By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2013
The last we heard, things were looking good in the fight to reform out-of-date policies on device unlocking here in the US. Last week, the FCC chairman sent a letter to the CTIA saying he’d like to see changes made before the holidays. But don’t get your hopes up just yet.
According to information recently leaked by WikiLeaks, the White House—despite publicly supporting unlocking—has been secretly negotiating a treaty with other countries and special interest lobbyists that would make this and other processes illegal by international law… Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 15, 2013
There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the consumer’s right to unlock their mobile devices, but very little meaningful action. That changed this week, though, thanks to new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Wheeler sent out a letter to the CTIA (the governing body of the wireless industry) urging it to amend its Consumer Code to include a policy ensuring consumer rights to get their devices unlocked once off contract… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 27, 2013
It looks like we’re 2 for 2 when it comes to unlocked iPhones on Verizon’s network. As you all know, I picked up my Verizon iPhone 5s on launch day, but I haven’t been able to test it out with a GSM sim card until today.
I walked into Walgreens just a few hours ago, and picked up one of T-Mobile’s No Annual Contract kits that contains the SIM card starter kit. Unfortunately the SIM card that came with the kit was one of the old-school normal sized SIM cards (people still use those?), so I had to break out a pair of scissors and cut it down.
After a few minutes of manicuring the SIM card down to a nano size, I was ready to rock and roll. I popped out my Verizon SIM, inserted my T-Mobile SIM, and sure enough, I was on T-Mobile’s “4G” network. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 20, 2013
Far and away, the most compelling upgrade worthy feature on the new iPhone 5s is the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It was a feature that was rumored for many months, and today the general public can finally see what all of the fuss is about.
I’ve been putting the Touch ID sensor, which rests inside of the iPhone 5s’ redesigned Home button, through its paces all morning. I’ve come away extremely impressed — not only with its ease of setup, but with its uncompromising accuracy.
After using it for a while, it’s readily apparent that this is not something that Apple hastily put into the iPhone 5s. This isn’t your father’s fingerprint sensor. Touch ID is a feature that Apple has meticulously meshed into the iPhone to make one transparent and cohesive experience. And it just works. Read More
By Sébastien Page on Sep 10, 2013
This is it. Apple finally unveiled the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c without much surprise to anyone who’s been following the rumors for a while. We’ve already posted about the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c pricing and availability but we thought it’d be worth having a post dedicated to these devices’ prices off-contract.
So far, looking at Apple’s website, only T-Mobile will be offering unlocked and contract-free iPhones from day one, starting September 20th. If history is any indication of the future, chances are other carriers such as AT&T will later offer the devices without a contact, and unlocked for use on other carriers.
But let’s have a look at the prices of contract-free iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 10, 2013
Back in January, the mobile homebrew community suffered a major blow when several DMCA exemptions expired. Among them was a rule that made unlocking cellphones legal, effectively making the practice illegal here in the United States.
But it may not be that way for long. A new bill just landed in the House of Representatives called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, which, among other things, would make the process of unlocking your cellphone unequivocally legal… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 13, 2013
I find it peculiar that regional wireless carriers in the United States have traditionally been way more vocal in their support of Apple and sound business practices than the corporate behemoths like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile, the nation’s top carriers.
A new report out this morning praises some regional carriers for having the guts to back a broader initiative to make cell phone unlocking legal again. Contrast the move to AT&T’s “straightforward” policy of locking your device to its network until you’ve met the terms of your service agreement.
Specifically, rural carriers such as U.S. Cellular and Bluegrass Cellular are now backing these looming bills, likely in a bid to appease to its iPhone customers. Remember, these same guys happily undercut major carriers’ iPhone deals by at least $50… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 8, 2013
There’s been a lot of commotion lately regarding the recent expiration of a DMCA exemption that makes the unlocking of smartphones illegal. The people are talking about it, the government is talking about it, and the word is, it could lead to new legislation.
Today, AT&T issued a statement on the topic, reassuring customers that the DMCA rule has no effect on its unlocking stance. The whole thing comes off as a bit garish, as no one was really worried about that in the first place. But it does offer clarity on their policy… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2013
After the White House last week weighed in on the still illegal cell phone unlocking in the United States, drawing responses from carriers, The Library of Congress and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden announced on Twitter yesterday his proposal of a new bill dubbed the Wireless Device Independence Act to ensure that owners of mobile phones are allowed to bypass copy protection and unlock their devices without being scrutinized as criminals.
