Permanent iPhone Unlock Service Without Jailbreaking is Available but Questionable

Apr 12, 2011 - 6 Comments

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.


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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPhone, News


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  1. arseve says:

    If Apple does not close this loophole then this unlock is really permanent. However, if Apple does indeed close the hole then the unlock is permanent until the phone’s owner updates to a new firmware in which case the phone could be “locked” again if Apple determines that these “unlocks” via these vendors are considered illegally obtained.

    The best way should be to back-up the firmware, update to latest firmware then jailbreak but retain the unlocked baseband.

    I wonder if Apple is allowing this to move their remaining stocks of iPhone 4’s with the carriers approval and later re-lock these unlocked phones.

  2. Ian says:

    You fail to mention that this method is performed remotely and it doesn’t rely on the baseband hacks that ultrasn0w and jailbreaking does, this is why the service is preferable. Regardless I can guarantee that come time for another iOS firmware upgrade you’ll need to be updating with custom firmware anyway from Pwnage or Sn0wbreeze just like any other hacked method or you’ll lose the unlock and your $180.

  3. Chuck says:

    I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole

  4. Parakeet says:

    Paying $169 for a bricked phone that is probably unlocked by some illegal means? No thank you.

    There is no way I’d do this, it sounds like a great way to brick an iPhone the moment Apple finds out out to plug the exploit the hackers are using.

    Jailbreaking and unlocking is so easy nowadays you’d be foolish to pay someone to do it for you. Plus, $170 is 1/3 the price of an unlocked iphone from Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada, or Singapore, and those are sanctioned by Apple. Why risk it?

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