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  1. meerkat's Avatar

    I've just bought an iPhone 3GS 16GB on ebay with 1015 fault as I was under the impression that this error was relatively easy to resolve. However, I have tied myself in knots for the last several hours trying to find the secret sauce to get it going again and so far have failed. There is such a large range of old and new information out there it becomes very confusing as to which piece of software to use and which firmware etc etc.

    I need to eliminate some variables if I am to have any chance of getting this thing working and since I'm hoping to give it to my daughter as part of her birthday on Sunday, I'm running short of time! :o

    So, symptoms are that it is reported by iTunes as being in recovery mode. I've tried just doing a restore to 4.3.5 but that didn't help. It went through the motions but still gave the 1015 error. I suspect that the guy who sold it to me had tried this too as he showed a screenshot on ebay. I then tried TinyUmbrella to kick it out of recovery - no dice. I have tried creating custom IPSW files and loading those (4.3.3) but no joy. I have tried iReb Rel 4 but it doesn't seem to work as expected (no black screen - just the plug in to iTunes screen). I've downloaded numerous IPSW files but I feel like I'm going backwards.

    Can anyone even just give me a few breadcrumbs to follow? I'm not bothered about Jailbreaking for now, at least until I find out which carrier it is locked to (or not) but JB might be the best chance to get it running again. I don't know which baseband is installed or which firmware was installed before it went wrong. I also don't have much of a clue about the history of the phone.

    I am an iOS developer (a real one) and have had an iPhone since the 3G so I'm able to carry out tasks with minimum assistance hopefully. I have access to both Mac and Windows too in case one os preferable.

    Thanks for reading, I hope you can help. Even just a few words would be appreciated.

    Edit: I've just found that my bootrom is a new one. 359.3.2. Also, I don't have any SHSH blobs for this phone.
    Edit2: I get "This device isn't eligible for the requested build" errors for anything prior to 4.3.5. Is that because I don't have SHSH blobs saved perhaps?
    Last edited by meerkat; 08-16-2011 at 03:19 PM. Reason: Added info about bootrom version
    08-16-2011 02:14 PM
  2. liquidzoo's Avatar
    No new ideas, but in response to your second edit that is most likely the case. Apple isn't signing anything other than 4.3.5 so you would have to use tinyumbrella for anything older.

    My neighbor's phone had an issue similar to this a while back. I tried to get it fixed, but in the end she had to take it in to the apple store. They swapped it out for free, even though she was past her warranty period. Don't know what the actual cause was, sorry.
    08-16-2011 04:23 PM
  3. meerkat's Avatar
    Thanks for your post, I appreciate your input.

    The good news is I've been making some progress and have now broken out of the recovery loop by installing 4.3.5 fresh up to the point I got the 1015 error. I then ran redsn0w 0.9.8b4 and used the 4.3.4 official firmware to get to the point where I could tick "Deactivate" and restart the phone. This fixed the reboot loop. I could then run through redsn0w again, this time installing Cydia and then a final time to do the tethered jailbreak reboot. The process I used is described here: ian559fresno's Channel - YouTube

    Now the phone boots up, I can tell it is indeed running the 06.15 baseband which is the root cause of the 1015 error. I've tried installing ultrasn0w to unlock the phone and it installs fine but iTunes fails to activate the phone and tells me that the SIM card is not compatible or words to that effect. I think maybe the phone is carrier locked to O2 as it works with an O2 SIM but not with a 3 SIM (UK Based btw). Maybe worth asking O2 to unlock it?

    So at the moment I am on a tethered JB on 4.3.5 and am stuck to O2 as my carrier. This is not what I need but is better than earlier this evening...

    Anyone able to suggest how I can get this working with 3 ? Perhaps I'm doing the hactivation wrongly or doing something wrong with ultrasn0w?

    Ideally, if there is a way to get the baseband back to a supported version to avoid the 1015 error... how about installing IOS5b5? Does that update baseband?

    Suggestions welcome.
    08-16-2011 06:59 PM
  4. meerkat's Avatar
    Sorry for the double post but I've just discovered that a previous owner must have saved some SHSH blobs on Cydia which may give me some options to regain an untethered jailbreak and more importantly a way to unlock the carrier lock.

    The SHSH blobs saved are: 4.1(8B117), 4.3.1(8G4) and 4.3.5(8L1). The latter was saved by me just now but the other two must have been saved previously by a previous owner - probably the person who installed the iPad baseband.

    So, what options does 4.1 and 4.3.1 give me? Can I revert back to 4.3.1 and jailbreak then use ultrasn0w to unlock the carrier? Or does 4.1 have anything to offer? I'm looking for the most functional and reliable phone. It is for my 15 year old daughter and it will be her first iPhone so ideally it would be a stock 4.3.5 phone but the baseband update rules that out as far as I know.

    Can someone with more experience of all of this please give me some advice on which direction to go? I've learned a lot tonight already about Jailbreaking and all that goes with it but some good advice would save me time I think.

    Many thanks,
    08-16-2011 08:03 PM
  5. Peligro911's Avatar
    From my understanding since you have your blobs but u r on the iPad bb

    Create a custom Ipsw for 4.3.1 using snowbreeze

    Use redsnow and just select put in dfu mode only ( for some reason any time I did dfu mode Any other way it didn't work )

    Hook to iTunes and do a shift restore and select your custom 4.3.1 since you have the blobs you should be ok
    08-16-2011 08:50 PM
  6. meerkat's Avatar
    Hi, Thanks - I did what you suggested and used snowbreeze 2.5.1 to create a custom IPSW and then put the phone in pwned DFU mode and did the restore from iTunes. First time it didn't work and then I put the Cydia hosts entry back in my hosts file (doh!) and it worked. So now I'm on an untethered jailbreak on 4.3.1 - cool!
    However, having installed ultrasn0w 1.2.3 and SAM to get activation and unlocking working, I have now discovered that my IMEI is barred/blacklisted... O2 Customer services gave me the bad news this evening. However, having contacted the person I bought it from and having done a check on the website, the phone is not reported as lost or stolen as I feared it might. I have no idea why the phone is barred but the person I bought it from is going to ask the person he bought it from to try to find out. Hopefully we can get the barring lifted.

