Unlock iPhone

Step by Step Guide to Unlock iPhone 3G using yellowsn0w

January 3, 2009 — by Simon Ng59


Unlock iPhone

Step by Step Guide to Unlock iPhone 3G using yellowsn0w

January 3, 2009 — by Simon Ng59

The unlock solution (codename “yellowsn0w”) of iPhone 3G has been released a couple days ago. This’s really a great news and a big start for 2009. Big thanks to iPhone Dev Team. Many of you may have already tried to use yellowsn0w to unlock iPhone 3G. As I received quite a number of emails from readers that they are not very sure the exact procedures to handle the unlock, I design to write up a detailed how-to.

Okay, here comes to the step-by-step guide for iPhone 3G unlock. iPhone Dev Team has already made the unlock simple by using Cydia. This guide just re-organizes all the important hints/stuffs and procedures, so I hope any novice can handle it.

Let’s get started to unlock iPhone 3G.

Get Prepared – Jailbreak iPhone 3G

As the unlock application only works on baseband 2.28.00 and jailbroken iPhone, there are a couple of things you get to prepare before going ahead to download yellowsn0w.

  1. Have you jailbroken your iPhone and upgraded to firmware 2.2? The unlock application “yellowsn0w” can only work on jailbroken iPhone as you’ll need to use Cydia to download the unlock application. And the unlock can only work with firmware 2.2 baseband. So, if you haven’t done that, please follow this jailbreak guide (using QuickPwn) to jailbreak the iPhone first. Ensure you’re using the QuickPwn 2.2 and download firmware 2.2 in the jailbreak process.

    For Mac user: Even if you have jailbroken your iPhone using PwnageTool 2.2, please do use QuickPwn 2.2 for Mac to jailbreak again. The reason for a 2nd jailbreak is that PwnageTool 2.2 doesn’t upgrade the baseband to 2.28.00. So, please follow the same QuickPwn guide. The procedures are very similar but you have to use QuickPwn 2.2 for Mac. You can download it here.

  2. Next, check iPhone 3G baseband version: Go to Settings -> General -> About and look for “firmware version”. It should be 2.28.00. (Even you’re sure about the baseband version. Please do check again before going to the unlock procedures)

No PIN support yet: Please disable any PIN on your SIM card in case you have any before using yellowsn0w.

Note: If your baseband version is 2.30.00 or up, you may consider using 3G Fuzzyband Downgrader to downgrade the baseband

Real stuffs – Unlocking iPhone 3G

Before you go ahead to download yellowsn0w and unlock iPhone 3G, let me put it straight. You’d use the unlock application at your own risk. As mentioned by iPhone Dev team, the unlock application v0.94 v0.95 is in beta and it’s impossible to test the unlock with all SIM cards & carriers. So, there’s a chance the unlock solution does not work for you.

You can follow these procedures to unlock iPhone 3G.

1. Press “Cydia” to launch Cydia from iPhone home screen

2. Next, you’ll have to add the download source of yellowsn0w. Tap “Manage” and then “Source”.

3. Tap “Edit” and then “Add” button. You’ll be prompted to add a new Cydia/APT URL. Type “http://apt9.yellowsn0w.com” and tap “Add Source” button. Wait until Cydia prompts you the complete message and tap “Return to Cydia”.

4. Next, tap “Done” and then tap “apt9.yellowsn0w.com” from the list of sources.

5. You’ll then find the “yellowsn0w” application for download. Tap on it and then tap “Install”. Then tap “Confirm” to start download. (Note: The latest version of yellowsn0w is 0.95 beta)

6. Once the installation is complete, tap “Return to Cydia”. And then press “Home” Button to go back to the home screen.

7. It’s almost to complete the unlock process. Next, you can press the “Sleep” button and hold it off until you see the “slide to power off” message. Then slide to switch off the iPhone.

8. Wait until your iPhone completely shutdown. Now make sure you have inserted your desired SIM card in iPhone and turn on your iPhone.

