Unlocking your iPhone

Since there doesn’t seem to be an easy and straight through guide for unlocking your iPhone, thought I’d quickly throw something together.

Unlocking your iPhone is great. It allows you to put in other carrier’s SIM cards. This is great if your telco isn’t cutting it and wish to move networks and keep your phone. It’s also handy for when you travel; picking up an international SIM is much cheaper than using your local SIM card and then roaming overseas. Oh, and it increases the resale value; anybody on any carrier in the world can use it now!

Around the world, most telcos will allow you to unlock your iPhone. Here in Australia, all telcos will unlock a post-paid iPhone for free. If you’ve picked up an iPhone (3GS) prepaid, you’ll have to cough up an unlocking fee. Overseas, companies such as AT&T will only unlock your phone when you’re at the end of your contract (officially). Apple has a list of carriers that will unlock your iPhone on their website.

If you contact your carrier today, chances are they’ll tell you it may take a few days (up to 72 hours) for things to happen, and at that point you need to connect to iTunes and restore.¬†However, as of iOS 5, and the new PC-free initiative and methods, unlocking has become much easier. There’s no need to do a great big backup, and then restore just to unlock your phone.

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Custom iPhone Carrier Logos


Image via Chris

iOS 6? Please head over here.

Have you ever looked at your carrier name in the status bar of your iPhone? Chances are you have. If you’ve ever wondered where this actually comes from – this is really just an image contained in the carrier’s bundle of settings.

This makes it much easier for this to be customised or changed. Carriers can (naturally) and do change how their network appears – Optus changed from ‘OPTUS’ in firmwares lower than 4.x to ‘YES OPTUS’ in iOS 5. Telstra choose to display ‘3TELSTRA’ as ‘Telstra’, (and likewise for 3 – choosing to appear as ‘3’ instead of 3TELSTRA)

This is also handy for users – carrier bundles are easily edited and tweaked by users and can be deployed semi-officially – the same way carriers can deploy themselves on the side.

While in iOS 5 many of the actual carrier configuration data is signed and will refuse to work if the signature is broken – the images are free rein. You can do whatever you want here.

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