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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:00 AM   #1
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AT&T iPhone Unlocking Process Detailed, Successful for Some




On Friday, AT&T released a statement that they would now be offering SIM unlocks for iPhones that are no longer under contract. The process of SIM unlocking a phone allows it to use SIM cards from other carriers. This feature is frequently used during international travel to allow the use of mobile service from local carriers. The Next Web detailed the basic steps required by AT&T.
Quote:
The process is painless and only takes a few minutes in the chat. The only piece of information required by AT&T is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which can be found under Settings>General>About on your device.

Once you've completed the procedure, Apple pushes the unlock code during the next 72 hours to your email address, so the code comes from the mothership, not from AT&T. Once Apple completes the unlock request, a customer has to back-up and restore and tether the device to iTunes to complete the unlock process.
MacRumors readers shared their experiences on Sunday trying to unlock their out-of-contract iPhones in our discussion thread on the topic. Responses from AT&T service representatives were mixed with some seemingly unaware of the process.




Confirmation email from AT&T
Others had better luck, such as Exegesis48, who was able to get his iPhone 3GS unlocked immediately.
Quote:
I called AT&T Tech Support and was able to get my iPhone 3GS unlocked no problem. In fact, the representative waited on the line to ensure I received my unlock confirmation email, at which point he told me to backup and restore my phone to receive my unlock. I did this and was able to receive my unlock IMMEDIATELY.
Experiences may have improved over the day. Some early callers were told the process would complete on April 16th, while others were told to simply wait 48-72 hours for the confirmation email.

Article Link: AT&T iPhone Unlocking Process Detailed, Successful for Some
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:13 AM   #2
unlimitedx
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customer service rep says i need to wait until june until they can unlock my iphone 4 which i got on launch day in june 2010. any one else get a different response? i already was eligible for upgrade to 4s in feb and have done so, so the 4 is no longer used.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:14 AM   #3
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Nice that AT&T has come around to doing this, upsetting that the method requires the backup and restore which might endanger jailbreaks.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by unlimitedx View Post
customer service rep says i need to wait until june until they can unlock my iphone 4 which i got on launch day in june 2010. any one else get a different response? i already was eligible for upgrade to 4s in feb and have done so, so the 4 is no longer used.
Are you sure they understood it was an iPhone 4 and not an iPhone 4S?
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by miles01110 View Post
Are you sure they understood it was an iPhone 4 and not an iPhone 4S?
The iPhone 4S certainly wouldn't be eligible in June, but it makes sense that those that purchased on release date for the iPhone 4 aren't at that target date yet. Still you technically no longer have a contract with the iPhone 4.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by OTACORB View Post
The iPhone 4S certainly wouldn't be eligible in June, but it makes sense that those that purchased on release date for the iPhone 4 aren't at that target date yet. Still you technically no longer have a contract with the iPhone 4.
Oh, yeah that's true. I guess the iPhone 4 is still somehow considered to be "on the contract."
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by miles01110 View Post
Are you sure they understood it was an iPhone 4 and not an iPhone 4S?
Is he sure he didn't upgrade early? While his contract might actually be up by the end of June, exactly 24 months ago, for his iphone 4,AT&T might still think his iPhone is on contract, despite getting a new contract for with his new iPhone 4S? Just another possibility.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:30 AM   #8
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In Australia, where this same unlock method has always been available, even though the carriers always say you must back up and restore, you actually don't have to. As long as you sync, you see a pop up saying something like 'congratulations your iPhone has been unlocked'.

