How to Downgrade iPhone 3GS iOS 6.1 Baseband 5.16.08 to 5.13.04 for Unlocking

(Last Updated On: June 19, 2020)

Accidentally updated to iOS 6.1 and found out your iPhone 3GS is locked or stuck in recovery mode? This is a proven working solution. Be warned though, it may take you some time if you’re new to jailbreaking.

This will be a lengthy process so if you have an AT&T iPhone 3GS, you can save all the troubles and unlock it permanently using this. If you have a non-AT&T iPhone, check our Store for a possible factory unlocking solution.

First of all, please be aware that the untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.1 is expected to be released very soon (maybe this Sunday, Feb 3) and baseband 5.16.08 can’t be unlocked.

However, it’s still possible to unlock your iPhone by updating the baseband to 6.15.00 and then downgrading to 5.13.04.

  • Baseband version 5.13.04 allows you to unlock your iPhone 3GS with ultrasn0w.
  • Baseband 6.15.00 is an iPad baseband which can break your GPS. Read the risks here.
  • In order to downgrade to 5.13.04, you must update it to 6.15.00 first. Unfortunately, there’s no direct way of downgrading it to 5.13.04.
  • If you’re stuck in recovery mode, most likely you already have baseband 6.15.00 installed and iTunes won’t complete the restore.

Confusing? That’s OK. Read on…

WARNING: If you have the new iPhone 3GS 8GB, read this first. Othewise, by installing the iPad baseband, you will brick the chip and there’s no software fix available!

Did you read and understand all the risks? OK, let’s proceed.

Apple is still signing iOS 4.1 which you need to downgrade your iPhone 3GS to. The reason why you need to downgrade to iOS 4.1 first is so that you can update your baseband to 6.15.00, which allows you to downgrade it to 5.13.04.

[Final warning: Proceed at your own risks!]

Part 1: Downgrade to iOS 4.1

1. Backup your contacts, photos, apps etc. (probably not possible at this stage) Remove your SIM card.

2. Download iOS 4.1 firmware for iPhone 3GS or from here.

3. Download redsn0w 0.9.8rc18 for Windows or Mac.

4. Download latest version of TinyUmbrella from here.

5. Remove iTunes and install iTunes 10.4.1 for Windows (32-bit) or Mac.

6. Put your iPhone into DFU mode. See YouTube video here.

7. Launch iTunes, connect your iPhone, hold down the SHIFT for Windows or Option for Mac while you click the RESTORE button in iTunes and select the iOS 4.1 firmware file you have just downloaded. If you get an iTunes error 3194, read here on how to fix it.

8. The restore will end with error 1015 and recovery loop on the iPhone, this can be resolved using the “Exit Recovery” button in TinyUmbrella.

Part 2: Installing iPad baseband 6.15.00

9. Start redsn0w 0.9.6rc18.

10. Browse for the iOS 4.1 firmware you just downloaded.

11. Select ‘Install Cydia’ and ‘Install iPad Baseband’. Warning: installing iPad baseband will break your GPS, if you have the new 3GS made after week 28 of 2011, it does not support the iPad baseband. We will downgrade to 5.13.04 later for the GPS fix. Once again, if you have an AT&T iPhone 3GS, unlock it using this.

12. Follow on screen instructions to put your device into DFU mode to begin the jailbreak.

13. When the process is done, you will find that your iPhone is now jailbroken on iOS 4.1 with iPad baseband 6.15.00. To make sure you can always go back to iOS 4.1, launch Cydia and select ‘Make my life easier.’

Part 3: Downgrading to baseband 5.13.04 (GPS Fix)

14. Now download redsn0w 0.9.14b2 that can downgrade iPad baseband to 5.13.04 for Windows or Mac.

15. Launch redsn0w. Go to Extras > Select IPSW button in redsn0w to point to the original firmware you downloaded in Step 2.

16. Do a controlled shutdown of your iPhone (“slide to power off”).

17. Return to the first screen and click ‘Jailbreak’. Check the ‘Downgrade from iPad baseband’ checkbox, uncheck Cydia and click Next.

18. Redsn0w will start doing the downgrade and you will see ‘Flashing Baseband’ screen on your iPhone with the Pawnapple icon. DO NOT INTERRUPT your iPhone while baseband flashing is in progress.

19. When done, your iPhone will reboot itself and you will now have iOS 4.1 with baseband 5.13.04 that can be unlocked with ultrasn0w.

20. You may want to update to iOS 5.1.1 which has untethered jailbreak and can also be unlocked with ultrasn0w 1.2.7. Use this tutorial here (it’s for baseband 6.15.00 but will work for any baseband). You can install iOS 5.1.1 only if you have the SHSH saved on Cydia or locally.

If you’re happy with iOS 4.1 and would like to unlock it, read on…

Part 4: Unlock with ultrasn0w

21. Launch Cydia from Springboard (home menu).

22. Search for ultrasn0w on Packages in Cydia. If you cannot find it, add new sources by typing ultrasn0w repo: (with zero, not o).

23. Install Ultrasnow 1.2.7 1.2.8

24. Reboot your iPhone.

25. Turn off 3G and insert your SIM card. It should pick up your mobile signal.

Part 5: Update to iOS 6.1 by Preserving your Baseband and then Unlock with Ultrasn0w (Fixer).

The super guide is here:

Safely Update iPhone 4 or 3GS to iOS 6.1 (Preserve Baseband) with Sn0wbreeze 2.9.8 Custom Firmware

Since the untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.1 is scheduled for release soon, we suggest that you wait for it. We will updatethis post as soon as it becomes available and the right tool to preserve your baseband has been released. In the meantime, you can stay on your current iOS version.

Not too difficult right? If you follow the exact instructions, 99% of the time this will work.

Good luck and leave your comments or questions below. If I missed anything, please let me know.

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