Apple: If your iPhone is bricked because you used unauthorized software, you should buy a new one

“Since Monday, Apple officials have been warning iPhone owners that using unlocking software could cause the phone to become “permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.” But in many cases those warnings went unheeded,” Katie Hafner reports for The New York Times.

“People who had unlocked their phones to use them with another carrier ran the greatest risk of, in techie terms, having them ‘bricked’ — rendered about as useful as a brick. Most of those who committed the lesser transgression of installing programs not authorized by Apple simply had those programs wiped out,” Hafner reports.

“The update has [also] made the iPhone ‘almost impervious to any third-party hacks,’ said Erica Sadun, a technical writer in Denver who has created more than a dozen programs for the iPhone, including the screen-shot program and a popular voice recorder,” Hafner reports.

Hafner reports, “Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman, said that when people went to update their software with their computer through iTunes, a warning appeared on the computer screen, making it clear that any unauthorized modifications to the iPhone software violated the agreement that people entered into when they bought the phone. ‘The inability to use your phone after making unauthorized modifications isn’t covered under the iPhone warranty,’ Ms. Bowcock said.”

Hafner reports, “There were reports online that employees at Apple stores were reviving or replacing some dead iPhones. But Ms. Bowcock did not offer much hope to iPhone owners with problems: ‘If the damage was due to use of an unauthorized software application, voiding their warranty, they should purchase a new iPhone.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When companies start to support unsupported hacks, we’ll be sure to let Webster’s et al. know, so they can change the definition of “unsupported.”

That said, Apple, if you plan an iPhone SDK or a “Made for iPhone” plan to distribute authorized third-party apps via iTunes Store for the iPhone, right about now would be a good time to announce it:


  1. LOL
    I bet you’ll think first next time, as your standing in line with your iBrick to buy a new one. As a matter of fact, I heard if you stick a fork into the vents in your stereo, it improves the audio quality, at least that’s what i heard ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Hey Steve:

    1. Third Party apps ARE the killer app for the iPhone. Why can’t you see this?

    2. The day you came out and said Apple would not deliberately break third party apps I installed them. That implied they are OK with you – you could have said don’t do it then and there. You need to quickly differentiate those using third party apps WITH AT&T;and those that unlocked the phone. Unlockers knew they were on shaky ground but you all but said I could run my apps.

    3. I, like many, will continue to run 1.02 until you either add enough functionality to the iPhone yourself or until third party apps are at least tolerated in a firmware release.

  3. Sorry Luke, but the force is not with you on this one. Apple’s iPhone warrantee is pretty straightforward. Your warrantee will be void and null if you fsck with the iPhone. So users did that, the iPhone doesn’t work, and they want Apple to pay. Who is responsible here?

  4. What the whiners will never understand is that integration of hardware and software requires a corresponding lack of hackability. Not only this, but these techie masturbators were warned REPEATEDLY and still they whine. Guys, real hackers understand and accept the risks.

    Grow up and shut up. No-one cares about how much you were injured when you can’t even read!

  5. Uhm…if I installed crappy, unsupported shareware on my MBP that ended up bricking it (or even a Bit Torrent-d copy of a legit program), would Apple be expected to provide me a new laptop? Don’t. Think. So. You want the iPhone to work with other carriers? Go get a Pearl, and wait 3 years, jackasses. Save the drama for yo’ mamma.

  6. If you haven’t hacked your iPhone, you’re missing out on some of the best things about the iPhone. I don’t understand why people are surprised the update can brick the iPhone considering Apple gave warning about what could happen to a hacked iPhone few days before the update was released. If you had a hacked or unlocked iphone, common sense should tell you to wait until another version of apptapp or unlocking software is released for firmware 1.1.1 before you do the software update. I haven’t updated yet since a hacked iPhone is far superior to anything 1.1.1 has to offer.

  7. I drove my car into a lake, but my modifications didn’t work, and it sank. Now the manufacturer won’t pay for the crane and even says I voided my warranty. Should I sue?

    I didn’t think so.

  8. Sunlokyee is right.

    If you hack your iPhone, and you want Apple to support it, you’re knocking on the wrong door. The hacked system isn’t an Apple product, it’s now a hacker product. Get support from the source: the hacker.

  9. The problem isn’t with the iPhone becoming a brick, it is with Apple not allowing 3rd part apps. This is from a long time (since Apple IIe) supporter. How many times have we heard that lack of software is the reason why people bought a winblows machine? The new paradigm has shifted from desktops to mobile (iPhone) computing, and Apple is poised to dominate if they would only allow 3rd party apps. Sadly, it seems they are going to shoot themselves in the foot again.

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