What's the difference how a phone is unlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by gsusser, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. gsusser macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    jersey city
    #1
    I'm prompted to ask this as I just won a bid on an unlocked 3GS on eBay. Someone pointed out, and I quote, "90%+ of the "unlocked" iPhones sold on eBay are hacked to unlock them or jailbroken, NOT legitimately unlocked."

    Can someone explains how this may effect the phone's performance or anything else?

    Thanks.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    Unlocking doesn't affect performance. It's simply making it so that the phone can be used on a network other than the one it was intended for.

    Some unlocks aren't hacked. That means that someone at some point picked up the phone, called their carrier, asked them to unlock the phone and the carrier complied with the request. The phone was then unlocked.

    Unlocks that are "hacked" are a result of someone paying someone else to submit the IMEI/ESN of the phone to the unlock database. When a phone's IMEI/ESN is in that database the phone is unlocked. The person submitting the unlock to the database is often an employee of a carrier that has access to the database and for a fee puts your IMEI/ESN in. It's not legit, but there are so many numbers being submitted at any given time it's like trying to find a specific water drop in the middle of a raging torrent.

    Apple maintains this unlock database for the carriers. Once an IMEI/ESN is in there, legit or otherwise, it's there.

    Another way around is a Gevey SIM which is an interposer SIM that sits between the phone and the network you want to be on and fools the network into thinking that your phone is allowed to be there.
     
  3. gsusser, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013

    gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    jersey city
    #3
    Thanks. So, should I not even try to upgrade the OS?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #4
    Upgrading has nothing to do with the phone being unlocked. Some unlocks require a jailbreak, but upgrading (AFAIK) won't remove an unlock. Upgrading will remove a jailbreak however.

    Some of the SIM interposers only work with certain versions of iOS. Apple's way of breaking the interposer. Assuming this iPhone is not using one of those it shouldn't affect it.
     
  5. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    jersey city
    #5
    Bottom line is I should be okay with someone using the phone in the Caribbean with a Claro sim?

    I happen to have a Claro sim also (and a legitimately unlocked iphone - AT&T unlocked it at my request). Obviously, Claro does not work in the US, but can I try upgrading the OS with a Claro sim inside the phone? If I don't put any sim in, will I be able to upgrade the OS?

    Sorry, I know very little about this stuff.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #6
    I only know a little more than you do and that's only from what I read on here. I'm on Sprint and Sprint has only just recently had SIM cards so this is all new to me as well.

    I don't see why you could not update the OS, SIM card or no. I have a 3GS at home which has my sister's old AT&T SIM card, but I'm not on AT&T. I've updated it several times with the iPhone showing "No Service" in the status bar.

    Your iPhone is unlocked, I don't see why the SIM you mention wouldn't work. And as far as I understand it, the OS is completely separate. The SIM card just deals with the carrier side of things.

    Maybe someone who knows more can help.
     

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