My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How to unlock any Feature or Smartphone and put it on any Network

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to unlock any Feature or Smartphone and put it on any Network

Ever since the story broke on my blog article entitled “Dr. Karsten Nohl reveals GSM Phones' SIM Cards can be hacked via a Text Message - Elysium of Jamaica’s nascent Mobile Money Banking and Cashless Society” about SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) Hacking as revealed by Dr. Karsten Nohl, founder of Security Research Labs in Berlin, Germany, Traffic has picked up on my blog substantially.

There seems to be a renewed interest in hacking SIM Cards, especially as it relates to getting access to the personal information for a SIM Card for a particular subscriber, be it yours or someone else as stated in my blog article entitled “How to Register your SIM Card and get the PUK1 and access Digicel’s Phone Calling Records”.

Based on the IP Addresses in my Analytics, it seems to be persons in Government who are searching my blog like crazy, most likely faced with an increase in crimes involving Blackberrys and smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and Google Android phones.

Like our American counterparts, they are thus looking for ways to unlock the Phone in order to get information about the criminal suspect as stated in the article “Apple deluged by police demands to decrypt iPhones”, published May 10, 2013 4:00 AM PDT by Declan McCullagh, CNET News.

So I’ve decided to do an article on how to unlock any Feature Phone or Smartphone and put it on any Network, specifically the following brands (sorry no Chinese Phones here):

1.      Alcatel
2.      Blackberry
3.      HTC
4.      Huawei
5.      iPhone
6.      LG
7.      Motorola
8.      Nokia
9.      Pantech
10.  Samsung
11.  Sony
12.  ZTE

The main tools you’ll need for this DIY (Do It Yourself) are:

1.      Laptop or Computer completely clear of virus (otherwise you may end up with a bricked phone)
2.      The Cable for the Feature Phone or Smartphone
3.      Faith like Elijah
4.      A nice Cup of Lasco Chocolate Milk

Unlocking vs Jailbreaking – Legalese Disclaimer

First of the bat, know that unlocking a Phone is illegal based on the ruling of the Librarian of the Library of Congress, the defender of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)  on Saturday 25th January 2013 made it illegal to unlock phones as explained in my blog article entitled Librarian of the Library of Congress makes Smartphone unlocking Illegal - How Jamaica can benefit from the Safe Haven of MNP by banning unlocking of smartphones and Tablets”.

Unlocking involves making changes to the Firmware of the Phone to allow you to change Networks and remove the SIM Lock Feature that ties your SIM to the Phone’s 15 digit IMEI (International Mobile Equiptment Identification). Jail-breaking specifically refers to unlocking the features of the Phone’s OS (Operating System) so as to allow it to run Apps that may be restricted from the smartphone.

It’s unlocking that’s illegal as Jailbreaking is perfectly legit thanks to the ruling by the Copyright, another defender of the DMCA (Digital Milennium Copyright Act) as explained in my blog article entitled “Apple and the Copyright Office - Developers Christmas bonus up in smoke”.

Now drink your first cup of Lasco Chocolate Milk!

GSM vs CDMA - Know you Phone’s Network

With that legal notice out of the way let’s begin. First you need to know if your Phone is GSM (Global Systems Mobile) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). GSM phones use a Mini-SIM (Regular sized SIM Card), Micro-SIM or Nano-SIM all of which can be made from the Mini-SIM via the use of adaptors and cutting templates as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make you own Micro-SIM or Nano-SIM Card”. CDMA phones use no SIM Cards.

If you aren’t technically adept at determining if the Phone has a SIM or not, here’s a simple guide:

1.      GSM – AT&T, T-Mobile, EU Telecom Networks

2.      CDMA – Verizon, Sprint

Accessing a Phone with an unknown Security Code – Now you see me

Once you’ve determined this you then have to access the Phone. If your mobile Phone is a Nokia and you’ve accidentally locked yourself out and forgotten the security code, the following steps as explained in “HOW TO UNLOCK ANY PHONE WITHOUT KNOWING THE SECURITY CODE”, posted Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 3:40 AM by Ayz, Tips, Tricks & Fun Stuff will allow you to gain access:

1.      Dial *#06# to get the Phone's 15 digit IMEI (International Mobile Equiptment Identification) Number
2.      If you have no access, then open the Phone. Under the battery is the 15 digit IMEI.
3.      Write down the IMEI
4.      Go to UnlockitFree website
5.      Select free remote master code
6.      Enter the IMEI of the Phone
7.      Click Generate
8.      UnlockitFree website generates the Master Code for the Phone
9.      Copy and keep the number to unlock the Phone in the future

Note: Make sure your Nokia Phone is initially unlocked to do this, as this is really an emergency unlock procedure

Now drink your second cup of Lasco Chocolate Milk!