Tips: If you do not know how to remove SIM card, you can refer to this article from Apple support for details.

9. Once your iPhone boots up and you see the “Slide to Unlock” screen, wait for around 15 seconds (may be more) and your iPhone will pick up the signal of the carrier.

10. If there is no signal pop up, try to pull out the SIM card and re-insert it. Wait for another 15 seconds and see if this works.

11. Cool! Now, your iPhone 3G is unlocked! You should now be able to make calls with your desired carrier.

Important Points for Unlock

  • After you go through all the steps and it still doesn’t work, try to toggle “Fly Mode”. You can go to “Settings” -> Turn ON Fly mode. Then switch it off again. This may help to pickup the carrier signal.
  • Also, sometimes, a network reset will make the thing works. You can go to “Settings” -> “General” -> “Reset” -> “Reset Network Settings” to reset the settings. After that take out the SIM and re-insert it, see if this works.
  • If you’re in US and using T-mobile, you’ll need to turn off “3G” in Settings to make the unlock work.
  • No PIN support. Please disable any PIN on your SIM card in case you have any before using yellowsn0w.

So, it DOESN’T WORK. What else can you do?

Okay, you have tried out all the above procedures and hints. But the unlock is still not working on your iPhone 3G. First, don’t be frustrated and angry. Please accept that yellowsn0w is still in beta and it’s not an easy task for iPhone Dev Team to make it work for all SIM cards and carriers in the world. iPhone Dev Team is working very hard to fix bugs and releasing update to make the software work for you.

So, what else can you do?

  1. At the mean time, you may uninstall yellowsn0w from Cydia and use back the SIM card from the official carrier. And wait for the next update of yellowsn0w. I’ll always keep you informed once the update is available.
  2. Oh, you won’t give up and want to have a 2nd trial. That’s ok. You can always try to pull out the SIM card and re-insert it again for any number of times. That won’t harm.
  3. Finally, you can ask for help. You can consult the iPhone Dev Team blog for help. Or you can leave comment here and other readers that came across a similiar problem, may help.

No matter it works or not, I’m glad you can leave us comment (specifiying your SIM carrier and country) and tell us whether the unlock is a success. Good luck for your iPhone 3G unlock!

Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of simonblog.com

  • Norbert F.

    China mobile
    I had problems with yellowsn0w 0.9.1, nothing worked.
    Now with 0.9.4 it works perfectly, but only after toogling aiplane monde on and off again.
    Thanks for the help of all involved, great tool.

  • Ray

    Yeah happen to me too in Malaysia. It works fine with DiGi (Edge) only for. 0.9.1 but 0.9.4 should work for all. One thing though, need to toggle fly mode once after every reboot.

  • vid

    dev-team rocks!
    simonblog rocks!

    you guys are awesome, it finally worked after using it only as an ipod touch for 2 months.
    it works even having an internal sim proxy inside. kind of faulty though.
    i guess i should have the internal turbo sim removed.

  • Edison

    china mobile

    yep works like a charm!! no more ipod touch for me!! haha

    to norbert:

    hi are u still using a sim adapter and from which source did u install from cydia or installer? are u in shanghai?

  • DC

    Hi Ray, can you try to see if you can get your iPhone works on Maxis network? Please let me know. I’ll travel there soon. Thanks.

  • Chaz

    Hi everybody, thanks for this post Simon-Blog. I’m having a very weird experience. i bought a pay as you go iphone from O2 yesterday. Got it home, followed the instructions and bada-bing bada-boom my Orange contracted sim worked, NO PROBLEMS! I’ve been using it today and also had no problems, they really have done a great job with this. BUT, i was trying something earlier because my friend was sending me a large text message and it didn’t seem to receive them. I turned the phone off, then on again and since then have not been able to get any signal from Orange. I have uninstalled Yelowsn0w through Cydia and re-installed it (upgrading to 0.9.5 in the meantime) but still don’t seem to be having any luck with it finding the Orange network. I have also toggle the airplane switch on and off, most of the time after i turn it back on i get the Sim Failure message. I have also reset the network settings. I have pretty much started from a clean sheet as i did when it worked yesterday but now it won’t work. Strange! Has anybody else had similar problems or does anybody have any suggesstions? Any help would be much appreciated!

