Print 78 comment(s) - last by murphyslabrat.. on Sep 17 at 12:38 PM

Engadget confirms software unlock for iPhone

In less than two months, Apple's iPhone has been successfully unlocked via software courtesy of The iPhone is currently tied exclusively to AT&T for the foreseeable future, but the new software hack allows users to hop to competing GSM networks such as T-Mobile.

According to Engadget, the unlock process took no longer than a few minutes and caused no harm to the iPhone used. Once unlocked, the iPhone was able to successfully make and receive calls using the T-Mobile network. For the most part, all other iPhone features are also intact including EDGE support and SMS send/receive. Visual voicemail isn't in the cards as it is an AT&T network-specific feature; however, normal voicemail is accessible using the software hack.

Engadget also notes that the software hack is completely upgrade and restore resistant. They verified this by performing a full system restore using the v1.0.2 update.

"Again: we can confirm with 100% certainty that's software solution completely SIM unlocks the iPhone, is restore-resistant, and should make the iPhone fully functional for users outside of the US," said Engadget's Ryan Block.

For those still a bit unsure of the validity of the's claims, Engadget has posted a small video to ease your mind.

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By PitViper007 on 8/24/2007 3:48:50 PM , Rating: 4
So how long will it be before Apple either sues or tries to get them thrown in jail for the hacking they did to unlock the iPhone, or both?

RE: Hmmm
By majorpain on 8/24/2007 4:01:02 PM , Rating: 3
or simply buy, hire the peeps that made it happen and simply unplug it... :D

RE: Hmmm
By crystal clear on 8/25/2007 2:49:02 AM , Rating: 2
Its cheaper to buy them rather than sue them - better & cheaper than paying those high priced lawyers/firms.

RE: Hmmm
By murphyslabrat on 8/27/2007 10:29:19 AM , Rating: 3
What I don't get is: Why the hell would Apple want to sue someone for allowing 5 times the user base? I have no idea what the current market-share standings are of the different providers(I just spent 15 minutes looking for something-to no avail), but I imagine that AT&T couldn't own more than 33% of the market, so Apple stands to gain considerable increase in sales of the iPhone.

RE: Hmmm
By cigar3tte on 8/27/2007 11:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
if anyone is suing this, should be AT&T/Cingular.

RE: Hmmm
By energy1man on 8/27/2007 3:13:31 PM , Rating: 4

Link to library of congress copyright office's position on why unlocking phones should be legal.

RE: Hmmm
By brizz on 8/30/2007 5:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure Apple worked something into the contract with AT&T to where they get some of the money back from the overpriced plans that are forced on to the iPhone owner. If the phones are resold and not put on the AT&T network that money disappears.

RE: Hmmm
By murphyslabrat on 9/17/2007 12:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
However, that is one iPhone that may not have been sold in the first place.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:01:30 PM , Rating: 4
I doubt you can get arrested for hacking your own phone... you own it. Its like getting arrested for hacking into your own computer or breaking into your own car.

However, there may be some issues with them distributing the software, although that'd have to be for a court to decide.

As far as I'm aware, you can do anything to something you own, as long as it doesn't cause harm to others.

RE: Hmmm
By Melric on 8/24/2007 4:04:58 PM , Rating: 1
Unfortunately, you can. Your car is not covered by the DMCA which has several anti reverse engineering provisions.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:10:17 PM , Rating: 5
You do realize that the DMCA contains the following EXEMPTION :

Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.

This is specifically *allowed* under the DMCA.

RE: Hmmm
By PitViper007 on 8/24/2007 4:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I knew there were exeptions, but didn't know that one specifically was in there.

RE: Hmmm
By SunAngel on 8/24/07, Rating: -1
RE: Hmmm
By masher2 on 8/24/2007 4:49:40 PM , Rating: 5
RE: Hmmm
By SunAngel on 8/24/07, Rating: -1
RE: Hmmm
By kamel5547 on 8/24/2007 5:53:19 PM , Rating: 3
I see nothing about out of date technologies in the clause. Neither was that reported by the broad media when this clause was first added...

