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Cingular Treo 650 Unlock Hack

Following yesterday’s release of the new ROM updates for the Sprint and Unlocked Treo 650, a clever cookie apparently figured out how to use these to convert the ROM of a locked Cingular Treo 650 GSM to that of an Unlocked Treo 650 GSM (which has DUN enabled and thanks to the new update also better memory management among others).

I was originally pointed to a post at UneasySilence which offered detailed but somewhat confusing and complex steps to follow for the unlocking procedure.  However, leaving aside the fact that I couldn’t quite understand the process, I also lacked a Cingular Treo 650 to potentially try it on and so when A. Davis (who is quite a bit more of a techhead than I am) told me via email that he was going to give it a go I asked him to share his story with us if he was successful at unlocking it:

Well, thank goodness it worked.   My charger was at home, so I had to wait to do the update after I got home this evening.  As it turns out, I've been sync'ing via bluetooth for so long that I didn't realize my sync cable was bad, so I was forced to wait for it to work over IR, which was painfully slow... but in the end it worked (more on this later).  I followed the instructions from UneasySilence (read these first). Here's a simple run down:

0) A pre-requisite that UneasySilence’s instructions left out: The Unlocked GSM update page at PalmOne mentions upgrading a few applications like DocsToGo and Zap2016 (the only two listed that applied to me) before proceeding with the actual ROM upgrade. On my Treo 650, I upgraded both of these to the latest version.

1) I started with an AT&T (Cingular, but without the Cingular logo on the case) GSM Treo 650 with the firmware. I sync'd over bluetooth and backed up my system. I have a few extra SD cards, so I took one and blanked it out.

2) I downloaded the 1.23 firmware upgrade referenced in the instructions.  I unzipped it and had a new "PALM" folder.  I copied the folder straight to the SD card.  I then set my email clients (GoodLink and Snapper) to not auto-retrieve, turned off my radio, removed my SIM card, and removed my primary SD card, then did a soft reset.

3) The phone booted up and I popped in the SD card with the copied 1.23 update and followed the prompts.  At one point, you have to click OK and it appears to do nothing, but just click it once and if you wait 10 to 30 seconds, it proceeds.  I saw the progress bar, some scrolling text, then it reset itself prompted for my language, reset again, prompted to setup the digitizer, reset again, etc.

4) After all was done I popped in my SIM card and checked the phone version... it was at 1.23. Perfect so far...

5) Next I downloaded the 1.13 Software Updater (for firmware 1.28) for unlocked GSM phones from the Palm website and unzipped it.

6) Next I went into Palm Desktop and created a new user called UPGRADE.

7) First, I removed the SD card containing the 1.23 upgrade and my SIM card, then from my PC ran the executable that does the update (please follow the instructions that palmOne provided for the Unlocked GSM update).  At this point, I found out that my USB sync cable is bad.  I'd been sync'ing over BT for so long, but after loading 1.23, I couldn't get a bluetooth connection working properly.  Thus, with no BT and no USB cable, IR was my only choice (thank goodness I had choices).  I setup hotsync on both ends to use IR and let it run.  For me, this process took close to an hour.  I'm sure it would have been much faster via the cable (more like 20 or 30 minutes).

8) The upgrade instructions tell you to sync and go through the reset hoops, then return to the installer and click next to go to step 2 of 2.  I did this and it prompted to restore my data.  At first, I was a little panicked as it said it was ready to "restore data for user UPGRADE", but I clicked next anyway and was presented with the choice to create a new user or use an existing one.  I chose my normal sync ID and let it run.

It restored all my data, again over IR, in about 30 minutes.  When all was done I was quite disappointed to learn that I had only gained about 1 or 2Mb of extra space (went from 6.1Mb to 7.8Mb free).  But then I went into SnapperMail, copied all my mail to the SD card, deleted all of my mail from the phone, then restored it back from the SD card. Afterwards, I had 17.2Mb free... quite an improvement.

The last thing I did was to go back to Palm Desktop and delete the UPGRADE user, then perform a final hotsync. I popped in my SIM card and regular SD card, did a soft reset, then went over to PowerRun and told it to re-create all my shortcuts. One thing I found was that I had to re-run Dataviz-tech (which I normally leave in phone memory) and told it again move everything to the card.  It prompted about progs already on the card and asked if I wanted to overwrite. I  chose yes and all is working just fine.

I now have Firmware 01.28 and Software: Treo650-1.13-ROW. Also, in my Bluetooth settings, I now have a "Dial-Up Networking" option.

