How Apple is Putting an End to Unauthorized iPhone Unlocks

// November 26, 2011

Apple has essentially put an end unauthorized carrier unlocks with the iPhone 4S and they have made it almost pointless for hackers to try to find ways to unlock the iPhone 4 and 3GS.

There have been a number of ways to unlock iPhones and use them on any GSM network. The two most popular ways to unlock iPhones has been Ultrasn0w and sim card impostors but Apple is making both of them a thing of the past.

There was several blogs reporting a few weeks ago that a bug in iOS 5 would allow users to unlock their iPhones, but it was later revealed the trick only worked for a few minutes then the phone returns to being locked.

Ultrasn0w is Virtually Dead

Ultrasn0w is an unlock you can install via Cydia on a jailbroken iPhone if you have a compatible baseband. The baseband is separate modem firmware that just controls the phone part of an iPhone.

Ultrasn0w was probably the best way to unlock an iPhone, it was free and very reliable. However, the last baseband compatible with Ultrasn0w is 1.59.00. The 1.59.00 firmware was released shortly after the iPhone 4 and there appears to be no efforts to add any additional basebands for any other iPhones.

The software for Ultrasn0w is still updated for existing users after new jailbreaks are released but users must preserve their baseband anytime their iOS software is updated, otherwise the unlock no longer works.

Sim Card Impostors

This method tricks your phone into accepting your unofficial wireless carrier by inserting a modified sim card. There has always been some issues sim card impostors. First, it requires users to purchase the impostor sim card. The prices vary but you can expect to pay from $20 to $50 dollars. Since there are so many scams out there, the money could be wasted by leaving you with a locked phone and no support to get it working.

Sim card impostors tend to be unreliable and most require you to call 112 for this hack to work, which could cause legality issues.

There is Becoming Less Demand for Hacks to Unlock iPhones

Apple is undoubtedly making it technically more difficult to unlock iPhones but more importantly they are offering iPhones on more wireless carriers and they are selling officially unlocked iPhones at decent prices.

When At&t was the only iPhone carrier in the US there was many people who held off on purchasing an iPhone because of the carrier. Verizon and Sprint are now among the iPhone carriers in the US and once T-Mobile is added the only need for an unlocked iPhone in the US will be for international travelers.

To purchase a new factory unlocked iPhone from Apple is now only $100 – $150 higher than you can find a used one without a contract on eBay or from other sites.

Here are the prices for new factory unlocked and contract free iPhones from Apple;

When you consider the problems with trying to hack an iPhone to accept an unofficial carrier it only makes sense to spend the extra money and purchase a factory unlocked iPhone. You get the benefit of getting a new phone under warranty that doesn’t require any jailbreaking or hacks for it to work.


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