The final disadvantage to owning a 3G iPhone compared to its original 2G incarnation has been removed this week with the news that the iPhone Dev Team has released a tool to allow the handsets to be used with any provider.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog
's report, the hack – dubbed 'yellowsn0w' – has been confirmed as allowing users with the latest modem firmware to use their handsets on any carrier. With the iPhone 3G now available on pay-as-you-go in the UK, this allows anyone to purchase the device and then use it on their pre-existing contract – arguably something they should be able to do anyway.
While there are plenty of reports of success – both in the UK and around the world – the application isn't without its foibles. The Dev Team themselves describe
the tool as “beta software [...] use it at your own risk,
” and there are known bugs regarding its handling of SIM cards with STK menus resulting in infrequent hangs during the unlocking process. Despite this, the existence of an unlocking tool finally brings the iPhone 3G to the same level of freedom that its older 2G brother enjoyed.
If you're an iPhone 3G owner eager to get your unlock on, CrunchGear's John Biggs
has kindly made a step-by-step guide – complete with pictures – to walk you through the process. While the comments on the article are by and large positive, one user – Arpit Gupta – has spotted an interesting bug when using the QuickPwn tool to perform the pre-unlocking jailbreak on a 2008 MacBook: the tool freezes if an on-board USB port is used for the connection to the iPhone. Gupta's solution to this is to use a USB hub instead of an on-board port, which allowed him to jailbreak and unlock successfully.
If you're an eternally curious hacker who wants to see how the team created 'yellowsn0w', the source code
has kindly been provided.
Any iPhone owners eager to move to a different mobile provider, or is the unlocker more of a proof of concept than a useful tool? Share your thoughts over in the forums