Dev Team Investigating New Permanent iPhone Unlock Method

By , Mar 11, 2011

Shortly after breaking the bad news about the iPhone 4 carrier unlock for iOS 4.3, iPhone Dev Team member @MuscleNerd announced that they aren’t giving up just yet and are currently investigating a new method to unlock the iPhone 4.

This method, called the “NCK”, is the key generated by Apple if they were to officially unlock your iPhone. Basically, it’s similar to an IMEI unlock code, which permanently unlocks the phone…

MuscleNerd tweeted:

if turns out to be true, it’s unexpected surprise for those w/vuln BB’s. All the data is there for 40-bit brute force

To those patiently ignoring all the chatter from “promises” we never made comes a jewel: NCK unlock code is just 40 bits!

This new method will try to Brute Force the 40-bit NCK unlock code. For those of you unaware, brute forcing is trying all possible ways which will ultimately find the unique unlock code for your device. This “NCK-unlock” method has been known for over a few years now, when infamous iPhone and PS3 hacker, GeoHot started working on unlocking the iPhone 2G. The program GeoHot developed could “crack” this unique 15 digit long key for every device.

For more info on this permanent unlock solution, we’ve posted a FAQ courtesy of @veeence:

Since there is a lot of confusion out there, and since I’m repeating myself all the time (which I do not really like), I made this little write up of questions that are continuously being asked (my personal FAQ). Please not that this is a global explanation. Don’t try to argue with me on specific details.

1. What happened?! I thought the unlock for basebands 02.10.01 & 03.10.01 would be released within the next 2 weeks?

As you know the Dev-Team (MuscleNerd) have been working on the unlock for quite a while now. They were making great progress on the unlock, but they found out that they (accidentally) unlocked “one particular SIM card” instead of the baseband itself. Which means that the unlock would only be an unlock you could use with MuscleNerd’s T-Mobile SIM. So, useless. If the unlock would unlock the baseband instead of “the SIM”, it’d probably be out within 2 weeks (reasonable timeframe which they had hoped). But things turned out to be different. Basically these <2 weeks predictions were a lack of information.

2. What is this NCK-key cracking? How does it work?

The NCK-key is the key generated by Apple if you’d officially unlock you iPhone, and with officially I mean, via your carrier. This “NCK-unlock” method is known over a few years now, actually since geohot started working on unlocking the iPhone 2G. He developed a program that could “crack” this 15 digits long key and unique for every device. Geohots NCKBF program could do around 100,000 keys/second which would produce a hit in many years, or complete a search in 317 years. To get to a point where this is actually doable we would need many orders of magnitude of improvement. Even if you use a PS3 (would we still want to use this??) or special hardware (within 1,000 US$ range) you will only get an improvement of 20-100 times.. which doesn’t help much.

Now, luckily, with the exploits they have now, they can’t unlock your baseband, but they *can* capture more information from the baseband to speed up this cracking process. Since the NORID and CHIPID (unique for every device) are known, you’d apparently only have to check 40 more bits (5 digits). A 40 bits key is theoretically crackable on “home hardware” within a week (24/7). The downside of this approach is that you’ll have to keep your computer turned on, and your iPhone has to be connected. And that is the reason why they never tried it before. Please note that this method is completely theorical and has been NOT tried at all till this moment.

3. Now what? Should I sell my locked iPhone 4?

I’d wait for more information on this “NCK-unlock”. Right now it’s pretty vague what timeframe we’re talking about. If the Dev-Team can pull this method off, it’d be very promising for those waiting for an unlock. If this method turns out to be not doable, I’d consider selling your iPhone 4 and save up for a factory unlocked iPhone 5.

4. Do you think there is every going to be an unlock?

Of course. But that’s unlikely to be any time soon (with soon being <1 month).

5. If the NCK method fails, how long do you think it will take for the Dev-Team to unlock the iPhone 4?

No ETA at all. Could be a few weeks, but it could easily be a few months as well.

We’ll keep you updated when we learn more about this exploit!

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  • http://www.trenpennrepairs.com Jj

    Well. What shall the nay sayers say now?

  • http://www.trenpennrepairs.com Jj

    Well. What shall the nay sayers say now? Let’s the bashing begin!