Odds are pretty good that PalmOne will make an update to disable this "update hack" and protect precious Cingular/AT&T from unscrupulous individuals like myself.  As such, I'm putting both the 1.23 zip file and 1.28 zip files on my website for future generations to abuse, errr... I mean enjoy

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please CAREFULLY read ALL instructions posted BOTH here, UneasySilence and palmOne support before proceeding with this unlock hack as we really don’t want anything bad to happen to your beloved Treo…

Finally, if all that you’re interested in doing is to enable DUN on your Cingular Treo 650 then the most straightforward option remains PDANet ($34).  However, you won’t benefit from the improved memory management that optimizes memory handling and frees up more memory.

How-to: Upgrade Locked Cingular GSM Treo to an Unlocked GSM version [UneasySilence]
Finally… Treo 650 Sprint and Unlocked ROM Updates [Treonauts]

UPDATE REGARDING CARRIER UNLOCK: I initially thought that this unlock hack would also unlock the Cingular GSM Treo 650 for use with any other carrier’s SIM card but unfortunately A. Davis reports that:

“I just tried SIMs from Verizon (they now have a worldphone that operates in both CDMA and GSM via a Vodaphone partnership) and from a T-Mobile phone. Both came up with the standard "You can't use this SIM in this phone" message and allowed only for 911/SOS calls.  So, it is confirmed, the unlock hack only unlocks features and removes branding, but doesn't unlock the carrier aspect of the phone. On the plus side, however, I now have BT DUN and I can get future updates whenever PalmOne releases them which is more often than not a lot more frequently than the carriers themselves do.”

[Many thanks to A. Davis for his clear and very useful instructions and also to ‘signedandsealed’ for pointing me to the UneasySilence post.]

Treonauts don’t like to be locked

Posted by Andrew on June 18, 2005 at 11:36 AM

Wireless Carriers

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» Cuts so deep from studio2f
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by dac | Jul 6, 2005 10:13:39 PM

Upgraded my Treo 650 last night with these instuctions. Found it to be very easy. Damn - I like the upgraded version a lot better. MUCH better sound quality, dims the keyboard when you dim the LCD, and some more features. Haven't tried the DUNS feature yet, but will soon.

by NHC | Jul 7, 2005 12:23:46 PM

I had no problem with 4321media either.
send then a e mail [email protected]
THey are very helpfull in unlocks. They are palm one reseller too. So thats a plus. Very hepfull with firmware updates and unlocks.

by carlos2 | Jul 13, 2005 11:42:58 AM

I have a cingular Treo. I just unlocked it (I think successfully). I wanted to use the DUN. I followed the directions on:
I turn DUN ON on the treo, and hit dial on the PC (running XP). I then get "Openning port". Then I get "dialing..." for several minutes. Finally, it just times out saying:
"Error 638: The request has timed out". Has anyone been able to get this to work. any pointers?


by shia halpern | Jul 24, 2005 3:05:18 PM

can someone help me unlock my sprint treo 650.
how about inserting a gsm card, is there a secret tp it?

by CALL CINGULAR | Jul 27, 2005 5:39:35 PM

Honestly, why are you guys going to these lengths? Just call Cingular and Tell them you are going abroad and you want to use another service, they will say you there is a 90 day wait or something like that, but if you install the international roaming feature you can get the unlock code asap. Do that , then remove the international roaming option from your plan (it doesnt cost anything anyway, only if u make a call when you're abroad). I did the above steps and got the unlock code within 36 hours via email

by Chris Gripp | Jul 27, 2005 5:58:09 PM

Because what we are doing isn't enabling us to use other carriers internationally. It enables us to load the updates that palm provides for the unlocked GSM phones. Which they release MUCH quicker than the carrier branded versions.

by Fabian | Aug 5, 2005 5:30:02 PM

I´m Fabian from Paraguay South America, I have one treo 650 from
cingular IMEI: 354427003529176, I follow the instruction of
UNEASYsilence http://www.uneasysilence.com/how-to-upgrade-locked-cingular-gsm-to-unlocked-gsm/
and I have the new firmware 1.28 unlocked of 1,13 ROW updated, but it
still blocked when I put my sim card, I want to know how to unlock it.


by Naubahar | Aug 23, 2005 3:04:41 AM

I have a Cingular Locked Treo 650 and I just downloaded the new Cingular Update v.1.15. I now have F/W: 01.31 and software 1.15-CNG would this work with my software even tho my FW is beyond the 1.28 already? I don't wanna mess up my Treo + its still under warranty and under the 90 day period that Cingular has specified...

