back to article Apple posts iPhone update, bricks unlocked handsets

Apple has posted the anticipated iPhone 1.1.1 update. The release, which adds support for the Wi-Fi connect iTunes Music Store, does indeed, as expected, returns unlocked handsets back to their AT&T-only status. And then some: even re-inserted AT&T SIMs appear not to be accepted by an updated iPhone, preventing users …


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  1. Daniel Bennett

    Cracked Upgrade?

    I'm pretty sure a crack upgrade could be managed?

    Or just a way to reunlock?

    Pretty obvious from the warning that apple was planning on relocking unlocked phones. Think they purposly did it TBH.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better off with a Touch!

    HTC Touch may not be as uber-cool, but at least you can do what you want with it, not what Apple allow you to do

  3. Trevor Watt

    Aieee Phone again?

    Enough already. Other devices are available.

  4. Steve

    So presumably they can be returned under warranty

    Since unlocking the phone cannot be legally restricted any subsequent update that breaks the phone must render it open to return under warranty.

  5. Risky


    How long before they charge you for the point release?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Better off with a Touch!

    The HTC Touch runs Windows Mobile, it won't be just you who can do whatever you want with it.

    And apart from that its just a small front end touch app over the bog standard WMSP app suite.

  7. JayKay

    Read the fine print

    What makes me laugh is all these people who hacked their iPhones KNEW the conditions attached to the iPhone when they bought one. Why do people think it is their 'right' to use the iPhone on any network? Apple have clearly stated FROM THE BEGINNING that the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T/02, but people still complain when, after updating their hacked iPhone that (kinda) works on another network, it no longer works.

    If you want an iPhone, you need to sign up to an AT&T/02 contract. If Apple release an update that breaks the unofficial hacks, tough luck. When you buy an iPhone, you are agreeing to the small print that clearly states you need to sign up to AT&T, so if Joe Sixpack hacks it and it breaks after an update from Apple (which provides more features for people who haven't hacked their iPhone) whose fault is it? Apple? No, because I repeat again, YOU agreed to the conditions when you bought an iPhone.

    Why is this so hard for people to understand? If you don't want to be tied into a contract with AT&T/02, then don't buy an iPhone, go buy an N95 or HTC Touch, after all, everyone on these boards seems to think they are miles better than an iPhone anyway.

    Or just buy an iPod touch, everything an iPhone has except a phone linked to AT&T, which seems to be the cause of all the hysteria.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So there is a plethora of tiny improvements in this update, but none of the major software-related drawbacks are touched. Nice. Also, am I the person who considers it mildly ironic that it is now possible to buy from the iTMS on the go, but there's still no built-in functionality that would allow for remote-controlling your own iTunes on your own computer?

  9. Antony King


    Just get an openmoko !

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Better off with a Touch!

    "HTC Touch may not be as uber-cool, but at least you can do what you want with it, not what Apple allow you to do"

    Bugger that - once my contract is up next month, I'll be 'upgrading' to a bog-standard clamshell phone, sticking my XDA Mini on eBay and using my laptop for doing computery things. If I absolutely must do something PDA-ish, then I'll use my old-but-still-functional Handspring Visor.

    'Convergent technology' is more hassle than its worth IMO, even without taking into account Apple's arrogance.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As is usually the case with such things no doubt we'll have dozens of folk damning Apple. Well, newsflash folks, Apple are out to make money and as part of that will make deals that make them more money, you by purchasing an iPhone and agreeing to the T&Cs agree to any limitations that they set as part of those deals.

    Don't like the limitations, don't buy it. Could you be bothered? If its that much of a "must have" then surely its worth getting it legitimately? If its not worth it then you don't need it, so don't buy it.

    Serves each and every one of them right.

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  13. Gulfie

    Big mistake, Apple...

    The iPhone was always going to be cracked. And I bet the new firmware is cracked even more quickly. Apple should at least ensure that a firmware upgrade leaves the phone locked and fully functional at the end.

    As a software engineer I understand the reason for locking the phone but I think Apple should accept the inevitable. Document the phone API and provide an emulator and compatibility testing kit. Allow people to write kosher applications that run inside a sandbox that protects the phone as a whole from malicious code. Hmm, sounds like Java...

    Why do I get the feeling that this issue is going to run... and run...

    And how does this fit with the US law that gives people the right to unlock their phone?

