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Author Topic: Unlocking iPhone 4 ?  (Read 3972 times)
daviator
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« on: September 03, 2011, 12:27:34 AM »

I realize this has been discussed before, but it's a moving target and a discussion from months ago probably holds no validity today.

So I'm going to be out of the country later this year, and this time I really would prefer to have the use of my phone while I'm away.  In particular, I'd like the use of data services, and free Wifi is pretty much not going to be available.  Furthermore, I'd like to use such services without feeling like a giant Dyson had its hose stuck into my bank account, continuously demonstrating how it never loses suction.   ROFLMAO

The only solution to all of that would be to unlock my phone and buy a local SIM card to use for the duration of my trip.  On any other phone, that would be a no brainer.  But apparently AT&T is unwilling to unlock iPhones, even after your commitment to them is satisfied (does anyone have any evidence to the contrary?)

So I took a fresh look at unlocking solutions, and from what I can see, the options are limited.  I'm fully upgraded to the latest firmware (4.3.5) and baseband, which limits what I can do.  Apparently (a) you can't unlock without jail breaking, which is a shame (I'd rather not jailbreak if I can avoid it, because I hear there are big issues with battery life and perhaps other things once you do so.)  And with 4.3.5, the only jailbreak is a "tethered jailbreak" which means you have to connect the phone to a computer and go through a series of steps every time you restart the phone, otherwise it will be a brick. That's not an option, particularly when I'm going to be traveling and obviously turning off the phone on the plane. 

There are sites like this advertised:  http://www.iphoneunlocksim.com/  but they provide so little detail that I'm skeptical that it isn't either a scam, or that there aren't big limitations that you won't discover until after you've screwed up your phone.

There's also a hardware-software solution involving a little device that sits in between the microSIM card and its interface, but that, too, requires jail breaking the phone which introduces all of the tethering issues.

SO... my question: does anyone know of a practical way to make this work?  Or should I just plan to live without phone and data services while I don't have a WiFi connection?  It's truly infuriating to me that AT&T won't allow you to unlock the phone.  When I used to have T-Mobile (pre-iPhone) they were great about allowing me to unlock my phones, even before my commitment was completed, just based on my good payment history and credit.  AT&T (and Verizon too, I guess) failing to do so seems borderline criminal. 

This is an issue that would definitely get me to switch to another carrier if there was one with a more reasonable unlocking policy.  Are you listening, T-Mobile?
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perkiset
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2011, 03:25:46 PM »

I just pinged a dear friend who spent the better part of the summer in Switzerland and traveling all over Europe. I'm hoping she can stop by and add to the pot.
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2011, 03:53:10 PM »

Hi Daviator,

The whole thing sucks, doesn't it?  I spent five weeks traveling through Ireland, Switzerland, and a few other places in Europe earlier this summer, and had to deal with the same issues.....and while I know a lot of people that went the jailbreak/unlock route with no trouble, it's still a PITA to have to go through.  And the biggest problem is that with a different SIM, your phone number changes, and you lose access to your visual voicemail.

Fortunately I was also traveling with an iPad, so I bought an international SIM for that, and had planned to use it for email and data and continue to just use my locked iPhone for calls if needed......but I forwarded my phone number to Google Voice, which emailed voicemail messages to me, and made sure my greeting explained that I was out of the country and only returning urgent calls - but that they could feel free to email me at [my email address]. That way I didn't have to pay for wrong numbers or just casual calls.

What I found though was that we had no trouble at all finding free WiFi.....every place we stayed, which ranged from renting a private home to renting an apartment, and a few cheap hotels, offered free WiFi.  As in the U.S., Starbucks was pretty ubiquitous and also offered free WiFi, as did a number of other coffee places and restaurants.  Free WiFi seems more commonly used in Europe as an effective lure that U.S. businesses are slow to catch on to.  The only place it would have been nice to have it was on the trains, but at least I had the SIM in my iPad for those rare occasions when I needed it on a train *and* there was cell signal available.

