All of us are a great fan of Apple devices, be it the MacBook or the popular iPhone. This is only because of innovations that Apple put forward for its customers and with time update and upgrade its technology. This write-up is about Apple’s iPhone. We all love this phone isn’t it? Because of the features, specifications, battery life, and design, etc. But we are often tricked by the Apple.inc and the carriers with which Apple sells us the iPhone, as they put several restrictions on their users. These restrictions restrict both the functionality of certain iPhone features and the ability to change plan and switching carriers. This can be annoying if the user wants to switch to a different carrier because of the higher costs of the current voice and data plans or if the user wishes to save his money on the roaming charges. All such situations are realistic, and users are often seen facing them and they end up buying Pre-unlocked iPhones rather than the one that are available with a carrier’s contract. The major drawback of this is that the pre-unlocked iPhones are available at the almost double amount as that of the unlocked (or the iPhone on contract with the carrier).
All these situations have a solution that is very simple yet complicated also at the same time; it is known as the unlocking of your iPhone. Well, this is nothing to do with the security locks of your iPhone like Touch ID or Passcode locks. This is a whole different thing and in short, it means to remove the lock that is kept by Apple and your carrier from switching to a different carrier. In previous times when this type of technology of unlocking wasn’t developed people used to wait for their contract period to get over to switch to a different network. But nowadays it has become very easy.
There are several methods that are being invented and also modified according to Apple’s software updates as these unlock methods are sometimes iOS specific. The most popular methods are listed below:
- Hardware unlock methods
- Software unlock methods
- Illegal Factory unlock methods
- SIM card hack unlock methods
- Legal and Official unlock methods
There are the whole bunch of ways, and some of them are hardware and software dependent as they require a unique set of baseband and iOS version running on your iPhone. Let us discuss in detail about these unlocking methods.
Hardware unlock methods
These are very old methods of going through the restrictions put forward by Apple and carriers. Just like as in some other basic phones your iPhone needs to be opened up completely, and the technician then does some minor soldering of wires by changing certain connections thus bypassing certain loops in the chipset of your iPhone. This was found to be an effective way of unlocking as previously it was impossible for Apple or carriers to revert the phone back to the locked state over the air. Later on, when Apple along with the carriers came to know about this hack, made some changes in their database. Today, if anybody opens up and mess with the internal circuit and tries to perform any hardware unlocking that particular iPhone will get blacklisted from the Apple servers. Not only this, but the IMEI number of the iPhone will also get deleted from their servers. And you are left with a toy in your hand because once the IMEI number of a phone is deleted from servers, not a single carrier will register that device on their network. So it is highly recommended, ‘not to go for any hardware unlock methods.’
Software unlock methods
As the name indicates, these methods use a software platform that is either a Windows computer or a MacBook computer based. These software tools are also known as jailbreaking tools. According to the facts, these jailbreaking tools aren’t illegal. Still, there are several chances that they might damage your iPhone while the jailbreaking is in the process. Jailbreaking tools are the software tools which gives you access to the features of your iPhone which are locked or has been restricted by Apple. By Jailbreaking the user gets the access to all the internal root folders and files, which can later be modified, saved and executed.
This software platform while performing the unlock modifies and saves certain carrier specific files that are located in the internal system folders of your iPhone. So, there are a whole lot of possibilities that these can be harmful to your device. Especially, if you or the jailbreaking tool ultimately fails to execute any of the steps mentioned in their guide, you’ll end up in a bricked (or dead) iPhone, which will never go to work again.
Traditional jailbreaking and unlocking tools are UltraSn0w and BlackSn0w. This is to be noted that these programs are scheduled and released by several hacker communities and are in no sense approved by Apple or any other carrier. Unfortunately, this method of unlocking iPhones is no longer available due to changes in the system folder structure in newer versions of iOS and lack of resources to the hacker team. The last iPhone, which was successfully unlocked via these tools, was, iPhone 4 running on iOS 6.0.1.
These can be further classified as:
- Tethered unlock and – which means that the iPhone has been successfully carrier unlocked but, may get relocked when the device shuts down. To prevent this, either the user had to stop their iPhones to shut down by keeping their battery charged or when the iPhone shuts down, they’ve to reconnect the iPhone via the jailbreaking and unlocking tool and repeat the same steps again for the unlock. This was supposed to a very tedious job for the customers.
- Untethered unlock – which means that the iPhone will never go into the locked state again until and unless the device is restored back to factory settings or if the unlock has been intentionally removed by any means.