by Bill | Aug 23, 2005 8:59:17 AM

Has anyone successfully unlocked an Earthlink Treo 650 (CDMA/1xRTT) to work on the Sprint PCS network?


by khaled | Sep 1, 2005 1:27:51 PM

i followed your step s and my phone went in endless reseting. what should i do to stop it.thx

by alex marin | Sep 4, 2005 11:22:50 AM

Please I need your help!!!
I bought on ebay a Treo 650 earthlink for 380 dollars, what was my surprise when I call sprint to upgrade my 600 for this 650, they said, that ESN number I gave them was not good for the sprint pcs network? do you have any Idea how to conect this 650 on sprint switching my current account for the 650?

by Phillie G | Sep 23, 2005 1:49:21 PM

I just bought a new Palm Treo 650 and took it to boardwalkcommunications (unlock store) They sent it back to me-telling me that the carrier (Cingular) has new software they cannot get around. So what happened? I'm stuck with cingular locked phone. Is there anyone who knows differently? or anyone you can reccommend me to that has proven results?? thank you kinldy, - you can email me at [email protected]

by Steve Bonlie | Oct 2, 2005 11:32:39 AM

I just bought my kid a treo 650 from earthlink and need to switch it to sprint. Can this be unlocked so I can change. Sprint says they can't use that esn # on their network even though earthlink uses sprint lines. [email protected]

by makray | Oct 3, 2005 8:32:04 AM

i just traded my golf driver for a treo with my friend but he is on the sprint network how do i get it to work on the tmobile network?

by mike merrill | Oct 26, 2005 1:21:57 AM

Does anybody know how to unlock an Earthlink Treo 650 Palm phone so it can be used with my Sprint account? I got screwed by an e-bayer who blames the guy he bought it from. Please help.

by Luis | Nov 2, 2005 8:02:11 PM

Looking to sell treo 650 (GSM - cingular, att etc) unlock credit. This is the deal. I purchased a credit to do a remote unlock from ebay . After buying and getting aphone number to contact, the guy stated that he was going to send me email the next day. As impatient as I was I order another from a guy who stated that I get the email with the credit instantly.
I unlocked my phone (very quick and easy) and now I have the other credit. Please email me if you are interested. I am selling for 15.00 (bought for 20.00) just trying to get some of my money back.

by Luis | Nov 2, 2005 8:04:54 PM

Mike, You can't! the Sprint phone uses CDMA and Tmobile (like cingula and ATT ) use GSM.Unfortunately you can't unlock the print to make it a tmobile.

by rae | Nov 15, 2005 5:35:18 PM

i would like to unlock my sprintpcs treo 650and use it wth another service provider. i hate sprint but i dont want to have to purchase another treo. is this at all possible?

by Dave | Nov 17, 2005 11:34:26 PM

I bought a Verizon Treo 650 on ebay.
Currently using Cingular for my service, is there any way to unlock this phone to be able to use it w/my current service.
The phone is only 4 months old and the box says GSM but there is no SIM card for it.

by edwin watkins | Nov 19, 2005 7:57:08 AM

One day while searching the web I saw a web that said they had software that gives u the ability to have two service providers one one treo 650. If know where I can get this info please e-mail me @ [email protected]

by s shelton | Nov 20, 2005 5:54:08 PM

i have a locked sprint treo 650. i want to use it with sprint service, which i have. do i need to unlock it? how?

by Alex | Nov 22, 2005 10:35:55 AM

I've heard that if you have an unlocked GMS Treo 650 (originally from Cingular), you won't be able to use the data plan that either Cingular or other GSM carriers offer...Any truth to that or just marketing B.S.?

by Rosa Fernandez | Nov 23, 2005 4:47:21 PM

I bought a treo 650 and a nokia bluetooth keyboard. I was told at frys that I could use the keyboard, but for some reason I can't seame to pare my phone and the kyeboard can you help me.

by Raleigh Henshaw | Nov 25, 2005 2:38:35 PM

I already got my code to unlock my Treo 650. I can now use any GSM SIM. Guestion is this; If I "unbrand" the phone with unlocked GSM ROM can I get it back to Cingular firmware if I ever need to return the phone for warranty? If I can that would be great!!!

by Paul | Nov 25, 2005 4:22:21 PM

Found this on the web: http://www.gsmliberty.net/shop/instant-treo-remote-unlock-p-70.html?ad=google-treo650
Does anyone have any experience with it? Have an earthlink treo 650 and would like to unlock it and use with Sprint.

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