Review: Touch ID fingerprint sensor

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


The price of an unlocked iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c

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


New bill introduced that legalizes cellphone unlocking and 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


Regional carriers voice support for cell phone unlocking

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


AT&T issues statement on unlocking policy

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


Legislation to legalize cell phone unlocking looms

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


US prepaid carrier Solavei now selling iPhone 5-friendly nano SIMs

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


The White House responds: cell phone unlocking should be legalized

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


FCC questions ban on unlocking cell phones

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


Petition to legalize cell phone unlocking will get response from White House

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


This SIM card-friendly iPhone case is perfect for travelers

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


Patent shows Apple working on image-based password alternative

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


Ultrasn0w updated for iOS 6.1

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


The EFF clarifies legality of jailbreaking and unlocking in the US

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


White House petition goes up to make unlocking phones legal again

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


Unlocking your phone could cost you up to $500,000

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


Unlocking a cell phone in the US to become “illegal” this weekend

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


Apple now selling unlocked iPhone 5 models in the US

By Cody Lee on Nov 29, 2012

Great news for folks in the US who have been waiting for Apple to start selling unlocked versions of its latest handset. As we were expecting, the company has begun selling contract-free, unlocked GSM models of the iPhone 5 tonight in both its retail stores and online… Read More


Claimed unlocked iPhone 5 prices show up on Apple’s website

By Cody Lee on Nov 5, 2012

While Apple offers unlocked iPhone 5s in Canada and other countries, it has yet to give buyers inside the US that option. So unless you go through a third party vendor, you can’t get an unlocked iPhone 5 here in the States.

That could be changing in the near future though. Purported prices for unlocked versions of the new handset have been discovered hidden on Apple’s US website, which could mean that they’re preparing to roll them out… Read More


How to tell if your iPhone is factory unlocked

By Sébastien Page on Oct 31, 2012

We just retired my wife’s iPhone 4 as she finally upgraded to the iPhone 5. After making sure she had backed up every picture of our beautiful daughter, I got in touch with AT&T so they can unlock the phone. As we explained before, the AT&T unlocking process is fairly simple, and before I got off the phone, the Customer Service Rep I was talking to notified me that the phone had been unlocked. Talk about being fast!

Before listing the phone for sale on Craigslist, I wiped it off clean by performing a restore. During that time, I went to Starbucks for my daily dose of overpriced caffeine, and when I came back, my wife’s iPhone was as good as new. I had missed something though. I hadn’t seen the screen telling you that your iPhone has been unlocked, which made me doubt: is this iPhone really factory unlocked? Besides putting a SIM from a different carrier into it, how can you tell the iPhone has been factory unlocked for sure? Read More