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In the world of Apple‘s mobile devices, non-practitioners often confuse jailbreaking and unlocking. With the former, you are removing Apple’s built-in restrictions from your iOS gadget while with the latter — and this is true of all mobile devices, really — you are freeing up your tech to be used with wireless service providers that don’t sell or support it.
Unlocking tends to be a little bit trickier than jailbreaking, for obvious reasons. It usually involves some sort of software hack, using a PC/Mac-side application like Ultrasn0w. Unlockers now have a new option available to them however, a SIM card hack called Gevey that unlocks iPhone 4 devices running anything up to and including the latest iOS 4.3 update.
The $70 hack (plus tax/shipping) offers a hardware-based unlock (as opposed to Ultrasn0w’s software-based hack) and is available through applenberry (via Gadgets DNA). You simply place the SIM-like card into your iPhone’s SIM tray alongside your actual SIM card and the Gevey handles the rest. It sounds magically delicious if you fancy an iPhone unlock, though there are some caveats you might want to be aware of before ponying up the dollars.
One caveat, really: the thing is a pain to use. To make the Gevey work its unlock juju you have to turn on your phone and cycle in and out of Airplane Mode a few times. Eventually you get what looks like an incoming call; accept that and you’re sent straight back to your phone’s settings page. Once that’s finished, the unlock should work… unless your phone runs out of batteries or needs to be reset, in which case you need to repeat the process all over again.
So let’s review: software-based unlocks are free, and even though they require some diligence and know-how on the user’s side, they have proven to be reasonably reliable (as much as this sort of thing can be). Gevey costs quite a bit more than “free,” and it requires you to repeat the unlocking process with some regularity. Hardly an ideal alternative, though it does offer an iOS 4.3 unlock, which is something that software-based solutions haven’t yet tackled. You can bet that they will in time, but if you absolutely have to unlock your newly updated iPhone 4 right now, you’ll have to be willing to pay for it.