  • Shrike1978

    Interesting. Surprising that Apple would use (relatively) easily available information for a large part of the NCK rather than hashing the whole thing. They’ve continually shown how lazy they are when it comes to this type of security. No doubt the iPhone6 (or maybe iPhone5.5) will have a better method. Even if this doesn’t pan out, there’s a proof of concept out there, so even the potential usefulness of this will probably close on the next hardware revision.

  • MALdito

    Looks promising. I hope it works.

  • Greg

    My first iPhone=doom.. Lesson learn. Dont trust to much

  • George W. Bush

    Well if you guys read it said that GeoHot bilt Crack to generate a key but it only ran 100,000/sec so in order to crack one iPhone it wil take 357 years. SO the Dev-Team has to bild the same crack to run 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000/sec to get an unlock code which that will take less the 24Hr. Like I said If they have an unlock for T-Mobile then reles that let people use that. Just read the first Q/A and there you have it. I love T-Mobile I will use that why can’t I have that.

    There full of SHIT no one works for free the need to make money some how, how do they live. Stop saying the do it for free F*** you they don’t I wish they charred us for an unlock this way they would have it ready on every iOS update.

    F***ing SHMUKS.

    P.S. Geohot is a drug addict stop sporting that retard he does not do noting for the iPhone all he does all day is play with Play Stations and ask you retards for money. He should ask the Play Station community for money not us.

    George W. Bush Im so telling my dad and Ill have the government UNLOCKSEFECAIT IT.

    “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him, because he has the iPhone 4 unlock.” George W. Bush

    • Kickstar13

      If you had read MuscleNerd’s tweets, you would have known that the exploit he found doesn’t work for all T-Mobile SIMs. He stated that it behaved differently on both of his T-Mobile SIM cards.

      Source: https://twitter.com/MuscleNerd/status/45732759246864384

      • Igeek

        Like I said!!! I’ll pay for a sim that unlocks a iPhone 4… And if anyone can tell me a factory unlock way I’ll pay for that too…

    • Geek4ev

      Lol why so mad…. Just live life and be patient.. What couple more weeks gonna hurt….. If you don’t like it i would like to see you try…

    • strahinja

      who’s the moron?

    • Loyd

      Damn W, you so ignorant, just like the real W. Remember limera1n, or all the other jb’s courtesy of Mr Hotz? He’s done a bunch for us jb’ers & we truly appreciate his & the dev teams efforts.
      Stop bashing these peeps, you punk a$& bi*#!

    • Obama

      ur a retard and your spelling sucks big time..

  • Ai

    Do you mean all iphone 5 will be automatically factory unlocked?

    • Kickstar13

      No. What veeence meant, was to purchase a factory unlocked one off eBay or another trust-worthy site.

  • George W. Bush

    I wanna buy an unlock for T-Mobile I’ll pay $50 why cant I have that. I bet George W. Bush can unlock the iPhone 4 faster then the SHMUK TEAM.

  • http://gmail Tbv

    I doubt they would ever succeed with the permanent unlock. They have been promising us lies since December. I no longer trust the DEV team. Luckily I am with AT&T. Just feel bad for all those relying on the DEV team.

    • Fernan

      You know its not that easy. Apple designed it to be that so that it would not be easily be unlock by anyone and only them. remember that apple is making a profit out of it so dont blame the dev team because they are doing their best and doing it for free. you should thank them for what are they doing.

  • Sk3gs

    Are there any updates on the baseband downgrading tool? im on 3gs, and really want some news about a 3gs unlock (my baseband is 05.02.14), and yes I know about the 06.15.. method, but i don`t think it is worth the risk.

  • djr

    nothing’s going to work no disrespect to any one devteam MuscleNerd or geohotz but this time apple has really given them hard time .my iphone 4 got locked in September with the release of ios 4.1 since then two more ios has been released but there has been no update on unlock. only fake promises which were broken time and then in September they told mid November unlock will come then they said with the release of ios 4.2.1 then on xmax then on 31.12.10 then we kept waiting on 16 Jan confirmed by sharif hashim (SURE!!!),then they said on valentines day they will surprise us then they maid official statement after ios 4.2.5 or 4.3 which ever is last out its march 2011 and its been seven months now they still asking for few weeks to few months ,I don’t think they can unlock iphone 4

    • http://gmail Tbv

      The only thing we can rely on the DEV team are Jailbreaks(maybe). I do not believe them anymore on the unlock situation. Those of you who have the iPhone 4 and are waiting for unlocks, I say sell them while you can still get decent money for them. Once the iPhone 5 comes out, you will see the price of the iPhone 4 drop like a rock, especially with NO UNLOCK.
      The DEV team have been making too many empty promises about unlocks in the last few months. You will be very disappointed if you continue to listen to their empty promises. This permanent unlock junk is like the POT OF GOLD at the end of the rainbow. WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!

