Apple to nuke unlocked iPhones

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Apple to nuke unlocked iPhones

Apple iPhoneApparently Steve Jobs has had enough of the hackers unlocking all those iPhones or AT&T got to him, because the next Apple iPhone update will "brick" unlocked iPhones. In a terse statement, Apple said, "Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed."

Don't you mean unauthorized iPhone programs on the Internet cause unlimited freedom and choice in choosing a wireless carrier? Ok, I get that Apple has an exclusive deal with AT&T in the U.S. and has to try and honor that contract, but c'mon, I have yet to hear of any unlocked iPhone causing "irreparable damage". They make it sound like Apple is doing you a favor by sending you this "update" which will "fix" this dastardly unlocked software, when actually Apple will be the ones "breaking" it.

Go ahead Apple and offer your updates, which will brick unlocked phones, but don't spin it like your doing us any favors. Fortunately, TUAW has 9 steps to relock your iPhone back to the original firmware BEFORE the Apple update is sent. I should note that not all Apple iPhones are set to auto update and the update is done through iTunes, not OTA (over the air).  In theory, you can choose to NOT UPDATE and stick with your unlocked iPhone with no problems. Unfortunately, you are stuck with old firmware and no bug fixes, updates, feature improvements, etc. So I guess the key here is if you have an unlocked iPhone is to turn off auto updates and wait till the hackers hack the upcoming update. Then life will be good again.

But if you must check out the latest and greatest firmware with new features and bug fixes, here's the steps according to TUAW to relock your iPhone to the "legit" firmware:

  • (Take out your SIM from your iPhone.)--Still checking on this step.
  • Download the 1.0.2 firmware to your computer and unzip it. It uses a .ipsw extension but your unzip program should still work. Change the extension if you have to.
  • Extract the ramdisk as such: dd if=009-7698-4.dmg of=ramdisk.dmg bs=512 skip=4 conv=sync
  • Mount the extracted ramdisk.
  • From the ramdisk, copy /usr/local/bin/bbupdater, /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.eep, and /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.fls to your iPhone. Place these into a folder on the OS partition (such as /bbupdate) and not into a folder on /var/root. The /var/root partition is set noexec and you cannot run programs from there.
  • Disable using UIctl or launchctl: launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • On the iPhone, navigate to the folder where you stored bbupdater and the eep and fls files.
  • Run bbupdater as such: ./bbupdater -f *.fls -e *.eep
  • Reload comm center: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • Reactivate with your favorite AT&T SIM. I personally like using iASign.

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