How I put my old Cingular SIM in my iPhone and made it work...

Originally published July 18, 2007
Updated October 2, 2011 with initial 10 steps and new download links for nostalgia purposes.

First I must say all thanks go to the amazing people in the iPhone development team (they don't like links to their site because of bandwidth issues). I especially want to thank "iZsh", "nightwatch", "daeken" and "roxfan" and the rest of the hard working programmers for providing to everyone, the code needed to use other SIMs in the iPhone. I also want to thank a couple of my fellow chatters in the room "Dionisis" for sharing his walkthrough with me when he figured out how to do this and "aPPlewEEd" for catching an obvious error of mine that stumped me somewhere around 2 a.m. and kept me from getting this working.

This procedure does NOT unlock the iPhone after doing this, it still remains carrier dependent. But you can now use most any AT&T (pre-Cingular renaming) or Cingular pre-paid account (mine is from a contract that ran out) or any virtual operator's SIM card that uses the AT&T and Cingular network. This also works for corporate accounts. It has been brought to my attention that if your ICCID number begins with 893103801060, then you have an old style AT&T SIM and this procedure will not work.

This method is for those who live in the United States and can get access onto the AT&T network. Please send all inquiries about service to AT&T. I don't work for AT&T, I can't answer your account questions, nor do I know anything about rate plans or what would work best for you.

Ok, so grab your iPhone, shut it down and remove the AT&T SIM that it came with. Now get the SIM that you want to use in the iPhone and write down the 19 or 20 digit number that is on the card. This number will be referred to later as the ICCID. If your number is illegible, you may be able to determine what this number is by using it in your old phone.

The only other method of determining the ICCID would be to download the iPhone Tool here. Unzip the download. There is a file called tool in it, put it on your desktop. Open the Terminal, type: cd dekstop   Then type: ./tool   Then, with your iPhone connected to your computer and iTunes closed, type: --activate   Now go to the iPhone and press Settings > General > About and scroll down to get your ICCID. Disconnect the cable for the iPhone and close the Terminal. Restart the Terminal and type: cd desktop   Then type: ./tool   Then, with your iPhone connected to your computer and iTunes closed, type: --deactivate   When you get the number, put the SIM into the iPhone.

Step 1.

Make sure your iPhone is docked and charged.


Step 2.

From iTunes, make sure you have a backup of your phone and all settings (if you want to keep them). Simply connect the iPhone to your computer and iTunes will sync your iPhone. Automatically backed-up information includes text messages, notes, call history, contact favorites, sound settings, widget settings, certain network settings, and other preferences.

Step 3.

For Mac users, quit iTunes. Don't just minimize it, shut it down. If you have the iTunes Helper open, you must quit that as well. To determine if they are running, open the Activity Monitor program found in the Utilities folder inside of the Applications folder. If it is running, highlight it in the list and click the "Quit Process" button.


Step 4.

Make sure the iPhone is on.

Step 5.

Download the software restore file from Apple. Click here. Once the file is downloaded, most browsers may automatically decompress the file and leave a folder called iPhone1,1_1 on your desktop. If your browser did not do this, and you have an .ipsw file instead, then rename the extension to .zip and decompress it yourself.

Note: do not place newer firmware files in this folder!

Step 6.

Create a folder called phonedmg in your home folder.


Step 7.

Place the software restore files you downloaded from Apple (the iPhone1,1_1 folder) into the phonedmg folder. Do not place the whole folder in here, just what's in the folder.


Step 8.

Download the "jailbreak" program here. Put this file into the phonedmg folder.


Step 9.

Download the iPhoneInterface (v 0.3.3) program here. Put this file into the phonedmg folder.

Update: You might want to consider using the iPhone Utility Client (iPHUC) instead. It adds more commands to the iPhoneInterface program (which is no longer being maintained). Read about this here.


Step 10.

Download the original Services.plist file
from here Put this file into the phonedmg folder. You have now completed all the initial preparatory steps needed to mod the iPhone. You will never have to repeat these steps, provided you do not delete anything in the phonedmg folder.


Step 11.

Go to your Applications folder and then go into the Utilities folder and find the program called Terminal. You should move this to your dock for easier access. Note that when typing in the terminal, everything is case sensitive. So watch your capital letters and lower case letters. Do not interchange them, they won't work.


Step 12.

Start Terminal and type: cd phonedmg    Then press the enter key. You'll see you are now in the phonedmg directory where all of your files that you downloaded earlier should be.


Step 13.

