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Apple: unlock may damage, void warranty

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Mon September 24, 2007

Unlock may void warranty

Apple on Monday officially said that it will not cover under warranty iPhones that have been damaged due to circulating unlock hacks, but stopped short of voiding the warranty of all hacked phones -- including those that have third-party applications installed. The company said that unlocking an iPhone may render an iPhone useless after applying future software updates: "Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed."

Apple said plans to release the next iPhone software update, containing many new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store later this week.

"Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones," Apple said in a statement. "Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone's warranty."

Apple's stance on servicing iPhones that have been hacked to run third-party applications remains unclear as some stores contacted by MacNN insisted that phones would not be covered under Apple warranty even if the problems stemmed from a hardware (or un-related) device failure. Other stores report that hardware damage determined not to be caused by installation of third-party applications may be covered but would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Earlier this weekend, some users reported that hacked iPhones -- specifically those with third-party apps installed -- have been rejected for warranty service, but that after restoring the iPhones with the original software, they were successful in obtaining warranty service. Others reports claim that some stores have blacklisted their iPhones for service.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds like a warrning

    I thought the laws were change to stop cell phone makers from locking down cell phones!


    Joined: Dec 1969


    LINK Please

    Where is this official notice posted on Apple site?

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I call BS on this one. Irreparable damage to SOFTWARE? Yeah, right!

  1. chas_m



    fair warning

    This is your fair warning. If future Apple updates (which will NOT be tested against every third-party hack out there) renders your iPhone a brick, THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM.

    That seems fair to me. You want to be on the bleeding edge? Fine, but why should that be Apple's problem?

    If you simply MUST hack around with your iPhone, hey that's cool -- just be sure you have a way to UNDO WHAT YOU DID and restore back to factory condition until the iPhone is out of warranty.

    This doesn't seem the least bit unreasonable or unwarranted to me.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Legally their hardware warranty is written to cover defects in hardware and workmanship and as such can not be tied to software, if the phone experiences a hardware failure that is the result of say a bad screen/touch panel etc, their warranty requires by law that they fix it, whether you have hacked it or not. There are further limitations put on apple about how they can deny warranty service in certain states. CA and NJ are the best places to be to get good warranty coverage.

  1. rjwill246

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You are DEAD wrong!! The agreement covers all attempts to alter the software... If you attempt to change this you are on your own and Apple is NOT obligated to help you.

  1. hezekiahb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Chances are the market demand will eventually open iPhones to native 3rd party apps. I doubt however that this will extend to free apps unless Apple offers an iTunes free app section similar to how some podcasts are free while others you buy.

    In the end once 3rd party apps go native developers need to work with Apple, not against them, to provide the consumer the best experience.

    Hackers, you ought to know by now no one is going to help the hackers, even Steve Jobs (who was once a hacker himself).

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    unlocking modifies the firmware. If I hack the firmware in my DVD player, it's going to void my warranty too. Why would anyone expect anything different from Apple?

    I have to laugh at all this unlocking business. If customers refused to purchase subsidized locked phones from carriers, we wouldn't see this practice today.

  1. bleee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone unlock

    Actually the majority of the people out there who hacked their iPhones only wanted to use their iPhones in a different country. If Apple just sold the iPhone unlocked regardless of visual voice mail or no visual voice mail they would save everyone alot of headaches. It's pretty clear that AT&T isn't subsidizing the cost of the iPhone which means the consumer incurs the the full cost I don't see why they have to lock it to AT&T atleast not outside of the US

  1. LotsaWires

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't care

    I've been on T-Mobile for nine years - since Voicestream days. Never had reception problems anywhere I went. I got my iPhone on AT&T and the reception absolutely sucked. I had so many dropped and fading calls it was ridiculous - more bars...HA!

    My iPhone dies and AT&T couldn't get it reactivated after a restore, new SIM(s), etc. Down for a week. While they screwed around endlessly the software unlock came out. I went to the Genius Bar, got a new iPhone, took it home, and immediately unlocked it for T-Mobile. Called AT&T and told them to stuff it.

    I've been a happy iPhone customer on T-Mobile since the software unlock came out. No dropped calls in over a week! Have loaded Summerboard with the Leopard theme and the OS X wallpapers - looks very classy and way better than stock.

    In short - iPhone...great product and best phone out there. AT&T...suck it guys. How does AT&T get full bars to appear on the phone yet the signal is total dogcrap?

    If Apple decides to s**** up unlocked phones with their updates I guess no more updates for me. I'm happy right now. Don't need iTMS on the go anyway and I have never been to Starbucks.

    As far as warranty - oh well. At $399 if it lasts a year the T-Mo vs. AT&T savings make up for it. I get 3K anytime mins + unlimited SMS + unlimited data + free nights/weekends for $79/month on T-Mo.

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