Is this "broken" iPhone on eBay just jailbroken? Can I reset this for AT&T

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by tonyp1222, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. tonyp1222 macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2009
    Long story short, I was stuck up for my iPhone 3G shorty after buying it last year - wrong neighborhood at the wrong time - and since there isn't any kind of setup to help AT&T customers with these potential issues my only option for replacing my iPhone was pay $400 (could not get the discount again). I wasn't going to pay that much to replace a phone I purchased for $199.

    Now, I've gone without it for a few months but the phone I replaced it with just broke (it was my father's previous phone that had a swivel mechanism that came apart) and I've kind of been back in the market for at least a first gen iPhone. Considering my current phone is broken for all intents and purposes, I've been looking at iphone listings and came across an interesting one on eBay. It's an 8 gb first gen iphone for pretty much a steal.

    The phone is jailbroken and the guy is having trouble with it so he listed it as "Broken." English obviously isn't his first language, but here is the description:

    I have AT&T, and my question is before I drop over a hundred on this thing, is this repairable? Can I reset the phone (re-lock it), go to AT&T and have them pop in a new sim? Or is this thing irreparably bricked?
  2. jmccullough108 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    Never heard of an error saying "iPhone needs repair". Weird.
  3. tonyp1222 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2009
    The only other thing in the listing is an image, but not of the iTunes screen. This is the attached image.

  4. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    i had an iphone 3g with that message and apple had to replace the phone. i tried to restore it but no luck.
  5. tylertech macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2008
    From what I've read, there might be something wrong with the baseband, which makes since if it's jailbroken.
  6. alchemistmuffin macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2007
    For the phone that was stolen, did you call at&t and tell them that your phone was stolen?

    Because what at&t will do is they will erase and lock your phone completely to a useless brick (yes, I really mean it, jailbreak is not even possible, since the phone is completely shut down, except one component)

    However, GPS will stay on so law enforcement can trace the device. So, the only way for the robbers to prevent it from tracing is to remove the GPS itself by opening the device.
  7. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    That's not quite true. If you call AT&T to report the phone as stolen, they will first disable any calling/texting/other features that may be enabled for it (so that the thief can't use your plan.) They may or may not blacklist the IMEI, which would render the phone useless on their network, but AFAIK they don't share their IMEI blacklist with other networks -- which is the only way that they could make the phone into anything resembling a "useless brick".

    They cannot erase the device remotely. They cannot lock the device remotely. They cannot control the GPS chip, or receive any information on the location of the device other than that obtained through signal triangulation and tower proximity (which is still fairly accurate.)
  8. Geniusdog254 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2008
    They do blacklist the IMEI if it is stolen. And by US law the IMEI blacklist is shared between all networks so the phone is completely unusable in the US and I believe in most international venues as well. You are right that they cannot view the GPS or remotely lock the device but they can make it completely unusable on any network via IMEI blacklisting but if it is a 2G they can change the IMEI.

    Now as to the OP. I have seen this message before once when I was using Ziphone to jailbreak (don't flame Ziphone, it worked it was user error). I accidently hit restore to factory default which undoes an unlock and I panicked and unplugged the phone :eek:. Big mistake, I got that message; "This iPhone cannot make a call. Please return to Apple for service" and I solved it with a simple restore and rejailbreak (with the right button this time ;)). This phone may or may not have a similar issue. It can also mean that the baseband or physical radio is damaged. If it is the last one you are flat out screwed. If it is the first it is simple. If it is the middle, you can probably fix it but it is out of my league anyway.
  9. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    I dunno. AT&T reps that I've spoken with haven't always been willing to blacklist an IMEI. They will disable the account that the phone is on, but some of them either don't know or aren't willing to blacklist the IMEI.

    I didn't recall inter-network blacklist sharing to be federal law. Suppose it's time for me to review the regs again. What legislation specifies that? (I'm not trying to be snarky -- I really do want to review it.)

    I do know for a fact that AT&T doesn't share their IMEI blacklist with other countries (or at least they didn't c. 2007 -- whether that's changed recently I don't know.)
  10. DPA macrumors 65816


    Actually, they can do all of these things. For phones that don't have GPS chips in them, they use signal triangulation and tower proximity but for phones like the iPhone, they can do this. They offer the service so parents can track their kids and things like that.

  11. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008

    No. They can't. There is no "remote control", "remote erase", or "remote disable" functionality in the iPhone. None. It doesn't exist. [Edit: Except in a limited form via ActiveSync, see my follow-up post below.]

    Yes, they can triangulate where a phone is, but only when the transponder's on. If it's off, they can't triangulate where it is. They can't activate the GPS chip remotely, nor can they use it to locate the iPhone (with the possible exception of when you call 911 -- I'm not sure if E911 will use GPS or TDOA to get your location.)
  12. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    I like when people blatantly make stuff up.
  13. DPA macrumors 65816


    Sorry, in all honesty you sound and seem much more knowledgeable than the AT&T rep I spoke to about this. I think she was very wrong, not the first time AT&T has made me look like an idiot here.

    Isn't there a remote wipe/erase on Exchange with iPhone or Mobile Me, so how is this possible with no remote wipe? I think I remember Phil Schiller demonstrating this at the March 2008 keynote (whatever the iPhone SDK one was).

  14. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    No worries. AT&T CSRs are kinda hit and miss. In my experience the orange reps always sucked, whereas the blue reps at least had a basic level of knowledge, but nowadays it seems to be more or less random as to whether you get a rep that knows what they're talking about. This goes double for the iPhone. I can't count how many times I've been told stuff about the iPhone plans that directly contradicts the published info...

    The iPhone does support ActiveSync remote wipe requests, but the phone has to be configured to use a specific Exchange server (as well as have a functioning data connection) for the feature to work.

    The only way AT&T can use this feature to wipe your phone is if you work for AT&T. ;)

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