      • Dev_team_shit

        Dev_team is asshole!!!! Dont giv us a word if u cant keep it!

  • iUrAs

    Just buy a factory unlock iPhone or switch to Android. Vote with your wallet. Apple will think twice to lock an iPhone if they were in Blackberry’s financial position.

  • agentk98

    Not the dev team’s fault they can’t beat it this time around. Its a cat and mouse game and sometimes the other side wins. This time, apple proved a little hard to beat.
    We should should still be thankful a group of people still try. If they don’t do it for i4, then maybe they’ll get iOS5 or i5.
    That being said, im just surprised how few hackers are out there willin and able to do this for the community. Free or not. I hope someone else steps up to the plate and pick up where the dev team are stuck.

    • Adam

      Good point, are these guys really the only ones who can do this?
      I understand it must be insanely difficult but still…

  • Burge

    Next time get a iPhone on a carrier that has the iPhone or get a factory unlocked iPhone ..no one made you get the iPhone locked on a carrier that you don’t want it on…the Dev team do this to try and help you use the iPhone on the carrier you want it on ..

  • JB+Unlock

    Fuck them all dumb asses, my dad just found an i4 unlock in few hours… I guess he’s better than all you dev team ppl. He’ll be posting it on his site soon, so go on it and learn from the man who got balls! :D

    • Igeek

      Give me the unlock.. I’ll pay.. A sim unlock not a CDMA unlock lol

    • Igeek

      Give me the unlock.. I’ll pay. A sim unlock not a CDMA unlock lol

    • benny

      whaf is his web cite address

    • ami

      which site.. ?? let me know also >>

  • Alex

    Again same post…

  • http://www.newitworld.com Apple

    Thanks for sharing info about unlock method

  • http://www.twitter.com/MrMBerman MrMBerman

    And the moral of the story is don’t buy a phone that does not work on your preferred choice of network. Simples.

  • Gautam

    waited more than 2 months still unlock nt here… its too much nw …. gettin bored with cats n mouse race…. hacker enable apple disables…..shifting to android nw.. bye bye apple.. no more following issue…(1) Bluetooth transfer (Apple Please grow up nw ur foolin ur customers) (2) No flash support…(3) for basic thing i need to download apps ( for choosing my ringtone) and list just go on n on……….. u have b horse if u use apple (horse does nt see here n there just straight)……n the main think apple dosent care abt all…rich people just want ways to spend their money n apple is here to support them….

  • benny

    why cant the dev team put out what ever information and code they have so other people can work on an unlock with them. May be its just a matter of seeing it through other eyes. They need to stop being so secriteive and give other a shoot at it. Beside there still Geohot out there who has limesn0w waiting for release maybe it will release soon.

  • wako

    my stepdad works for bell canada…hes able to unlock my iphone in 1 minute!

    • TLLS

      Is your dad interested in unlocking 2 more Bell Canada 3GS phones?

    • Haffa

      Dude find out if he can unlock Bell Canada iphone4 with IMEI 012756005269819? If so, pls mail further details to haffa.paul@gmail.com

    • Nick

      email me at nickdifilippo@gmail.com I got a few to unlock :)

  • sly

    as far as i know, iphones from Canada are UNLOCKED, though some carriers are able to lock them

    • TLLS

      Is your dad interested in unlocking 2 more Canadian bell 3GS phones?

  • kraftwiz

    Hey, how about pooling in money and having one of those software companies in India build an unlock solution ? I hear Indian software engineers are the best !

  • vini

    I would like to add to the above post, i hope people have brains here and they can understand what is going on.

    The scenario : Dev team tell no unlock, we get disappointed, start abusing them, start putting on blogs and forum what we feel and many of us who can’t wait anymore start thinking to sell our unlocked iphones on ebay or craiglist.

