Hackers release carrier unlock for Apple's iPhone 4

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Hackers on Wednesday released a carrier unlock for the iPhone 4, allowing users with "jailbroken" devices to use their handset on carriers not approved by Apple.



Dubbed "ultrasn0w," the updated hack now works with the iPhone 4 and its baseband version 01.59. It is also compatible with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, which have basebands 04.26.08, 05.11.07 and 05.13.04.



To run the carrier unlock, users must be on a jailbroken handset, a process that modifies the iOS software and allows users to run unauthorized code. The ultrasn0w unlock can be found in the Cydia store. The unlock comes just days after hackers released a browser-based jailbreak for all iOS devices, including the iPhone 4.



The jailbreaking process takes advantage of a dangerous PDF security hole found in the Mobile Safari browser. Apple said this week it is aware of the vulnerability and is looking into the issue.



The mastermind behind the free software unlock was David Wong, a member of the iPhone Dev Team who goes by the handle planetbeing. He is the same programmer who earlier this year ported Google Android to the iPhone.







While many countries have access to the iPhone on multiple carriers, in the U.S., Apple's iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T. Unlocking it can allow for voice calls and EDGE data speeds on rival carrier T-Mobile. An unlock could also allow iPhone owners to use localized SIM cards while traveling abroad, to avoid paying high roaming charges when using their native carrier.



Last month, the U.S. Library of Congress reiterated its stance that unlocking is legal. It also officially made it legal for iPhone owners to jailbreak their iOS-based device and run unauthorized third-party software. Doing so, however, can still void Apple's warranty.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    markmsmarkms Posts: 9member
    Yes! Now I can use my iPhone 4 worldwide with my other SIM cards! Buh bye BlackBerry, for now.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkMS View Post


    Yes! Now I can use my iPhone 4 worldwide with my other SIM cards! Buh bye BlackBerry, for now.



    Yes because your life is just like the movie Jumper.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    Is this really an unlock, or one of those "for all intents and purposes, it's unlocked... till you update the firmware" style unlocks? I ask because I'm pretty sure it's the latter. AFAIK it is impossible to factory unlock an iPhone (as in, do what you like to it, it's still unlocked) with out going through Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 62
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by success View Post


    Yes because your life is just like the movie Jumper.



    It doesn't take that much travel to make this a big deal for some of us. If you aren't going to a country on ATT's list of discounted data service, you can be looking at $100/day in data roaming charges. Places where you can get a SIM in the airport are a huge bonus for this.



    Thinking the unlock process would be as problematic as for the 3GS almost kept me away from the iPhone 4.



    Hope Apple keeps the cat and mouse mindset within reason. It is a big deal for some of us.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by henderson101 View Post


    Is this really an unlock, or one of those "for all intents and purposes, it's unlocked... till you update the firmware" style unlocks? I ask because I'm pretty sure it's the latter. AFAIK it is impossible to factory unlock an iPhone (as in, do what you like to it, it's still unlocked) with out going through Apple.



    I thought the factory unlocked phones required activation with your computer each time you changed SIMs. The ideal solution is something persistent through firmware upgrades, but I expect that is impossible. Anything that doesn't require you to hook up to your computer after a shutdown is good enough for me though.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    obelixobelix Posts: 18member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    I thought the factory unlocked phones required activation with your computer each time you changed SIMs. The ideal solution is something persistent through firmware upgrades, but I expect that is impossible. Anything that doesn't require you to hook up to your computer after a shutdown is good enough for me though.



    Factory unlocked iPhones do not need computer tethered reactivation.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Can someone bring me up to speed on this?



    I have a 3GS, still on 3.01 (tethering) but haven't done a jailbreak on the phone.



    If I jailbreak this to get the carrier unlock, can I still go back to the core 3.01 OS? Or would it always have be jailbroken?
  • Reply 8 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    It doesn't take that much travel to make this a big deal for some of us. If you aren't going to a country on ATT's list of discounted data service, you can be looking at $100/day in data roaming charges. Places where you can get a SIM in the airport are a huge bonus for this.



    Actually, even if the country IS on the list for 'discounted data service', the price is huge. I turn off my data access when I travel and only use WiFi unless absolutely necessary.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,741member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Can someone bring me up to speed on this?

    I have a 3GS, still on 3.01 (tethering) but haven't done a jailbreak on the phone.



    If I jailbreak this to get the carrier unlock, can I still go back to the core 3.01 OS? Or would it always have be jailbroken?



    You should be able to jailbreak and unlock with your set up. See the matrix here.



    Once you are jailbroken, you should be fine staying at 3.01, if you choose to, with the one caveat being if you do a restore through iTunes, you will probably have to jailbreak and unlock again. Actually, choosing to stay at one OS and not updating is the safer option. Those that want to update always run the risk of losing their jailbreak and unlock until the tools are updated.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,741member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Actually, even if the country IS on the list for 'discounted data service', the price is huge. I turn off my data access when I travel and only use WiFi unless absolutely necessary.



    And because, using some insane logic, it would be theft of service for you to jailbreak, unlock and use an alternative providers SIM, you won't ever opt to do so, will you?
  • Reply 11 of 62
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,741member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by henderson101 View Post


    Is this really an unlock, or one of those "for all intents and purposes, it's unlocked... till you update the firmware" style unlocks? I ask because I'm pretty sure it's the latter. AFAIK it is impossible to factory unlock an iPhone (as in, do what you like to it, it's still unlocked) with out going through Apple.



