My brother IM’d me about an hour ago complaining that his 2G (1st Gen 4gb) iPhone was broken. Knowing that it’s nearly impossible to brick an iPhone I asked him what he did to it, since naturally being away at college I figured he dropped it into [another] toilet or smashed it some how or something along those lines. Apparently I was way off as he did not do anything physically to it which would cause it to “break”. It turns out, he jumped in the shower and when he got out the screen on the phone was just solid white, aka The White Screen of Death.

Since we are fairly experienced when it comes to hacking iPhones, I first hacked his with the original unlock that required a million terminal commands when it first came out, he knew to try a hard reset (power+home for 10 seconds) to try to remedy the problem, but that didn’t work which is when he got in touch with me. He tried plugging it into the computer and iTunes wouldn’t even recognize it which was bad, considering my idea was to restore the phone using a pwned firmware to see if that would fix the problem. So now I didn’t know what to do.

I searched google and found another blog where the guy was having a similar problem. His phone showed just a white screen, but he was still able to receive and make calls, he just couldn’t see anything. I immediately tried to call my brothers phone… straight to voicemail. So it seems the other guy had a less severe case of “white screen” where as my brother couldn’t even receive calls or anything…. great. What now? A few other blogs claimed that hard resets fixed their phone and were claiming they found the “solution”, obviously not in all cases. But a couple places said they needed to do the reset multiple times before it actually came back to life, so I told him to try that… no luck, still a white screen.

Now I’m sure you’re saying to yourselves, Why don’t you just take it back to apple/att and get a replacement? And that’s a very valid point, except that 1.) it’s a 4GB iPhone, so I’m pretty sure they dont have replacements anymore, 2.) It’s jailbroken and unlocked, which probably won’t matter since they can’t turn it on anyways to check, 3.) We don’t use legit AT&T iPhone plans… let me explain cause we do have AT&T, but it’s a little complicated.

When I first went to AT&T back in 2000 (and then added my brother to my plan a couple years later) they were known as AT&T Wireless which in actuality had no affiliation with AT&T the company at all. They were just leasing the AT&T name from them since AT&T had no wireless company of their own. Skip ahead a few years and Cingular is buying AT&T Wireless, so we were then considered Cingluar Blue, which is all the customers from AT&T Wireless that were absorbed by Cingular. And our existing AT&T Wireless plan was grandfathered into Cingular, which is a great plan because towards the end of their run, AT&T Wireless was just giving away minutes like they were nothing. So now we were with Cingular Blue, using a Grandfathered plan and unlocked or Cingular branded phones for a few years until AT&T decides they are going to buy Cingular.

So now we’re with AT&T, but our old AT&T Wireless sim cards no longer work with AT&T branded phones, so we still have to use unlocked or Cingular branded phones if we want to keep our ridiculously good plan. Which brings us to the iPhone. We both have iPhones on our old plan with unlimited mMode (AT&T Wireless’ internet) so we get all of the benefits of the iPhone except the visual voicemail, which is no problem. So this is where our problem lies, we can’t upgrade to the 3G iPhone through AT&T or Apple because you have to sign up for a plan and sign a contract before you even leave the store, so unless we want to migrate and spend more money a month for less minutes, we’d have to find someone selling theirs on eBay or Craigslist and then unlock them ourselves, no problem except they are like $350-500… no thanks. And I’m not quite sure if you can still even buy the old 1st Gen iPhone in the stores anymore, so I don’t know if Apple would be able to replace his broken phone with one anyways, and I’m sure they don’t have 4GB models anymore, which is what he has.

So this is why I’m trying to fix this without having to try and get a new one from Apple. Plus there’s no Apple store where my brother goes to school, so he’s without a phone right now.

After plugging the iPhone into the computer and trying to do a few more hard resets, he finally got iTunes to recognize the iPhone, but it’s saying that the device is stuck in restore mode and must be restored… no problem. I’m currently walking him through the pwnage process so he can restore the phone with a new pwned firmware to see if that will fix this screen…I’ll keep this post updated.

Update: Phone is just black now, couldn’t get iTunes to recognize it again after that first time and now it’s as if it won’t even turn on… awesome.

If anyone has had a similar experience where the hard reset doesn’t work and you were able to fix it on your own without returning it to the store please let me know, I’d appreciate it.

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  • ashley

    I have been having the same problem. Mines not hacked or anything. First problem was it was stuck on headphones mode. then just one dat while it was sitting on my coffee table it just went white. it like locked because i cant do anything with it. if i turn it on its white with multicolored lines everywhere. then you cant do anything.

  • ashley

    by the way the resets didnt work for me either

  • Me

    Still haven’t been able to help my brother out, so I just sent him an old unlocked RAZR I had laying around until he comes home from school and we can get over to either the Apple store to see if they will replace it, or the AT&T store to finally migrate over and get a couple 3G iPhones

  • Sal

    My fiancee has been having the SAME EXACT problem, except she uses T-Mobile on hers, so we can’t even go to an AT&T store to try and get the fix. I heard that as long as its under warrantee, they will replace it with its predecessor. If you have the Apple Care, your bro is likely going to get a free 3g iPhone. Lucky.

  • AC Slater

    Sal: Sorry to hear that your fiancee is having this issue. As far as my brother goes, this post is over a year old so he has since given up and moved to a blackberry. He still loves the iPhone and will probably get another one soon, but at the time it made more sense for him to move over to Verizon and share a plan with my parents while he finishes school, to save some money. So the dead iPhone still just sits around with the white screen.