IMHO you are misreading the clause.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 5:53:54 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry, but exactly did you arrive at your conclusion from the DMCA? The portions you emphasized have nothing to do with the point you're trying to make.

There are other portions of the DMCA that apply to formats no longer being sold on the market, but that has nothing to do with cell phones.

RE: Hmmm
By deeznuts on 8/24/2007 5:38:18 PM , Rating: 5
If you believe that's an actual DMCA clause, this is your week to play the lottery and win.
Ouch! Maybe you need to see if it is or isn't an actual clause first, before spouting from the MOUF!

I do believe it is an actual DMCA clause, so if we all play and don't win, asskicking, your house, next Friday?

RE: Hmmm
By Samus on 8/24/2007 8:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Right, limitations of modifying vehicles are usually specifically related to safety and emmisions. Not the ECU.

No safety or emmisions devices can be modified, such as removing catalytic convertors, carbon catch tanks, EGR systems or airbags (unless used excluseively for off-road use)

RE: Hmmm
By AToZKillin on 8/26/2007 6:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the DMCA probably wouldn’t apply. FYI, the text of the DMCA says “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” By “this title,” it means Title 17 of the U.S. Code, which deals with copyright. So in a nutshell, the DMCA makes it illegal to crack code that prevents access to copyrighted material. Here, it looks like the code was protecting access to non-AT&T wireless networks, not copyrighted material. So unless Apple, AT&T, the government, etc., find some law besides the DMCA that unlocking the iPhone violates, there’s no case against

RE: Hmmm
By therealnickdanger on 8/24/2007 4:15:43 PM , Rating: 4
One of my fellow forum members attempted to reverse engineer the software in the computer of his new Chrysler. He was cataloging his progress and was looking forward to releasing a free software tool to interface a PC with the car and modify everything from power windows to fuel management. He was served a cease and desist letter by Chrysler's lawyers, citing the DMCA.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:24:03 PM , Rating: 3
That is expected.

Your friend should be able to install new software, destroy the software, or do anything to the software he wants that doesn't violate the copyright of the car maker.

However, when he starts posting on the internet about how the software works, he is most likely violating the copyright or some other IP. I'm fairly sure he could release his own software, however, without any penalty.

I doubt there's anything illegal about writing software for a Chrysler.

RE: Hmmm
By TomZ on 8/24/2007 4:29:43 PM , Rating: 3
I agree - the friend should hire an attorney and write back to Chrysler and tell them in polite legal terms to f*** off.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah... IANAL.

(I hate that acronym)

RE: Hmmm
By Dactyl on 8/24/2007 6:25:41 PM , Rating: 4
The real reason Chrysler sent the letter is obvious:

If some idiot starts playing around with their software, and as a result crashes and kills someone, Chrysler is on the hook for massive amounts of money.

RE: Hmmm
By Oregonian2 on 8/24/2007 6:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's well known that software to unlock cell phones is legit and legal and is discussed in cellphone forums. A whole business model is based on this by many companies (not just iPhones) and is out in the open and legit. Do a search (on eBay as well) and for about $25~$30 you can get a code for your phone to unlock it (which is what was done to the iPhone in this article).

Of course, with the iPhone, one of the major points of it is the web access stuff and to make that useful one needs heavy-duty data service plans from one's provider. As I recall, the plan given by Cingular/AT&T was very inexpensive for the amount of data 'required' by the iPhone -- so going to T-mobile might not be such a good idea I suspect. But may be good for non-U.S. folk who want an iPhone *now* where they live.

RE: Hmmm
By bhieb on 8/24/2007 4:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
Why not you can get charged for hacking the copy protection on a DVD you own. Unti it gets to the court no one really knows what can happen.

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're misinterpreting the DMCA and how it relates to copyrights.

