iPhone Hacking: Vocabulary and Applications Defined

As a Canadian starting out on a quest to obtain the almighty “Jesus Phone”, there is some terminology you should try to understand before you jump into the scene. It may sound complicating reading about terms such as “jailbreaking”, “unlocking”, “firmware”, “baseband”, “iBrickr”, etc. I’m going to try and explain the terms and applications you should know about. It was confusing to me at first, but once you can understand this, you will be armed with the knowledge to do anything you want with your new iPhone!

Activate – this means to bypass the iTunes activation screen on new iPhones.

Jailbreak – this means to “open” up your iPhone so that 3rd party applications can be installed. This opens up your iPhone so you can access it via your computer. Most of the time jailbreaking also activates your iPhone.

Unlock – this means to “free” your iPhones baseband firmware, allowing you to use your iPhone with ANY SIM card with any network. Since we’re in Canada, this means either a SIM from Rogers or Fido. One of the major unlock programs is called anySIM.

Bricking – this is the process of causing your iPhone to no longer work or function, making it a heavy paperweight and useless. Hence the term “brick”. By the way, bricking is BAD! 😉

Virginize – this refers to “resetting” your iPhone to its original state. If you plan on upgrading your iPhone from firmware version 1.0.2 —>1.1.1, you must “virginize” your iPhone first.

Firmware – this refers to the version of software that has been installed on your iPhone. It can range from 1.0.0, 1.0.2, 1.1.1, and 1.1.2 at the the current moment.

Modem Firmware – this refers to the version of your iPhone’s phone software (to make calls). Check out the corresponding Modem Firmware and iPhone Firmware chart below:

Modem Firmware iPhone Firmware
03_12_06_G Firmware Version 1.0.0
03_14_08_G Firmware Version 1.0.2
04_01_13_G Firmware Version 1.1.1
04_02_13_G Firmware Version 1.1.2

iBrickr – the one program that changed it all for PC users to modify and hack their iPhones! Currently this program only works with firmware version 1.0.2, although some have made it work for 1.1.1…


Installer – Also known as AppTapp Installer, this program installs 3rd party programs on your iPhone via a wireless connection (either WiFi or Edge). By installing various “sources” (aka websites that contain programs) you can have access of the many excellent community written programs out there.

AppTapp Installer by Nullriver

anySIM – this was the long awaited FREE GUI (graphical user interface) program used by millions of iPhone users to unlock their iPhones!


Springboard: the home screen on the iPhone that shows all the program icons, such as Safari, Mail, Camera, Maps, YouTube, etc.

iPhone Dev Team – this community of experts are the ones behind the breakthroughs in hacking your precious iPhone.

iphoneSimFree (aka IPSF) – this group was one of the first to come out with a paid unlock of the iPhone ($60CDN).

That should be enough for you to digest for now. Now, when you talk to your other iPhone hacking buddies, you’ll have a good understanding of what the heck they are talking about! Until next time, feel free to ask me any questions through my Contact page.

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