Jailbreak/Unlock iPhone 3GS made after 35th week of 2011
November 14, 2012 3:29 PM   Subscribe

I have an iPhone 3GS, Version 5.0.1, Modem Firmware 06.16.05. Every unlocking method I've looked at states that if the 3rd, 4th and 5th digits of the serial number are greater than 135, unlocking could brick the phone. The digits on mine are 927. Is there any safe way for me to jailbreak and unlock my phone?
posted by amandi to Technology (7 answers total)
Are you out of contract with AT&T? If you call them, they'll unlock it for you.
posted by Oktober at 3:33 PM on November 14, 2012

Sorry, should have included this- I'm trying to unlock it because T-Mobile is my carrier.
posted by amandi at 3:34 PM on November 14, 2012

Right, but it was only ever offered by AT&T for sale, so it was originally an AT&T phone. Apple keeps a database of all iphones that it sells, so when one is "unlocked", the carrier will submit a request to apple, and when you restore/reactivate your phone, it checks the database and it's then marked as unlocked.

So, the easiest thing to do if you got it from a family member or whatnot would be for them to call AT&T and request to have it unlocked, then you could reactivate it in itunes and pop in your T-Mob sim.
posted by Oktober at 3:40 PM on November 14, 2012

There's no modem firmware (aka "baseband") 06.16.05 - do you mean modem firmware 05.16.05 or 06.15.00? 05.16.05 is normal for an iPhone 3GS, while 06.15.00 means you have the unlockable iPad baseband installed already. I assume you have 05.16.05 though. A phone with an xx927 serial number was actually produced earlier than a phone with a xx135 serial number, so you're safe to install the iPad baseband to unofficially unlock it. If you want to do that, I help maintain this guide.

But it'd be much, much easier to get the phone officially unlocked by AT&T (which is free if it's out of contract). If you know the person who originally purchased this phone, you can ask him/her to call AT&T and ask for an official unlock.

If you don't have access to the person who originally purchased the phone, you also have the easy option of purchasing a grey market third-party IMEI unlock for it. You can find these sold on eBay for $2-10 - search for "AT&T IMEI unlock" and look for a seller with a good feedback rating. Just don't ask too much about how the person has access to IMEI unlock your phone - everybody's guess is that these sellers are passing unlock requests to AT&T employees who do unlocks "on the side".

An official or third-party IMEI unlock is far more convenient than an unofficial jailbreaking-and-installing-the-iPad-baseband unlock; official unlocks and IMEI unlocks are permanent, even if you upgrade iOS versions later. If you do the jailbreaking method, you have to follow an unintuitive set of steps to upgrade iOS versions while maintaining your unlock - I help people do it every day (my job is to help jailbreakers), but it's a little tedious.
posted by dreamyshade at 3:47 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

oops, I'm sorry, again. yes, it's modem firmware 05.16.05

thanks for all the help!
posted by amandi at 3:50 PM on November 14, 2012

I did a jailbreak on my wife's 3g (also on T-Mobile). I did the downgrade on the baseband to make it work. To be honest, it wasn't worth it. I'm not sure if it was T-Mobile or just our area in Chicago but reception was very spotty. YMMV.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:01 PM on November 14, 2012

The iPhone 3g will mostly likely be slow on T-Mobile because T-Mobile uses a different part of the wireless spectrum than AT&T, which means that the iPhone won't be able to get a 3G signal. It will still get Edge, which works, but it's quite slow. T-Mobile is in the process of rolling out towers that use an iPhone-compatible frequency, but they can't or won't give any information on the schedule of that. As a data point, I live in lower Manhattan and spend some time in Brooklyn, and I think I've gotten a 3G signal all of one time in the past month and a half or so of iPhone usage. I have also found areas where I don't get a signal at all for whatever reason, which was not my experience before when I had an Android phone.

All this just FYI.
posted by !Jim at 9:10 PM on November 15, 2012

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