HOW TO: Hack the iPhone to work anywhere in the world -- 10 step guide with pics

The 8GB iPhone dropped to $US399 ($AU483) overnight, so what are you waiting for? Here's the 10 step complete guide on how to hack it to work in Australia.

WARNING: APC makes no guarantee that the instructions below will not damage your iPhone. The procedure described below is an unauthorised modification to the normal operation of the iPhone, so any damage that occurs is your responsibility.
With the price of the 8GB iPhone dropping to $US399 ($AU483) overnight , how can anyone resist the temptation of buying one and hacking it to work in Australia?
Here's the step-by-step on how to get it working on any 2G mobile network in the world -- including Optus, Telstra, Vodafone or Virgin Mobile in Australia. (The iPhone cannot be made to work on Three because it is a purely 3G network and the iPhone is 2G only.)
This tutorial uses the TurboSIM method and assumes you are on a Mac.
There are various other approaches floating around other than what is described in this tutorial, but this is a compliation of the easy methods that worked for me.
If you've got questions ask them in the comments and I'll try my best to respond.

Step 1: buy an iPhone

Sounds obvious, but of course, Apple doesn't make it easy for anyone outside the US to get one.
If you know someone in the US, you're set -- anyone can walk into an Apple Store and buy an iPhone with no requirement to sign up to a service contract.

You can also buy online via as long as you have a US delivery address and phone number you can use on the order form.
You don't have to sign up for an AT&T contract at the time of buying the phone at the Applestore -- that's supposed to be done via iTunes when you get home, which you obviously won't do if you're using the hack outlined below.
There are also many iPhones being sold on eBay, but be sure to buy from a seller who has a long feedback rating for expensive electronics items -- don't get sucked into buying a brick (literally) from someone who has 3,000 positive feedback entries for low value items like matchbooks.
If you're really, really desperate to get your hands on the iPhone and don't trust any of the methods outlined above, I'll just point out two totally separate, unrelated facts, one fact for you and one fact for your wife: Apple has stores in Hawaii and flights to Hawaii can be found for as little as $900. Do not speak of these two facts in the same sentence in a domestic situation, however.
Buying an iPhone is the easy part. Just choose between a 4 or 8GB model. Buying an iPhone is the easy part. Just choose between a 4 or 8GB model.

Step 2: buy a TurboSIM

To be honest, at the moment this is by far the most difficult part. TurboSIMs, manufactured by a tiny company in the Czech Republic, are in short supply.
You can either wait for Australian distributor Votech to get their store back on-line or you can try buying one off eBay. Unfortunately the eBay prices are highly inflated.
Finding a TurboSIM is the hardest part of this procedure. Finding a TurboSIM is the hardest part of this procedure.

Step 3: download these free tools

Download and install the following software.
  • Apple Developer Tools (Xcode) - to get this, you'll need to sign up for a free Apple Developer Connection (ADC) membership
  • The iPhone Firmware that matches the version you have on your iPhone. Links are 1.0 , 1.01 and 1.02. Once the file is downloaded change the extension to .zip and expand it. iActivator needs it in order to be able to activate your iPhone.
  • iActivator - this is the the best program to use to accomplish both activation and "jailbreaking" -- the removal of the iPhone's file system protections, so you can actually make changes to the files on the phone.
  • MacPorts

Step 4: download some more software for the TurboSIM

Download the following software and keep handy. You'll need it to get the TurboSIM working.

Step 5 - Activate your iPhone

Activate your iPhone using iActivator. Plug your phone into your Mac and quit iTunes when it opens.
In iActivator click 'Perform Jailbreak' and follow the onscreen instructions.
Once your phone has been jailbroken you'll need to click 'Put PEM File' and click 'Generate Activation'. This generates a .plist file which you'll need for activation.
Lastly, click 'Activate iPhone' and point it to the .plist file you've just created.
In my experience, iActivator will return an error when clicking 'Activate iPhone'. Don't panic, just quit iActivator and try again. It should work by the third or fourth try.
iActivator - Just follow the onscreen instructions.iActivator - Just follow the onscreen instructions.

Step 6 - install some apps on your iPhone

Once your phone is Jailbroken and activated you need to install the SSH and SFTP features so you can transfer some other software onto the iPhone.
On your Mac, open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.
Type cd followed by a space, then drag the unarchived ssh-sftp-installer folder onto your Terminal window and hit enter. (It will paste the complete path for that file into the Terminal window.)
Install SSH and SFTPInstall SSH and SFTP

Next type ./ followed by a space, then type any password -- this will become the password for ssh and sftp on the iPhone itself. Hit enter and restart your iPhone as prompted by the onscreen instructions.
(Credit to Shaun Inman for devising the original steps described in this part of the tutorial. See his instructions here.)