  • DC

    Hi anyone, those of you got this to work,
    can you tell me when you install the yellowsn0w, did you use the legal SIM and then put in the 3rd party SIM (T-Mobile, etc) before the reboot? Or use the 3rd party SIM for the entire installation progress. Thanks.

  • vid

    I had the 3rd party sim inside first. but i dont think it has any effects.
    isn’t software unlock used instead of sim unlock anyway?you should be able to use this software instead of sim unlock (sim proxy)

  • Norbert F.

    To Edison.
    No, I only use my SIM card, all works perfect.
    With the turbo SIM and no yellowsn0w I frequently had losses of signal, now with yellowsn0w all works 100%.
    I installed from Cydia and yes, I am in Shanghai.

  • Maky

    Everything worked out fine 4 me. Except that the Phone Application doesn’t work… I mean I cannot call nobody because when I tap the Phone app, it appears for 2-3 sec and then disappears (can’t tap into it). So I go into Contacts to call somebody (or use Fring to call via cellular), but I can’t interrupt the conversation (the other part has to do it). There is a bar at the top of the screen saying “Touch to return to call” but nothing happens when I touch it (it disappears and appears again). Any suggestion? Thanks in advance, greets from Croatia!

  • Pingback: More updated 3g unlock guide « Fattydakid’s Weblog()

  • Ray K

    Does anyone have 3G iPhone with 2.2 FW and yellowsn0w and a China Mobile ShenZhouXing (Easy Own) SIM card working in Beijing?

    I have been trying for the last 2 days to get this working but no luck so far. Sometimes it was finds the China Mobile signal but then after a fews seconds it loses it.

    Ray K

  • It’s great, Simon! I would appreciate your all great works! Thanks to iPhone Dev Team as well.

    I got my iphone unlocked after second times.

    I would share 1 thing is NOT TRY TO PUT ANY SYM when DO JAILBREAK. Just put sim on after reboot (after installed yellowsn0w).

    If anyone has any questions, just let me know email at [email protected]

  • redteq2008

    just unlock my iphone 3g here in the philippines. it’s globe telecom locked but i’m using smart sim now… thanks iphone dev team.

  • Ram

    Hello Simon,

    Thanks for your great assistance!! It worked like a piece-of-cake; No issues at all; I am yet to try another simcard but couldn’t stop expressing my thanks for your valuable input in this blog; I shall keep in touch once I try another service provider.

    iPhone 3G / Version 2.2 / Modem Firmware 02.22.80 / PC (Windows Vista)
    Jailbreaking successful
    Unlocking successful (yet to try with another simcard but no hiccups at all in the above steps mentioned above);
    Carrier: AT&T (USA)


  • Pingback: iPhone unlocked but the dialer now doesn't work... - Hackint0sh()

  • Joon

    Great! It works for me..
    Thank you so much~

  • Stew

    Thanks Dev Team you guys rule on my recent trip in Philippines & Thai land
    with the un-lock i was able to use a local network with buying pre-paid sim cards
    worked like a charm. Got a question i just Un-locked my friends iphone from
    the states . And they are in Japan like i am also it worked great he also has a soft-bank phone i put in the sim card works great but its almost impossible to
    set up his soft-bank e-mail on the iphone i have tried everything yahoo no problem. Can anyone tell my how to get around this problem,because i thought
    that we can store multiple e-mails on the iphone 3G

  • nandy

    yes finally unlock my 3g iphone, yellowsn0w does work,,
    I used the latest update for QUICKPWN to jailbreak the i phone and download
    yellowsn0w from cydia…

    thank you very much…..

  • dEnMlA

    I have jailbroken my iPhone, works fine, intaled yellowsn0w , but cant see any icon for yellowsn0w, plz help 🙁

    • @dEnMIA, there is no icon for yellowsn0w. Once installed, yellowsn0w will be launched automatically to unlock your iPhone 3G.

