I admit it – I ran anySIM to unlock my iPhone (a photo story)

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 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, 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.

anySIM iPhone Unlock Program

Dumping the NOR (flash memory).

Dumping the NOR

Flashing the baseband (the part of the firmware that controls the cellular radio).

Flashing the baseband

Starting the CommCenter (whatever that means).

Starting the CommCenter

Unlock Failure! (the first one). The error message says:

Unlock Failure

The Flash operation succeeded but the unlock commands failed. You might want to check the baseband manually using minicom

Unlock Failure!

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.

No radio - no phone, no EDGE

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:

Unlock Failure

Couldn’t locate bytes to pach (sic)

Unlock Failure!

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.

Restoring to 1.0.2

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.)


14 thoughts on “I admit it – I ran anySIM to unlock my iPhone (a photo story)

  1. Pingback: Musings of Wired Pig 2.1

  2. Pingback: Apple Incorporated - All Things Apple

  3. Pingback: History of Software on the iPhone - A Prelude at Josh Bancroft’s

  4. Pingback: super dave’s mundanities » Blog Archive » iphone update 1.1.1

  5. Pingback: anySIM iPhone Unlock Program on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

  6. Pingback: Restoring to 1.0.2 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

  7. Pingback: magnum blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-09-29

  8. Alvin Cardona says:

    really strange.just had your same experience at the point where you got …

    Unlock Failure

    The Flash operation succeeded but the unlock commands failed. You might want to check the baseband manually using minicom

    At this point i tried my other sim card and it was unlocked anyway. my version was 1.0.0.

  9. Pingback: Welcome to Flickr!

  10. alvin cardona says:

    mate i guess now you can use Ziphone and it will fix your iphone once and for all in less than 3 mins. unlocks all 1.1.2 and even 1.1.3.


  11. @Ross if you want to restore your iPhone to its original factory/virgin state, you can just run the 1.1.3 update from Apple. Since this includes a reflash of the radio firmware to a new version, it will overwrite the one that gets messed up by AnySIM, and you should be back in business.

    Mind you, it won’t be unlocked. But as Alvin mentions, there are a wide variety of unlocking apps out there. I haven’t played with any of them, so I don’t know if they work, and of course, you’re taking your life into your own hands if you do, but they’re there if you’re feeling adventurous. 🙂

Comments are closed.