In case you haven't heard, AT&T started officially unlocking out-of-contract iPhones for customers in good standing earlier this month. The only problem is that AT&T recommends a full restore at the end of the unlocking process, which will wipe an existing iPhone jailbreak.
Luckily you can still unlock your iPhone through official channels without losing your jailbreak by following a few extra steps. When your contract with AT&T ends and you're ready to unlock your iPhone for use with other carriers, first follow the steps at this link to contact AT&T and determine your eligibility.
A few hardware unlock solutions for the iPhone 4S have appeared this month, but Gevey has released a Verizon and Sprint unlocking solution. The Gevey Ultra S claims to unlock both GSM and CDMA, unlike the R-SIM and TP-SIM which do not work with Sprint models.
The new SIM interposer requires that your iPhone be jailbroken, not be running iOS 5.1 or higher and is on one of the following basebands: 1.0.11, 1.0.13, 1.0.14. This is also the only known solution for Sprint handsets. The Gevey Ultra S is $60 and will be available at the end of this month.
Looking to unlock your iPhone 4S for use on other carriers? Now that unlocking fans are still waiting for a jailbreak software solution, familiar unlocking service CutYourSim has reappeared on the scene. In case you don't remember, CutYourSim had a brief business remotely unlocking iPhones for a price.
The company ended up refunding money and closed up shop after their "supplier" couldn't meet demand for its services. CutYourSim is now offering a permanent unlock solution within 15-20 days for AT&T customers for a cool $200.
Another hardware unlock solution has appeared, the R-SIM from Each Supplier. This SIM interposer works with the iPhone 4S running iOS 5 or iOS 5.0.1 making it possible to use the device on any compatible GSM carrier network.
iPhone Dev-Team has not made recent announcements regarding updates to ultrasn0w, the software unlock solution for jailbreakers. One advantage of the R-SIM is that the product does not require a jailbroken iPhone to unlock the device.
T-Mobile doesn't offer the iPhone, but that hasn't stopped iPhone users from using T-Mobile. It's estimated that around one million T-Mobile customers use unlocked iPhones to access the carrier's slower EDGE network. The iPhone is incompatible with the 1700/2100 MHz bands used by T-Mobile for its faster data speeds, but a recent refarming of its spectrum capacity has caused some pockets of the country to be iPhone-accessible.
According to TMONews, a very few unlocked iPhone users are picking up 3G signals in parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest:
"Nevada, parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are also seeing some pockets of 1900MHz spectrum refarming for HSPA+. There are other parts of the country T-Mobile can refarm the 1900MHz spectrum but, the focus is on the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Utah and California for right now from what we’re told. We should emphasize and emphasize greatly that this post does not mean that all of the aforementioned areas are seeing this refarmed spectrum, just pockets inside those areas."
Unlocking the iPhone has always required jailbreaking and paying close attention to custom firmware and basebands. Now thanks to a simple process, the iPhone 4S can be unlocked without jailbreaking. This process makes use of a bug in iOS 5 and allows the iPhone to be used on T-Mobile. Of course, there are some caveats.
As OS X Daily reports, some users have had to go through the process several times to make it work. This process requires an AT&T (GSM) iPhone 4S, and will not work with the Verizon or Sprint iPhone. Also, the T-Mobile SIM card must be cut down to Micro SIM size before the process begins in order to fit in the iPhone 4S.
For those iPhone lovers who hate two-year contracts Apple will be offering the iPhone 4S unlocked in the United States. The unlocked version is already available for pre-order on the Apple online store at unsubsidized, contract-free prices. Buyers can expect to pay a $450 premium above carrier discount prices to avoid a contract, making the iPhone 4S 16GB come in at $649 with free shipping.
This puts the 32GB at $749 and the 64GB capacity model at $849. Of course the unlocked version comes in black or white, however it will only be compatible with GSM networks around the globe. This means that iPhone 4S users in the US will be limited to AT&T or T-Mobile as a choice of carriers. Currently Verizon and Sprint will require the iPhone 4S to be locked into a two-year contract to be activated on their networks.
Here's a surprise: no-jailbreak remote iPhone unlock services Cut Your Sim and others are out of business. Apparently their supplier couldn't continue making unauthorized changes to Apple's IMEI database and needs to postpone the service indefinitely. These services were charging a fee of $170 or more to unlock iPhones in a process they claim is permanent without violating the terms of Apple's warranty.
Luckily those who were in line to have their devices unlocked are getting their money refunded. It's not clear why the unlocking procedure had to be stopped, whether it was Apple getting involved or figuring out exactly where the leak was in their database security. What's interesting is that even the operators of Cut Your Sim aren't sure exactly how the iPhones are unlocked, just that the process originates from the UK.
Several new remote unlocking services from websites such as Cut Your Sim and Negri Electronics have appeared in the past few weeks, promising a permanent iPhone unlock without jailbreaking. These services claim the unlock will remain in place regardless of firmware or baseband version forever, with a 100 percent money back guarantee if the unlock fails.
Does this sound too good to be true? Many have already signed up for the services hoping to preserve their Apple warranty, even though the cost is a one-time fee of $170 or more. Negri Electronics has even temporarily discontinued the service due to overwhelming demand while the current list of devices is processed for unlocking. Once the current list of submissions is processed they plan to re-introduce the service.
UPDATE (2/14/2011): A jailbreak (not unlock) for Verizon iPhones running iOS 4.2.6 is now available. Click the following link to learn about how to jailbreak the Verizon iPhone.
Since Verizon's iPhone 4 launch announcement yesterday, the web has been rife with speculation on how soon we'll see the Verizon iPhone 4 jailbroken and unlocked. Will the iPhone Dev Team focus on the CDMA iPhone unlock, or just the jailbreak of iOS 4.2.5? If an unlock does become available for the Verizon iPhone, will Sprint embrace the CDMA iPhone? Some say it will happen, some say it won't. Except there's only one problem ... the CDMA / Verizon iPhone 4 isn't locked in the first place. Why? Because CDMA phones aren't locked.