Arguing “it’s a freedom issue”, the Senator confirms the bill seeks to amend a section of the United States Code covering the circumvention of copyright protection systems. A few other lawmakers voiced their support for unlocking as well, having announced plans to introduce legislation to make the practice legal again… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 6, 2013
Hot on the heals of this morning’s news that the iPhone 5 would be landing on Strata Networks soon, comes word that the popular handset can also now be used with Solavei, a US-based prepaid provider.
The carrier sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that it has begun offering nano Sim cards, meaning you can now hook up Apple’s latest handset to its $49/month unlimited everything plan… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2013
With the United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski promising last Thursday to look into cell phone unlocking, the federal government is now expressing concern about the recent criminalization of the controversial topic, with the White House finally making known its official stance on cell phone unlocking.
R. David Edelman, a Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy for the White House, Monday published the official response stating the government stands in support of those wishing to unlock their cellphones once they have fulfilled the terms of the contract. Unlocking your iPhone, as you know, basically frees your handset from the clutches of your carrier so you can take it to any wireless company’s network… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Mar 1, 2013
The federal government is expressing concern about the recent criminalization of unlocking cell phones. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday his office will look at the subject to see if and what the agency can do. Earlier this year, an exemption in a digital copyright law expired, prompting outrage from some mobile phone owners.
The head of the FCC said he is “concerned” that a return to the ban on unlocked cell phones could stifle competition or limit innovation. As Cody reported last month, a White House petition calling for again allowing unlocking drew more than 100,000 signatures… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 21, 2013
On January 26th of this year, the DMCA exemption that made unlocking your cell phone legal, expired, subsequently making the popular practice illegal. Now, folks who go about unlocking their handsets risk serious legal repercussions.
Obviously, people weren’t too happy with the way this played out, so an online petition was started to re-legalize unlocking. And as of today, that petition has surpassed 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House must issue a response… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 18, 2013
Do you travel abroad often? Maybe it’s for business, or pleasure, or both. And if so, do you use the same unlocked iPhone everywhere you go? If you answered yes, to either question, you might want to check out the SIMPLcase.
The SIMPLcase is an ultra-slim iPhone 5 case—3mm in the center, 1mm at the edges—with a couple of cool features. In addition to protecting your phone, it can also store extra SIM cards, has a SIM tray eject tool, and more… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 11, 2013
Good news for those of you who have a strong disdain for remembering and entering in passwords. It looks like Apple is again exploring alternatives to the traditional text and number-based authentication method.
An interesting patent application fro the Cupertino company has recently surfaced that depicts an iPhone being unlocked by a user verbally (or using touch-based input) identifying a person, pet or object in a photo… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 7, 2013
Between the rise of third party vendors and the recent change in DMCA policy, the need for iPhone software unlocks is steadily dwindling. But that doesn’t mean that the method is obsolete, as there are still many people out there with older iPhones.
And if you happen to be one of those people, you’ll be happy to know that MuscleNerd has confirmed that Ultrasn0w was quietly updated this week to support iOS 6.1. So if you’re on an eligible device and baseband, you can unlock on the new firmware… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 29, 2013
The big news this week, aside from the new 128GB iPad and the impending jailbreak, has been that unlocking your phone became illegal in the US on Saturday. Law-breakers face a fine of up to $500,000 and/or 5 years in jail.
Well today, the folks over at the EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) commented on the new regulations and have broken down what they really mean for us end-users. There’s both good news and bad news… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 29, 2013
By now, you’ve likely heard of the recent change in DMCA policy that makes the act of unlocking newer cell phones illegal. And even though the EFF clarified some things for us earlier today, it still sounds like we’re getting screwed.
In fact, some folks feel so strongly about the new law that they’ve started a White House petition calling for the Obama administration to either rescind the decision, or create a new bill making unlocking permanently legal… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 28, 2013
Last week, we reported that unlocking your cell phone was going to become illegal in the US on January 26th. And it did. While there are some exceptions to the law— you can still unlock pre-2013 phones—it’s still devastating for cell phone owners.
And it gets worse. According to a new report, the penalty for breaking this new unlocking law is a fine of up to $500,000, 5 years in jail, or both. That’s right, half a million dollars for unlocking your phone. And yes, that includes first-time offenders… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 24, 2013
If you’re interested in taking matters into your own hands when it comes to unlocking you iPhone, then you may want to act fast, or else potentially be at risk of being labeled a law breaker. According to a report by Tech News Daily: On Saturday, January 26th, a DMCA exemption expires that made unlocking a phone on your own terms fully legal.
In all actuality, the exemption was nullified back on October 26 (read the final ruling here), but due to a 90 day grace period of sorts, the final expiration date takes place this weekend. Obviously, unlocking is a big subject here at iDownloadBlog, so we’re interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Bear in mind that it’s not all gloom and doom, though… Read More