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back to article Apple blogger legally unlocks iPhone

An iPhone blogger has revealed a way of legally unlocking the device after paying off his mobile contract. TheAppleBlog.com’s Olly Farshi claimed he legitimately unlocked his two-year-old iPhone 3G by taking advantage of what appears to be a European loophole. He simply paid off a two-year contract with his carrier, Sonera. The …

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Why is this news?

You can get one legally unlocked in France after the contract period too. And in Italy they're sold unlocked.

"Carries have different unlock policies" is not a news story.

The only problem is that in the UK, Ofcom used their infinite wisdom to decide against the rule that all operators must unlock at the end of the contract. In the name of 'competition', your handset can remain tied to a network forever.

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Legally bound.

No one is legally bound to buy an iPhone in the first place.

What a waste of time, hacking or going through the fine prints to find a loophole.

Got a couple of Macs that will run on any kind of leccy or Wifi, why an iPhone should be any different???

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Alert

Why is this a surprise?

To anyone who has imported an unlocked iphone this isnt news, its obvious apple keeps a database of unlocked phones that Itunes checks on connection.

It only the carriers who have been blocking this all along.

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Hmmmm, something to ponder...

when the Palm Pre hit's O2 before xmas? All us Orange business users may have a new toy to play with...

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Unhappy

Oh geez

I said this at the start.... But was never gonna pay so fucking much to prove the concept.

Still, who exactly is going to pay that much!?!?!

Sad face.. because it wasnt me that announced it with proof :( lol

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Not legal "loophole"

Simply the law… and it's not new.

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Jobs Horns

Retard

He claimed that “going the legit route was a much more painless process than using a proxy SIM or the Dev Team’s unofficial unlock”.

Clearly this man is retarded, the dev teams tool is point and click

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re: WinHatter

I have a TV that will run on any kind of leccy, but neither a TV or a Mac has a service contract, like so many mobile phones, most of which are tied to one network for the duration of that contract

(yes i know not all 'phones are on these "exclusive" contracts, but for once, that's not the point, most mobile phones will not work with another operators SIM)

Some networks will unlock your phone for you at the end of your Contract, but why would they want to, you are saying to them,

"I like the 'phone You sold me, but I want to pay someone else the ongoing call charges"

Do you think They are going to jump through hoops to help you spend your money elsewhere.

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FAIL

Revelation

How is it a revelation that a guy who buys out his mobile contract is entitled to get his phone unlocked? That's the case with *any* phone with *any* operator in the UK as well.

"I paid £600+ and I got a legally unlocked iPhone. Boy I showed them!"

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Grenade

Last time I checked...

...locking phones to carriers was a purely economic thing.

Lump sum + contract(services) = Bad, initial costs too high for consumers

Contract(services + (lump sum / contract length)) = Good, no extra initial fee

Hence you have to pay the contract off, otherwise they're practically giving the phone away for free. Not to mention that if you renew the contract once the original period has expired, the amount per month you were paying for the phone is now pure profit.

The real problem was Apple allowing their baby to be exclusive to carriers in territories, that's what started all this in the first place.

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Alien

unlocked iphone

Just hope across the channel to France or the friendlier Belgium (Flanders) where English is spoken and buy yourself an Iphone take it back with you on the train, boat or plane and you have a legal unlocked Iphone...

/note to self

Why would anyone want to spend gazillions of money on an apple phone is beyond me...

Heck i have been regretting for the best part of a year spending nearly 600Euro on a NOkia N95 8GB that wont even allow me to copy my mp3 files... I go online on average about 10 to 15 min per month on my phone and dont use the gps function as you have to pay extra for that... (thank you nokia for not making that clear prior to the purchase)... Mind you it is a nice phone

Question to the Reg When will there be a new BoFH episode????

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Eh??

To follow on from Darren Coleman and the "I paid £600+ and I got a legally unlocked iPhone. Boy I showed them!"

Can we look forward to stories in about 6 months saying "I completed my 12/18 month contract and got a legally unlocked iPhone. Boy I showed them!"

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Stop

Old news

What's the big deal? Many operators let you unlock your phone (not just the iPhone) for a fee, sometimes even before your contract is up. Vodafone in Portugal for instance will legally unlock your iPhone for 200 EUR, regardless of where you are in your contract.

