What is this iPhone Unlock Activation Ticket, Anyway?

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Many iPhone users have recently unlocked their iPhones using loktar_sun’s SAM unlock method. The unlock was done via Apple’s “activation ticket.” What is this activation ticket anyway? Read on…

UPDATE: Tired of jailbreaking and unlocking? Make your AT&T iPhone officially unlocked here or if yours is locked to other network, click here.

Activation is basically a process by which a new or recently restored iPhone can get by the “Emergency Call Screen” and it also enables your iPhone to connect to a cellular network.

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

The code or “ticket” that allows activation resides in the iOS lockdownd folder.

When you connect your iPhone after a full restore, iTunes generates an Activation Token and sends it to Apple’s activation server. Once the Activation Token is validated, the server will generate a WildcardTicket and signs it with Apple’s private key.

The WildcardTicket is then used for activating your iPhone’s baseband. It is stored in the file “/var/root/Library/Lockdown/activation_records/wildcard_record.plist”. It has all the information about SIM or network unlocks. Factory-unlocked iPhones receive a WildcardTicket that permits any SIM card.

Apple’s “Albert” servers handle all iDevice related activations which was recently patched by Apple to discontinue any “fake” activations via loktar_sun’s SAM unlock method.

The iPhone needs a cellular data connection for the first time, after the activation in iTunes. You can make calls if an alert says “iPhone is activated”.

Each ticket is unique to each SIM card and iPhone so this is the reason why you’re not able to use your saved activation ticket on multiple devices.

I hope that wasn’t too technical… but that’s basically how your iPhone gets unlocked. This ticket is valid for 3 years so it’s vital that you save it in case you need to do a full restore on your iPhone.

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via iPhonewiki and image courtesy 365daysofdesign.org

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Comments & Discussion

  1. I have SAM back up. Right now I am on 2.0.10 baseband, but I want to update my baseband to 4.11.08 with 5.0.1 ios. Is it possible with SAM backup on the new ios5.0.1?

  2. May I ask, could I still connect my iPhone to iTunes without losing my unlock? I am afraid to connect my iPhone to my computer because I am afraid to lose my unlock.. Thanks for your response.

  3. i restored my iphone and my ios and Baseband were updated. i unlocked my iphone using SAM. but after the restore my phone says searching then no service. can anyone please tell me how to fix this.

  4. Rehan: Yes u can, i have updated my iphone 4 from firmware 5.0.1 baseband 04.10.01 To firmware 5.1.1 baseband 04.12.01 and work great Just update your Iphone activate vith original sim card if you have its better for you because Face time dont work if you Hacktivate with redsnow or SAM than Jailbreak your iphone 4 activated with Absinth 2.0 , Use ifunbox got to /var/root/library/ delete folder named Lockdown , and copy your Lockdown folder of your sim activation ticket , power off your iphone , insert your sim card that you have unlocked with sam , and power on your iphone , thats it

  5. I don't understand, i unlocked my iphone 4 5.1 with sam, everything works great and I am using non jailbreaked iphone with unlock, i restored many times, and still dont need my backed up activation ticket, it is normal?
    ok my question is, can i upgrade from 5.1 to 5.1.1 and still my iphone works without jailbreak?

  6. I have a friend that has an iphone 3gs and had 4.2 in his iphone and the did a restore without the activation ticket and upgraded to 6.01 and is stuck in activation help would be apreciated

  7. Look that didn't answer my question, nor did I understand what the heck you said. I wanted to know WhAT a SAM activation ticket IS not how it works….

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