Latest iPhone update breaks T-Mobile unlock

Many iPhone-ers out there prefer T-Mobile's network over AT&T's. By unlocking their phones, they have been able to use it on the magenta underdog without a problem (EDGE only, of course). If you're one of those daredevils who has parted ways with AT&T and is looking to take your iPhone over to T-Mobile, you may want to think twice before upgrading to the latest iPhone OS.

Phone Arena is reporting that Apple's latest iPhone OS 3.1.3 update breaks the ability to do a T-Mobile unlock. They also caution against upgrading iPhones that are already successfully running on T-Mobile.

"The new OS creates issues with T-Mobile's network. For example, some 3rd party apps might fail to launch (Cupertino, we have a problem), furthermore, upgrading to the new OS would upgrade your baseband to 5.12.01 which would make it impossible to unlock the iPhone and use it on T-Mobile's network. Owners of the first-gen iPhone are not affected and can still upgrade to the new OS without affecting a T-Mobile connection."

No official statement has been made by Apple, but it doesn't seem like such a farfetched thing for them to do. We've seen Apple fight Palm's ability to sync with iTunes via software upgrades, and we've seen them continuously try and beat jailbreakers. Why should customers being able to choose their own carrier be any different?

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30 Comments

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Makes me wonder why T-Mobile USA and Wind Mobile (Canada) cannot use the same 3G frequency as the other UMTS/HSPA carriers. Guess those two will have to wait until LTE is mainstream before they can use the iPhone properly! :P

MulletRobZ said,
Makes me wonder why T-Mobile USA and Wind Mobile (Canada) cannot use the same 3G frequency as the other UMTS/HSPA carriers. Guess those two will have to wait until LTE is mainstream before they can use the iPhone properly! :P

2100 for UMTS is used in quite a few places in europe, although we use 900/1800 for 2G networks, so not sure if an European iphone would work on T-mobile USA.

Edited by dragon2611, Feb 11 2010, 12:05am :

Ryoken said,
Note to Self : Live in a country where every carrier has the iPhone.


Or just get a decent phone that's not at the mercy of the manufacturer.

Ryoken said,
Note to Self : Live in a country where every carrier has the iPhone.
So most countries besides the US, iirc.

Agreed. That and making sure they break any attempt Palm makes at simulating an Apple device. Steve Jobs likes his stuff to work only the way he wants it to work under his domain and his control. Hence the fact OSX is only for Apple hardware, iPhone only for AT&T, etc, etc, etc... It's too bad really. If Apple were a more open company then they would give Windows a serious run for its money plus they'd practically own the cell phone market. I myself won't get an iPhone because I won't do AT&T. Had em, hated em, left em. Can't wait for iPhones to be used with other carriers (non jail-broken).

Regression_88 said,
Why Edge only? T-mobile has been deploying UMTS / 3G for at least a couple years now, at least around here in California.

1700/2100 bands for T-Mobile's 3G - jailbroken IPhones 850Ghz so only EDGE on its networks. 1700 upstream/2100 downstream.

Q, I agree,
And why does this article focus entirely on T-Mobile, it applies to ALL non-ATT&T or O2 carriers, nothing new here, whenever the firmware is updated, the unlock will always be lost - that is the purpose of most, especially this one which lacks significant purpose for most users.

Jordan Wharmsby said,
Q, I agree,
And why does this article focus entirely on T-Mobile, it applies to ALL non-ATT&T or O2 carriers, nothing new here, whenever the firmware is updated, the unlock will always be lost - that is the purpose of most, especially this one which lacks significant purpose for most users.

actually o2 will unlock your iPhone for free. Mines unlocked :D

How is this news? Unlockers of 3G and above iPhones always have to wait for PwnageTool before upgrading in order to preserve their unlocked baseband.

My thoughts exactly. As an unlocked iPhone user, I go through this all the time. It is to be expected with every firmware upgrade. It's not news at all.

Louis M. said,
Note to self, don't get an iPhone.....

I thnk this is annoying, but your post deserves this...
+1

Edited by cybertimber2008, Feb 9 2010, 12:53am :

Louis M. said,
Note to self, don't get an iPhone.....

The iPhone was never designed or advertised to work with T-Mobile. Just because an update has prevented hackers from doing something the phone wasn't supposed to do shouldn't be a reason to avoid it.

Xenomorph said,

The iPhone was never designed or advertised to work with T-Mobile. Just because an update has prevented hackers from doing something the phone wasn't supposed to do shouldn't be a reason to avoid it.

So we should all only use hardware how we're explicitly told to by "the powers that be?" No thanks. Android for me.

Louis M. said,
Note to self, don't get an iPhone.....

If it is an important enough feature for you, then yeah don't get an iPhone. It doesn't have that feature. Other perfectly good phones do.

Xenomorph said,

The iPhone was never designed or advertised to work with T-Mobile. Just because an update has prevented hackers from doing something the phone wasn't supposed to do shouldn't be a reason to avoid it.

Not the point. If you update and are on the T-Mobile service then you essentially have bricked your phone. Go ahead and sell it back to an AT&T user.

Xenomorph said,

The iPhone was never designed or advertised to work with T-Mobile. Just because an update has prevented hackers from doing something the phone wasn't supposed to do shouldn't be a reason to avoid it.

phone doesn't have to be "designed" to work on T-mobile, its a GSM phone, by design it should work with all GSM network carriers that operate in same frequency. Correct way of looking at it, is that Apple now on purpose designed it to cause issues.

mrmomoman said,

Not the point. If you update and are on the T-Mobile service then you essentially have bricked your phone. Go ahead and sell it back to an AT&T user.

That's the risk you take.. Agree or Disagree with Apple locking the iPhone to AT&T, we should all be able to agree that if you decide to Jailbreak it for any reason, you, YOU, should be well aware of the risks around it.

Ryoken said,
That's the risk you take.. Agree or Disagree with Apple locking the iPhone to AT&T, we should all be able to agree that if you decide to Jailbreak it for any reason, you, YOU, should be well aware of the risks around it.

Seriously.... If you've taken the time to read up on how to jailbreak and unlock your iPhone, you should have read the part where you're told not to hit the update button until a new jailbreak/unlock is available.

It's pretty simple. Don't hit the update button, and you're still on T-Mobile, jailbreak and all (this applies only to 3gs week 40 and older models, as current 3gs models can't be jailbroken in the same manner, at least at this point in time).

I'm curious.... Will rooting, the android equivalent of jailbreaking, start becoming countered by os updates? Is it already to some extent?