Step 7 - connect to the iPhone using SFTP

To install the TurboSIM applications you'll need to SFTP to your iPhone.
To do this grab a copy of the excellent FTP app Transmit from Panic.
When creating the FTP connection in Transmit, you'll want to enter 'root' as the username and the password you specified above. Also, make sure you select SFTP -- the default mode of Transmit is FTP, which will not work.
SFTP using Transmit. Remember to select SFTP from the drop down menu.SFTP using Transmit. Remember to select SFTP from the drop down menu.

You'll also need to determine the IP address of your iPhone. To do this tap on 'Settings', 'WiFi' and click on the arrow next to the name of the network you are connected to.
Select WiFi from the Settings menuSelect WiFi from the Settings menu
Click the arrow to find your IP detailsClick the arrow to find your IP details
Finally, your IP address. Enter this information in the address field of TransmitFinally, your IP address. Enter this information in the address field of Transmit

The next screen should show you your IP address. It's also important to remember to keep the phone from going to sleep in this step, otherwise the SFTP connection will reset (you could just set the 'Auto-Lock' settings under 'Settings', 'General' to 'Never'.

Step 8 - install the TurboSIM applications on the iPhone.

You're nearly there.
Now, you need to copy the Turbo Utils and Apple Saft across to your iPhone.
Copy the unzipped turbo-cable-utils-iPhone folder to the iPhone's /bin directory.
Copy the Turbo utils across to the /bin folder on your iPhoneCopy the Turbo utils across to the /bin folder on your iPhone

Now select all the files you have just copied and go to the 'File' menu and select 'Get Info'. Make sure you tick 'execute' for all rows.
Make the files executable by selecting the files, clicking get info, and ticking the 'execute' boxesMake the files executable by selecting the files, clicking get info, and ticking the 'execute' boxes

Now, copy Applesaft to the /private/var/root directory on the iPhone.
Copy AppleSaft to your home folder on the iPhoneCopy AppleSaft to your home folder on the iPhone

You now need to Disable CommCenter on your iPhone.

To do this open /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ on your iPhone and select 'Edit with Transmit' from the 'File' menu (or right click).
Edit the text file using transmit.Edit the text file using transmit.

Add <key>Disabled</key><true/> just above the text </dict> on the second last line (last line being </plist>) and save the file.

Now, you'll need to restart your iPhone (to do this just hold down the sleep button until the red slider appears on the screen. Slide the slider across and the phone will shutdown. Once the phone has shut down press the sleep button to restart it.

Step 9: cut up your SIM cards (gulp)

It's now time to cut up your own local SIM card and the AT&T SIM card that came with the iPhone, so they both fit the TurboSIM nicely.
The good news here is that it's more scary than it sounds: the plastic you're cutting off is 'dead plastic' -- and won't affect the functionality of your SIM card in other phones, even if you use it without the TurboSIM in the future.
Of course, since you're about to cut up your SIM card, we'll just refer you again to that red disclaimer at the top of the article about us taking absolutely no responsibility for you being a little overenthusiastic with the kitchen scissors.
Insert the AT&T+TurboSIM combination very gently into the iPhone. I used a little bit of scotch tape to secure the two SIM cards together. If you need to apply too much force then you haven't fitted the card to the tray properly. Also, it's OK to trim the back of the SIM card so it fits more snuggly.
OK... once you've fitted your TurboSIM + AT&T card open Terminal again and type the following:
ssh root@'your ip address' (replace 'your ip address' with the IP address you figured out above by looking at the iPhone's WiFi settings) and press Enter. Now type in your password when prompted. The password is the one you set for SSH/SFTP earlier.

SSH to your iPhone to run the turbo-app commandSSH to your iPhone to run the turbo-app command

Now enter the following command: turbo-info and press EnterYou should see a summary and OK.
Next, enter the following command:
turbo-app /private/var/root/applesaft.trb
You should see a reply with OK (it can take 30 seconds or so)

Now, re-enable CommCenter on your iPhone by deleting the <key>Disabled</key><true/> you added previously. Save the file, and restart your iPhone again.
If everything has gone to plan you should have a new menu under 'Settings', 'Phone' that's called SIM Applications. Click in here and select AppleSaft, and then hit 'Set' and 'Accept'. OK - the hard part is over.
If you've successfully installed AppleSaft you should have a new menu in the Phone settings called SIM ApplicationsIf you've successfully installed AppleSaft you should have a new menu in the Phone settings called SIM Applications
Select AppleSaftSelect AppleSaft
Now that you've got AppleSaft on just hit set (with your AT&T Sim card installed)Now that you've got AppleSaft on just hit set (with your AT&T Sim card installed)
Hit Accept, insert your regular SIM and start enjoying your new iPhone!Hit Accept, insert your regular SIM and start enjoying your new iPhone!

Now, insert your local SIM into the iPhone, and if everything has gone smoothly, and you've inserted the SIM properly you should be able to start using your iPhone.
Step 10
Enjoy using your iPhone outside the US. I've been using mine for the past few days and apart from the lack of visual voicemail the iPhone has been superb. It's the best phone I've ever used by miles.


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