How many times have you viewed the Apple website and seen “contract” versus “unlocked” phones? The assumption made at first viewing is that contract phones are locked in to their phone carrier while unlocked phones allow you to take your phone to any carrier that will support your phone’s network. You decide to go to Apple’s website and purchase an unlocked iPhone 4S, thinking that the money will be worthwhile when you finally terminate your service with your current phone carrier and join with another company whose prices you have been eyeing with delight for some time. If you are like a cousin of mine, you cherish the thought of leaving US Cellular (a carrier that has turned down the potential of iPhone sales) and heading over to Verizon Wireless, a company that owns enough iPhones to go around the world and come back again.
So you join Verizon Wireless. Your bill comes every month on time, and for a while, you love your service. Then, for some reason, you grow to dislike your bill and the data plans your service offers. You hear of other US carriers that offer iPhones but charge much less per month in data charges. At this point, you have been with Verizon Wireless for two years and are ready to make your break with the company. You leave Verizon and head for another US carrier that sells iPhones. You are convinced that you can take your iPhone, visit the new carrier, sign a contract with the carrier, and activate your iPhone 4S on the new data plan. Much to your dismay, however, you are told that you cannot activate your iPhone 4S on the new plan; instead, you will have to purchase a new iPhone from the new carrier when you sign for a monthly data plan.
Why is it that your unlocked iPhone 4S cannot be used on any carrier—be it Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and other iPhone-selling carriers, but will work perfectly when you are on vacation overseas in other countries? Let me explain this by saying that your iPhone is “locked” into a carrier when you purchase it. If you purchase an unlocked iPhone 4S from a US carrier like Verizon, the phone will always be “locked” to the Verizon network. You cannot purchase an iPhone 4S at Verizon and then take it to Sprint for a new data plan.
The reason behind the failure of this adventure pertains to economics. If carriers allow you to purchase an iPhone 4S at one carrier and then bring it to another when you are under contract, your new phone carrier loses money that it could have made had you purchased an iPhone 4S with the new carrier. Carriers need to make a certain income in order to stay afloat; this is one reason why US carriers offer you up to $150 to trade in your iPhone or smartphone and place the funds toward a new phone on the new carrier. Carriers offer the $140 incentive (such as Sprint) or the $150 incentive (such as US Cellular) to attract your business, while remaining true to their desire to make a profit from your new contract. It is the same idea behind an “unlocked” iPhone 4S that is “locked” to a carrier, as is behind the notion of “unlimited” data plans that come with a memory storage limit. Unlocked does not mean completely unlocked, neither does unlimited mean completely unlimited!
There is one way to have a satisfactory iPhone 4S unlock: you must perform an iPhone 4S jailbreak. When you jailbreak your iPhone 4S, you free it from Apple’s controls (and carrier controls, too). To jailbreak your smartphone, you need to follow three steps:
- Know your iPhone 4S software version (you can find this under the settings icon in the general section)
- Match your iPhone 4S software version with the jailbreak program that matches your iPhone’s software
- Select one of many jailbreak programs (some examples are Absinthe, Green Pois0n, Sn0wbreeze, Spirit, Redsn0w); we recommend Unlock Easy
- Decide whether you want a tethered or untethered jailbreak
If you want to find out more information about jailbreaking, visit our website at http://ijailbreak4s.com/. At the jailbreak 4s site, we provide all sorts of work on iPhone 4S news, as well as jailbreaking advice and recommended software programs for a successful iPhone 4s jailbreak.