It's high noon, Apple and AT&T -- we really hate to break it to you, but the jig is up. Last night the impossible was made possible: right in front of our very eyes we witnessed a full SIM unlock of our iPhone with a small piece of software. It's all over, guys.
The iPhoneSIMfree.com team called us up to prove their claim that they cracked Apple's iPhone SIM lock system, and prove it they did. (No, we don't have a copy of the unlock software, so don't even ask us, ok?) The six-man team has been working non-stop since launch day, and they're officially the first to break Apple's SIM locks on the iPhone with software. It's done. Seriously. They wouldn't tell us when and how they would release it to the public, but you can certainly bet that they'll try to make a buck on their solution (and rightly so). We can hardly believe the iPhone's finally been cracked. No, scratch that -- we just can't believe it took this long.
Again: we can confirm with 100% certainty that iPhoneSIMfree.com's software solution completely SIM unlocks the iPhone, is restore-resistant, and should make the iPhone fully functional for users outside of the US. Read on for details and links to our video, and check out the gallery of images below.
Notes on the install
The unlock process took only a couple of minutes. From our end it was totally painless.
Once you put your new, non AT&T SIM in the device, you have to go through the usual activation process. This can, of course, be done by anyone anywhere with the right tools (like iASign or iActivator)
We tested with an active T-Mobile SIM -- after the hack was finished and we reactivated we immediately got full bars and the T-Mobile carrier info popped up in the top bar.
Everything is otherwise the same, except the menu system now has a couple more options. The root menu has Carrier settings where you can select your preferred network if you don't want to roam.
The General -> Network menu now has an EDGE network settings area where you can input your carrier's APN and username / password. We put in our T-Mobile info, and were immediately online. (Apparently these hidden menus were added in the 1.0.1 update, they tell us. How convenient!)
Visual voicemail isn't in the cards -- sorry. That was, of course, to be expected because it's a special AT&T network-specific feature right now. When you hit the voicemail button you are taken immediately to your carrier's default voicemail line though, and that works just like it would on any other phone.
Everything is confirmed as working on a non-AT&T network: SMS send / receive, internet (including Safari, Mail, Google maps, etc.). YouTube doesn't work out of the box, but that's to be expected. If you're not on AT&T you have to manually activate YouTube -- here's the guide on how to do that. (YouTube is the only app you have to activate like this.)
We know, it's kind of crazy, but this isn't a hoax.
No, sorry, you can't have our unlocked iPhone.
Restore / upgrade resistance
The iPhoneSIMfree.com guys claim this method is restore (though not necessarily upgrade) resistant. We have no way of knowing whether Apple will be able to disable this SIM unlock with future iPhone software updates, but we can confirm that it is restore-resistant.
We performed a full restore (v1.0.2) on our iPhone and successfully activated it using an inactive AT&T SIM.
After fake-activating our iPhone, you merely pop out the AT&T SIM, put in the foreign SIM of your choosing, reactivate, and you're done. "Boom," as Steve might say.
Restoring from an iPhone backup in iTunes worked perfectly despite the lock and foreign SIM. The only thing to notice was the phone number is now listed as "n/a" in iTunes. Big whoop.
No, seriously. You can't have our unlocked iPhone.
Before you get in a tizzy claiming it's a faked video, please note that:
We show the T-Mobile SIM at the beginning and end.
The video stream does get cropped toward the end. That's actually just a crop to make sure the phone number on the second iPhone isn't shown. No frames of the video stream were removed, it wasn't a cut.
Just so you could be extra sure it's real, we even left in the GSM radio noise.
Dude, you can unlock your own iPhone soon, ok? You can't have ours.