How to unlock the iPhone to use any SIM
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Originally published August 28, 2007
Updated October 2, 2011 with new download links for nostalgia purposes.
You do this modification at your own risk! You have been warned. Too
many people are foolishly rushing into this, and needlessly damaging their iPhones. Some are
permanently disabling them! Once you open your phone, your warranty is over. It is no one's fault
(certainly not Apple's or AT&T's) but your own if your iPhone is damaged in any way by
following this, or any other guide out there.
This is a difficult and time consuming method for unlocking your iPhone to work with any GSM
provider's SIM chip. Plan on a couple hours being spent without being able to use your iPhone. If
you get stuck, and have read these instructions, and can not figure something out, then stop by the
IRC server us.undernet.org, and join room #iphone.unlock.
This guide is based on the work of many others including: "GeoHot", who came up with this
method with the help of "gray","iProof", "dinopio", "lazyc0der",
"anonymous", "nightwatch" and the entire iPhone Dev Wiki team.
I am truly in AWE of the efforts of everyone involved who figured out how to do this. Amazing work.
Thank you guys!
I recommend restoring your iPhone with the 1.0.2 firmware. You might as well have the very latest
on the iPhone before unlocking it. Note: there are conflicting reports that say restoring
will relock your phone. If that is so, you'll need to repeat this tutorial to unlock again!
First time modders should read the first 10 steps to modding the iPhone here.
Ensure you pay attention to which version of iTunes you are using. This mod can be done using
either iTunes 7.3 or 7.4, as long as the additional software programs you use are for the correct
version of iTunes that you are running.
If you are not already able to use another AT&T based SIM, use iASign to get your iPhone working on
the AT&T network. You can learn how by using this tutorial.
If you already have an SSH server installed on your iPhone then you don't have to do this step.
Skip to Step 5.
Install the AppTapp INSTALLER from NullRiver.
Update the Installer (to version 1.96 - or latest version).
Install Community Sources (2.3 - or latest version).
Install the BSD Subsystem (1.5 - or latest version).
Install OpenSSH (4.6p1 or latest version and only if you need to) You should change your root password at some point, but this is not
necessary to carry out this unlock.
Install MobileTerminal (svn113 - or latest version).
Install Launcher (0.2 0 - or latest version).
Launch Fugu and / or Terminal, and make sure you can log into the iPhone via SSH. If you do not
know how to use Fugu read this guide starting at Step 16.
You are now ready to disassemble the iPhone. If you should damage the iPhone, many replacement
parts can be purchased from
Cellular Nationwide Network.
Attention: The greater the care you practice in the disassembly of your
iPhone, the better it will look and feel when it is put back together. It is easy to bend the case
backing, strip the screws, sever the antennae cable, break the ribbon cables that control the home
button and the headphone jack and the on and off switch, and damage the circuit boards. Consider
the consequences before you continue. The iPhone wasn't designed to be opened and reassembled by
consumers. Fit and finish may not compare to how your iPhone is right now.
At this time you should be made aware of electrostatic discharge, and how dangerous it can be.
The following is paraphrased from Computer Hope.com:
|ElectroStatic Discharge, is one of the few things an individual can do to damage or destroy
electronic devices when working on them. Much like the shock you receive when rubbing your feet on
the carpet and touching something metal, ESD can occur when working on electronics and will cause
components you touch to no longer work properly. ESD can occur without the user feeling a shock and
will only occur while working on the inside of the device.
The best method of preventing ESD is to use an ESD wrist strap and/or use a grounding mat or table.
However, because most users do not have access to such items, here are some steps to help reduce
the chances of ESD as much as possible.
Zero potential - Make sure you and the device are at zero potential by
continuously touching an un-painted metal surface of the phone chassis or your MacBook Pro case
(if using a laptop).
Standing - It is also very important that you are standing at all times when working on the
device. Sitting on a chair can generate more electrostatic effects, depending on the material of
the chair and whether or not it is on carpeting.
Clothes - Make sure not to wear any clothing that conducts a lot of electrical charge buidup, such
as a wool sweater, pants, or socks. It is also a good idea to remove all jewelry or watches.
Turn off the iPhone and remove the SIM card and the tray.
There are several articles where you can get some insight on taking the iPhone apart.
their iPhone, and documented it with many high resolution pictures.
ifixit has THE BEST disassembly guide
with pictures. They don't provide enough information on how to initially open the iPhone, however.
There are many methods for opening the iPhone, but this is what worked for me. I used electrical
tape to secure the supplied screen wipe cloth to the iPhone to help prevent scratching. I
positioned the tape as close as I could to the antennae cover panel to protect the metal. My method
worked perfectly, I have no scratches.
I think it is critical you start from the right side of the black plastic piece
(as you are
looking at the back side of the iPhone in the upright position). The reason is, the left side has an
antennae lead at the seam on the back, and you don't want to break any wires.
I used the back side
of a utility knife blade to loosen the black panel. I rocked it
firmly on the plastic and metal seam where it curves. I felt something pop, and i was able to get
my thumbnail between the metal frame and the black plastic at the bottom by the dock connector.
I put a guitar pick in this area to loosen it up some more.
I then went to the backside of the case and gently tugged here, pulled there, and wiggled the
plastic to loosen it up some more. I also worked the area by the dock connector with a guitar pick
some more until I was over the connector itself. Then i went to the back side and tugged some more
and the whole black part popped loose.
Now remove the three Philips #00 screws (preferably with a #00 screwdriver, lest you strip the
heads). These screws secure the rear metal panel to the iPhone frame.
The back cover is held in place by several interlocking tabs. The tabs are on the back cover, the
depressions are on the rails of the iPhone's frame. An anonymous reader sent in this photo which
nicely illustrates this.
To loosen the back cover, insert a sturdy plastic tool between the battery and the cover. If you
can't find a plastic tool, then you could use a flat head screwdriver, you should however cover
the tip with electrical tape, just to be extra safe. Start with the
left hand side (the non button side), and gently push up on the screwdriver handle, and you will
hear a pop when it loosens. Place a wedge in between the case you are lifting and the frame, then
remove the screwdriver.
Now drag a guitar pick or tweaker tool through the gap between the case and the frame until you
reach the top corner, then stop.
Repeat this process on the right half of the case. Lift with your screwdriver gently, and a similar
pop will be heard.
You should be able remove the cover without any tools. But be careful! There is a ribbon cable
that attaches the back of the case to the other half. In the picture below is a blue plastic tool
(sometimes called a spudger) that is pointing directly at the base where the ribbon cable attaches
to a circuit board. Ensure you use something non conductive and with a dull end to gently lift
this connector upward from the socket it is attached to. It must be detached at this time so it
is not damaged when we remove the metal shielding from the exposed circuit board.
A metal shield must now be removed. There are a lot of sensitive components here, so use a non
conductive tool with a dull end if you can. Don't try to get the cover off from just one location.
Pry a little on one side and then some on the other. I started at the back, just above the battery,
and then moved to the right side. When you are ready to remove the shield, be careful with the glue
that is on the nearby battery terminals. You might want to scrape away at the glue on the shield
and not on the battery terminals. Just apply constant pressure, and the glue will slowly stretch,
and let go of the shield.
Now reconnect the ribbon cable from the back case to the circuit board, and lay the back case flat
next to the rest of the iPhone. You need to do this because you must be able to turn on the iPhone.