  14. Marc Rogers

    Illegal attack or Interesting Response from Steve Jobs?

    The real fact is that Apple has clearly engineered this update to disable "modified" iphones. There are reports of iphones which just have 3rd party software being turned into bricks aswell as those that have been hacked to allow other networks.

    In order to maximise the number of hacked phones the patch has cast the net wide enough that legitimate AT&T "GoPhone" the AT&T prepay service are finding their phones disabled too.

    Seems that Jobs is so panicked by the thought of loosing his 40% revenue share that hes willing to sacrifice legitimate users as "collateral damage".

    Seems that MACS open, developer friendly face has been replaced by one that looks remarkably like Microsoft.

    Atleast Microsft (and i never ever though the day would come where i would find my self supporting microsoft) hasnt deliberately taken out thousands of their paying customers in order to squeeze more money out of them by forcing them onto overpriced contracts with poor quality networks!

    Imaging if microsoft wiped (not just disabled) your deskyop PC becuase you plugged it into the wrong ISP?

    Realistically this is just another volley in what looks to be an interesting battle. We know what the outcome is going to be, just look at sony and the PSP saga firmware.

    Meanwhile work is now underway to produce an open source iphone OS and a replacement of itunes in order to break away from apple.

    Seems remarkably short sighted of Jobs.

    I would have thought supprting a growing development community that could stand a chance of breaking the typical 6 month and ill buy a new one cycle most mobile phone users are encouraged to get into...


  15. Joe

    In response to JayKay...

    Not sure if JayKay's actually had the experience of buying one, or is just going on the fact that he reads the IT journos.. There are no warnings when you buy the phone. In fact, I bought one from Apple's flagship store on 5th Ave a few days ago. I literally walked in, said "I'll have an iPhone please" and that was it.

    Yes, I know personally about the network lock-down, but there is no sign at all in-store that this is the case. Only on the box does it mention it - And you don't get that until you stump up the moola.

  16. Seanie Ryan


    "Why do people think it is their 'right' to use the iPhone on any network?"

    Becasue you are allowed to by Law and that supersedes any contract you enter into.... not that hard to grasp really.

    That said, I have been an avid Apple user for over 15 years and now think that they have gotten it TOTALLY wrong... iphone will still be a success, but they are still doing it wrong. bad ethos. my next phone will still be a nokia now.

  17. Bill Coleman

    skype and such...

    "Allow people to write kosher applications that run inside a sandbox that protects the phone as a whole from malicious code."

    ...yes that would be bloody marvelous - and probably would have satisfied the FCC that the frequecny bands were safe. But it's not ever going to happen - for the simple reason that this contraption is basically a mobile computer with a data comms phone attached. That means open season skype and other such VOIP solutions. People would never have to pay mobile network rates for another call again once the right coding was done.

    The real solution for apple would have been to sell the thing unlocked and sim free with a proper sdk and charged an un-subsidised 600 bucks for it. This certainly would have been more in keeping with Jobs and Woz's phone phreaking roots... oh the irony of this move!!!!!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you 'do'have a right to unlock it

    "Why do people think it is their 'right' to use the iPhone on any network?"

    Possibly because its explicitly legal to unlock a phone for use on any network in the UK. The networks have tried to argue this one before, and they lost.

  19. Dave


    A fool and his money are soon parted. In this case, a million fools. These Apple stories are better than the newspaper comics!

    C'mon, people, you knew what you you were buying into before you bought it, and you still bought it. You paid a fortune for it. Stupid and gullible. If you didn't know what you were buying into, then you were just stupid.

    I should have bought Apple stock. Honestly, I didn't think people were this stupid. Gues y'all showed me! rofl...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the warning..

    I've now seen the thing personally, and it's impressively thin - it looks almost ideal for carrying in an inner suit pocket (don't know about the weight, though).

    However, I prefer to be in full control of my own equipment for a variety of reasons (not in the least because of confidentiality), and that stunt has just removed any possibility that I'll buy one when they come out where I live.

    I rather pay full price and be in control than have some moron with a God complex (and that goes for Gates too) decide how I should use my kit.

  21. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Class Action anyone?

    Get yer tickets here.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The iPhone is hardware

    What I think is a total outrage is that unlike software, which is only licensed, the iPhone (because it is hardware) is actually owned by whoever bought it. Further still, as you can read here

    It is explicitly legal to unlock your phone in the US, so what Apple is doing by deliberately "breaking" unlocked phones should be either illegal or enough to warrant a class action suit. If only it were not the lawyers who'll really profit from it...

