Unlock the iPhone 4S with an iOS 5 Bug

Nov 17, 2011 - 16 Comments

Unlocked iPhone 4S

If you didn’t already buy an unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple or take advantage of Sprint and Verizons 90 day unlock request, you can apparently unlock the 4S’s GSM SIM card slot yourself by taking advantage of a strange bug in iOS 5 and how the iPhone 4S handles the Edge network.

Here’s what you’ll need to attempt this:

  • GSM activated iPhone 4S (AT&T model on contract, for example)
  • AT&T SIM card
  • T-Mobile Micro SIM

If you have all of that, completing the unlock is a matter of tripping up iOS 5 by performing a virtual song and dance routine, how someone figured this is out is fairly impressive on its own:

How to Unlock the iPhone 4S

Do this at your own risk:

  • Insert original carrier AT&T SIM card
  • Dial 611 for AT&T customer service hotline and drop the call
  • Turn on Airplane Mode
  • Take out AT&T SIM card
  • Insert T-Mobile SIM card
  • Make sure WiFi is off ( also tap on ‘Forget this Network” to make sure it doesn’t connect automatically later)
  • Switch off Airplane Mode and iPhone will search for network. This is followed by the Apple splash screen appearing.
  • Activation Required will be displayed on the screen
  • EDGE network will activate automatically – notice the ‘E’ on the top left corner of the screen
  • Wait for about 20-30 seconds and turn off the phone
  • Turn on iPhone and the same Activation Required screen will be displayed
  • When you see one signal bar, tap on Use Cellular Connection
  • Eject SIM card
  • Activation Required screen will be displayed the second time
  • Insert SIM card
  • Unlocked!

Multiple users are reporting success with this method, although some had to repeat it many times to get it to finally work.

Apparently this trick has been around for a few weeks now, although it hasn’t been widely publicized for some reason or another. Here’s a YouTube video of someone completing the procedure as described above:

If you give this a try, let us know if it works for you. These instructions are from Pastebin via MacRumors. This is just now stating to take off on the web, so we should have some more conclusive reports soon to determine if this works or not.

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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

16 Comments

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  1. Zach says:

    Do you think this is related to the sim card bugs with iOS 5.0.1 for 4S?

  2. R0h4n says:

    this guy says it works too http://www.danielscaleb.com/2011/11/unlocking-gsm-iphone-4s.html

    same procedure but he had to do it 20 times before it worked hehe

  3. heshsesh says:

    Would this work on an iPhone 4 running iOS 5??
    And with carrier SIMs outside of the USA?

  4. [...] GSM-flavored iPhone 4S adopters may be happy to hear that the folks over at OSXDaily have found a way to unlock the new handset using a bug in iOS 5. Of course we know that Apple sells [...]

  5. [...] iPhone 4S köpare är väl nu glad att höra att gänget över på OSXDaily har hittat ett sätt att låsa upp den nya telefonen med hjälp av en bugg i iOS 5. Självklart [...]

  6. Richard says:

    Can someone confirm if this method works if using an AT&T simcard outside the US (which is not active of course) for example: iPhone 4 bought on US on AT&T, actual iPhone’s location EU.

  7. Ameer says:

    does it work outside US?

  8. dark1024 says:

    is it permanent?

  9. [...] we have some good news for all of you wishing to unlock on the iOS 5 firmware. According to OSXDaily you can unlock the GSM iPhone 4S by taking advantage of a strange iOS 5 bug that effects how the [...]

  10. Demon says:

    This works, if i’m using a gevey sim instead of an original carrier sim?
    This method must be used every time i reboot the phone?

  11. Tomtom says:

    well, i did that all steps are the same, it showed up T-mobile too, but when it showed up T mobile at the same time it restarted to activate again. sometime, i saw full signal but still restart. How i solve my problem?

  12. ATT User says:

    I had 2 a contract with AT&T and decided to break it and pay the ETF (Early termination fee of $250) and switched to AT&T prepaid card. Customer care told me that the new prepaid SIM card will not with my existing iPhone and I have to use new SIM in a new unlocked (any) phone. I just have it a try with same iPhone and it is working, I just turned off the airplane mode for 30 sec. and then turned on it…phone started searching the network and network bar showed up…

    I am not sure whether a prepaid AT&T SIM is supposed to work with a locked/contract iPhone4 (iOS5, baseband 4.11.08) is supposed to work or not but, it is working for me.

    Thanks,
    – ATT User

  13. ATT User says:

    I had 2 year contract with AT&T

  14. Mohsin says:

    does this work with Sprint?

  15. Gumati says:

    just wonder how i can unlock my iphone 4 with 5.1? or can i use the same way

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