Unlocking iphone 2G safely and correctly

I know I know I am a PC guy! But I could not stop myself buying an iphone as soon as it was released in 2007 being a techjunkie. I enjoyed legally using it when I was in US. Like a honest buyer I used the AT&T sim, paid the bills blah blah. But I had this big question in my mind, what the f*** would I do when I move to India. When I returned here earlier this year iphone was not yet released and the only way to use it was unlocking it. But yet again like an honest buyer I played the wait and watch game, I thought Apple would certainly come up with a plan for people changing their region with the old 2G iphone. But instead they released iPhone 3G here for country which is yet to have a 3G network! So I was left with 2 options, either buy a new iphone in India or unlock my 2G iphone. Hah, like I was gonna be honest anymore!

Thus began my tryst with the hackers. I followed lots of blogs about unlocking it and came across lots of folks with horrible error messages on their iphone sometimes rendering the iphone in recovery mode. No doubt unlocking is a risky business but I had to do it. I spent 2 nights figuring out the error messages I used to get while unlocking it for the first time. Finally I got it right with the following steps for 3 different updates which makes it a pretty much foolproof method. Frankly Pwnage tool is really made for a non-technical person and the errors which we get are some exceptional cases only. Again, these are the steps that have worked for me for all updates until the latest 2.2 update.

Steps for unlocking iphone 2G –:

1) Remove the SIM card. I have found this step important for later activation. Take a backup of your iphone.

2)This is a step many people might not follow but I have found doing this step avoid the 1600 error we get at the end of the process. If the iphone is never unlocked then jump to step 5, if it is, restore the iphone with a .ipsw file downloaded from apple. For ex. while updating to 2.2 my iphone was already pwned to 2.1.1 version. So I restored it to the 2.1 ipsw file I had from apple. If you do not have that file you can look on the internet for it, lots of guys have kept copies of these files. Same procedure must be applied for further updates.

3) Restoring the iphone to an earlier version as described above will take some time. TO restore, connect the iphone, once iTunes fires up. cancel any message boxes for updating the iphone to new versions. Hold Option and click Restore. I think it is Alt on Windows. This will allow you to select a .ipsw file to restore with. While restoring the iphone will restart several times, you would see the apple logo indicating we are using a valid .ipsw file from apple.

4) Once restoration is complete you would get a message of no SIM card installed which is a good sign.

5) Now exit iTunes completely and fire up Pwnage tool. Select iPhone, expert mode and click Next.

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6) Allow the tool to search for the restore bundle you downloaded from apple. By default the .ipsw file is in Library/iTunes/iphone software updates on a Mac. I generally transfer this file to a folder on a desktop to make the process easy. I have all the earlier restore bundles in this folder.

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7) Select the restore bundle you need, mostly you would select the latest version in this case 2.2 version. Click next. On the next screen you would see several customization options. Select General and click next.

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8) If you have a legitimate iPhone contract with your carrier (for instance, and iPhone contract with AT&T), you will need to uncheck the box next to “Activate”

If you don't have one, like me since I am in India with a US iphone I have left it checked.

Change Root Partition size to 1000MB for updating to 2.2.

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8) Keep clicking Next until you reach the Build screen again. In between steps include changing icons etc which can be left as it is.

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9) Let the tool build the Custom bundle for you, have a drink till then! Store the custom restore file on your machine somewhere. This file will be used to restore the iphone.

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10) Once complete, you would get a message asking if your iphone was pwned before. Now since we have restored the iphone in the first step with a legal .ipsw file it is not pwned anymore and hence select No. In either case, if your iphone is pwned earlier or not select No in this step, of course assuming step 1 is done. Click Yes has resulted in 1600 error for me at least.

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11) Now are the easy steps. Follow the instructions to get the iphone in recovery mode. You can use iTunes to do this but I prefer to use Pwnage. Once you get a message saying successfully in DRU mode or something, the Pwnage tool job is done!

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12) Now move to iTunes. Since iPhone is in recovery mode, you will get an option of clicking the Restore button on iTunes. Hold Option and click Restore to select the Custom Restore bundle just built by Pwnage tool.

13) Now its time to sit back and relax. If anything was done wrong, you would get a 1600 error message just after extracting the bundle. This error message is such a piece of s#$$ that it does no help in understanding what the problem was.

14) I am assuming here that there were no errors till now and the iphone is getting restarted several times with a pineapple logo.

15) Once everything is done, the iphone will show off its home screen. Insert SIM card now. Restore the iphone with the latest backup you took.

16) You should have an unlocked iphone with all your data as before!

I have a feeling that even Apple enjoys playing this “cat and mouse” game with the hackers out there. If you are interested in what the great “Woz” has to say about this please watch this video http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/7742797.stm.

Please let me know if you are stuck with some step. Hail the iphone dev team!!

Happy unlocking!! Someone's gonna get PWNED!!


Anonymous said...

hey... you think you can simplufy this in any way?! maybe links to the s/w and screenshots?

Abhang Rane said...

hmm. I guess i assumed some familiarity with Pwnage tool. Ill edit that post showing screenshots of the tool for the method I explained.

Abhang Rane said...

Download the pwnage tool version 2.2.1 which I have used here


Unlock iPhone 2g said...

this really works , my iphone 2g is unlocked

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