  23. Mectron

    What The (Rotten) Appe need

    is a Massive lawsuit from users who have they grossly over price iPhone illegaly bricked by this "FAKE" update. I had never own any Apple product because the very root of Apple is wrong. Give me WGA any day comapare to the overpice low quality Cage of a iPhone (or any other grappy Apple product for that manner)

    Sueing Apple for this clearly ILLEGAL act is the only way to that this crooked company down.,

  24. Michael Sheils

    Bound to happen

    This was always going to happen, apple are going to be lcoked into the same losing battle as sony are on the PSP.

    Personally I have no real interest in the iPhone, I'm waiting for the LG U990 to hit the shelves before I consider my next upgrade.

  25. Martin Maloney

    I foresee a second wave...

    ...of iPhone hacking.

    This time, the mod will restore the firmware to factory spec.

    I was suspicious, from the beginning, when people started unlocking their iPhones.

    And I was right. I can always telephony.


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dont Update

    Just like the psp, you dont upgrade till the next cracked version is ready.

    Anybody who allowed the cracked phone to upgrade is stupid and deserves what they got. Ultimately you are running on a different network which just sees it as a phone so theres no real need to upgrade (keep an old version of itunes as well).

    It was funny watching all the jealous folks in the office gloating over this story.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help feeling that this is illegal

    Its one of the problems with closed software -- Apple turns your property into a brick and claims its "just an innocent side effect". Right. We know, as well as they do, that this is deliberate vandalism on their part -- we're not stupid, we know how this software works and we know what we'd need to do to make it work or not work.

    The short term effect is that I won't buy or recommend any further purchases of Apple products. They have useful stuff, but any corporation that feels it has the right to destroy users' property because those users' aren't buying into their revenue model is unethical. (UK readers note -- locking phones to a carrier in the US is common practice in the US but its definitely not illegal to unlock them.)

    (Anyway, the phone's an embarassing PoS -- its like seeing a user with an old Motorola flip-phone clamped to their ear.)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SW update unfair, or is it?

    Say there are two types of hacked iPhone users:

    - geeks (earliest adopters),

    - wanna be geeks. (early majority)

    The first know what they are doing and would never blindly update their unlocked iPhone with the new number of the beast - 1.1.1. The wanna be geeks will surely update the iPhone the same way they update their windows - "next, next, next...., finish", except for the "oops" effect after the imminent restart (both for windows and iPhone).

    Since iPhone was introduced we (and Jobs) saw unlocked iPhone going to the geeks (which he is fine with) and then to the wanna be geeks (bad news). Well if there is no way to keep the advanced users away from the iPhone you can still keep the others from it especially when you are landing The thing in Europe, signing new operators("Hey O2, still worried about 'Unlocked iPhone inc.' selling unlocked iPhones on the streets? see whats going to happen next week") and just in time for Chri$tma$.

    Problem solved. And in the meantime you have the frenzy PR singing "the thing is soo sexy, one would kill/hack to have it"

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ATT told me

    I had an issue with ATT earlier this year about an unrelated matter, but 'somehow' our discussion came around to the iPhone. It turns out that the iPhone is not a phone! It is a computing device!

    So those of you who want to rail about Apple and ATT not allowing the unlocking of the 'phone' have not understood what you purchased from Apple. Since it's not phone, the laws about the 'fair use' of cell phones don't apply!

  30. John

    Typical Apple.

    To all those who are shocked by this. Remember Apple's the company that intentionally sells it's hardware at twice the price because it knows people will pay for it. And who use their fan-boys as beta testers (OK everyone does that).

    Stop taking this whole attitude that certain companies are good and fair while others are evil. It's captilism, it's all about money not morality. Even google with it's "Do No Evil" slogan will just show it's self up as the BIG monopoly that batters smaller opposition soon enough, if not already.

    If you unlocked your phone then why upgrade? If it was done without the user's knowledge then i think that's illegal. BTW - To the fan-boy who was taking Apple's side, you don't agree or sign anything. You pay your money and you get the phone, after that it's yours to do what you want. Apple have no right to do anything not authorised by you, if they do it's no different than an ordinary person infecting it with a virus.

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