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Unlocking, activating and jailbreaking iPhone 3GS

This tutorial will help you do the following to your iPhone (click on item for more details):

This tutorial assumes you are on a PC with Windows XP or Windows Vista. After you are done you can of course use your iPhone with any PC or Mac.

Note: You may also follow this tutorial if you have an iPhone with old firmware, and want to upgrade to latest version (3.0). Even if you already upgraded by mistake, and your phone is not usable, following this tutorial will in most cases fix it. If not, just contact us and we'll help you.

The tutorial was last updated July 27th, 2009: iPhone 3GS v3.0 support added.

Preparation and software downloads

Before you start, synchronize the iPhone with iTunes in order to back up your data. You should also remove any SIM-card from the iPhone.

You'll need to download two files - the PC software, and the iPhone software:

  1. Go to http://blog.iphone-dev.org/ to download the software that will be demonstrated in this tutorial.
  2. Click here to download the latest iPhone 3GS firmware file (3.0) - 298MB.
    Save this file as an .ipsw file to the same folder as above (default: C:\UnlockShop\) or any other location you'll remember. You should not open it as an archive and extract files from it.

You will also need to have iTunes 8.2 or higher installed. If you do not already have that, you can download iTunes here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ - You can check your version by clicking Help → About iTunes. Version number is shown on the first line that scrolls upwards.

Restoring/Upgrading Your iPhone 3GS to Version 3.0

This step may be skipped if you are sure you already have version 3.0 installed on your phone, but we recommend to do it anyway to ensure that your phone is in a completely fresh state.

Turn off your phone by holding the power button for 5 seconds, and then drag the slider to power it off. Disconnect the cable if it's connected (or remove it from the dock). Start up iTunes.

Hold down the Home button on the phone while connecting the USB-cable. Keep holding the button, and after a few seconds the phone will show a picture of a cable and the iTunes icon.

When the PC detects the phone, iTunes will show a message telling you that the phone needs to be restored:

restore mode

Click OK, and then hold down the SHIFT-key on your keyboard while clicking the "Restore" button:

restoring iphone firmware manually

A file dialog will show, letting you pick a firmware file. You need to select the iPhone firmware file (.ipsw) you downloaded in the previous step. Browse to the path you downloaded the file to and double-click on the firmware file (filename should be iPhone2,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw):

picking iphone restore file manually

The restore process will now start. It will take around 10 minutes to complete. If you get an error message, please make note of the error, and contact us.

When the restore is complete, your iPhone should show a picture of a cable and the iTunes icon, but now with a slider that says "Slide for emergency" in various languages (as pictured below). Exit iTunes now (just ignore any errors it may give you).

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iPhone is not activated

Activate iPhone 3GS Using Redsn0w

Open the Redsn0w.exe application you downloaded earlier and make sure your iPhone is still connected to the PC.

Note: If you get the error "The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135)", you need to install .NET Framework 2.0 first.

1: When the application starts, click the Browse button and navigate to the firmware file like you did previously. Again, the filename should be exactly iPhone2,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw. When selected, the text Processing firmware... will appear, before it says IPSW successfully identified. Click Next:

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2: On this screen you can choose to install Cydia and Icy, which are two alternatives to Apple's App Store (Click here for more information about Cydia). Make sure you only select Cydia and then click Next.

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4: Now you can just follow the instructions on the screen. Before you click the next button, hold your iPhone in your hand, and make sure the other hand is free. And remember that the Home button is the round one on the front, and the Power button is the one on the top of the phone. Now you can click the Next button:

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5: Again follow the instructions, and try to avoid getting stressed. If you are successful, you'll see things starting to appear on your phone and in the application (right screenshot below):

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Note: If you get an error message saying "No device detected.", refer to the Troubleshooting section.

6: Now your phone firmware is getting modified. This will take about 5 minutes. When it's done it will reboot the phone and the Slide for emergency screen is gone and you can start using the features on the phone. But the SIM-lock is still active, meaning that no SIM-cards will work.

Unlock the SIM-lock using Ultrasn0w

This part will describe how you can install the software package called Ultrasn0w, which will bypass the SIM-lock so that you can use any SIM-card you like. You must be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order to install ultrasn0w.

See below for screenshots labeled with numbers corresponding to the list items.

  1. Open the Cydia application, available on the second page of icons.
  2. Since it's the first time you are starting the application, it will take a minute to prepare, and you must start the application again after it's done.
  3. The next time you start it, it will prompt you to select user type - select User (Graphical Only)
  4. Next you will be prompted about updates - select Ignore (Temporary)
  5. On the main screen, tap on Manage on the bottom
  6. Tap on Sources
  7. A list of sources is shown - tap on edit in the upper right corner, and then tap Add at left.
  8. In the dialog, enter http://repo666.ultrasn0w.com - NOTE: That's the number zero, not the letter o, in "ultrasn0w".
  9. After it refreshes sources, tap on Return to Cydia, and then the Done button in the upper right corner.
  10. Now tap the repo666.ultrasn0w.com source.
  11. Tap on ultrasn0w
  12. Tap Install in the upper right corner, and then tap Confirm
  13. When it's complete, you can just press the Home button on the phone to exit Cydia.
  14. Now you must restart the phone. Hold down the power button (on top) for 5 seconds, and then slide to turn it off.
  15. Insert any SIM-card you like, and then turn it on again. Your phone is unlocked!

VERY IMPORTANT: The phone is not permanently unlocked. If you restore or upgrade your firmware later, the phone will get locked again. It's very important that you do not upgrade to any newer version, before you are sure that it's possible to unlock that version. So click No if iTunes asks you to upgrade your phone, and log in to our customer area, where you we will post info every time a new version is released by Apple.

Screenshots of ultrasn0w Install Procedure:

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Troubleshooting and Frequently Asked Questions

Problem entering DFU-mode

If you get an error message saying "No device detected. You probably ...", just click OK to get returned to the previous page and try the following method of entering DFU-mode instead:

  1. Power on the phone and connect the cable.
  2. Click next, and ignore the instructions you are given. Instead hold down both the home button and the power buttons until the phone screen turns black.
  3. Wait about 2 seconds after the screen turned black (or when you hear the USB disconnected sound) before you release the power button - but keep holding the Home button.
  4. After about 15 seconds, you should hear the USB connected sound in Windows, and the application will detect your phone.

You don't get any service when inserting your SIM-card

Try to disable 3G in Settings → General → Network

Problem with "Different SIM detected" and "Slide for emergency"

In some very rare cases, the phone will not get activated properly, causing a "Different SIM detected" message and you are stuck at the "Slide for emergency" screen.
Solution: In most cases, this problem is solved if go through this tutorial from the start again, but this time make sure that you have no SIM-card inserted. If you didn't have any SIM-card inserted the first time, try with the SIM-card you want to use inserted this time. We are working on finding a definite solution for this problem, but since we are unable to reproduce the problem ourselves, we would really appreciate feedback from you. Let us know which card you had in when you went through the tutorial the first time. And whether or not the above solved the problem. In advance, thanks for your help.

This section is under construction. If you have any questions or problems, please contact us.

Explanations for iPhone Words and Phrases

Extra Information and Tips

How to move and reorder icons

If you hold down any icon in two seconds, the icons starts to wiggle, and you can drag them around to change the order of the icons. Drag the icon to the right if you want to move it to a new page.

Setting menu and writing language

To change the menu language on your phone, and selecting which dictionary it should use, go to Settings → General → International

Taking a screenshot of your iPhone display

To take a screenshot of the current display on your iPhone, hold down the Home button then press the Power button. The screen will flash white, and the image is saved into your camera roll.