So I spend several hours this weekend trying to restore my wife's iPhone 3GS. As if we don't have enough Apple stories, I'll still share this one. Originally, sim-locked on AT&T service, we had to get it “fixed” for use overseas. I had this routine done “professionally” by a local kid, making some extra dough on the side.
This time though, wanton for punishment, I decided to do it myself. Once I restored the phone through the regular iTunes channel (easy part), I started realizing how complicated this was going to be. A 4.1 version software with a 05.15.00 band wasn't going to be easily “fixed”. Luckily, the phone was an “older” 3GS model (could you believe that matters too?!), something you can figure out by reading the serial number where 3 numbers tell you the week and year of production!
Once I used redsn0w to get it “jailbroke”, the unlocking part would not happen (because of the band). So, I had to not only fix the software but also upgrade the band to 06.15.00. This I did and then went through Cydia to unlock the phone using “ultrasn0w” (all these tools have weird names!), and got everything working alhamdulilah! But as I continued my pangas (a choice Urdu word for “messing”), the phone went back into recovery mode, needing another restore! Only then, I realized what “cannot be downgraded” meant (a warning that popped up when I was changing the band). So iTunes would keep getting stuck at the band, and giving a “1015 error”.
I had to then beg HE Shaykh Google to find instructions that provided tips for the fix, landing on a video that showed how I needed to download a “custom” firmware that allowed the phone to be restored without messing with the band. Once done, I had to go back through the initial routine, and voila, after 8 hours of pangas, I had a restored, unlocked phone! Funnily enough, though it wasn't that funny at the time, the problem with the signal that led to me into the restore activity didn't get fixed.
Okay, so I have bored you enough but you can imagine my frustration trying to decode geek language? But it was a nice learning exercise and I feel like a bit of expert now (feel free to use our new “Ask geek Amad iphone questions” feature).
Trying to relate this iPhone exercise to a post on MuslimMatters was my next challenge. I was thinking of how Apple has probably deliberately left security holes (the conspiracy theorist I am ; ) ) in their devices, to “allow” the “fixing” to happen so that they can sell more devices! I mean the AT&T (for instance) locking deal only helps AT&T help Apple sell more phones. So, what's wrong with squeezing a few extra sales on the side?
And, here's my stretch analogy (excuse the cheesiness… it's just an open thread after all!), mankind similarly has these built-in, by-design, flaws, entrances for shaytan to get into our system and hack them for diversion of our fitrahs to other than the “pure”, warrantied network of Tawheed. But it takes great efforts and significant reprogramming to divert it. In other words, man has to dispose himself to corrupting his fiṭrah in order to redirect his worship to other than Allāh. The concept of Qada wal Qadr is also reinforced. Ultimately Allāh has willed what will happen to you, but it is you who makes the choices (the effort) for corruption, that leads you to that ultimate will. Without these flaws, mankind would be perfect and there would be no test left.
So forgive me for sharing my less than exciting activity of the weekend and the closest thing to a lesson that I could extract from it. One advice though, if you are in a similar boat: Take the iPhone to a pro and spend 8 hours reading a good Islamic book. You'll definitely get more out of it : )
What exciting activity did you engage in over the last week and what amazing lessons did you extract from it? : )