The DMCA does prohibit you from circumventing DRM if such circumvention results in the violation of a copyright holder. However, in the case you described above, if you simply stripped DRM from a DVD and never redistributed it or used it in any other way that would violate the copyright holder, the DMCA would not apply.

In order for a copyright to be violated, something must be distributed in some form. Personal copies of data is not distribution.

RE: Hmmm
By Tsuwamono on 8/24/2007 10:00:34 PM , Rating: 1
LoL then your country has shitty laws. Here in Canada I can copy my entire DVD collection, Music collection, HD DVD collection, and Blu-Ray collection and its legal. The way it should be. If i want to copy it i should be allowed, its mine.

RE: Hmmm
By Targon on 8/25/2007 8:47:53 AM , Rating: 3
There are conflicting laws when it comes to this stuff. If you hack the protection on a DVD to eliminate the copy protection, that violates certain laws. The process of making a copy for personal use(aka, you can't give or sell the copy or original) is normally allowed, except that due to the copy protection on DVDs, you in theory should not be able to without hacking the protection.

The part about not being able to give or loan a copy or original is to prevent people from making a copy for themselves while they sell or give the original. If you give a copy or original, then you should not have that copy. In theory, you should not be allowed to make a copy to put in different DVD players in the same house either. If you have the same movie and want to play it at the same time in different DVD players, you should own two copies, not just one.

So, if you make a copy to protect the original, that is fine, but try to play the same movie in different DVD players from different copies that you have created is not.

The same applies to books and other media. The copyright holders deserve certain protections. If you buy a book, you are not allowed to photo-copy the book and give/sell a copy since you are not the author or copyright holder. If you loan or give the book to someone else, that does not entitle you to keep a copy.

For music the same thing applies again(though dislike for the RIAA makes it more difficult), where if you buy a song(digital download), you may be allowed to play that one copy, but if you give a copy to others, you are in violation of copyright law. If you give what you have downloaded to others, in theory at least, you have transfered your legal download to that other person and have given up your ownership of what you have downloaded. Keep in mind that making personal copies is still accepted, so you may place a copy on multiple devices/computers, but not with the intent to give that music to other people. It is questionable under "fair use" if you can put it on an MP3 player that you let a friend use while you listen to the same music on your home computer, just because it violates the spirit of fair use.

Laws are laws, but there is the word of the law, and the spirit of the law that needs to be looked at. If you violate the spirit of the law, then you should expect a certain amount of grief if you are caught, regardless of what the media type is. If you violate the letter of the law, there may be some room for negotiations as long as you follow the spirit of the law.

RE: Hmmm
By PitViper007 on 8/24/2007 4:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I was thinking more along the lines of if the DMCA would be applicable here. There is software in place (Obviously if it was software that removed the lock) that locks the phone to a specific service. In circumventing that software lock, wouldn't that be a breech under the DMCA?

RE: Hmmm
By Murst on 8/24/2007 4:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
See my post above :)

RE: Hmmm
By afkrotch on 8/25/2007 6:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm...Apple doesn't allow the use of OSX on non-Apple machines. Remember the whole OSX86 project? Anything can become illegal, depending on the Terms of Use.

RE: Hmmm
By phattyboombatty on 8/24/2007 6:32:02 PM , Rating: 4
It would probably be AT&T bringing the suit, not Apple. AT&T has paid the big bucks to get the exclusivity deal with Apple. Apple would probably be secretly delighted that a large new market of potential consumers has been created.

RE: Hmmm
By rsmech on 8/25/2007 3:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Apple got part of the subscription fees also. I thought I read somewhere before. If so Apple misses out on these fees with other services.

RE: Hmmm
By SiliconAddict on 8/25/2007 4:05:26 PM , Rating: 3
Unlocking your phone is legal in the US thanks to some legislation that past last year I think. The worst that Apple could do is evoke the DMCA. In which case any remaining trace of respect I had for that company will be flushed.

RE: Hmmm
By excrucio on 8/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: Hmmm
By excrucio on 8/26/07, Rating: -1
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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