View Full Version : Altered iPhones Freeze Up

01 Oct 07,, 15:43
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28 — Since the iPhone hit the market in June, tech-savvy owners of the phone have been busy messing with its insides, figuring out how to add unauthorized software and even “unlock” it for use on networks other than AT&T’s.

But the Web was filled Friday with complaints from people who had installed the latest iPhone software update, only to see all the fun little programs they had been adding to their iPhones disappear — or, still worse, see their phones freeze up entirely.

Should they have known better?

Since Monday, Apple officials have been warning iPhone owners that using unlocking software could cause the phone to become “permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.” But in many cases those warnings went unheeded.

People who had unlocked their phones to use them with another carrier ran the greatest risk of, in techie terms, having them “bricked” — rendered about as useful as a brick. Most of those who committed the lesser transgression of installing programs not authorized by Apple simply had those programs wiped out.

People have created dozens of programs for the iPhone, ranging from the useless but entertaining (a virtual popcorn popper) to the decidedly practical (a screen-shot capture program).

But for anyone who upgrades the iPhone’s system software, a routine process that adds Apple’s latest fixes and improvements, those programs can no longer be used. The update has made the iPhone “almost impervious to any third-party hacks,” said Erica Sadun, a technical writer in Denver who has created more than a dozen programs for the iPhone, including the screen-shot program and a popular voice recorder.

Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman, said that when people went to update their software with their computer through iTunes, a warning appeared on the computer screen, making it clear that any unauthorized modifications to the iPhone software violated the agreement that people entered into when they bought the phone. “The inability to use your phone after making unauthorized modifications isn’t covered under the iPhone warranty” Ms. Bowcock said.

There were reports online that employees at Apple stores were reviving or replacing some dead iPhones. But Ms. Bowcock did not offer much hope to iPhone owners with problems: “If the damage was due to use of an unauthorized software application, voiding their warranty, they should purchase a new iPhone.”

Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, has said the company wanted to maintain control over the iPhone’s functions to protect carrier networks and to make sure the phone was not damaged.

Ms. Sadun said the community of people who write unsanctioned software for the phone knew the update was coming.

“We had about two weeks’ notice,” she said. Yet Ms. Sadun and others said they were surprised by the extremes to which Apple went to shut them down. “We tried to think well of Apple,” she said. “Denial is a very strong part of the human spirit.”

Until Friday morning, Ms. Sadun had a contract with the publishing firm Addison-Wesley to write a book about creating applications for the iPhone. After the news of Apple’s crackdown spread, she received a note from her editor that suggested that they think of a different topic.

It was not unexpected that Apple would try to stop people from unlocking the phones, as this threatened to cause problems for AT&T, Apple’s exclusive United States partner for the iPhone.

“I don’t blame them for fighting the unlocks,” said Brian Lam, editor of Gizmodo, a blog devoted to gadgets. “They are trying to make money, as a business. I get that.”

Still, he said, that disabling someone’s phone, “instead of just relocking it and to wipe out the apps, it seems like Apple is going way too far; I’d call it uncharacteristically evil.”

In some cases, the apparent punishment for installing unapproved software was harsh. Ross Good, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had added several programs, including one for instant messaging. After the upgrade, the phone went into a semifrozen state.

When Mr. Good called Apple, the reception was cool. “They said I put third-party software on my phone, and so it was my fault no matter what.”

Joel Robison, a systems network engineer near Seattle, said his phone stopped working immediately after he installed the upgrade. He said that when he took it to an Apple store, he was accused of having unlocked the phone. But he said that with the exception of one aborted attempt to install a piece of outside software, he had made no modifications to the phone.

“Their accusation was very damaging to my opinion of Apple’s service,” Mr. Robison said.

J. Noah Funderburg, an assistant dean at the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa and a longtime Mac user, had little sympathy for iPhone hot-rodders.

“Anyone who hacks must know that they are taking certain risks,” Mr. Funderburg said. ”If they aren’t willing to assume the risks upfront — like a brick iPhone — then maybe they should not hack the device.

“We have a free marketplace,” he said. “Buy a product, including using it on the terms accompanying the purchase, or don’t buy it. And learn to live with not always getting everything you want.”

Saul Hansell contributed reporting from New York.

Shoulda' seen that coming :tongue:

Pity is that full-blown release of Neo1973 got moved back to Dec '07, it would have been quite poetic to have gotten it on September 28th, as scheduled! Maybe December 1st will be greeted with exploding iPhones?

01 Oct 07,, 20:10
Apple should go take a running jump. If I buy a computer with wireless connection, which is all the iphones are, and they then dictate what I can and can't load onto it and on occasion they log onto my computer and lock it or wipe it because I've put something onto my computer they don't approve of, well, they can go **** themselves. Anyone who buys this phone is an idiot.

01 Oct 07,, 21:20
HA! And people say M$ is bad. Apple is a far more monopolicstic company than M$ ever is. That's why I never buy anything Apple. It wants to retain control over every single aspect of its product at all states of the products life.

01 Oct 07,, 21:27
HA! And people say M$ is bad. Apple is a far more monopolicstic company than M$ ever is. That's why I never buy anything Apple. It wants to retain control over every single aspect of its product at all states of the products life.

They do have very similar business practices and prnciples - but Apple have waaaayyyyy more style (OS X is superb compared to XP).

What bugs me is the constant rebrand/re-release of product lines, especially the ipod - buy one now and it's 50 euro cheaper with more features and a better screen 6 months later.

01 Oct 07,, 21:49

That is awesome.


01 Oct 07,, 22:07
HA! And people say M$ is bad. Apple is a far more monopolicstic company than M$ ever is. That's why I never buy anything Apple. It wants to retain control over every single aspect of its product at all states of the products life.

exactly the rason i wont buy a ipod, with my sandisc mp3 which isnt much different from ipod, besides having radio, voice recorder(which i pods don,t have, i think) i can plug it in any comp transfer files in or out, and play them without any special software and file conversion.

03 Oct 07,, 03:38
Hackers Post Techniques for Reversing iPhone Update

Owners of hacked iPhones have begun posting instructions on how to roll back a recent Apple firmware upgrade that rendered their mobile phones unusable.

The instructions were available Monday on the iPhone Dev Wiki, a Web site devoted to iPhone software hacks and tools.

Since the iPhone's launch, enthusiasts have been developing ways to allow the devices to run unauthorized software and to unlock them so that they can be run on any mobile network. Late last week, however, Apple cracked down on these efforts by releasing a software upgrade that made hacked iPhones unusable.

Since that release, however, hackers have been working on techniques that reverse the effects of this upgrade.

These latest instructions allow users to roll back their firmware upgrades and use some functions like the phone's iPod and Wi-Fi capabilities, but they do not necessarily restore the phone's ability to make calls, according to the iPhone Dev Wiki. That's because hackers have not yet found a way to roll back the firmware used by the iPhone's baseband chip, which is used to make calls.

"So far all attempts to downgrade the baseband have been unsuccessful," the Wiki said. "There have been several reports of successful baseband downgrades online, but these haven't been confirmed. "

Another major area of research has been into techniques that can unlock iPhones that are running the latest 1.1.1 firmware.

But because Apple has now done a much better job of encrypting its iPhone firmware, this will be a much harder job than it was the first time around, said Tom Ferris, a security researcher who works on hacking the iPhone.

That's what everybody's working on right now is trying to get into the firmware," he said. "Just like Steve Jobs said, it's a cat and mouse game."

mas·och·ism /ˈmęsəˌkɪzəm, ˈmęz-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mas-uh-kiz-uhm, maz-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
2. gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification.