Since receiving my Turbo SIM yesterday and successfully getting it to work with O2 Ireland, I thought I’d write up a clear, easy to understand guide outlining the process.

Disclaimer: If you break something it’s your own stupid fault jerkface.

What you will need

An iPhone

Your iPhone will need to be Jailbroken, have SSH installed and it will need to have been activated using AT&T’s ICCID (use iASign). If you don’t know what any of this means, do some reading. There are a million zillion guides out there explaining the procedures for doing these things. If, after reading, you still don’t know what any of this means, this method is not for you. Wait for a software based unlock.

A Turbo SIM - Available here (sold out at the time of writing)

As explained in previous blog posts, this little device is sandwiched between your carriers SIM and itself. It’s capable of running small SIM level applications, one of which, Applesaft, is capable of unlocking the iPhone by exploiting a flaw in the iPhone’s baseband. I’m not going to explain how this works because anytime I do I get strange looks from people as though I’d just asked them if they’d ever been abducted by aliens. At the time of writing this, the poor small team at Bladox churning these little devices out have become inundated with orders and have had to temporarily close their online store.

Some software

applesaft-0.92.tar.gz & turbo-cable-utils-iPhone-0.7.0-rev1.tar.gz

Steps:

  • Extract the contents of turbo-cable-utils-iPhone-0.7.0-rev1.tar.gz to somewhere on your computer
  • Upload the contents of /bin-iPhone from the file you just unpacked to /bin on your iPhone (through SCP or SSHFS, whichever you prefer)
  • SSH into your iPhone
  • Run cd /bin/
  • Now you’ll need to change the permissions for each of the binary applications which you just uploaded to /bin/ using the command chmod +x turbo-APPNAME. There are 10 applications in total which you need to do this for.
  • Extract the contents of applesaft-0.92.tar.gz and copy the applesaft.trb file containted within to your /bin/ folder on your iPhone the same as you uploaded the turbo cable utilities mentioned above. You can remove this and the turbo-APPNAME files later. Run chmod 777 /bin/applesaft.trb to give the file the permissions it needs.
  • Download and edit (or edit on the iPhone locally if you have something like VIM installed) the file com.apple.CommCenter.plist located in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ on your iPhone.
  • Disable the commcenter by placing <key>Disabled</key><true/> after <key>OnDemand</key><false/> and copy the file back/save it.
  • Reboot the iPhone.
  • Now comes the tricky bit. Carefully CAREFULLY remove your Turbo SIM from its plastic casing. Seriously, Jesus Christ be careful. Oh god you’re going to break it WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
  • Take your AT&T SIM card out of your iPhone using a paperclip and carefully trim it according the the printed instructions on the Turbo SIM’s packaging. Don’t be afraid to trim it really tight around the SIM’s contacts for a snug fit.
  • Carefully sandwich the trimmed AT&T card with your Turbo SIM and place them both into the iPhone’s SIM tray. You’ll have to be gentle here as there’s just barely enough clearance for both devices to fit snuggly into the SIM tray.
  • The carrier name area at the top left of the screen will continue to say “No Service”, this is fine. If it says “No SIM” the contacts between your SIM and the Turbo SIM aren’t properly seated, fiddle with it a bit to make sure they’re square atop of one another.
  • SSH into your iPhone again and run the following command to ensure the iPhone can communicate properly with the Turbo SIM - “turbo-info”. Assuming everything is correct, this command should return “OK” along with the serial of your Turbo SIM.
  • Now, lets install the applesaft application. Run the following:\ turbo-app /bin/applesaft.trb\ If all goes well you should receive an “OK” after some initial messages about the modem being initialised.
  • Alter the com.apple.CommCenter.plistfile we edited above and remove the line we added <key>Disabled</key><true/> and reboot.
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings>Phone>SIM Applications>Apple Saft and press “SET”. A prompt should indicate that the IMSI and ICCID of the AT&T SIM has been read and recorded successfully.
  • Now, remove the Turbo SIM and AT&T SIM.
  • Trim your carriers SIM card just like the AT&T one and insert the sandwiched pair into the iPhone.
  • Reboot the iPhone.
  • All going well, your iPhone should now properly register on your carriers network and everything should pretty much work straight away. To get EDGE/GPRS working, alter the settings in Settings>General>EDGE to use your carriers APN/Username/Password.
  • Pat yourself on the back.