Unlocking iPhone 3GS

May 6, 2011
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#1
Hi there,

About a year ago, my dad dropped and broke his iPhone 3GS. He decided to upgrade to the iPhone 4 but was unaware that his 3GS was still under warranty. Apple gave him the iPhone 4 and a brand new iPhone 3GS. That 3GS has been sitting here since last summer. I'm going to study abroad in England for a year starting in the fall, and I wanted to know if I could unlock (jailbreak? Not sure what the difference is between those two) the 3GS since this phone is just sitting here. However, when I plugged it into the charger it says "Insert a valid SIM with no PIN lock to activate iPhone." Is there a way I can unlock the phone so I can use it on a SIM in Europe? I have no idea what the phone's firmware/info is. It has never been attached to a computer so it has no updates I believe. I got it Aug 2010.
 

Europa

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Dec 12, 2008
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#2
Moved to the iPhone Unlock forum.

It should be on 4.0.2 or earlier so it will be pretty easy to unlock it. Buy or make a SIM card adapter (there are plenty of YouTube tutorials) for the 3GS. You'll need this because the iPhone 4 has a micro SIM and the 3GS has a standard size SIM. Now use your dad's iPhone 4 sim to activate it. No worries, this won't have any effect on his account. Then post back here with the firmware version and we'll give you links for jailbreaking and unlocking. Whatever you do, do NOT update this phone in iTunes - doing so will make it more difficult to unlock.

Jailbreaking removes Apple's restrictions so you have the freedom to do things outside the scope of an application and install apps that are not approved for the App Store. Unlocking allows you to use a SIM card for a carrier other than the one the device is locked to. You have to jailbreak before you can software unlock.
 
May 6, 2011
3
0
1
#3
So make/buy a SIM adapter for the iPhone 4 or 3GS? Sorry I'm a total tech nub and I'm not sure what you mean by that :sneaky:
 

Europa

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Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
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#4
Make one for the 3GS. It will be the same size as a 3GS SIM. The iPhone 4 micro SIM will fit inside the adapter you make and then you'll put that in the 3GS. Your dad can put the SIM back in his phone as soon as you activate it. It only takes a minute to activate. After that, you can jailbreak and unlock. Once you get it unlocked, you can put a prepaid T-Mobile SIM in to test it if you want. They cost $10 at corporate T-Mobile stores.

Another option is to pay O2 to unlock it once you get to England. I think it costs around $28. I'm pretty sure you'd have to sign a contract with them, though.
https://www.o2.co.uk/apps/help/help?qid=1&q1=2&route=unlocking&case=Handset Unlocking Form