Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Re-hacking My iPhone

On our recent trip back to the US, I signed up for an AT&T prepaid phone number (aka Go Phone) so I could have a local cell number when in the states. BTW, these pre-paid plans are amazing, no monthly fees and reasonable per minute rates. Why more people don't use them? I'm not sure of the data rates though, and I wanted to be able to turn off data roaming on my iPhone so I didn't use up all my prepaid funds when simply browsing Google Maps or downloading email in the background. Originally the iPhone was slammed because of this. Folks were getting huge data roaming bills when traveling outside the US. Ironic that I'm upgrading my iPhone because I'm traveling back to the US.

I've been using my iPhone at it's original 1.0.2 firmware level since I hacked it a few months ago. It turns out that 1.0.2 doesn't allow you to turn off data roaming. So I decided it was time to upgrade to 1.1.1 or 1.1.2. I went back to my notes and decided to use iNdependence again. This is a totally sweet program for the Mac. I highly recommend it. The help menu has been greatly expanded as well. (I used Independence 1.3.1.)

Reading through the help documentation I noticed that iPhones upgraded with early versions of AnySIM would be bricked if upgraded to 1.1.1. I couldn't quite remember what version of AnySIM I had used so I proceeded to brick my phone. Lovely. Turns out you need to re-virginize your phone. The directions on the Independence site didn't seem to work and didn't have any hints as to what to do if things went wrong. It turns out you need to make sure you have the right version of the modem software (03.14.08_G) and the matching secpack. Check out these two blog entries for details: revirginize and secpack.

Ultimately I found the instructions at Unlock.no to be the easiest to follow and much simpler than using the special downgrade/upgrade instructions in the Independence help file. Although iNdpendence is still very useful when diagnosing a phone or kicking it out of recovery mode.

Another very useful document is the iPhone hackers flowchart from Hack that Phone. I couldn't get the software from Hack that Phone to work thought the installer.app though. Maybe his server was having problems when I was trying to use it. In particular the add source step on this page didn't work for me. The URL http://hackthatphone.com/1.xml didn't exist when I was trying to add the source. It seems to be working now though.

One last plug for the AT&T Go Phone. You get free mobile to mobile minutes and you only get charged $1 per day on the days you use the phone. Those months in Asia won't cost me a cent. If you're in the Bay Area, check out the AT&T store in Belmont. Ask for Jorge, he's a rare gem of a mobile phone store employee. Most people working at these stores have extremely limited knowledge of their products. (I've found that I'm generally more knowledgeable than they are after perusing the company web site for 10 minutes.) Jorge is the exception.

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