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Apple says it may “Brick” unlocked iPhones with next software update

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Apple today issued the following statement:

Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed. Apple plans to release the next iPhone software update, containing many new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store (, later this week. Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones. Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.

It sounds pretty clear to me that Apple has no intention of letting this unlocking business slide, and is going so far as to brick iPhones that are unlocked. If I were you, and I had one unlocked that didn’t have to be – I’d restore that bad boy to its original state….otherwise, you may be kissing it goodbye.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

14 thoughts on “Apple says it may “Brick” unlocked iPhones with next software update

  1. Just to remind the people commenting here about something. The only reason why Apple is able to increase the iPhone’s functionality, like, for example, with the Wifi iTunes store is because of the contract you sign with At&t and the monthly fee you pay.

    It allows them to release new content without making you pay for it like what happened with the Wireless Driver patch that enabled the newest protocol. If you want to purchase an iPhone and unlock it, you are breaching your warranty like you would with a PSP with an unoficial firmware or a console with a mod-chip.

    The iPhone will still work, but you shouldn’t expect to get more functionality than you already have. There will *always* be a risk of bricking your iPhone if you do so.

  2. Come on… How far is apple going to f*** with iphone users?!And so what I’ve all ready void my warranty by shiping an US iphone to Europe and for the second time unlocking it with software hack’s.I AM NOT GOING to Sign any Contract’s with T-Mobile or Vodafone OR AT&T and so on.. just to use an Apple device.I’m really getting pissed off with the company that I LOVE.

  3. They should protect their product!!! If it is unauthorized software how can they guarantee that it will not damage the unit?

    I would expect them to be so kind as to let people know (and they did not have to do this) that they can not put a warantee on something they have not approved… They simply want the customer to have the experiance that they designed!

    Sounds fair to me…


  4. I agree with B on this. If you didn’t want the iPhone with AT&T, you should have waited to get one after the contract expired. I’ve heard that the iPhone doesn’t have 100% functionality when unlocked anyway–why the heck would you want that?!? Maybe that’s changed, but I still wouldn’t modify something I paid $600-800 for anyway…I know we’re supposed to keep an open mind, but not so much that yer brain falls out!

  5. feh. if unlock software causes “irreparable damage”, which i think it does not, then it would already be too late for unlockers. since their phone is irreparably damaged already, how are they supposed to revert it to factory default, thus “repairing” it? eh? eh?

    also i think that apple merely aims to discourage unlocking by scaring the users that they MIGHT brick their device. if unlocked devices do indeed end up being destroyed by a future update, then this is something that is being deliberately made happen by apple. which would REALLY suck. they can take away my warranty any time they want, but destroying the device that i legally OWN just because i did something with it they don’t like? i don’t think so.

  6. why wouldn’t you claim your refund? it’s not like it’s going to profit you in any way if you don’t… or is it because you’re afraid that by claiming it via the iphone apple might discover you unlocked the device?

    if you just happen to not want the extra 100 bucks, i’d be glad to, um, rid you of that burden… with no charge at all! 😉

  7. B. > I think it’s unfair business to sell the phone exclusively with one carrier. That’s like saying you can buy this Toyota, but you can only fill it with petrol sold in Lukoil gas stations. They should not lock the phone in the first place. That way the hacks are not necessary, and more purchases of the product could be expected.

    This threat of bricking the phone is just that – a threat. They either want to brick it intentionally or threaten to do so. Let’s not speculate about that *unintentional* outcome. I think Phil is commenting along similar lines.

  8. @Phil I agre with you.. They can take my warranty any time they like.I got my iPhone 9 days before the 200$ drop price and I DID NOT CLAIM for the
    100$ payback and I’m not going to.I own the unit and I can do what ever the heck I want with it.(burn it,drop it) it’s my problem..But if apple try’s to brake my iPhone via Software update then all these year’s of been an apple user would be waste of time.

  9. @+simonas
    In order for a product this new and revolutionary to function as it is designed, it needs to be controlled for acuracy in the beginning stages (first couple of years)… I am quite sure that the designers did all they could to utilize all carriers but the technology is just to new and the kinks need to be ironed out.

    They needed one crrier innitially… and, why do they have to allow other comanies to manufacture software? They don’t. They are not in business to feed everyone…

    They made a great product that will become increasingly better and if you want to hack it, hack it, not a big deal it just will not be covered by warantee… if it breaks, it breaks. No big deal, the extra widgets were worth it right?

    Cheers… B.

  10. It seems to me that the fact is that iPhone users bought and signed for a device that would meet certain specs. One of which in this case is that you agreed to AT&T service. Why gripe if Apple keeps you to those terms. Buy a Samsung or Nokia instead.

    Additionally, I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the paperwork you signed, you agreed to use it as is and to not modify it. And while not too sure, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if in that same paperwork you find that you don’t really “own” the device.

    You owners would be very upset if Apple suddenly decided to not follow their half of the agreement – perhaps removed iTunes capability – why be surprised if Apple doesn’t want you to change your side of the agreement.

    And folks, how about getting some spell checkers please?

  11. The technology being too (yeah, two o’s) new? Sounds like bull to me.
    Why do they have to allow other comanies to manufacture software? Imagine your MacBook running only iLife. Not a bad deal, but if that’s all it does… I wouldn’t buy it. iPhone, as claimed by Steve, runs MAC OS X! So, why feed everybody? Sure, why buy those computers anyway?
    As for the suggestion to buy a Nokia or a Samsung, I did just that – bought a Sony Ericsson. 🙂 I’ll wait for that iPhone to open up a little bit.

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