    The best thing to come out of this so far is that I know 100% more about jailbreaking and unlocking than I ever did. I really hope we can get O2 to lift the barring on the phone so it can be used again.

    Thanks for your help - much appreciated.
    08-17-2011 04:53 PM
  7. Peligro911's Avatar
    Glad to hear its up and running !!
    I have never seen a gsm black listed wish I could help with that but i dont have a clue. Ultra snow should lift the carrier restriction but I didn't even know they could blacklist gsm phones I thought that applied to CDMA only
    08-17-2011 05:01 PM
  8. liquidzoo's Avatar
    I didn't know that you could IMEI bar a GSM phone either. Have you tried unlocking the phone to use it on 3 anyway? Not saying that it would work, but it might.
    08-19-2011 09:38 AM
  9. Fausty82's Avatar
    I saw a lot of that on the BlackBerry forums back in "the day". The GSM carriers in the US (ATT, T-MO) for some reason don't blacklist phones... but the European carriers do. Go figure...

    The post about the guy you bought it from checking with the guy he bought it from seems somewhat telling/troubling...
    08-19-2011 09:54 AM
  10. meerkat's Avatar
    Hi Guys,

    I just thought I'd post a quick update to finish off this little story.

    The ebay seller (a 100% genuine guy just doing a favour for a friend) has offered to take the phone back for a full refund including postage both ways so I am not out of pocket at all. He's also agreed to split any profits he makes in future by selling the phone that I fixed for him (1015 error) if they are able to unravel the blacklisted status. I honestly believe that he has just got caught up in this the same as me and has been really communicative and open all along. I think his friend is in danger of a beating as a result of all this though...

    When he asked his friend where the phone came from he said he got it from HIS friend and it became clear that we were never going to get to the bottom of the barring issue. It looks like the phone may have been involved in an insurance fraud at some stage as O2 said it was an "Insurance Bar" but when I asked O2 to give me the details of the insurance company they said they didn't have that information. Their advice to me was to return the phone to the ebay seller and this is what I have done. I have records of the return and am using signed for postage so I can prove I sent it back if anyone comes looking for it.

    So I'm back at square one and my daughter, who's birthday was yesterday, still wants me to source her a phone. Hopefully I've learned enough from my recent experience to be in a better position to select a suitable repair project without getting caught up in any future hassles. Alternatively I might just go for a refurbished phone from a reputable business seller. I've found one locally who have a fantastic reputation and the price premium is 30% or so over a faulty phone. I think this is worth paying to avoid any more stress and wasted time.

    So, here is a quick summary of my advice when buying 2nd hand phones on auction sites such as ebay:

    1. Be very wary of phones with signal issues. This may be a simple hardware fault such as a connector disconnected but may also indicate a barred/blacklisted IMEI which means the logic board is virtually useless unless you want to get involved in reprogramming IMEI numbers which is very illegal in the UK at least and carried a 5 yr prison sentence. The symptom I found was a recognised carrier (O2-UK) in my case and 5 flat bar symbols. You might see a signal before the SIM is inserted but once it tries to log into the carrier the signal flatlines. Also, you may be able to get a data connection but no texts or calls. Strange but true.

    2. Don't accept a "No Returns" policy when something is possibly stolen/lost or a result of an insurance claim, or otherwise not as described.

    3. Watch out for "works fine overseas" in auctions. This is an indicator that the seller knows the IMEI is barred in your country but it may work okay overseas as the barring is not international usually.

    4. Use the CheckMEND Country Selection web site (UK only I think) to verify the status of a given IMEI number. Also covers devices other than phones via serial numbers by the way. It costs 1.99 but be aware that they reserve the right to pass on the details of your query to the police which might bring them to your door. Ideally the seller would do the report and provide a copy of the certificate to prove the phone is okay. Also, be aware that the report may not be 100% accurate. In my case the report said there were no insurance claims and yet O2 say that there was. I could have asked for proof and made a complaint but I had a feeling the phone would have been confiscated and I would have had a harder time getting my money back from the seller. Not worth it.

    5. I've learned lots about jail breaking and baseband versions and various errors such as 1015. I've also become familiar with the jailbreak tools such as snowbreeze et al.

    6. Best thing I've learned is that my time is valuable and to spend literally days of time trying to save 40 difference between faulty phone and working phone is crazy! Repairing faulty phones only makes sense if you get them really cheap en masse and can average out the good and bad parts to get something workable. You've got to be really lucky to buy a single faulty phone at a decent price and then repair it (without hassles like I had) and still save money compared to a working phone. This is especially the case when many (most even) of the phones being sold on ebay have already had repair attempts made by people who often don't know what they are doing. If they are being sold on then there is a good reason for it. Beware!

    I hope this helps others out there. Wish me luck finding a good phone for my daughter!
    Kind regards,
    08-21-2011 06:54 AM
  11. Eileen89's Avatar
    I saw a lot of that on the BlackBerry forums back in "the day". The GSM carriers in the US (ATT, T-MO) for some reason don't blacklist phones... but the European carriers do. Go figure...

    The post about the guy you bought it from checking with the guy he bought it from seems somewhat telling/troubling...
    I wish they would block IMEI numbers here too, but like you said they don't.
    08-21-2011 07:06 AM