@AC "Retard": The Dev Team unlock tool may be point and click, but it requires you Jailbreak your phone first, which can lead to all kinds of instabilities and problems, and you always have to be careful when Apple releases firmware upgrades in case the baseband is upgraded to break the unlock etc. etc. Basically it involves a lot of dicking around and just isn't worth the hassle. If you want an iPhone on an "unsupported" carrier it's far better to get an officially unlocked one even if it means it's going to cost you a bit more.

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FAIL

eBay

...has people selling Official unlocked iPhone 3GS phones from Hong Kong.

News would be someone doing this in the UK if it's really a "European" law.

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What about O2?

While I still have several month left on my iphone 3g contract, when I finish the 18 months, will O2 unlock my iphone for me?

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Unhappy

Unfreedom...

While it may be available to you wonderful people in Europe us people stuck in the Republic of Amerika are still unable to legally unlock our phones after the two and a half year contract is up. At least to my knowledge that is. And that isn't just for the iPhone it's for _most_ phones.

So when will this "freedom" be coming to the US? A good portion of us iPhone users would dearly love to get away from the money-sucking tractor beams of the Death Star.

Don't knock what you have...

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@Prodigal Rebel

The reason people spend gazillions of money on iPhones is because they are actually usable as mobile devices, so you do go online for more than a few minutes every month. It is now -- finally -- not alone in this respect, with the latest batch of Android phones providing strong competition and the Palm Pre doing many of the same things almost as well, but during the life of the original and 3G iPhones, there was no competition. Certainly not from Nokia's n Series.

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meh

You can buy an unlocked phone from Italy for example, but then you get no hardware support should it go wrong.

Plus it's more expensive than buying a locked one from O2 and then using something such as the Dev Team unlock.

I don't think I can ever see O2 allowing people to unlock their iPhone unless there is a legal obligation. Just aint gonna happen.

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WTF?

O2 in the UK ...

I've always have Nokia Communicators from O2, on 12-month contracts and they've all come unlocked - I can (and do) put in SIMs from other Mobile Operators - which is handy to get some 3G data in a non O2 enabled 3G location...

So I find it odd that O2 are locking the iPhone - after all, you've signed a contract so they're going to get the money, no matter what, and if you put another SIM in it, then you're not using the O2 network, so O2 ultimately win - they have your money and you're using someone elses network...

But you can keep your iPhone. My next phone will be the Nokia E900 ...

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@Michael Brown

What rubbish. Jailbreaking and unlocking is a piece of p1ss. Anyone who can follow simple instructions can do it in half an hour.

Jailbreaking doesn't make your phone unstable at all - thats just what Apple claims to put you off. As for firmware updates - every single version has been broken so far - usually within a couple of days of the official release. Just wait for the jailbroken version before you update.

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Huh?

And this is news how?

You could have bought the phone unlocked, but paid a pretty penny, or you could do what he did. Anyone can.

But why?

I can tell you that if you want a feature to work on an unlocked phone and you call your carrier, you get a 'sorry we don't support that phone.' response.

(Try getting 3g on an unlocked Nokia E90.) Forget the video phone capability, unless someone has a good IM client that can recognize the small camera...

And yes, I bought the bugger for its keyboard. If you have big hands, you'd understand. ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Get one from Aus or Italy

I just returned with two 3Gs from Austraila, I got the tax back so they worked out at £450 each. When you activate it you get a message that it is unlocked.

The French iPhone is a bit more work, you have to have a 100€ credit on the PAYG card, call a number quote your IMIE the take the 100€ off then wait 24hours, I did one from my Boss last year.

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Grenade

@ Michael Brown

My iphone 3GS has been jailbroken for the last month and has been running perfectly - it's been totally worth the 30 minutes of 'hassle'

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Thats better

When I wanted my Nokia 6633 or whatever it was unlocking (which couln't be done using software and cable) it took Vodafone months and 6 phone calls, emails etc.. and cost £20.

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Go

ipwn3d!

LOL at the FUD spread on here about jailbreaking iphones.

I've had mine for a week - it was a hand me down from my brother and so far I've managed to upgrade to the latest software revision, jailbroke that within 4 mins and then spent far too long downloading winterboard and themes.

If you can flash firmwares on motherboards without bricking them, an iphone is a piece of piss.

