iPhone unlock frenzy

Recently I bought off eBay a (locked) iPhone. It was nice and shiny, and I was urging to use it. So, dispite the various warnings I saw on the net regarding the free iphone unlocking method, I rushed and used a free unlock available on the net, specifically anySIM because I didn’t want to buy a license to use iPhoneSimFree, which they charge you for a license. Bad move. I will share with you my story with free unlocks, and a how-to de-brick your phone.

My phone was running firmware 1.0.2 (I never updated to 1.1.1). During the unlock, something went wrong. The phone’s IMEI turned to 004999010640000. I googled it, and i turned out that this was the “lockdown” IMEI, meaning that my phone was bricked. I thought it was wise to restore back to my original firmware in order to restore the state of my phone and make it report the original IMEI. No luck.

I tried removing the SIM from the phone, and restarting. When the phone booted without the SIM, the IMEI was reported the same as the one on the phone. At this point, I tried unlocking with anySIM once more, but without any success. When the phone booted with a SIM card (non-AT&T) it showed the “lockdown” IMEI.

So, the last resort was to try the SimFree unlock. I visited Free Our iPhones, which is a iPSF reseller, and bought a license using my REAL IMEI (the one on the back of the phone). It was Sunday, so I had to wait until Monday to see if that was going to fix and unlock my iPhone. Surprisingly (and thankfully) within 30 minutes I got an email from them saying that my license has been activated and I could use SimFree to unlock my iPhone.

I added their Sources into my Installer, and I downloaded SimFree to my iPhone directly. After removing the SIM, I double-checked the IMEI and runned the SimFree program. The unlocker went through various stages, and voila! “Unlock successful”! I closed the phone and inserted my SIM and the phone registered successfully to my carrier. I was able to make and receive calls and SMS. My iPhone was liberated!

The following How-To is for people who want to avoid bad IMEI or fix it from 3rd-party firmware:

Windows Users download these files:

  1. AppTapp Installer
  2. BBupdater + Original Baseband Firmware of 1.0.2
  3. Putty SSH client
  4. WinSCP Secure FTP Client

For Mac Users download these files:

  1. AppTapp Installer
  2. BBupdater + Original Baseband Firmware of 1.0.2
  3. Cyberduck SFTP Client

Note: Instead of using putty, on Mac we open Terminal ( Finder – Applications – Utilities – Terminal ) and we type this to login to the iPhone (for this example the iPhone IP was 192.168.1.101, so use your IP in your case):

  • ssh -l root 192.168.1.101
  • Password: dottie

All commands listed below are the same for Windows Putty and Mac Terminal.

After you have all files you may proceed.

  1. Connect your iPhone and run AppTapp Installer from Windows or Mac
  2. On the iPhone now you have Installer. Run it and install all these in this order:
    • Community Sources (in Sources Category)
    • BSD Sub System (in System Category)
    • OpenSSH (in System Category)
  3. Close Installer by pressing the Home key
  4. Open safari and type in http://tinyurl.com/2uj9mc and accept the
    message thats pops up.
  5. Installer will now load again and you should go to the top right
    section where it says Sources and click Refresh on the bottom.
  6. Go to the Install tab and select SimFree v1.5 from the *iPhoneSimFree * category

Now you need to flash the original firmware back to your baseband in order to get this to work. The following steps explain how to transfer the files needed to your phone and how to execute them, read carefully.

  1. Go to Settings – General – AutoLock and set it to never on the iPhone
  2. Open Putty.exe (or Terminal) and type in the IP of your iPhone (found in the WiFi list when you click the arrow on the right of your WiFi name), select SSH and connect. (you might get a message saying to accept the key of the iPhone just say yes)
    • Username: root
    • Password: dottie

    If you managed to connect to the iPhone then your doing well. Leave Putty open as we will need it later.

  3. Run WinSCP (or Cyberduck) (after you have installed it of course) and connect to the IP of the iPhone like before, but select SCP as the type of connection. Username and password are the same as above.
    • Browse to /usr/bin/ on the iPhone
    • Upload bbupdater and ICE03.14.08_G.fls which are the 2 files from
      the rapidshare link.
    • close WinSCP
  4. Go back to Putty now. type the following commands one after the other
    once each command has completed:

    • cd /usr/bin
    • chmod +x *
    • launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
    • ./bbupdater -f ICE03.14.08_G.fls
    • launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
    • reboot
  5. Now the iPhone will reboot and you will still have the BAD IMEI when it reboots, take out the SIM card and reboot it again by holding down the power button for 3 seconds and slide to power off. Turn it back on and you will have a good IMEI but the phone is locked.
  6. Turn on WiFi and run SimFree to unlock.
  7. Turn off the phone and installed your SIM card. Enjoy your unlocked phone with a good IMEI and update resistant.

Disclaimer: Use this guide at your own risk. The author carries no responsibility on any damage on your iPhone.

118 thoughts on “iPhone unlock frenzy

  1. That error message you get means that you need activation again. The unlock is working fine!

    The difference is that in 1.1.1 they use a different activation method, which activates the phone for all sim cards, that why the error message does not appear then!

  2. Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for the prompt reply! Really appreciate it~

    Now I see the difference. That was why my friend’s phone was able to support diff SIM cards & detect diff svc providers (cos he’s using 1.1.1). As for my case, are there any ways for me to configure my 1.0.2 so that it can also support other SIMs as well? Bcos I think it’s quite troublesome to activate each SIM over & over again.

    Alternatively, will it be good to upgrade my firmware to 1.1.1? If yes, any proper steps to recommend? I understand tht those using IPSF can just upgrade to 1.1.1 via iTunes, but whenever I tried doing so, iTunes will prompt the message “1.0.2 is the current version”. There’s no way for me to upgrade it. Any ideas?