Illegal unlock methods
When an iPhone is illegally unlocked by the Apple employees by whitelisting the IMEI numbers from the Apple servers and not following the required legal steps of doing that. In due course of time, Apple servers will detect this breach into their systems and will immediately block and delete the IMEI numbers of such iPhones. This method is performed by the Apple employees who smuggle iPhones out of Apple and sells them in the local market at cheaper rates. The users will always fall for these type of iPhones because they are available at more reasonable prices and with a bonus of the pre-unlocked feature. The fate of such iPhones is pretty sad. They end up like a toy and nothing much beyond that. We recommend our readers not to fall for such smugglers and always buy iPhone and other Apple products from authorized Apple stores or resellers only.
SIM card hack unlock methods
This method of unlocking was very popular in previous days. iPhone comes with a SIM card tray for the placement of the SIM card. Hackers have developed a SIM card like tool that sits on the SIM card tray and above which your SIM card rests and this combination is pushed into the SIM card slot. What it does is, it creates a different type of connection with the chip of your SIM card. By this, hackers have found a way to send wrong signals to the servers by masking the original SIM card identity and faking it with the status of carriers which Apple supports. This stands successfully up to a certain extent but later on, it has been found that not only at the user end but also at the technical end these SIM cards create serious problems. Users were not able to UMTS data even if they’ve subscribed to 3G data as these SIM card hacks supported only 2G Edge data mode.
In some countries, such this method has been banned, and even iPhone which had these SIM cards like tools in them are tagged as ‘illegal phones’. This was done because the SIM card like tool sends wrong signals to the servers by spoofing the IMSI data of the carriers that were supported by Apple and this made a legal offense according to the legal systems of some countries. Later on this method failed and this is not used today.
Certain examples of popular SIM Card Hack Tools:
- Gevey SIM
- iPhonix / Juma
- Universal Sim
- Yessim / Furiousim
Legal and Official unlock methods
This is a newer and safest way for unlocking your device and get rid of any restrictions imposed on your device whatsoever. These unlock provided by third parties that are not at all linked to Apple.inc. The underlying logic of the unlock is to whitelist the IMEI numbers of the iPhone models to be unlocked. This whitelisting is done at the Apple servers. This is an official way to get your iPhone unlocked because even Apple supports it. There are some websites, like iPhoneIMEI.net, who care about their customers and charge them for a very nominal fee for the Official unlock.
There is nothing to be done from the user end to perform this unlock except registering themselves with their iPhone IMEI numbers. The user is required to log in to these websites, and there they’ll be asked for the IMEI number of their locked iPhone along with the carrier. As this unlock is carrier specific too. After filling in these details, the customer will be asked to enter his or her communication details on which they’ll be contacted.
It is mandatory for you to give the email address as all sorts of communications occur via email. Once the users have filled the required information, he’ll be taken to the payment page where the billing and payment information has to be submitted.
After submission of the payment details, you’ll receive an email from the unlocking team confirming about your request along with the time that they’ll take for the processing of your unlock. Later on, after the factory iPhone unlock is made ready for you, you’ll receive another email that will come to you generally within 48 hours after you submit your request. This email will have the required instructions for the successful execution of the unlock.
The basic instructions that they give are:
- You’ll be asked to keep your device battery charged above 70%.
- Now you’ll be requested to do certain tasks on your computer. These tasks don’t need the assistance of any professional.
- You’ll be asked to connect your iPhone via the original USB cable (supplied by Apple) to your computer.
- Now you’ll open the latest version of iTunes software on your computer and will be asked to hit the sync button.
- After your iPhone has competed syncing with the iTunes software, you’ll need to restart your device once if you still can’t the network signals at the top left area of your iPhone screen.
- After the device restarts, you’ll see the network signals of your desired carrier at the top let the area of your screen.
- Sometimes when you don’t have a computer you can always connect your iPhone with a stronger Wi-Fi network and the device gets unlocked over the air.
Benefits of Official unlock over other methods:
- This process is 100% genuine and legal as it is approved by Apple.
- You can use any network SIM cards after this unlock, worldwide.
- This is a permanent unlock, even if somebody restores the device to factory settings the iPhone will not go back to the locked state again.
- Other restrictions like, using Facetime, iMessages and Mobile Hotspot will be uplifted.
- Warranty – Apple official warranty will NOT get void after this unlock, but other methods void the warranty.
- Also, you’ll continue to receive any iOS or baseband updates as and when they are released by Apple.
- Their charges are also very nominal and they even have a money-back guarantee if the unlock fails. So your money is in safe hands.