  • jamesp

    i have jailbroken my wife 3g iphone using yellosn0w, it was really easy
    to do. now i can use any sim card. thanks for the easy step.

  • lakhan lalwani

    i had bought i phone 3g, 16gb….
    its version is 2.2.1(5h11)…. & modern firmware is 02.30.03….
    can i unlock the phone….
    currently i was using it by turbo sim but it gives me some problem…..so i want to unlock it..is it possible…?????????

  • @Iakhan, at this moment, yellowsn0w cannot work with baseband 2.30.03. You may need to wait for the next release.

  • lakhan lalwani

    is there some way i can unlock my i phone by doing it sowngrade to 2.1…
    or else according to u how long will it take to gave unlock details from ur side…

  • demonicSLAYER

    I’m a guy from Manila,PH and got an iPhone 3G 2.2 Firmware and I was able to unlock it with this blog. I really appreciate it. If someone is having trouble please send me an email @ [email protected]. You rock guys!



  • RayGH

    I am waiting for the yellowsn0w for baseband 02.30.03.
    How long would it take, roughly?

  • Sebbat

    Waiting too for 02.30.03 compatible yellowsn0w. Just got a 2.2.1 iphone and cannot use it for now.

  • raj


  • varun

    i have iphone 3g with modem firmware 02.30.03 is there any way so that i can downgrade the baseband or unlock iphone … please reply asap thank you

    • @varun, presently there is no software solution to unlock iPhone 3g with baseband 2.30.03. Also, you can’t downgrade the baseband. You may probably need to wait until iPhone dev team releases the new version of yellowsn0w to tackle this baseband version.

  • I have also the same problem, Turbo Sim is not working fine. after every 10 to 12 hour it’s not working, Please do inform me ehen you complete application for modem firmware 02.30

  • I have also the same problem, Turbo Sim is not working fine. after every 10 to 12 hour it’s not working, Please do inform me ehen you complete application for modem firmware 02.30

  • varun

    thnx simon

  • mimi

    My signal works, I receive calls, and only to dial out from the contact list-but not from the dialer. Please help…

  • Mike

    I did upgrade to 2.2.1 with 2.30.03 firmware!!!

    now I am stuck with a phone that does not work.

    Any help to unlock???

  • Mike

    I upgraded to the new stinking release 2.2.1 with firmware 2.30.03 and now I can not unlock and use any SIM card!!!!!!

    Anyone has a solution? How do we bring it back to old release or unlock this one


  • Mike,
    Dev team is working on the it, 3.0 is released by apple & DEV team is waiting to resolve all issue By Apple in 3.0 beta version after that they release new Application version to unlock the iPhone. For temperary solution please see
    iPhone 3G and accidently update the new firmware 2.2.1 with modem firmware 02.30

  • Mike

    Thanks Sarim!!
    Does this mean only way is to but this turbo sim!!

    No current softway to fix the problem?
    when is DEv team expected to release their new unlock?

  • Yes right now there is no way to unlock it. i spend hundrads of hour to find the solution but nothing worked. Dev Team is the final hope 🙂

  • try magicsim to unlock.

  • Piers

    I have a 1st Generation iPhone that has been jailbroken now, it is updates with all the latest updates and can do everything with it but use it as a phone. I have gone through all the above steps and still nothing. I am on Rogers in Canada and I have an older SIM (3040) and I still can’t find a carrier (also my I have tried putting in a new SIM (one that Rogers gives when you buy a phone) and still the same problem.

    Anyone know what to do from here?

  • Squall

    i have 3g iPhone modem Firmware 04.20.01, version 2.2 (5G77) that has been jailbroken now using yellowsnow but there are no network coverage (when i put in my SIM). can anyone help? – Brunei


    I have a 3g iPhone unlocked on tmobile in the USA. I have the 3g radio turned off tho because it keeps searching for 3g and cant find it and doesn’t go to edge. I have everything running smooth on edge,(with the 3g off) but… I wanted to know if i reset network setting is it going to undo the unlock? I just want to see if that might get it to find the tmobile 3g network. My sim is from my HTC G1. This blog is GRRReat!