    Result of this : ebay and craiglist is full of these ads of the iphone 4 on sale etc etc. Naturally the price of iphone 4 on ebay and craiglist will be much much cheaper than what people can get out from the iphone stores and AT&T outlets (in USA). The sales of brand new iphone 4 drops drastically and apple is hit. (yippeeeeee, i am loving it)

    Step taken by Apple and AT&T : Instruct the so called “GREAT” Dev team (according to all those big time a**holes), “that guys this is not helping us, we have not payed YOU (dev team) for this.
    Give some false hope to the people (waiting for the unlock) that they are working very hard for the unlock (bull shit) and will come out within 2 weeks time.” So that all those people stop selling their iphones in the market and the sales of Apple improves.

    Guys common grow up use your brains (understand the economics of this big game going on) and don’t wait for these buggers to help you. Just sell off your bloody paperweight or use it as an ipod (if you are willing to) because these people are not going to release any unlock for sure (because they use this word “sure” to make a fool out of all of us.

    Thanks

  • ami

    @ Vini : I totally agree. I even feel that Apple.. have given them big money to just play with emotions here.. They are geeks and they did not have ne idea about “NCK” . Now they just tryin to give a new picture to whole story and tryin to delay more.. rather they will not be givin ne unlock. That is for sure. So better.. let us work ourselves .
    ITS not NCK .. FCUK …

  • vini

    Atleast i found 1 person with brains ;) thanks

  • Lemmings Hotline

    Direct your indignation to apple. If they want to sell you a phone, so sell a phone. otherwise go fish

  • Harold

    @ Vini @ Ami

    You guys got it totally wrong ! Sorry.

  • keepintouch

    all talks. no results. devteam defeated by apple. no such thing as permanent unlock. if devteam cant unlock bb 2.10.04, how can they unlock i4 permanently.. devteam just keeping the false hope for the i4 unlock user…. THATS ALL TALK.

  • ami

    @ Harold : State how are we wrong !!!

  • Mike Australia

    two words: Gevey Sim

    • Igeek

      Do you have to keep the gevey sim in inorder to keep the unlock? Or cab u remove it

  • Mo

    So I seen a Loy of back and forth about someone found unlock and he will share but did not see any website in the responses can u send it if u have it

  • http://m Jack Bauer

    If you wish to cuss and complain at the “DEV” team go for it, neverminding the two most important ideas here. First if your iPhone is locked I’m sorry but you had to know nothing is forever. Don’t barrate a group of indivuals on a decision YOU made not them. You chose to ignore what might happen to the software/baseband. Secondly, do you think these guys are well rewarded for their efforts, no. I don’t mean just the DEV team I mean all the JB programmers, whom don’t do this as a job. It’s not a way of life. Before I go off to save the world, quit expecting other people to fix your problems for you. This is why there are so many lazy uncaring people in this world….
    Be apart of the solution not the problem
    Jack

  • hank

    if u want to sell ur iphone4, i recommend u do it asap,… price went down so bad,… bought 32g for $475 used, thought it was cheap….yesterday i cant even sell it for $350, had to let it go for $330,even though i havent got the chance to use that phone yet, the guy who i sold it to said ” i been buying-selling iphone for 2years, but this iphone4 price went down the fastest one, maybe coz of the unlock issue”

    looks like lots of people impatient waited for these unlock

  • Nic

    I paid $580 for my iphone 4. It belongs to me. I want AT&T to unlock it so I can use it on a network of my choice. Has anyone tried a law suit against AT&T?

    This has got to be the biggest scam going at the moment.

  • http://www.youriphoneunlock.com Vic

    Hi Guys,

    We have just launched a website (www.youriphoneunlock.com) where you unlock permanently your iphone. I have listed down some networks on which we can unlock iphones. its a permanent unlock solution and you can upgrade to latest firmwares without loosing your unlock.
    AUSTRALIA:

    Vodafone

    Optus

    Virgin

    Telstra

    BRASIL:

    Vivo

    DENMARK:

    3 Hutchison

    Telenor

    Telia

    FRANCE:

    Orange

    IRLAND:

    O2

    NETHERLANDS:

    T-mobile

    POLAND:

    Orange

    ROMANIA:

    Vodafone

    SPAIN:

    Movistar

    UNITED KINGDOM:

    O2

    Orange

    T-mobile

    Vodafone

    Tesco

    VIETNAM:

    Viettel

  • http://twitter.com/ivancaroni ivan caroni

    I am wondering if, any, unlock for iPhone 4S exists, or any news when it might be available, either paid or public release. Thanks.