How to Unlock Your GSM iPhone 4S, No Jailbreak Required [Updated]

By , Nov 17, 2011

Early GSM iPhone 4S adopters may be happy to hear that Twitter user xoicos has found a way to unlock the new handset using a bug in iOS 5. Of course, we know that Apple sells unlocked phones outright, but they are considerably more expensive.

Unlocking a device means that you are be able to activate it on other wireless carriers outside of the one you purchased the phone on. Initially, unlocking the iPhone required complexed baseband tweaking, but now it could be as easy as following these steps…

OS X Daily claims that several users have reported success with this unlock method, but it does warn readers to follow the guide at their own risk. We haven’t been able to confirm its safety or success either, so we are going to issue the same warning.

This tutorial describes how to unlock an AT&T iPhone 4S to work on T-Mobile’s network, so results with other carriers may vary. You’ll need a GSM iPhone 4S, and both an AT&T and T-Mobile SIM card (or one from a compatible GSM carrier).

Step 1. Insert your AT&T SIM card. Dial 611 for customer service, and once it starts ringing, hang up.

 Step 2. Turn on your iPhone’s Airplane mode, take out the AT&T SIM card, and replace it with a T-Mobile SIM.

 Step 3. Make sure Wi-Fi is off, and clear any remembered networks to ensure it doesn’t auto-connect later.

 Step 4. Turn off Airplane mode. The handset will search for a network, and the Activation Required screen will popup.

 Step 5. Once you notice the device has found an EDGE network (E symbol), wait about 30 seconds and turn off the phone.

 Step 6. Power the handset back on, and you should see the same Activation Required screen.

 Step 7. Once you notice you have 1 bar of signal, tap on the Use Cellular Connection option. Then eject the SIM card.

 Step 8. The Activation Required screen should pop up again. Re-insert the T-Mobile SIM card, and you should be unlocked.”

It’s worth noting that some users had to repeat this process multiple times for it to work. We’ll keep you updated on our findings once we can test this out for ourselves.

Did this guide work for you?

Update: This hack seems to only create a temporary unlock. Here’s ic0edx‘s comment: “Just to clear things up for everyone. This is a temporary unlock, once the carrier refreshes the TMSI the iPhone 4S will lock back up again.”

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  • http://twitter.com/ic0dex ic0edx

    It works I did it. I’ll post a YouTube video soon.

    • http://twitter.com/Susiiee16 susiiee

      hey can you let me know when you do the youtube viedo thanks

    • Anonymous

      Do you get any problem on reboot?

      • http://www.bloise.co.uk Frankie Bloise

        second to this, want to know if this is temporary or persistent?

    • http://twitter.com/ic0dex ic0edx

      Just to clear things up for everyone. This is a temporary unlock, once the carrier refreshes the TMSI the iPhone 4S will lock back up again. The carrier can prefor the task al will!

      @ic0dex the TMSI refresh is a normal, regular action on the network (it’s actually intended to protect you)

  • Anonymous

    Does this work for iPhone 4 on iOS 5?

  • http://www.danieoscaleb.com Caleb Daniels

    Of course it works, I wouldn’t have announced it otherwise.

    • http://twitter.com/Zayd_Zaytuun Zayd Zaytuun

      It’s just one of those too good to be true situations. Needs verification ;) nothing personal.

  • NgocN

    would it work for iPhone4 on IOS 5.0 BB 4.11.08?

  • Anonymous

    Is this a permanent unlock or just until the next reboot? In any case, it would probably be lost when the firmware is reflashed?

  • Anonymous

    did anyone tried this with other sim card (no t-mobile)?

  • Anonymous

    Hello

    You think that this can work with another carriers ?
    I’m portuguese and use a portuguese carrier but my iphone 3GS was bought in Switzerland so i need the jailbreak to unlock my phone.
    Thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Bailey/100001793622814 James Bailey

      No only the iPhone 4s do not upgrade your 3GS or u will lose your unlock unless you preserve your baseband

  • http://twitter.com/jedoonat Tanoodej Anutarakul

    I’m impressed with the 1st person that had tried this out. How did he even start?! Pretty cool though, but isn’t AT&T and Tmobile merging soon though?

  • http://twitter.com/Susiiee16 susiiee

    Does it work with iPhone 4 I have iOS 5 BB 4.10.01 currently with Gevey sim, and also is it a permanent unlock ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Bailey/100001793622814 James Bailey

      No and no

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_47UYLKZN4EGSPWYKDOLPUTSJVE ass008

    does it work outside US?

    • Anonymous

      I have the same question.
      And does it work on 3Gs with 5.0.1 ?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Bailey/100001793622814 James Bailey

        no 4s only

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_47UYLKZN4EGSPWYKDOLPUTSJVE ass008

        how about users outside US

  • Anonymous

    do you need to have an actived tmobile line for it to work? because i have a sim card but no line…

  • Anonymous

    I think this method is not for everybody.
    And nobody willing to try this with their phone.

    • Lupius

      Why not? You don’t lose anything if you try and fail.

  • http://twitter.com/OMFGitsJerl √å¥ ®¥åñ

    Works for iPhone 4 and 4S
    …but you will need an active AT&T sim card to begin with

  • http://www.facebook.com/keynguyenelac Key Nguyen

    I have to turn on Cellular data before beginning or not?

  • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

    Did you post the YouTube vid?

  • http://twitter.com/Zayd_Zaytuun Zayd Zaytuun

    My only concern is that it “takes about twenty times” to work. What is the changing factor that makes it work the twentieth time as opposed to the first time or the fifteenth time for that matter?

