The folks over at Engadget have brought us the exclusive news that the iPhone has been successfully unlocked. There were previous successes, but they all involved various hardware trickery. Well, no longer. The iPhone can now be successfully unlocked via applying simple software.
The hack was apparently done by the iPhoneSIMfree.com team who called up Engadget to prove their claim that they have cracked Apple's iPhone SIM lock system. It appears that the six-man team has been working literally non-stop since launch day.
The iPhoneSIMfree team has yet to disclose how they will distribute this hack, but you can probably be assured that details will be revealed in short order. And no, apparently, Engadget didn't retain a copy of the software.
Excerpt from Engadget:
Again: we can confirm with 100% certainty that iPhoneSIMfree.com's software solution completely SIM unlocks the iPhone, is restore-resistant, and should make the iPhone fully functional for users outside of the US.
"Installation notes" on this Hack:
- The unlock process took only a couple of minutes. From our end it was totally painless.
- Once you put your new, non AT&T SIM in the device, you have to go through the usual activation process. This can, of course, be done by anyone anywhere with the right tools (like iASign or iActivator).
- We tested with an active T-Mobile SIM -- after the hack was finished and we reactivated we immediately got full bars and the T-Mobile carrier info popped up in the top bar.
- Everything is otherwise the same, except the menu system now has a couple more options. The root menu has Carrier settings where you can select your preferred network if you don't want to roam.
- The General -> Network menu now has an EDGE network settings area where you can input your carrier's APN and username / password. We put in our T-Mobile info, and were immediately online. (Apparently these hidden menus were added in the 1.0.1 update, they tell us. How convenient!)
- Visual voicemail isn't in the cards -- sorry. That was, of course, to be expected because it's a special AT&T network-specific feature right now. When you hit the voicemail button you are taken immediately to your carrier's default voicemail line though, and that works just like it would on any other phone.
- Everything is confirmed as working on a non-AT&T network: SMS send / receive, Internet (including Safari, Mail, Google maps, etc.). YouTube doesn't work out of the box, but that's to be expected. If you're not on AT&T, you have to manually activate YouTube -- here's the guide on how to do that. (YouTube is the only app you have to activate like this.)
- We know, it's kind of crazy, but this isn't a hoax.
- No, sorry, you can't have our unlocked iPhone.
For the video, gallery of images, and the rest of the other details, you can check out the original Engadget post, iPhone unlocked: AT&T loses iPhone exclusivity.
Now, if only wriggling out of the compulsory two-year iPhone contracts was that easy. Ouch.
The only question left is: How come it took so long?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.