Hackers claim to revive 'bricked' iPhones

Commercial iPhoneSIMFree touts success, open-source Dev Team says it's close

Hackers have come up with at least one way to "unbrick" iPhones disabled by a firmware update Apple issued two weeks ago, developers of both paid and free unlock software said this week..

The iPhoneSIMFree, a commercial venture that was the first to publish a point-and-click unlock hack last month, has announced Version 1.6 of its software, and claimed that it could bring any bricked iPhone back to life. The iPhoneSIMFree hack is sold through a network of online resellers for between US$60 and US$99. "SimFree v1.6 release is now capable of completely restoring/repairing software unlocked 'bricked' iPhone[s]," promised the site run by an unknown number of unnamed hackers.

However, another unlock hacking group, the iPhone Dev Team, urged owners of bricked iPhones to sit tight. "Free unlock of 1.1.1 is coming soon," said someone identified as netkas on the Hackint0sh message forum this morning. Hackint0sh is where the Dev Team posts official and unofficial updates to users of its free open-source unlock hack. "Don't know right now about bricked iPhones, but I guess we can reflash them now and back to working state. So, wait a bit and don't use ipsf [iPhoneSIMFree]," netkas added.

The iPhone Dev Team and iPhoneSIMFree have been working feverishly since late September, when Apple released the 1.1.1 firmware update, to restore bricked iPhones to working condition. Dev Team has also been trying to recover the ability to modify the device with third-party applications.

It's unclear, however, how permanent any "unbrick" fix will be, or whether changes to the hacks that allow modifications will survive the next iPhone update from Apple.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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