Permanent iPhone Unlock Service Without Jailbreaking is Available but Questionable
A questionable sounding permanent iPhone unlock has appeared on the scene, the service claims to offer a permanent unlock solution for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G, without the need for jailbreaking.
How would this be possible? The $169 service apparently whitelists your iPhone IMEI number by manually adding them to Apple’s databases. How exactly they are doing that is in question, and that is precisely why this sounds like a questionable service. The potentially illicit method of unlocking your phone brings the legality into question, and we don’t recommend using it. Outside of the legal ambiguity, BGR notes that if someone is able to add an IMEI to a database, it would be just as easy to delete it and relock your iPhone. Furthermore, there is the looming question on how the service is accessing and editing Apple’s own databases.
If you’re unfamiliar, an iPhone unlock frees the device from the cellular carrier it was intended to be used on. Unlocking is a bit of a cat and mouse game, with holes being patched by Apple and the unlock community finding new methods around the carrier locks. Recently iOS 4.3.1 was unlocked with ultrasn0w 1.2.1 but it requires a user to jailbreak an iPhone with iOS 4.3.1 while preserving old baseband that remains compatible with prior versions of ultrasn0w. It’s not a particularly complex process, but it can be confusing to users who are less technically savvy.
If all of this sounds too complicated, the other alternative is to just buy an iPhone that comes unlocked to begin with, from a country like Canada. You’ll pay more upfront, but buying an unlocked phone prevents you from having to use software jailbreaks, carrier unlocks, or the (possibly unscrupulous) methods like CutYourSim’s offering. If you’re curious how the iPad fits into all of this, you’ll find the iPad 2 is sold unlocked as long as you purchase the 3G GSM model.
CutYourSim‘s service was verified to work by BGR, but again, we do not recommend using this service at this time. If more information comes available and the service is found to be legal, it may be a viable alternative to the jailbreak/ultrasnow method.