My brother John got his second iPhone last week. He returned the first one because he got lousy reception from AT&T in his house. Now that he’s living in a new apartment, he tried it again. And, of course, he still has crappy reception with AT&T. So, he asked me if I’d help him to unlock his phone so that he could use it with T-mobile. Sounded like fun, so I was in. (One drawback was that I wasn’t working on my bathroom while doing this.)

He did most of the research on it and sent me the links that had instructions for how to do this. There were two things we had to do. First, we had to downgrade his phone to an earlier firmware (1.0.2) because the crack didn’t work on the newer (1.1.1) version. Second, we had to do the crack.

For the first step, we basically followed this site. It’s written somewhat poorly, but after messing around and rereading it, we got it downgraded.

The second step turned out to be easier. I just had to run the jailbreak program and install an ssh server on the iPhone. Then, I could simply use ssh to login or scp to copy files to the iPhone from my laptop. It’s actually pretty cool in that it’s just a little computer, albeit rather slow, compared to my laptop.

After that, we put John’s T-mobile sim chip in the phone and ran this program called anySIM and voila, it worked. He was pretty happy. Though, he had to push the boundaries. His friend Mark (from the Netherlands) was visiting, so John put Mark’s sim chip in the phone to see if it would work too. Sadly, we got an incorrect sim chip error when we put Mark’s chip in. And when we put John’s back in, it didn’t work either. So, we had to redo the hack.

Going through google for a bit, we found that Mark’s Vodafone sim chip is probably either v2 or v3 and the iPhone hacks only work with v1 chips. Mark tried to call his phone company to see about getting a v1 chip, but they didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. So, unfortunately, Mark couldn’t buy an iPhone here that he could take home.

Update (16 Oct 2007): Tried it again after we put the lockdownd file in /usr/libexec and Mark’s sim chip worked fine.

Back to John, he now wanted to see if he could get on T-mobile’s EDGE network with the iPhone. He called T-mobile and signed up for the service, but they said it wouldn’t be up for at least two hours and maybe 24. The 24 hours expired today, he called T-mobile and they said it might take two more days. John’s a bit upset about this because if it doesn’t work, he wants to return the phone. I personally don’t think he’s going to get rid of it because he likes it a lot, but we’ll see. Anyway, today (soon) he’s going to come over to try to get the EDGE network working. I found a couple of sites today that give instructions for how to set up the iPhone so it’ll work with EDGE. We’ll see how it goes.

If I get a chance, I’ll put up a page with more detailed instructions for exactly what I did to unlock the phone.