    Thanks again!

    Best rgds

  3. You could try downloading the 1.1.1 firmware upgrade file, and upgrading manually, by putting your phone in recovering mode, and using alt-Restore in iTunes. This will force iTunes to upgrade your phone.

  4. Hi Andreas,

    Where can I download the 1.1.1 firmware upgrade file from?
    How do I set my phone to recovering mode? When doing all these steps, I will need to connect the phone via USB to PC rite? Do I need to insert any SIM card, or leave it empty?
    By forcing iTunes to upgrade the phone manually, will it lock/damage the phone?
    Pls advice. Thanks!

  5. I also have the problem, that my Wi-Fi capabilities dissapeared after down/upgrading.Now I can not install any software on my phone in order to get rid of the bad IMEI.Need urgend HELP !!!
    My iphone is working (jailbreaked) on 1.1.1 and also possible to jailbreak it in 1.0.2 but still no WiFi,no calling capabilities due to bad IMEI.
    HELP HELP HELP
    Going nowhere without WiFi

  6. I heard about problems with the firmware etc, that could cause this, but how to install programs on the iphone, if wifi is not available.i have apptapp on it, but it cant find anything.how to get programs onto it via usb?and which ones?
    Thanx

  7. Is there anyone out there who knows how to restore the phone to good IMEI and WiFi?I am really running out of good instructions on how to.I need WiFi first back to operating stage, then I need good IMEI.Anyone HELP please.PS: I was able to install “Terminal”, but cant find some other usefull programs.If you respond, please attach links for the needed programs
    Thanx

  8. So I had bought a 1.1.1 iPhone. The old unlocking method was to downgrade the version to 1.0.2 and then activating the phone. I had done that. Now the new unlocking software came out in the market and I wanted to check if I can update this 1.0.2 firmware back to its origonal 1.1.1 firmware. Things were going fine until it locked itself. Now I am stuck with this piece. I have tried a lot of things over and over again and no luck. I am back at the activation screen – shows me this message >>>> ” Please insert an unlocked SIM card to activate the iPhone “. DOES ANYBODY KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND THIS AND UNLOCK THE IPHONE ONCE MORE????????? I really need help. Its been a month I am stuck with this locked phone. PLEASEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Kavin
    go to http://www.hacktheiphone.com
    follow instructions exactly, and i mean it…
    good luck
    ps: you just have to use iNdependence or iBrickr to get rid of the activation screen, but double check, that your IMEI is not starting with 0049…, because then it would be BRICKED !

  10. hy! i had a new iphone v 1.1.1 and i downgraded it to 1.0.2, and tried to unlock it with anysim, but i later learned that i had a new modem and anysim didnt work, but its functions sre active! now im stuck…. what to do in order to free it from at%t?
    thx

  11. Hi,
    just did what you mentioned in the above post but still no luck the imei is still the faulty one.
    Thanks in advance
    Nads

  12. later i just updatet it to v1.1.1 and used the method from http://iphone.unlock.no/ and it works!
    But now there is a new problem, i just got two more iphones and they had new v1.1.2 already installed so im still searching for the method to unlock them…. i already jailbroke them and activated but no luck with unlock….. if someone solves the problem please post…..

  13. Dear all,

    I am an iPhone user in Hong Kong. I bought a brand new cracked iPhone (version 1.02) on 1st November. It went quite well initially. However, 7 days after, the phone was locked with the following message:-

    “….unauthorized sim card….”

    Further, the IMEI no. turned to (00499…) – that is different from what is indicated at the back of the iPhone.

    First of all, I want to make it clear that I did not ever attempt to upgrade the iPhone. The problem first appeared when I switch off the “Edge” function from the “Service” Program. Naturally, I took back to the shop for repair but without luck. The repairman told me that he tried to crack the phone all over again but he could not do so because the Wifi (and the BT part) could not be re-activated in the first place.

    At first, I thought it is a fairly simple software problem. Apparently, I am wrong!!! Since then, I have sent the defunct iPhone to two other shops for repair and the answers are the same. Since the wifi cannot be activated (even the same old cracking procedures have been followed), the phone cannot be cracked by software! Has anyone come across such situation?

    Please help. I really love my iPhone!!!

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Dear Edward,
    no luck here yet, trying to find out how to load/fond the software from CommunityServices onto the iPhone via USB.Then there may be a way to correct the invalid IMEI…if you find out please let me know

  15. I was given an iPhone about 3 months ago and I was using it in Australia on Telstra – quite happily I might add until I downloaded the new software. I have managed to unlock the iPhone to a now expensive iPod but I am still unable to unlock the SIM – therefore I am not able to use the phone or SMS.

    My iPhone is Firmware 03.14.08_G with Version 1.1.1 (3A109A) IMEI 01 130000 404678 6 and the IMEI on the back of the phone is the same. Can you please tell me what I need to do to fix this problem.

    PS Really not good at this hacking stuff so please be gentle when explaining what I need to do. And let me know if you need any other info.

    Please please help – I’m at the point of begging

  16. I tried to Unlock my 1.02 firm to 1.1.1 by reading the instructions frm the Unlock.no site ….But after adding the 2 URL’s i went to Settings as directed but i Was Unable o select the WIFI!!

    AT THE WIFI TAB IT WAS WRITTEN “NO WIFI ” I am stucked between the procedure i tried googling around but no sucess. i even tried in the unlock.no for any instructionsbut there is no description about any such problem !!!

    PLZ HELP ME OUT IF ANY ONE KNOW ABOUT THE PROBLEM and what exactly has happened to it ???!!

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