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Updated on September 19, 2012

Although there are a lot of Internet sites offering unlocking services for an iPhone, it still is important to know that you can do it on your own without paying any dime. That is if you're iPhone is qualified for an authorized unlock.

I said authorized unlock with emphasis, because there is a different way of unlocking the iPhone, the unauthorized unlock. Unauthorized unlock is more popularly known in the technological world as jailbreak. As the term suggests, it is similar to a convicted criminal getting off the hook illegally. The intricate process of jailbreaking is done only by iPhone experts online, and some iPhone experts in a repair shop, definitely an unauthorized one, since Apple does not allow jailbreaking the iPhone in whatever ways. Though there is no legal policy governing it, but unlocking the iPhone in an unauthorized way voids the warranty of the iPhone, and Apple will deny the unit any repair services in the future. Experts in computer can easily understand the concept of jailbreaking, as it involves installing a modifying software which changes the locked settings of your iPhone.

But why do people resort to unlocking an iPhone? This is because they want to use it with their preferred network. Buying a locked iPhone is cheaper than buying an unlocked iPhone. The buyer, even though fully aware that the iPhone is locked, will still purchase it because he knows he can unlock it later.

Another instance that is very common is that of an iPhone purchased second hand through amazon or eBay. Most of these iPhones are locked to a particular network, but still worked with a different carrier because of the illegal modification. Once an update is done, the iPhone goes back to factory settings. This it requires factory unlock to work again. Leave with no other choice the new owner sees a need to resort again to jailbreaking.

Unfortunately, modifying the iPhone's network status not only voids the warranty of the iPhone, forcible entry of that modifying software into the system creates bad effects later. It changes and lowers the quality of the iPhone, thereby creating more serious problems later.

Luckily, in Australia it is easier to get an authorized unlock, than in the US. Before the iPhone 4S came out, all iPhones in the states are locked to A T & T. This telecommunication company does not grant authorized unlock at all, or has a very tight requirement in granting the request for an unlock. So most of the jailbroken iPhone are iPhones.coming from them. However, things are changing, and hopefully those iPhones previously released and are locked to this telecommunication company, will soon find its way to being unlocked easily.

(For more updated details, see A T & T FAQs for the requirement)

To be honest, I have read about a lot of chips / SIM unlocking tools and other processes which claims its legality in unlocking the iPhone, but I cannot speak so much about that. Those software programs which are not Apple produced nor authorized will still be in hiding, and the result whether successful or not, remains in gray area unless Apple will issue an official statements about their legitimacy. For now, they are still unauthorized modifying software programs for jailbreaking purposes.

Steps in Getting An Authorized Unlock in Australia

In the meantime, let me show you about authorized unlock process in Australia.

The article below shows that all four major carriers in Australia, namely: Optus, 3, Vodafone, and Telstra, offers authorized unlock.


In this case, Australian iPhone user has to remember that Apple has nothing to say with your request, unless the contracting carrier gives a go signal. The signal is given by way of their own system relayed to Apple's system. So it is best to start to go through the authorized unlock process in this order:

* Get hold of the IMEI of your iPhone. It is in the ABOUT section.

* Call the carrier (Vodafone,Telstra, Optus, 3) and check elligibility for an authorized unlock. Once the status is confirmed as well as your identity; if you qualify for it, they will need the IMEI to do it.

Make sure you are giving the right IMEI to speed up the process. Some carrier requires you to wait for either for 72 hours, or 48 hours. However, there are carriers who can do it in less than three hours, or faster than that. So the length of the process depends on the carrier's own internal procedure. You need to know this by asking how long does it take, and in what way you will be informed of the activation, as you request for an authorized unlock.

* Be informed of what Apple can and can't do with your request. It is not true that Apple authorizes it first. So don't waste calling Apple Support without asking the carrier first to do it for you. It is also important to know that Apple has nothing to do with the carrier's policy regarding authorized unlock, but is ready to support the customers calling for help when they see in their database that the carrier has already authorized it. Apple can help doing the right activation process in iTunes through a full RESTORE, but this is an easy that you can do on your own.

* Set back the iPhone to factory defaults. Once the activation in the Carrier's system is d one, an email or text message will be sent confirming the authorization. Get ready to do a full "Restore" of your iPhone. In this process, using the latest version of iTunes is recommended. Afterwhich, once the activation message appear, the iPhone is now ready to accommodate SIM cards from other carriers.


In the event that you are unlocking a replacement iPhone issued by Apple, make sure to get the IMEI of the original product, because no matter how the carrier unlocks the iPhone using the current IMEI, it will not activate it. On top of that, the IMEI of the replacment iPhone won't show up in the carrier's system. The unlock process has to start from unclocking the original device, that is why the IMEI of the original unit is needed. The reason being is that in Apple's system, the replacement iPhone inherits all the activation settings of the original product.

Now that you know what kind of hassle a locked iPhone can give, here are some of the things yo need to do upon owning an iPhone:

* Start noting down the IMEI of your products just in case you need it in the future.

* Be clever when ordering online. If you purchase an iPhone second hand through online shopping site, make sure you get the details from the seller. Get the IMEI first and check the status (but mind you it will be hard to get that information from Apple, especially if the product is not under your name). Make sure to let the owner call Apple, and leave a note that the information will be relayed to you. This strict rules is for every customer's safety.

* Always check if the iPhone is original. Make sure to ask from the owner if the iPhone is original or a replacement. You will never know, it might be unlocked today and works perfectly with your preferred network, but later on when you update to the latest version and has to be restored; this will surely go back to being locked. This hassle later will teach you not to trust online iPhone deals.

* Get iPhone from an authorized dealer. This will save you from too much hassle later.

* Settle for an unlocked iPhone. Even if its expensive, it is still worth it.


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