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Stop

it's just a mobile phone

why bother - there are loads of great mobiles phones on the market with better specs that the iphone - why bother wasting valuable hours out of your life just to carry the electronic equivalent of a Louis Vitton handbag? By now everyone's got them so the iphone cool gesture is meaningless by now anyway and if it's purely the badge you're after, then just like a Louis Vitton handbag - you can pick up a near perfect copy direct from most pavement traders in any tourist destination. ...

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Grenade

News?

In Holland you get an iPhone with a TMobile contract for almost nothing (depending on your plan).

Step 1:

You call TMobile after activating of the contract and buy off the simlock. That will set you back Euro 10,- for each of the first 12 months of your contract (so max Euro 120,-). Then your iPhone is legally unlocked and you can use it with a real network.

Step 2:

You sell your TMobile contract with unlimited internet with 25% discount to someone else.

Total cost at worst possible conditions Euro 450,-:

- Setup contract, including iPhone: Euro 150,-

- Unlock: Euro 120,-

- 25% discount over 24 months: Euro 180,-

It can be less if you take a different contract and pay less on setup (free phone) and are able to transfer your subscription with less 'penalty' to someone else.

The unlock proces is smoothly, but TMobile isn't very co-operative. In Dutch only:

http://blog.royalty.nl/2009/01/27/t-mobile-en-het-succesvol-unlocken-van-de-iphone/

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WTF

What is the fucking point to go through all these hassles to unlock a fucking phone that you effectively pay for it? Are people out there really shit-brained to be screwed left-right-centre for sake of a gadget?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Down Under

I bought my 3GS directly from Apple - unlocked.

I bought it in Australia. All the carriers there sell the iPhone, but locked to their networks. Apple, on the other hand - and in refreshing change to the UK, US etc - sells it entirely unlocked and SIM-free for the same price as O2 is flogging its locked one on PAYG.

This page lists Apple's carriers, noting which lock them, which will unlock them, and which - Singtel, for instance - don't bother locking them in the first place:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

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Stop

This isn't news...

You don't even have to pay out your contract here in Australia. Just call your telco up (there are 5 that offer the iPhone here) and they will send the unlock to your iTunes.

I bought an iPhone 3G on a cheap contract up a year ago and immediately asked for an unlock and used it with my preferred carrier (which was the only one not to offer it at the time - they all do now). It was free to get the unlock.

Alternatively you can buy one outright and fully unlocked from an Apple Store, or order one from the Apple Store Online.

Some countries like New Zealand, Hong Kong and Greece don't even offer locked iPhones at all - they are all sold officially unlocked.

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WTF?

Can someone explain..

I'm a bit confused so maybe someone can explain. I currently have a N95 with orange and an iPhone with O2. I despise O2 but I cannot see why I would pay O2 to buy out the contract and then pay orange god knows how much for unlimited data.

What is the point of switching carriers? The thing that makes the iPhone so bloody good is the unlimited data (for me anyway), so why would I want to buy it out and then use it on orange?

Can someone explain as I'm sure I'm missing the point somewhere?

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Grenade

How about UK?

What about doing this in the UK?

You can buy a prepaid iphone from o2, do these come locked? or can you get them unlocked? There's no contract to "buy out"..

Also, when you do buy out a contract, they make you pay the monthly subscription cost for any months remaining on it... What happens to those months and everything included in them? Do you lose your allowances, or do you get to keep them having effectively just paid for them in advance?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: How about UK?

O2's PAYG iPhone is locked. O2 will not unlock it for you, even for money.

Using the iPhone Dev Team's unlocking tools isn't hard, though.

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Grenade

@twunt, Futumsh and wildmonkeyuk

No doubt there are a lot of people who have no problems with jailbreaking their iPhones and using the dev team unlock, hooray for you. However, just take a quick look at the dev team site (http://blog.iphone-dev.org/). How is a normal, non-techie person supposed to know the difference between QuickPwn, PwnageTool, redsn0w, yellowsn0w and ultrasn0w and which one they should use?? The link for each one of these tools starts with a stream of warnings about which baseband they do or don't work with, which precise order you have to a series of steps in and and which phase the moon has to be in for the process to work best. Then look at the hundreds of comments from users who've bricked their phones or for whom the unlock hasn't worked.

If you want a hassle free iPhone experience on an unsupported carrier it's a much better idea to get an officially unlocked phone rather than dicking around with dodgy tools that may or may not work, where you have to always hold off on updates until the nerds have released a new colour of sn0w, and the whole Apple "it just works" experience becomes "i really hope it works" instead.

