my iPhone 3GS – jailbroken and unlocked
Back in October 2009, I talked about how I jailbroke and unlocked my original iPhone 2G. It wasn’t too difficult and the steps I took to do it were easy to follow.
This past September, the same friend that gave me her iPhone 2G, upgraded to an iPhone 4 and I ended up with her iPhone 3GS, which is a lot faster than the original and can run the iOS 4 firmware, allowing for multitasking, folders and any apps that are now iOS 4 compatible.
But as newer firmware updates came out, I had to ensure that I would not be “bricking” my iPhone [meaning, if I updated to a newer firmware, I would lose the ability to unlock it and use my prepaid SIM card for voice and data usage], rendering it a fancy iPod touch usable only on wifi.
The steps to jailbreaking and unlocking an iPhone running iOS 4.0.1 were simple and all done without having to connect the iPhone to a computer. I simply took the SIM from my older iPhone and put it into my new iPhone and was able to start making calls, sending texts and using the 3G data. Very nice, huh?
The iPhone hacking community has made many a progress in the cat and mouse game where Apple updates and breaks the jailbreak, and they release a new set of instructions on how to jailbreak and unlock the iPhone again. Until recently with the release of the latest iOS 4.2.1 firmware.
While they have a way to make this work, it’s not the prettiest of solutions. The steps not only void any warranty, they tread on removing any steps to upgrade the iPhone in the future under normal circumstances.
Sitting This One Out
So for the foreseeable future, I am sticking with my iPhone 3GS stuck at iOS 4.0.1 and keeping the current jailbreak and unlock in place so I can continue my AT&T prepaid option.
Some have asked me, “Why don’t you just get a regular plan, sign up for a 2 year contract and avoid all this ugly mess?” To which I respond with the following checklist:
- I already have a contract with Sprint with my main phone – a Palm Pre
- the prepaid SIM card I have allows me to have an iPhone as a second phone to use for those times when I want/need another option for making phone calls when the Sprint coverage isn’t the best.
In looking at getting an AT&T contract and moving my iPhone to a regular plan, the minimum cost each month would be more than I would need, given the fact that I already have a phone with unlimited data, text and mobile-to-mobile calling. I’ve priced the lowest plan available for minimal data, texting and voice to be $60 before taxes. This gives me the following for each month of service:
- 450 minutes, including rollover each month, 5000 night and weekend minutes and unlimited mobile to mobile minutes
- 200 text messages
- 200Mb of data
Compare that to what I already have on my Sprint Palm Pre:
- 1500 shared daytime minutes [I’m on a family plan with 4 other phones], unlimited night and weekend minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes
- unlimited text messages
- unlimited data [according to Sprint terms, there is no effective cap on how much data I can use, although I’m sure excessive overages will raise some red flags]
I would consider switching from Sprint to AT&T if:
- Sprint wasn’t giving me a great discount [I get 20% off my bill each month]
- If I didn’t already have 4 other phones on my plan [wife, daughter, wife’s sister and brother-in-law]
- and to have the same amount of phones and comparable options at a reasonable price.
In pricing it all out with AT&T, it would be $255 for five phones plus tax each month. I pay $175 [taxes included] now under Sprint. Of course, Sprint doesn’t have the iPhone. That’s an $80 a month premium just to use the iPhone. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a two year contract, that’s an additional $1,920. Ouch!
So in order for me to have and enjoy using an iPhone [yes, this means I carry two phones with me most of the time], the prepaid route is the best option and one that I would like to stick with. At least until I’m forced to change, which I guess we’ll cross that bridge when I have to.