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iPhone relocking hack September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone.
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The coming firmware update strikes fear into the hearts of the thousands of users of unlocked iPhones, as Apple has declared a long, drawn-out and protracted “cat-and-mouse” war with them and the firmware updates are likely to intentionally brick the iPhones and turn them into nice high-tech paperweights. Unlocks have been shown to be largely impervious to software updates and upgrades, but firmware updates are another matter entirely – even without all this cat-and-mouse stuff it’s a dicey proposition in the best of times.

(Personally, if I had an unlocked unit that works, I wouldn’t really have the urgent need to update it if there’s a chance it could be bricked. Besides, it’s just a matter of time before the usual suspects find a way to get around that little roadblock. Just wait. Then again, I understand how having a firmware update that you can’t install can get under your skin.)

TUAWs wonderful Erica Sadun (who posted one of the first unlock procedures) has posted a relocking hack that’ll restore your iPhone’s legit status so that you can update the firmware, and then re-unlock it again (this is getting ridiculous, really), assuming that the new firmware doesn’t break the unlock procedure, which is why the firmware is probably being issued in the first place, which makes you wonder why you want to upgrade it in the first place.

All in all, a silly, self-imposed conundrum we find ourselves in. And all for a phone.

Anyway, you can get Ms. Sadun’s relock procedure from TUAW here. Or from the iPhone FAQ, from iphonegoboom.com (great name!) which has everything else you might need to know.

Once again, caveat hax0r. According to the feedback comments, this thing is as risky as the first unlocks that came out. As Erica herself advises, if you must, wait a day or two for the procedure to be debugged. And be aware that there may be a hardware-based lock/unlock limit built into the iPhone, so think hard before doing this.

For the click-lazy, we reproduce Erica’s procedure here, purely for educational purposes:

  • (Take out your SIM from your iPhone.)–Still checking on this step.
  • Download the 1.0.2 firmware to your computer and unzip it. It uses a .ipsw extension but your unzip program should still work. Change the extension if you have to.
  • Extract the ramdisk as such: dd if=009-7698-4.dmg of=ramdisk.dmg bs=512 skip=4 conv=sync
  • Mount the extracted ramdisk.
  • From the ramdisk, copy /usr/local/bin/bbupdater, /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.eep, and /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.fls to your iPhone. Place these into a folder on the OS partition (such as /bbupdate) and not into a folder on /var/root. The /var/root partition is set noexec and you cannot run programs from there.
  • Disable com.apple.CommCenter.plist–either using UIctl or launchctl: launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • On the iPhone, navigate to the folder where you stored bbupdater and the eep and fls files.
  • Run bbupdater as such: ./bbupdater -f *.fls -e *.eep
  • Reload comm center: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • Reactivate with your favorite AT&T SIM. I personally like using iASign.
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Comments»

1. bernie - September 25, 2007

I know how to unlock an iPhone. I know how to add 3rd party apps to the iPhone. Now I know how to re-lock the iPhone. The problem is I still DON’T have an iPhone! yeah, I know… I’m pathetic 🙂

2. Evorgleb - September 25, 2007

I wasn’t to aware of how big the issue was with people hacking the iPhone until one of the writers at my Highbrid Nation site did a story on it.

I’d rather wait until Apple decides to make it official. though i do admire the guys who are smart enough to hack those things.


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