“Jail-breaking” and “Unlocking” are terms you’ve probably heard a lot about recently. Wikipedia is a good place to start. WP defines iOS jail-breaking as “….a process that allows iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users to run third-party unsigned code on their devices by unlocking the operating system and allowing the user root access…”
One typically jailbreaks an iPhone in order to install the Cydia application, an application marketplace portal in itself that allows one to install un-sanctioned applications onto the phone. There are many very cool applications there, but like a back-alley momo kitchen in Nepal, there may be questionable outcomes from exposing oneself to the product.
By un-sanctioned, I mean they didn’t pass the bar for application guidelines. Apple controls what applications one can install on the phone, keeping a tight rein on developers and a firm but fair guideline on how developers can code their application’s user interface, so end-users can expect a consistent, intuitive experience. If you’ve used badly coded applications on any platform, you know what I’m talking about.
Most users (and frankly me as well) are perfectly fine living in Apple’s universe. There are thousands of applications available to do most anything (hence “there’s an app for that” tag line) in the App Store, and with Apple’s guidelines in place, the chance of an application making your phone misbehave or drain battery life is minimal.
The main reason one jailbreaks and installs Cydia in this context is really just a stepping stone to unlocking the phone. Unlocking is the real frontier. US users are locked into using AT&T as their iPhone carrier. AT&T uses a GSM network (new tab, wikipedia.com, “GSM”), but they’re not the only one in the ‘states. T-Mobile does as well (Verizon uses CDMA), meaning that if you jailbreak and then unlock your phone, you can use T-Mobile. Internationally, many carriers use GSM, allowing for Apple to work with these companies and formulate a plan for world domination. Fine with me, as I own Apple stock (full disclosure). (You can find the list of supported countries here: iPhone Countries). There are as yet many countries that don’t yet have supported carriers, even though they use GSM, hence my jailbreak and unlock in Nepal.
I followed the jailbreak guide here: iPhone Jailbreak Guide
I have 4.0 on my iPhone 4, having not yet updated even to 4.0.1. That’s another story. It’s important though, since iOS 4.0.2 disables this particular jailbreak. If you’re jail breaking your iPad, 3.2.2 disables the jail break.
OK, but now we get into the nitty gritty. The part where some people’s eyes stop glazing over and the part where other people back away. We’re going to cut down a SIM card. We cut down a SIM card because the iPhone 4 (and iPad) take a new “micro SIM”, which is really just less plastic and nearly as much silicon as a regular SIM. It makes regular SIMs look a lot like a transistor compared to a microchip. Anyway, Google this for the best results. In short, one first pops out the existing SIM using a small paper clip or safety pin, then takes the new SIM and lines up the horizontal lines, trims with very sharp scissors (perhaps after scoring with a razor blade or sharp knife) and then lines up the center point and does the same. Don’t forget to cut the small corner piece off and round the other corners. You probably want to try and pop the new chip into the carriage every so often, to gauge how you’re doing on the cuts.
Done? Ramro! Pop in the SIM chip, insert the carriage and wake up the phone. It will probably work right away, but if not, just power off the phone and on again. If your newly acquired SIM already has a data plan, you should begin getting your queued mail, and if not you’ll need to talk with your carrier, or account holder for this.
Nepal Note: To dial landlines, remove the “+977” and add “01” in front of the number they give you. Sometimes. To dial mobiles, just dial the full ten-digit number. Special thanks to J.M. for helping me with my first SIM cut and loaning me his very sharp japanese knife 🙂
I have an updated entry on this subject:here