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Teens Apparently Banned From Apple Stores Over Unlocking An IPhone

Cupertino (CA) - How do you get yourself banned from Apple Stores? It’s easy, all you need to do is jailbreak a store-owned iPhone. That is what four teens did at the Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto, prompting Apple to send out the teens’ mugshots to all of its retail stores, warning employees to be "on the lookout".

Apple did not think the practical of two Palo Alto High School students and two recent graduates of the high school was funny. According to the Palo Alto Daily News, the four teens met up at the Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto and jailbroke one of the store-owned iPhones on the display. After downloading and installing the car-racing game "Raging Thunder", the group left the store, but didn’t get far.

"We’re halfway down the block when the manager comes running out and tells us to ’stop right there’," Fukuba, 17, told the Palo Alto Daily News, adding that the security guard was "very serious" about stopping them.

The manager then called the parents as well as the police, which detained teens for two and a half hours at the store, but made no arrests. While they were detained, the manager lectured the teens on the "dangers of hacking the iPhone". The police took their mugshots and the teens were issued an "admonishment" to leave the store. These mugshots apparently were sent to numerous Apple Stores, warning employees to be on "the lookout."

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling says there’s no merit to this story, adding that the teens were not banned from Apple Stores. The teens claim the spokesman is not well informed, insisting they’re banned for life from all Apple Stores. Fukuba is worried what would happen if his iPhone or a Mac needed repairing. "I’ll have to get a friend to buy stuff for me, like a drug deal," he said. The teen revealed to Wired that he is getting the hero treatment in school and is certainly proud of his achievement. "Everyone’s like, ’Whoa! You guys are bad-asses for getting banned from the Apple store,’" Fukuba told Wired.

We have no idea whether Dowling or Fukuba is saying the truth. However, you can’t really blame Apple for being upset over this incident.

It wasn’t the first time that someone unlocked an iPhone inside an Apple Store, as shown in this YouTube video which shows how a just purchased iPhone is unlocked inside the store. The difference to this case is that the teens unlocked a store-owned iPhone.

Jailbraking an iPhone is an unofficial procedure to unlock the handset using jailbraking software. Apple is plugging these holes in each iPhone software update but hackers typically follow up with updates for the software to address new protection techniques.

  • Pei-chen
    Why is Apple still trying to cripple people's iPhone with each update? Just give up already. Do they actually expect people with existing contract sign up for an AT&T account just for their iPhone? All Apple is doing to bugging their customers.
  • jsc
    Banned from Apple stores? That'll teach them.