iPhone unlock hackers promise to fight Apple updates

Responding to Apple, iPhone Development Team issues own combative memo

Programmers who wrote free software that unlocks Apple's iPhone have disputed the company's claim that their hacks can damage the device and promised to battle any attempt by Apple to "brick" modified phones.

In a message posted to the iPhone forum on the Hackint0sh Web site, someone claiming to represent the iPhone Dev Team said the group would answer the firmware update expected this week with a tool of its own that would return any unlocked phone to a factory-fresh condition. That will prevent the iPhone from being "bricked", or incapacitated, when the update is applied.

"We will provide you with a tool in the next week which will be able to recover your 'nck' counter and 'seczones' and even enable you to restore your phone to a factory-like state if you are really [determined] to update your phone," said someone identified as "sam."

He also said the iPhone Dev Team took exception with Apple's contention that modifications could break the device. "[Apple speaks] of 'damage' done to the firmware and 'unauthorised access' to our own property," the message said.

"[But] Apple [has] now announced [that] the next firmware update, [which] we may expect later this week, will possibly break the handsets of all of us free users in the world intentionally."

The message went on to say, of Apple's claims, "we know better" and that the unlocking software was "not causing 'damage' as they want to make us believe".

The iPhone Dev Team is responsible for creating anySIM, a free open-source utility that lets users make and receive calls on networks other than that of AT&T, the only US authorised carrier for the iPhone. The anySIM software is one of several unlocking hacks now in circulation.

The hackers' manifesto is the latest in what Apple CEO Steve Jobs called a "cat-and-mouse game" between his company and those who want to make unauthorised changes to the iPhone. In London a week ago to tout the smart phone's November 9 UK launch, Jobs implied that Apple would counter attempts to unlock the iPhone.

"People will try to break in, and it's our job to stop them breaking in," he said.

Apple has also issued a statement saying that any modification to an iPhone automatically voids its warranty. It also warned customers against unlocking their phones. "Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorised iPhone unlocking programs ... will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed," the company said.

A firmware update, the third since the iPhone went on sale in late June, will be released through iTunes. Apple is expected to add new features to the phone, including the ability to purchase music over a Wi-Fi connection.

The iPhone Dev Team spokesman advised users who had already unlocked their phones to not apply the update, saying they should instead wait while others, presumably including the iPhone Dev Team's own programmers, analysed it.

The spokesman claimed that about 500,000 copies of the free unlocking tool had been downloaded. If true, that would mean that almost half of the iPhones sold so far had been unlocked. Apple only two weeks ago said it had sold its millionth iPhone.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?