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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Create an ‘iMessage Me’ link

With the launch of iMessage on the Mac earlier this month, we now have what I think to be the perfect IM solution – cross device (not platform, sadly) syncing of message histories – why couldn’t anyone do this earlier?

You may like to add an iMessage Me link to your website/blog to make it easier for people visiting your page from a Mac or iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) – just a tap and they’re all set to iMessage you.

For whatever reason, iOS and OS X use different URL schemes for iMessage – I understand why Messages for Mac may not want to adopt the sms:¬†scheme, but I find it odd that iOS doesn’t like the imessage: scheme. So we’re left with two different schemes depending on the platform your visitor is using.

Using some fancy PHP trickery, here’s some code that will detect your visitor’s operating system, and based on that display either a sms: link or an imessage: one.

Throw this inbetween your standard link and you’re good to go.

For example:

Or, put together:

And in action:
iMessage me!

Tapping/clicking on this will bring up the Messages app on either platform with your email address pre-filled. Nifty.

And if you’re not on an iPhone with iOS 5 installed, or some other handset, this should bring up an MMS window with your email address pre-filled too.

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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Downgrading from iOS 4.3b back to 4.2.1

If you’re like me and enjoy tinkering and playing with the latest iOS betas simply for the ‘fun of it’, chances are you’re pretty ‘cluey’ about iOS and how the iPad, iPhone and so on work.

As of the iPhone 3GS and iOS 3.x, Apple now signs every single firmware with a signature, unique to every single device and firmware called a ‘SHSH blob’. This means that usually once Apple releases an update, you can’t go back down, you’re forced to go up. Presumably in an attempt to prevent jailbreaking, to enforce security and to make sure everyone has the latest version.

Usually it’s pretty easy to downgrade if you’ve got the SHSH blob for your device for the firmware you’re trying to downgrade to. Unfortunately, as of iOS 4.2.1, Apple is making things somewhat trickier.

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Some quick notes on the ‘Personal Hotspot’ feature in iOS 4.3

So Apple this morning released beta one of iOS 4.3, bringing with it a whole heap of little tweaks and a couple of major features, including the new ‘Personal Hotspot’ feature.

Personal Hotspot extends on the existing tethering support in iOS by adding WiFi as a sharing method in addition to the existing Bluetooth and USB methods.

As far as I can tell, I’d believe it’s tied to the tethering settings; if you carrier has tethering enabled (and depending on your carrier, you’ve paid for access), you should have access to WiFi tethering; it’s just another method in addition to bluetooth and USB tethering. However, don’t quote me on this!
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