Accessing Blackberry, Google Android or Apple iPhones – If Tomorrow Comes

To access a Blackberry, simply re-enter the password incorrect several times until it prompts you to enter “Blackberry”. It’ll wipe your Phone’s memory clean, but this is the best method that works with all Blackberrys.

Since it’s your Phone, you must have made a Backup of your Blackberry that you kept on your computer that was made with Blackberry Desktop  as explained in my blog article entitled “How to transfer Phone Contacts and Data from your Blackberry to your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone or Tablet”.

Android smartphones are straightforward; just try the lock screen pattern until it gives you a “Forgot Pattern?” option, authenticate using your Google Account and reset as stated in “How to reset your Android screen lock security pattern”, published January 23, 2012, 9:06 AM By Jack Wallen, TechRepublic.

Apple iPhones are fairly easy to reset as explained in the article “How to Reset an Apple iPhone Password”, published February 18, 2013 By Alan Kirk, eHow Contributor, eHow Tech . The instructions are as follows:

1.      Disconnect your USB cable to your iPhone and your computer, leaving the other end connected to your computer.
2.      Start the Apple iTunes program that the Apple iPhone will request onscreen in preparation for the procedure
3.      Turn off your iPhone by pushing the Sleep/Wake Button on the top of the Phone
4.      Move the on-screen slider as directed when it appears on your iPhone.
5.      Wait for the device to shut down.
6.      Turn your iPhone on by pressing and holding the Home Button and reconnect the USB cable to the device.
7.      Continue holding the Home Button until you see the Connect to iTunes on the Apple iPhone screen.
8.      Apple iTunes program will prompt you in your Apple iPhone is locked and is in need of Restoration
9.      Click on the Summary Tab when the Apple iTunes program starts on your computer
10.  Click on the “Restore iPhone” Button in the Apple iTunes program.
11.  It’ll begin to download the new firmware for the Apple iPhone to update the device. The Apple iPhone may disconnect during this period. Merely repeat procedures 1-8 and start the Restoration using the downloaded iPhone Software Update. 
12.  Setting New Passcode
13.  Select the “Settings” icon on your iPhone.
14.  Click on “General Settings” option
15.  Choose the option for the passcode lock
16.  Enter a four-digit code that will be used in the future to unlock your iPhone
17.  Enter the four-digit code a second time to confirm and set the code

18.  Select how often you want your iPhone to require the passcode to be entered.

For other Feature phones you’ll have to Google the info or get it to a Repair Center, such as ChattaBox Jamaica, which I highly recommend.  

Unlocking smartphones – Brick Your Phone Russian Roulette Style

First before you do this you need to know what OS the Phone’s running and the IMEI, which you can obtain using the instructions above or looking under the phone’s battery. The most prevalent ones are:

1.      Apple iOS
2.      Google Android
3.      Blackberry OS
4.      Windows Phone 7
5.      Symbian

Then the rest is fairly easy. It involves using your Scotia VISA Debit Card or CIBC VISA Debit Card and at most will cost you only US$30 (JA$3000) to use on one of these highly recommended unlocking sites to get the Unlocking Code:

1.      CellUnlocker
2.      FreeUnlocks
3.      Global Unlock
4.      ReleaseMyCode
5.      UnlockThatPhone
6.      GSMLiberty
7.      UnlockToTalk
8.      UnlockAllCellular
9.      UnlockitNow

You will then receive and email with the instructions on how to unlock your Feature Phone or smartphone. Make sure you have the Cable for your Phone as some of their unlocking procedures may require connecting it to a computer with their proprietary Cable. The instructions tend to be the same though:

1.      Enter the IMEI
2.      Get the unlock code
3.      Enter the Unlock code for the network you wanna join using the instructions they send you
4.      Install their unlocking software on your computer to unlock the phone connected via you phone’s cable
5.      Insert the New SIM into the smartphone for the Network you wanna join  
6.      Do a Battery Pull and the smartphone is unlocked

Once you follow the procedures in the email, your Feature Phone or Smartphone should be unlocked and ready to accept any SIM Card and/or to be place on any Mobile Telecom Network in Jamaica.

This should be your third cup of Lasco Chocolate Milk!

Conclusion – Chocolate Lasco is Great for Unlocking Smartphones

This might seem a letdown at the point (trust me I know the feeling!) but the makers of Feature phones and smartphones fiercely guard their info as oftentimes these phones when returned, are factory refurbished and sold to Developing and Third World Countries. Thus they represent a source for continued revenue and for that reason, are worth protecting.

So before you go and spend good money on unlocking the Phone your peeps from farin’ send down for you, you could save up some money and start on a good note by just buying an unlocked Phone from either Best Buy or Amazon.

Follow the above procedures and you’re guaranteed to unlock any Feature or Smartphone on the Chennai Express (2013)! Also drink a final cup of Chocolate Lasco for the road as you deserve it! 

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