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Unlocking the iPhone - do it too Often and Brick it?

After the big rush to establish automated iPhone unlocking tools several different solutions emerged, which gained various levels of media and industry attention. One of the primary teams behind the initial push to unlock the iPhone have continued to improve their early work, including releasing a simple GUI to allow users to unlock their phones, and there are increasing reports of people successfully using their unlocked iPhones across the globe.

Amongst this good news for end users is early reports of what could be a major drawback to unlocking the device. While it is known that some phones are not responding to the unlock software (stubbornly remaining locked on the network), it seems that if the iPhone is unlocked too many times, it bricks itself.

As most of the heavy lifting for unlocking the phone is done in the firmware, the primary hackers responsible for the unlock believe that it should be a relatively straight forward process to identify the code that is limiting the number of unlocks (even on a device that has been correctly flashed a number of times).

Concerned users who have already unlocked their iPhone a number of times, or who have been playing around with the various options available should keep an eye on the above forums for a patch to be made available sometime in the next couple of days.

21 September 2007

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