Type: ./jailbreak    Then press the enter key. You should see the text "Looking for iPhone..."   If you don't, then you did something wrong.


It will next say:


Step 14.

Press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button for a full 25 seconds.


The iPhone will restart in recovery mode. At this point the iTunes program may open, so close it.


Note: If you have iTunes 7.3.1 it won't launch automatically when you go into recovery mode. Continue to Step 15.

Note: If you have iTunes 7.3.054 go back to the Terminal window running jailbreak and press and hold the CTRL key while pressing the C key. You have to do this because jailbreak tells you to go into recovery mode, and doesn't give you a prompt to kill the shell process.

At the new prompt type ./jailbreak    Then press the enter key. A few additional lines of text will appear as the iPhone is modified. This process may take up to one minute and it won't look like anything is happening, but trust me, jailbreak is busy. What until you get a screen similar to the one below.


Step 15.

Open a Finder window and navigate to ~/Library/Lockdown There should be a .plist file there. It will have a long alphanumeric name. You'll need to grab that name (except for the .plist part) later. That alphanumeric string is the iPhone's device ID. The number here is a dummy string but will match the examples provided in these instructions.


Step 16.

Download the iAsign program here. Unzip the file and copy the file iPhoneActivation.pem, which is in the bin folder, to your phonedmg folder.

Step 17.

Go back to the Terminal and type: ./iPhoneInterface    Then press the enter key.

Now type: cd /System/Library/Lockdown    Then press the enter key.

Then type: putfile iPhoneActivation.pem    Then press the enter key.


Step 18.

Open another Terminal. Do NOT close the Terminal you had open in Step 17. We are opening a second Terminal because I think the less you have to cd around (changing directories) the less chance there is for error.

Type: cd desktop    Then press the enter key.

Type: cd iASign    Then press the enter key.

Type: cd bin    Then press the enter key.


You now need to enter a very long command into the Terminal. Here it is without any data yet:
./iASign.mac <private key file> <device ID> <IMEI> <ICCID> <output_filename>

Here's an example of what this command will look like with the data entered.

./iASign.mac iPhoneActivation_private.pem 899f76df3vgbvnmp2693333330f3wq49258d636y3 33245888222222999 8888839339393213333322 whateveryouwant.plist

It's not as hard as it looks.   Hey do you wanna do this or not? ;)   Most of it is cut and paste.

So now we need to get the information for everything that goes within the brackets. Let's use the same colors we used above to help us here. The first item is the private key file. The value for this is iPhoneActivation_private.pem which you should recognize from the iASign/bin folder.

Next is the device ID which you found earlier in Step 15.

Now you need the iPhone's IMEI which you can get off the back of the retail box.

Next you need the ICCID from the SIM card you want to put into the iPhone. You should have written this number down before Step 1. because the SIM is now in the iPhone!

The final thing is the output_filename which is what the iASign program will create when you enter the very long command in the Terminal. Call it whateveryourwant.plist

You might want to type all this information into a text editor to get it just so. Then just copy and paste the whole thing into the Terminal. Double check everything you type before you enter it! Here's what it all looks like when you enter the command and press enter/return.


The program should generate your plist file instantly and place it with the other iASign files in the bin folder.


Step 19.

Now you need to get the program called iPhone Tool which you can get here.

Unzip the download. There is a file called "tool" in it. Copy that into your iASign/bin folder where the whateveryouwant.plist file is.

Open a new Terminal window. Type: cd desktop    Then press the enter key.

Then type: cd iASign    Then press the enter key.

And type: cd bin    Then press the enter key.

If you need to deactivate your iPhone because you bypassed activation with it earlier to use it as an iPod with Wi-Fi, then type: ./tool --deactivate   If you are unable to deactivate, try unplugging the iPhone and plugging it back in again, also try rebooting the computer and the phone. As a last resort the restore option in iTunes may be necessary.

For everyone else out there type: ./tool --activate whateveryouwant.plist


You should still have another Terminal open that is still running iPhoneInterface (remember we opened this during Step 12. to jailbreak with?) Go to it and confirm that you are still at /System/Library/Lockdown   If not, cd there.

Now type: putfile Services.plist

Then type: exit


Power down the iPhone, disconnect the cable, and turn it back on. Your phone should now recognize your SIM and confirm that the iPhone is activated now.


If your phone is still not activated, then you either did something wrong in these instructions or your SIM is not compatible. You could try going to your provider or calling them to have them replace your SIM with a modern one. Of course you should not tell them that you want this new SIM specifically for using in the iPhone.

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