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Title? Gawkkk!

Well I'm glad to hear that I can pick one up in Aus when I head out. And I'm also glad to hear people have no trouble when they bring it home

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Muppet...

D@v3 wrote "I have a TV that will run on any kind of leccy, but neither a TV or a Mac has a service contract, like so many mobile phones, most of which are tied to one network for the duration of that contract"

Yeah but your TV wasn't subsidised by up to 60%. If you want an unlocked iPhone from the get-go you can buy them but they're a damned sight more expensive than a subsidised one on contract.

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You can unlock ANY phone legitimately

As far as I know OFCOM have ALWAYS insisted that carriers must unlock their phones on request. There are some conditions - the phone must be out of contract (or you can pay the remaining contractual payments), they can charge for the cost of a PAYG phone, they can levy a reasonable charge for unlocking. I think the guide to what is reasonable is less than £30.

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@Prodigal Rebel

Can't copy your mp3 files? I'm not sure what that means. I copy mp3s to my N95 using the Phone Browser all the time.

Use of the GPS and Nokia maps are free, including the route finder. You need to pay for navigation - if you are the law abiding type.

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Anonymous Coward

PAYG

Wouldnt it be easier to get one PAYG and just unlock it?

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This is nothing new

Here in the Netherlands you can also get your iPhone unlocked, after one year of contract you can request an unlock for free, T-Mobile then submits this request electronically to Apple's iTunes servers, and in 30 minutes, BHAM! Your iPhone is unlocked as soon as you connect it to iTunes again. If you want to get your iPhone unlocked earlier, you'll be charged a one-off fee which drops considerably and progressively throughout your first year of contract with them, then the unlock is free. (Pretty much all carriers in the NLDs are like this, they charge you for an early unlock, but must comply with law that stipulate they need to offer the unlock free after one year)

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Congratulations(!?)

It speaks volumes about the way Apple sees consumer when they present the consumer with a message "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked". What they should write is "Congratulations, we have now decided that we will let you use your hardware in any way you want!"

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iPhone down under - carriers must unlock for free!!

As a UK ex-pat there is one thing you gotta love about Australia, (apart from the sunshine and winding up the locals about the cricket) - the anti monopoly laws.

I have a nice shiny new contract iPhone and on the day I took out the contract I requested that it be unlocked so I can use a travel SIM for when I am abroad or back in the UK. This involved a ten min phone call from the phone shop (Optus) who put me through to iPhone support. They then registered it with Apple and that was it.

An hour later I got an SMS saying my unlock request had been completed. One iTunes sync later and hey presto - one unlocked iPhone thats only 2 hours old :o)

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Happy

@Neil Weller

I'm on Orange and when I suggested I might move to O2 to make best use of my new iPhone they managed to give me 300 mind, 500 texts and unlimited data for under £20 per month. They even threw in a new HTC Touch 3G (handy as a backup) because the contract was "cheaper with a handset"!

Admittedly I've been an Orange customer for over a decade, paying twice this much, so I don't know if that made a difference but I do think it's a case of "if you don't ask, you don't get".

Written on my jailbroken iPhone and sent via Orange. ;)

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@ Prodigal Rebel

NOkia N95 8GB that wont even allow me to copy my mp3 files...

do you mean copy your MP3's from you pc to your N95?

well if that is the case try correctly ID3 tagging yer files. they will work

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If you think that's cool...

... In Australia there are 5 mobile carriers who all sell the iPhone, and they will all unlock it 'officially' - you just have to call and ask them, on or off-contract. Being Telcos, half of them will charge for this service.

In addition, you can buy the iPhone unlocked directly from Apple - either in-store or online:

http://store.apple.com/au/browse/home/shop_iphone/family/iphone?

Wahoo! For once it pays being at the arse-end of planet ;-D

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@ Prodigal Rebel

You can copy mp3s directly in mass storage mode... in fact, I think in PC suite mode you can also drag and drop to the music folder in explorer.

Either way the tracks will show but you might just need to do a library refresh on the device.

Also, Google maps works great. GPS takes a bit longer to lock on but works a treat for me in Stockholm and the AGPS it spot on over here (usually within 5-20 metres).

Unrelated: My N95 8GB is still going strong after nearly two years and countless drops... try that with a touch screen!!

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