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

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If you use ultrasn0w or Gevey SIM to unlock your iPhone, here’s the ultimate guide to safely update to iOS 6.1 while preserving your baseband.

UPDATE: Click here for iOS 6.1.3 tutorial.

UPDATE: If you own an AT&T iPhone, unlock it permanently using this.

Editor's note: learn more by reading our ebook on starting your own iPhone repair & unlock business

You probably have read the following countless times, but if you’re new to using locked iPhone, it may be worthwhile to read and understand the points below:

  • Custom firmware allows you to restore your iPhone without updating the baseband.
  • By preserving the baseband, you can continue unlocking your iPhone; either with ultrasn0w or Gevey SIM depending on your iPhone model or baseband version.
  • There’s no known software method to downgrade your iPhone 4 baseband, once it’s updated, there’s no turning back.
  • With sn0wbreeze 2.9.8 (Windows only), it can untethered jailbreak iOS 6.1 and below.
  • If you’ve downgraded your baseband chip with us before, this guide will be useful for you. Under no circumstances you should restore using stock firmware.

What you need:

  • iPhone 4 with baseband 01.59.00 (unlock with ultrasn0w) or 02.10.4, 03.10.01 and 04.10.01 (unlock with Gevey SIM). Baseband 04.11.08 or 04.12.01 cannot be unlocked or downgraded.
  • iPhone 3GS with baseband 05.11.07, 05.12.01, 05.13.04 or iPad baseband 06.15.00
  • Sn0wbreeze 2.9.8
  • Ultrasn0w Fixer for iOS 6.1
  • Ultrasn0w 1.2.8

Note: Currently, there’s still no way to preserve iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 baseband.

Before you begin, always remember to backup your iPhone.

Part One: Building and Installing Custom iOS 6.1 Firmware (Baseband Preserved)

The first part involves the building and installing custom iOS 6.1 firmware. ‘Hacktivation’ is needed if you don’t have the official SIM card. The second part of this tutorial explains the steps to unlock your iPhone: Part 2(a) is using ultrasn0w for supported baseband only  or Part 2(b) is for Gevey SIM for iPhone 4.

1. Download original iOS 6.1 firmware (IPSW) from here. They are all hosted on Apple’s servers. It’s highly recommended that you save it on your hard drive for future use.

2. Download Sn0wbreeze 2.9.8 from

3. Start sn0wbreeze.

4. Click browse and locate the original iOS 6.1 that you just downloaded.

5. Sn0wbreeze will identify the IPSW file. Click Next.

6. Choose one of the modes below:

  • iFaith Mode: Builds custom iOS and stitches it with your saved SHSH.
  • Expert Mode: Preserves your baseband, will jailbreak and hacktivate (activate).
  • Simple Mode (recommended): Preserves your baseband, will jailbreak and hacktivate.
  • Baseband Preservation Mode: Preserves your baseband, but will not hacktivate or jailbreak. You will need your official SIM card to activate it after restore.

7. Now it will ask you whether you want to hacktivate or not. Select “Yes”. Now wait until sn0wbreeze completes building the custom iOS 6.1 for you.

Once the custom iOS 6.1 is ready you will find it on your desktop. Before restoring your iPhone, you MUST put your iPhone into pwned DFU mode. This allows it to accept custom firmware. Otherwise, you’ll get an error message during restore. iREB will appear as soon as custom firmware is built. You can also access it on the menu bar of sn0wbreeze.

To begin restoring, be sure your iPhone is already in pwned DFU mode (black screen) then launch iTunes, press shift on your keyboard and click restore. Select the custom firmware that was just created. To be sure, the file name always begin with sn0wbreeze_iPhone_xxxxxxx.

If you get error 3194, use this guide to fix it. For other iTunes errors, refer to this.

Part Two (a): Unlock with ultrasn0w fixer from Cydia [for supported baseband only]

Ultrasn0w 1.2.8 is now available.

1. Launch Cydia and add the following repo by going to Manage > Sources > Edit > Add:

2. Search for ultrasn0w fixer for iOS 5.1.1 and install it.

3. Finally, search for ultrasn0w (1.2.7) 1.2.8 and install that.

4. Reboot your device.


Note: Some reported that the ultrasn0w repo is down, see below on how to install ultrasn0w manually (not tested):

a. Download i-FunBox for Windows or DiskAid for Mac.

b. Launch i-FunBox or DiskAid and go to /private/var/root/Media.

c. Inside Media folder create a folder called Cydia.

d. Now inside Cydia folder create an AutoInstall folder. Note: The folder name is case-sensitive so be sure to name it accurately. It should look something like this:


e. Extract the zip file below into the folder above. Reboot iPhone.




Part Two (b): Unlock with Gevey SIM [for iPhone 4 baseband 02.10.01, 03.10.01 or 04.10.01 only]

1. Eject your SIM tray and reboot your iPhone.

2. Once restarted, unlock your screen. Turn off 3G and cell data (you can turn these on later). Insert your SIM tray along with your SIM card and Gevey SIM.

3. Wait for Accept Screen. Tap Accept.

4. You will see No Service (in iOS 4.x, you will see one signal bar). Wait for 15-20 seconds and dial 112. Hang up after 1-2 seconds.

5. Turn on Airplane Mode and wait for ‘NO SIM CARD INSTALLED’ message. Turn off Airplane Mode and you will see ‘SIM FAILURE’ and tap OK. Your iPhone will connect to your network now.

Finally, if you’re having issues with your device not showing up in iTunes after running sn0wbreeze, install the evasi0n untether from Cydia.

That’s it! Your iPhone is now unlocked on iOS 6.1 along with untethered jailbreak. Everyone’s a happy camper!

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Safely Update iPhone 4 or 3GS to iOS 6.1 (Preserve Baseband) with Sn0wbreeze 2.9.8 Custom Firmware was last modified: April 14th, 2013 by Joe Wang

Comments & Discussion

  1. Hi there.
    I have a jailbroken iphone 3gs 16gb, bb 6.15.00, running ios 5.1.1. Is this method still working now that ios 6.1.3 has come out? I have a jailbroken iphone that is not visible in itunes anymore. Would it be a good idea to reset it to factory setting using dfu mode in itunes?


  2. hi iphonerepair. i badly need your help. i tried to update my iphone 4 ios 5.1.1 to 6.1 following instructions above, updated the itunes but everytime i do the restore i keep getting the 3194 error after adding values on my host file… i'm really hoping that i can use my iphone again… :(

  3. Hi there,

    I have followed that instruction but when I restore by itunes, it stopped. My internet connection is good.
    It says that itunes can not contact apple server or the web is temporary unavailable.
    I need your help.
    Thanks so much before

  4. Why is it that when I try to download sn0wbreeze 2.9.8 what i always get is 2.9.14? can this be done with 2.9.14 as well, if not can anyone please provide me with the correct sn0wbreeze link? Thanks

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