    It is a 'true' unlock but it is not a factory unlock. Apple maintains a whitelist of IMEIs for factory unlocked phones. If you aren't on this list, then everytime you use iTunes to restore or update, you will lose your unlock.



    In Canada, where you can go to an Apple store and buy unlocked phones or buy carrier locked phones on your choice of 4 carriers (5 once Virgin starts carrying the iP4) all of the phones in the store are actually unlocked. If you buy a carrier contract phone, the IMEI registered as a locked phone and you have a locked phone. If you buy an unlock phone, they simply do not lock it and you pay full price. The really screwy thing is that if you buy a carrier phone, but choose contract free, you pay almost as much as the factory unlocked phone but are locked to the carrier..all for saving about $30.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    Stop these stupid games, Apple/ATT. Just allow an unlock, and get on with it.
  • Reply 13 of 62
    taniatania Posts: 63member
    how do you find the baseband version on your iphone? i can't figure it out.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tania View Post


    how do you find the baseband version on your iphone? i can't figure it out.



    Settings > General > About > Modem Firmware
  • Reply 15 of 62
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Stop these stupid games, Apple/ATT. Just allow an unlock, and get on with it.



    Agree. People are often financially locked to their carrier by the contract they sign anyhow so AT&T don't need technical locks to ensure they get paid.



    The rest of the world works happily without so many locks and there's not many reports of phone companies going broke.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CharlesYFarley View Post


    This must be keeping Steve Jobs up at night. I think that's funny.



    I highly doubt it, since I bought an unlocked one here in Canada right from the Apple store. Keeping AT&T up at night, sure... but I'm sure Apple doesn't loose much sleepover jailbroken phones because that is just one more device they didn't have to support (since they are clear on the action voiding the warranty). It's AT&T that loses money (in loss of service payments) on this venture, not Apple. I am 100% certain, when you guys get multiple carriers, you'll also be able to buy unlocked phones. That means steve get's paid the whole cost of the phone instead of chasing AT&T for the subsidy remainder (lol, just pictured AT&T being chased by apple for "support" payments).
  • Reply 17 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    I thought the factory unlocked phones required activation with your computer each time you changed SIMs. The ideal solution is something persistent through firmware upgrades, but I expect that is impossible. Anything that doesn't require you to hook up to your computer after a shutdown is good enough for me though.



    No, this is a common misconception. If you have your "locked" phone factory "unlocked" by Apple, it will accept any SIM card after being "reactivated" via the computer. This gets old really quickly. However, if you restore the firmware on to your iPhone (as in wipe it and completely rewrite the software) the firmware is written tot he phone in such a way that from that moment onwards, you phone will accept any SIM card at any time without needing any interaction from or activation with a computer. Once Factory unlocked, you can restore your phone as many times as you like, upgrade and such and the unlock stays in place. Factory unlock is forever.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by benice View Post


    Agree. People are often financially locked to their carrier by the contract they sign anyhow so AT&T don't need technical locks to ensure they get paid.



    The rest of the world works happily without so many locks and there's not many reports of phone companies going broke.



    It's not as simple as all that. Apple HAS to get involved. The activation server needs to knopw to send the magic handshake to unlock the phone. Without that it is not factory unlocked, it's just like you have your foot in the door till the next update.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    It is a 'true' unlock but it is not a factory unlock. Apple maintains a whitelist of IMEIs for factory unlocked phones. If you aren't on this list, then everytime you use iTunes to restore or update, you will lose your unlock



    I know all that. Like I said, my phone was factory unlocked by my Carrier at my request.



    It's not a true unlock. A true unlock is what Apple provide in Europe. What it is is a time constrained hack. Time constrained because you only have it till you have to restore or update your iPhone. I've needed to do that more than once in the last 3 years, so it wouldn't have worked for me.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,741member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by henderson101 View Post


    I know all that. Like I said, my phone was factory unlocked by my Carrier at my request.



    It's not a true unlock. A true unlock is what Apple provide in Europe. What it is is a time constrained hack. Time constrained because you only have it till you have to restore or update your iPhone. I've needed to do that more than once in the last 3 years, so it wouldn't have worked for me.



    It isn't time constrained. It is permanent until you do a restore or update, as you say. It is a true unlock as far as it can be. No iPhone can stay unlocked if it is not on Apple IMEI white list. You could find a way to unlock it using the exact protocols that Apple and the carriers use, but if it isn't added to the list, it will always relock when restored. It isn't time constrained. It is constrained by the identifying information of each iPhone.



    If you know it isn't a factory unlock and you know any phone not on Apple's whitelist will relock, why would you even ask if it is 'true' unlock? Either by 'true' you mean factory, which of course it isn't, or you mean unlocked as far as it can be without being on Apple's list, which of course it is.



    I suppose of you want a 'true' unlock, you would have to find a way to either hack Apple's database to add your IMEI or you could try to fool itunes into thinking Apple's server has responded to the status request to say the IMEI is on it's list. Or course those would only be useful until Apple corrected the DB or you updated iTunes.
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