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iPhone unlocking service providers shut down

About two weeks ago we told you about several websites that seemed to spring up overnight offering genuine iPhone unlocking. By "genuine" we mean the unlocks didn't require any hacks or jailbreaks as the websites appeared to directly access Apple's database and add IMEI device identifiers to it, which then told iTunes to unlock the iPhone the next time it was plugged in.

We also warned readers that they should be extremely careful if they take advantage of these services as there was no telling if Apple would relock the phone if it noticed unauthorized IMEIs being unlocked. Well, as of today, all those websites offering iPhone unlocks have mysteriously shut down.

Yes, mysteriously. Even the websites themselves don't know what happened -- or where the unlocks were coming from. "To tell you the truth, first our supplier told us there were server issues, then after that they just told us that they will not be offering the service anymore," CutYourSim.com told Cult of Mac. "We are not sure where the service comes from, or whether it's a contact through AT&T or Apple. We do know that the service is performed in the UK, but that's about it."

The fact that so many sites sprung up overnight offering these unlocks and have now shut down just as quickly leads one to believe that there was just one individual or small group with access to Apple's databases. It's possible that Apple quickly found out who this group or individual was and stopped their "services" cold.

Once they were cut off, since the websites that sold the service were acting as nothing more than a middleman, they had no choice but to cease the sale of all unlocking services. There's no word yet on whether people who unlocked their iPhones through the service have found them locked again, but CutYourSim.com is offering refunds for those who paid and have not had their iPhones unlocked yet. The same site also notes that, in little more than a week, 400 people paid them for access to the unlocking service.

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