    In any case, if this works, God send for those of us stuck on iPad baseband with no GPS :(

    Report your results people, this is an experiment! You should film every trial until you get an unlock (or don’t get one lol)

  • Anonymous

    Those steps seem harmless, why take the warning so seriously

  • http://www.facebook.com/nir.haddad1 Nir Haddad

    hi can i do it if i have iphone 4S and i dont have the AT&T sim?….only israel cerrier sim? my cus get it for me from florida…and he dident gave me the sim wuth it???

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595204020 Amit Margalit

      לא נראלי הכל עניין של הפעלת המכשיר של AT&T ולדוגמאות באורג זה לא יעבוד

  • http://twitter.com/ic0dex ic0edx

    Just to clear things up for everyone. This is a temporary unlock, once the carrier refreshes the TMSI the iPhone 4S will lock back up again. The carrier can prefor the task al will!

    @ic0dex the TMSI refresh is a normal, regular action on the network (it’s actually intended to protect you).

    • http://www.bloise.co.uk Frankie Bloise

      and your words are based on what?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Bailey/100001793622814 James Bailey

        His words are based on the fact that he knows what he is talking and if u don’t know who he is you have not been doing this long enough to ask that.

      • http://www.bloise.co.uk Frankie Bloise

        stfu, no links or proof to support what he is saying is like the same rubbish politicians talk nowadays.

      • http://twitter.com/ic0dex ic0edx

        My words don’t have to be based on anything. If I did not know what I was talking about I wouldn’t post information out of my ass. I don’t need anyone to believe me, but once the network is refreshed everyone that used this unlock method will lose the unlock.

        Here is more information so you can understand what TMSI is and what it does;

        “The Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI) is the identity that is most commonly sent between the mobile and the network. TMSI is randomly assigned by the VLR to every mobile in the area, the moment it is switched on. The number is local to a location area, and so it has to be updated each time the mobile moves to a new geographical area.

        The network can also change the TMSI of the mobile at any time. And it normally does so, in order to avoid the subscriber from being identified, and tracked by eavesdroppers on the radio interface. This makes it difficult to trace which mobile is which, except briefly, when the mobile is just switched on, or when the data in the mobile becomes invalid for one reason or another. At that point, the global “international mobile subscriber identity” (IMSI) must be sent to the network. The IMSI is sent as rarely as possible, to avoid it being identified and tracked.

        A key use of the TMSI is in paging a mobile. “Paging” is the one-to-one communication between the mobile and the base station. The most important use of broadcast information is to set up channels for “paging”. Every cellular system has a broadcast mechanism to distribute such information to a plurality of mobiles.

        Size of TMSI is 4 octet with full hex digits and can’t be all 1 because the SIM uses 4 octets with all bits equal to 1 to indicate that no valid TMSI is available.”

      • http://www.bloise.co.uk Frankie Bloise

        Makes more sense now, thanks for the correction

  • http://twitter.com/fillofit Donald

    if this is work anyhow, its a big progress to unlock iphone! bet things will be soon further improved….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NN3YGV3TD6VWUPR43GUNQOXNSM muzica_family

    let’s do that… every body calling costumer service 20 times… and hanging up… hopefully they will do something for us…. will give us the unlock.. :D:D:D:
    just 50 people per day trying 20 times = 1000 calls for customer service… they will get upset… ;(

  • http://twitter.com/AhhEtssMhee Tarek Ab ツ

    i have an iPhone 4, iOS 4.3.5 Using GeveySim. & i have AT&T SIM, I’m in lebanon anyway, does it work here ??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CEHMB2Z6TC55H23CT2XXHISKTI WERNER C

    I think there is some way for hackers to verify this using the airplane mode, gevey sim also uses the airplane mode to trigger or by-pass some kind of code in the phone system when they dial 112 then hang up. So why not use this pattern to have or make a permanent unlock solution? Dialing to customer service then hanging up is almost the same method when using gevey. It is possible that by dialing some number or toggling the airplane mode triggers some code to unlock the iphone.

  • http://twitter.com/fillofit Donald

    i got a problem after i tried one time fail.. Now, once i put the new carrier sim into the phone, the apple no longer splash now and just showed “no sim”. there is no “activation required” now, it seems like the phone got some “memory” toward this sim…. what can i do?

  • kheang chea

    does it need to do like this everytime?

  • Neil Lim

    Good news but should have waited until 5.0.2 is released!! Because 5.0.1 did not fix the battery issue, 5.0.2 is in the works to fix what 5.0.1 didn’t and now u can be sure apple will attemp to patch it !!!!! Again we should wait until is a know fact the battery issue IS fixed and let everybody updated and the release this info so no hard work goes to waste……

  • http://www.facebook.com/pornmonkey Andy Frankland-davies

    Hi – how can I access the vid? do I need a youtube account? Is there any other link you can use otherwise? thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/mrmberman Marc

      Sorry, looks like the video has been made private.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pornmonkey Andy Frankland-davies

    Can I call 611 from the UK? Will a PAYG sim make a roaming call? If so I’ll give this a go. Bloody Apple and AT&T are pissing me off!

  • Anonymous

    hello everyone! i have the same problem with my iphone 4s. My cousin sent it to me from USA to Georgia and the phone works only on AT&T. If I try this procedure will it work in Georgia because i’ve tried to replacing Georgian simcard and it didn’t work. Can somebody please give me an advice.
    Thnak you.:)