sign a contract with AT&T because they are not US residents.

Seriously, this is a mess. Quite why this device wasn't just sold SIM free is beyond me.

Jeez, you guys just don't get it!!! People deserve the freedom of choice?? WHAT???? You have to be kidding. In what universe are you living? We deserve to have any equipment we buy function as stated and to expect to have few problems with it. That's it. We all might WANT to have this or that service, but that is FAR from deserving it. Apple has an EULA which was agreed to by the customer and that means that software or any other modification of the phone voids the warranty. Bloody basic stuff, this.

Now, for the "foreigners." Apple would not have sold phones without a carrier. It seems that none of you has a clue about how much of a struggle Apple would have had with this phone.
It would have been black-balled. There would be no outlet for this phone except in Apple stores and carriers would have been threatened by other manufacturers to NOT carry the iPhone- or the carriers would have had to bend to the other manufacturers' demands to cripple it-- or something that would have been completely unacceptable to Apple and the customers who wanted a functionally incredible phone. Period!!! This sort of nonsense has been common in the cell-phone business. Apple clearly understood that.

So stop with the "Apple just shoulda sold it so any SIM card would work." It could NOT have happened.

It is likely that because the iPhone can be locked down that there are European carriers willing to take it on. Meanwhile, whingers, instead of grouching about it, don't even consider the iPhone any more. Don't look at one, buy one or anything else. You will feel much better...
post #36 of 93
So does Apple's stance on modifying the iPhone imply that Volkswagen will not honor its warranty on my Golf because I removed the doors and replaced it with Lamborghini-style doors; that I remove the hood and replaced it with a eagle-emblazoned hood, ala a 76 Camaro; that I removed the engine and put in a 6.0-liter Dodge Hemi motor in its stead?

If so, why won't Volkswagen cover my modded car? Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaahhhhhhhhhha!!!! I want $200 back!!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA! THEY UPDATED THE GOLF 2 YEARS AFTER I BOUGHT MINE, I WANT SOME COMPENSATION! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
post #37 of 93
well, i would suggest if you have installed installer.app, to do a restore today before the next update comes up....


i just restored mine. i already miss all the cool stuff (themes, applications)....oh well, next week perhaps.
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post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

If so, why won't Volkswagen cover my modded car? Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaahhhhhhhhhha!!!! I want $200 back!!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA! THEY UPDATED THE GOLF 2 YEARS AFTER I BOUGHT MINE, I WANT SOME COMPENSATION! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Why is it that the 'anti-whiner' whiners are the most annoying.

Did you put scissor doors on your iPhone? Install a Hemi? Tint the glass?
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post #39 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

well, i would suggest if you have installed installer.app, to do a restore today before the next update comes up....

... or, if you enjoy the ability to run a much wider selection of software than Apple will ever produce for the iPhone, just don't run the update.

Oh wait, I know just how anxious everyone is to shop on iTunes via the WiFi connection.
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post #40 of 93
Perhaps Apple and AT&T should reconsider their stance on this and allow iPhoners a second chance to come back into jail, rather than just ruthlessly abandoning them. Send out an email to all iPhone owners and make a statement or something. Is Apple once again going to let their own ego corrupt their own image?

I'll tell you one thing Apple, I'll be hacking my iPod touch when I get it, so don't try any moves on me. (I know the 'unlocking' term doesn't apply here, but whatever)
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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