Yesterday, I took the bus up to Apple Store right after picking up my marathon pack. Man, it was packed like an ant nest. Most people were playing with this hype-device #1 also known as the Jesus Phone. I try to find one on the selves without a result. Are they sold out? No, just line up there. iPhone is so popular they keep them behind the desk.
I buy mine (c. 300 EUR) and head back to the hotel. Get some sleep and wake up early (like 4am) to start hacking. At around 9:30 am I made my first call. Some five hours of frustrated hacking finally resulted in an unlocked phone with third party apps up and running… But why was it so difficult?
First thing to do was to find out the version number of the firmware. After browsing some 10 minutes it turns out this information can be read from package. I was lucky to buy a phone manufactured in the last week (38) before the new unhackable (so far) firmware was released.
Next the phone must be activated without AT&T. Turns out a hacker application called iNdependence does the trick. My first attempt failed, however. I should have turned iTunes off before the activation since it tries to capture control all the time. At some point when both iTunes and iPhone said the phone must be restored I feared that this might lead to new firmware…. happily enough I was able to escape that fate by manually forcing iTunes and iTunes Helper to quit and then simply turning the phone off and on again. Ok, the Phone is activated. Now what?
Then, one must install new apps. After some 30 mins of browsing I settle with these instructions, where the whole process is covered. Ok, there is a third party program called Installer App. I first thought it must be donwloaded to the iPhone but from another source I learn this must be done on Mac. Ok, let’s get this right this time. Indeed, everything goes smoother and I have suddenly tens of hacked applications on my activated iPhone! Nice.
Finally, unlock. Now I need to manually do a ssh connection to iPhone, “jailbreak” it, and copy AnySIM unlock application inside. Depending on the instruction source, I might need to change the SIM now or after using AnySIM. The app itself tells me to change the SIM right away and I do it. A needle from my marathon pack is needed to remove the SIM placeholder. TeliaSonera inside and off we go! Some 10 mins later the system says everything was succesful. However, the phone says “SIM locked”… WTF?! I continue with the instructions and manually rewrite some files on the phone but the “locked” text remains. More browsing and a Norwegian forum instructs that I need to enter the PIN of my fucking SIM! My PIN! Of course, it was not a “SIM” but rather a “PIN ” lock. Enter the four digits and off we ring with T-Mobile…
Hackers have certainly worked on this phone. Cutting-edge hardware (ok, no 3G) with BSD Unix inside means iPhone is a great platform for some serious development efforts. The unix hacker menthality, however, also means the hacks may be a bit difficult to apply. Most of my time went on browsing numerous forums with conflicting hacking instructions and scary stories of people “bricking” their phones… many users means much noice. But with calm, bit frustrated attitude and a couple of trial-and-errors, it luckily all worked out in the end…