    Squall, you prob found this out but it took my phone 15mins to get on edge. If not do everything again. Reset and wait.

  • Aru Tamhane

    Hi Simon, I was trying to unlock my iphone 3G..reached as far as lauching Quickpwn..quickpwn has been trying to “prepare my device for recovery mode” for quite a while..looks like it is stalled..have tried rebooting and restarting the program , it seems to stop at that spot..what do i do?? pls help!

  • Aru

    Hi Simon,
    After 2 1/2 days of jaibreaking, was successful! I had to use a desktop with Windows XP and older version of itunes ..but it all went smoothly finally..
    now am working at unlocking this iphone so that I can use it in India next week.
    Thanks for all ur help..ur tutorials r very precise.

  • alonso

    hi, simon. how to install 3rd application? i can not install any apps. I have a jailbroke iphone. Once I read about disk aid and the steps, but i can not find it anymore. thanks

    • @alonso, if your iPhone is jailbroken, you can simply launch cydia and install 3rd party applications.

  • brandon


    Wondering if anyone has attempted to use an unlocked iPhone with any of the carriers in Taiwan??


  • Rakesh

    Does yellowsnow works in india

  • Kevin

    Worked perfectly. I stupidly downloaded the update and thought I was stuck. I first downgraded my baseband with fuzzyband downgrader from cydia and then used yellowsnow to unlock. I’m on T-mobile. Thanks Dev Team!!!

  • Stephen

    Hi dev team,

    Issue: I am unable to use my (Australia) Telstra Sim card on my iphone. When i insert the sim card the reception status sits on searching.

    Model: 16GB iphone 3G
    OS: 3.0 (7A341)
    Modem Firmware: 05.11.07

    Modifications: Iphone is jailbroken
    Installed: cydia / ultrasnow / yellowsnow

    Any help would be great.

    • @Stephen, yellowsn0w currently doesn’t support baseband (i.e. modem firmware) 05.11.07. Did you upgrade to iPhone OS 3.1 before? For now, one possible solution is to use Fuzzyband to downgrade the baseband to 04.28, which can be unlocked via ultrasn0w.

  • Swede1973

    Hello everyone.
    (iPhone 3G 8GB, 2.2.1, 2.30.03)

    I wish that people could be more eazy going when it comes to explaining how to unlock your iPhone.
    I spent over 5 days trying to find out how to do it and “IF” i could until I came across a very wise man from Canada (no names).
    Since I did not have the original SIM card (O2 here in England) and therefor could not use the 3G or GPRS I had to sit on a free WiFi down town to do this.
    He first told me to download “QuickPwn 2.2.5 and install and run this program. Well I did and it worked fine, I just followed the instructions and 2 min later my phone was “Jailbroken”.
    He then told me to open Cydia and download “Fuzzyband downgrader” and run that on my phone, so I did and it worked fine. It determend that I had the bootloader 5.8 and not the 5.9 and I downgraded my modem firmware from 2.30.03 to 2.28.00 and restarted my phone.
    He then told me to open Cydia again and download yellowsn0w and follow the instructions and install this. So I did and wham bam my phone was unlocked.
    I then had a bit of problems with the internet settings but he told me where to change the carrier settings and now everything works fine.

    My suggestion is: when you explain how to do things in a forum, explain it like if we “the rest of the world” were retards…
    Less frustrations and more joy…

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I’ll try to help.
    hs 73 03 @ hot mail . com


  • Michael

    Any idea when you will have a jailbreak for iPhone on 3.1.2 baseband 05.11.07 also is there a form of turbo sim I can purchase ! Thanks

  • Swede1973


    The Jailbreak for 3.1.2 on 05.11.07 is already out and is called “Blackra1n” unfortunately there is no unlock as of yet…

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