Sun, Sep 30, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Apple software update makes hacked iPhones useless

AP AND AFP , SAN FRANCISCOAND SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

A freshly issued Apple software update has created problems for iPhones hacked to work with a cellular carrier other than AT&T and disabled at least some unofficial programs installed on other iPhone handsets.

Apple warned earlier this week that the iPhone update -- which adds access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and fixes some security flaws -- could permanently disable phones running programs that untether phones from its exclusive partner's network.

It was unclear how many iPhone owners had unlocked their phones, but the programs -- including several that can be downloaded for free -- appeared to be particularly popular with European consumers. Apple isn't selling the iPhone or initiating the service in Europe until November, so the unlocking software allowed Europeans who bought iPhones in the US to use the US$399 devices.

Installing Apple's latest iPhone update is optional.

Several gadget enthusiast Web sites, including Gizmodo and Engadget as well as online postings from hacker communities, reported that, depending on which unlocking program was used, certain modified phones no longer worked after they installed Thursday's software update.

In some cases, the phones worked, but only with the original SIM card that ties the phone to AT&T.

Some sites also reported that unauthorized third-party applications on the iPhones became disabled after the update.

But some software wizards are trying to work their magic anew. Engineers at iPhoneSimFree said online on Friday that they had tested the update.

"Unfortunately, currently there is no way to jailbreak/reactivate the phone for use with a SIM card other than the original AT&T card," an iPhoneSimFree posting said. "We are all looking into the jailbreak issue as it affects us all."

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