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Apple’s Official iPhone 3G Unlock

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 , Posted by Author at Wednesday, February 10, 2010

While most iPhone users are aware of unofficial unlock methods, you may be surprised to discover that it’s possible to legally unlock your device.

 The above image is the not-often-seen official unlock notification, as displayed in iTunes. The dialogue succinctly confirms that the user’s iPhone, in this case a 3G, has been unlocked and can now be used on any carrier. Note the Apple logo at the top left — this is a result of an official unlock sanctioned by Apple.

Read on to find out how an iPhone 3G can be legally unlocked.

Some of the iPhone distributors are happy to lend a helping hand in unlocking your old iPhone 3G. When the 3G was released last year, customers had to sign up for a two-year contract. When upgrading to the iPhone 3GS, those same customers are given the option to pay off the remainder of their original 3G contract. Paying off the contract, and thus completing the two years prematurely, entitles the customer to have their iPhone 3G unlocked.
The assistants at the iPhone distributors store make a note of your IMEI number and then pass it onto their boss — after that there’s a special piece of software that only their boss is authorized to use. This mystical application submits the IMEI to Apple, which in turn authorizes the device for unlocking.

And the next time you sync your iPhone 3G with iTunes, it would be unlocked. Just connect the iPhone 3G to iTunes and you will receive a new carrier settings update. After downloading and installing the update, Apple’s official iPhone unlock screen appeared.

Going the legit route is a much more painless process than using a proxy SIM or the Dev Team’s unofficial unlock. Also worth noting is that, unlike some of the illicit approaches, this unlock is permanent; you will be able to keep updating the iPhone’s OS without losing the ability to use any carrier SIM in the device.

It is surprisingly quick, easy and free unlock, although I’d be very interested to find out if any other iPhone 3G users around the world have had similar success in unlocking their iPhones.

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