If you decide to go ahead with unlocking your phone and using an international SIM, keep in mind that you do have to get an international SIM, not a local one - otherwise you'll still pay exorbitant rates for calls or data, and when you buy the SIM, you pay for the card PLUS credits to use up. You can top up the credits any time pretty easily if you get low.  I went with Roam Mobility because they were simple to buy from, but there are a lot of other sources.  Because of the free WiFi I didn't wind up using as much as I'd estimated so I still have a lot of credit left, but I'm sure I'll be traveling out of the country again. :-)

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

@Perkiset - LOL I was *just* hitting "Post" on my reply when yours posted.
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perkiset
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2011, 12:41:18 AM »

Thanks TK - well written and very valuable first hand info. Nice to have you back Smiley
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daviator
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 02:30:19 AM »

Thanks for the helpful advice.  I did the Europe trip last fall and stuck it out with just Wifi (which I found in most hotels and in Starbucks in *some* countries, but not everywhere.)  It was still a pain.  But this trip is to Taiwan and Japan, and I feel like I'll have more need for connectivity than just the occasional Starbucks or (functionally) tethered use in the hotel. 

I didn't realize that I could get a local SIM card and use it in my iPad, I just assumed that the iPad was also locked to AT&T.  Am I wrong about that?  If I can get a data SIM (i.e. a local SIM with sufficient data credit) and pop it in the iPad that might largely solve my problem.  The phone issues are smaller and I think I can deal with those through a combination of Google Voice and Skype.

The whole business of devices that are locked permanently to a specific carrier is just so customer-unfriendly and so completely unnecessary.  I understand why the default needs to be "locked" - but I don't understand why they couldn't unlock the phone for customers with decent credit -- since if you don't complete your contractual obligations, they can trash your credit, which ought to be a significant deterrent for anyone with decent credit.  And (in my view) it ought to be illegal for them to refuse to unlock your phone once your commitment is satisfied.  It's like selling someone a car and then telling them they are never allowed to buy gas from anyone but Chevron.

Sounds like there's no magic technological solution to the problem, seems like Apple has the upper hand at the moment in the unlocking/jailbreaking battle.

D.
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Tech_Kitten
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2011, 01:26:45 PM »

Yep, the iPad is unlocked - you can put anyone's SIM in it that you want.......but do be sure to check their international roaming rates if you go with a local SIM - that's where it can get expensive, which is why I went with an international SIM.....I'll be very interested to hear what the WiFi situation is in Japan and Taiwan when you get back. :-)
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Isaac
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 01:55:19 AM »

Here are the sample guide on how iPhone 4 gets unlocked.

1. The first thing to consider is to connect  the iPhone on Internet network.
2. Open the Internet browser in the iPhone. This is Safari.
3. Then download the jailbreaking/unlocking tool. One must also take note that before doing the unlocking process, the firmware version of the iPhone must be checked. In this particular guide, iPhone firmware 3.1.3 until 4.0. is best recommended.
4. Then, proceed to Settings. Go to the General page, then proceed to the Network. One must turn off the 3G.
5. Upon installing Cydia, the iPhone is already jailbroken. This is usually the first part in unlocking the iPhone.
6. Find the jailbreak software application in the phone. Go to the search page and type the unlock software. Once presented with various versions, one must take note of  it.
7. For some unlock software, they are not capable of unlocking because they have version less than 1.0.1 If this is your case, choose the button “Manage” and select the menu Sources, then Edit  and Add. On the text field, one must place ‘repo666’.
8. Next, reboot the phone. Once opened, you will notice that there has been change in the version and this became higher.
9. If the unlocking version is higher, then there’s really no need to undergo steps  7 and 8 because the application can readily be applied. Then, after rebooting, one’s iPhone 4 is  already successfully unlocked.

Following all the methods above will only take within 5 to 10 minutes. It is very easy and convenient. The iPhone company may always come up with so many restrictions and even  look for ways for the unit not to get easily jailbroken, but these are easily given solution by so many brilliant minds  It is recommended that one should update iPhone 4  to higher version minus the hassle of losing the unlock.

The process of unlocking may be very easy, but choosing reliable and efficient software must be given with utmost consideration. There are those which have poor quality of software and even give due harm to one’s iPhone, so it is essential to be always cautious.
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ejcullen
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 12:46:22 AM »

ieroeiwrpoiwerpoi
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ejcullen
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 12:46:52 AM »

i would like to share my experience inunlocking my iphone. i got my iphone unlocked through remote unlocking service. i got this service from www.mobile-unlocker.com/apple-iphone-4/
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 08:55:04 AM by perkiset » Logged
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