This post is kind of part two in a series of posts about my iPhone/iBrick experiences. The first part, some background on the history of software hacking on the iPhone, can be found here.
OK, I admit it. I ran the anySIM free unlock application when it became available via Installer.app on September 15, 2007 (it was only available for a few hours on that date – I guess it got pulled later).
It didn’t work. It failed to unlock by iPhone to work on another carrier (I didn’t even have another carrier’s SIM card around to test it with – I was doing this out of enthusiasm and curiosity and desire to document the process, which is why I took all these photos). In fact, it toasted the radio firmware on my iPhone (which is apparently separate from the operating system), forcing me to restore back to a “clean” 1.0.2 iPhone OS image.
But whatever anySIM did, it was enough to poison my iPhone so that when the 1.1.1 update came along, it turned into a completely unusable brick.
Here’s what happened.
First, I installed anySIM via Installer.app, just like any other application. Took only seconds.
Then I ran the program, and told it to unlock my iPhone (using the cute little “slide to unlock” animation that Apple uses to turn the phone on.
Dumping the NOR (flash memory).
Flashing the baseband (the part of the firmware that controls the cellular radio).
Starting the CommCenter (whatever that means).
Unlock Failure! (the first one). The error message says:
The Flash operation succeeded but the unlock commands failed. You might want to check the baseband manually using minicom
At first I wasn’t too worried. The unlock had failed. No big deal. I was back where I started. But then I noticed that I didn’t have any cell signal, no “E” EDGE coverage indicator, no “AT&T” carrier ID, etc.
Right about now is when I started to panic. I had neutered my iPhone. I started frantically scouring the anySIM wiki and Googling for ideas on how to fix the problem.
In the mean time, I ran anySIM again, just in case the second time was the charm.
It failed again, but with a different error message:
Couldn’t locate bytes to pach (sic)
No dice. By this point, I had read suggestions that putting the iPhone into recovery mode (hold both buttons for 30 seconds) and doing a full, fresh restore to the 1.0.2 OS (which was the latest at the time) would fix it. So that’s what I did.
After the restore, the phone booted up and worked just fine. What a relief.
I thought I was just fine, but I worried about what exactly the two failed unlock attempts had done to the “baseband” firmware – the radio part of the phone.
A couple weeks later, when the 1.1.1. software update came out I foolishly ran it, thinking “since the unlock failed, my phone isn’t unlocked, and it should be fine”.
i was wrong.
(I’ll continue the rest of the whole sordid story in another post soon.)