Read this before you get the iPhone 4 from US

by Manshu on December 17, 2010

in Personal Technology

The iPhone 4 is not yet available in India, and a few of you would be asking your relatives or friends to get an iPhone 4 from the US to use it in India.

Before you do that there are at least 4 things that you should know that might surprise you later. These are things that might make your iPhone 4 useless as a phone in India if you aren’t prepared for them.

1. Activate the iPhone 4 in US itself: If you get an iPhone 4 from eBay – it may not even be activated. This means that you can’t do anything at all with the phone. It just shows you a screen saying that it is not activated, and can only be used to make emergency calls. The phone is practically useless in this state, and the simplest way to activate this iPhone 4 is to insert an original AT&T iPhone 4 SIM card, and fire up iTunes. This will activate your iPhone 4, and let you past the first screen. Since it is a lot easier to find someone in the US with a iPhone 4 AT&T SIM card than it is to find one in India, you should ask whoever is bringing you the phone to at least get this done. There are other ways to activate the iPhone 4 called “hactivation” but they are much more complicated, and you would much rather get it activated than hactivated.

  • After this step you will be able to use it as an iPod
  • It will still not allow you to run third party apps.
  • It will still not work with other carriers such as Airtel.

2. Jailbreak your iPhone 4: After you’re past activating the iPhone 4 – you will need to jailbreak it. Jailbreaking does not mean that this phone can be used with any other carrier. It just means that you can run apps that are not approved by the iTunes store on your phone. This is also a pre – requisite to “unlocking” the phone which does allow it to work with other carriers. This has also been deemed legal earlier this year. It’s quite easy, and there is a simple hack by  “limera1n” that allows you to do it in a few minutes. You don’t need an original SIM for this.

  • After this step you will be able to use it as an iPod
  • You will also be able to run third party apps.
  • It will still not work with other carriers such as Airtel.

3. Unlocking your iPhone 4: The next thing you need to do is get your phone “unlocked” which will allow it to work with other carriers like AT&T, Hutch etc.

The key thing to keep in mind is that so far there is no unlock available for iPhone 4 running on iOS 4.1 or 4.2 with a Baseband of 2.10.4 or higher.

To be honest, I don’t know what the Baseband actually means, but before you buy the iPhone 4 – ensure that it is a lower Baseband so that it can be unlocked.

If you have an iPhone 4 with a 2.10.4 Baseband then you will not be able to unlock it right – away. Sooner or later a method will appear to unlock them and at that time you will be able to unlock it, and use it with other carriers, but you will have to wait till that time.

I’ve read a few posts on lowering the Baseband, but those methods don’t look very promising, and seem to be complicated as well. If you’ve not already bought the iPhone 4, then try getting one with a Baseband lower than 2.10.4.

For others – you can unlock the phone with various techniques listed online, and you will be just one step away from using it with your carrier.

  • After this step you will be able to use it as an iPod
  • You will also be able to run third party apps.
  • It will work with other carriers such as Airtel.

There is just one more thing you to do to actually use it though.

4. Cut your SIM to size: The iPhone 4 uses what’s called a micro sim, and is much smaller than your regular SIM. The two share the same technology, and there are quite a few instruction videos online that show you how to cut up a regular SIM to fit in an iPhone 4 and make it work.

iPhone 4 is quite a cool device, and hopefully will start selling in India soon, but if you are getting it from someone in the US – keep all these points in mind. Ideally (at least for you) if the person getting the phone can do all these things for you (except perhaps cutting up the SIM) that will work out the best, as doing these things in the US is always a little simpler than it is to do them in India.

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