Given this AT&T process seems to be driven by Apple, I can't see why they'd change the process.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by macmastersam View Post
Is he sure he didn't upgrade early? While his contract might actually be up by the end of June, exactly 24 months ago, for his iphone 4,AT&T might still think his iPhone is on contract, despite getting a new contract for with his new iPhone 4S? Just another possibility.
That is exactly what he did and its the same thing I did. There are many of us that AT&T allowed to upgrade at 18 months, but they aren't going to allow you to unlock until you get to the full 24 months.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:43 AM   #10
somawawe
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We have to put our at&t simcard into phone when doing this restore? I am living abroad at&t not work here but phone need to see that sim card? Also I am using ios 5.0 with custom firmware not to waste gevey optiion (4.10.01). If i just back up and restore is it okay when mail comes?

thanks
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:44 AM   #11
lightning inc.
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The process is painless and only takes a few minutes in the chat.
what chat?
or should I call them? (some technical rep or something else) (what number)
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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What I don't understand is how come they only just started unlocking phones? Haven't iPhone contracts been running out for years now? Did they simply not unlock your iPhone when your contract ran out before this??

I hope that one day operators will not be allowed to lock your into their crappy networks, and that people will be given the freedom to travel and swap operators as they wish, without having to wait 2 years.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 04:00 AM   #13
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I've never had to back up and restore a phone simply plug into iTunes
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 04:02 AM   #14
miles01110
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Originally Posted by baryon View Post
Did they simply not unlock your iPhone when your contract ran out before this??
Not AT&T in the US for subsidized phones.

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I hope that one day operators will not be allowed to lock your into their crappy networks, and that people will be given the freedom to travel and swap operators as they wish, without having to wait 2 years.
You can already do this if you buy a factory unlocked phone. The sore point wasn't that you were locked to AT&T while you were under contract (because after all you didn't pay the full price for the unlocked version), it was that they refused to unlock the phone after your contract expired or paid the early termination fee.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 04:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DeKa View Post
In Australia, where this same unlock method has always been available, even though the carriers always say you must back up and restore, you actually don't have to. As long as you sync, you see a pop up saying something like 'congratulations your iPhone has been unlocked'.

Given this AT&T process seems to be driven by Apple, I can't see why they'd change the process.
This happened to my old 3GS on Optus and same with my new 4s. I didn't even ask them, thy just did it
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 04:53 AM   #16
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It's been available for years in France where the carrier has to accept to unlock your phone 6 month after you bought it even if still on contract. Indeed you dont need to restore your phone to successfully unlock it but you do need to sync it with another carrier's SIM inside to make the unlock happen.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 05:16 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by OTACORB View Post
The iPhone 4S certainly wouldn't be eligible in June, but it makes sense that those that purchased on release date for the iPhone 4 aren't at that target date yet. Still you technically no longer have a contract with the iPhone 4.
It would if you had another phone on your plan, instead of the iPhone 4S.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 05:34 AM   #18
aajeev
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iPhone 2G?

Has anybody tried this with an iPhone 2G? I have an iPhone 2G from several years ago (when ATT was still the only one selling it). I bought it at full price from the Apple store, jailbroken/unlock it to use on Tmobile network. So, technically the iPhone 2G was actually never under any contract, and it has never been used with the ATT network. Nevertheless, it was still unlocked to ATT simply because they were the only one selling it at the time. Any advice? I'll probably try calling them myself today anyways. I'll come back for an update just in case anybody wants to know as well.

Update 1: Just got off the phone with ATT representative. Looks like they still have some of my file on their database (I had a 3GS with ATT about two years ago). The representative didn't seems to care that it was a iPhone 2G, and I'm pretty sure any record of the phone doesn't appear under my account since it was never registered under my name. I was on hold for about a minute, so the representative can look up the whole unlock story to confirm what I was telling him. Anyways, I was told to wait for a confirmation email from ATT regarding the unlock. I'll update once I have more information.

Update 2: Called ATT again about the unlock situation. I was originally told it was going to take 48-72 hours. But, looking at my last update it has certainly been more than 72 hours. Just like any "good" ATT representative (and why I switched to Verizon), they admitted the first representative had giving me the wrong information and it was not suppose to be 72 hours. So as of now, it looks like I'm going to have to wait until the 16th as well, to get my unlock email. Fortunately, it doesn't look like they are having any issues with my iPhone 2G, so I suppose that a bit of good news.

update 3: So today is the 16th, and according to ATT I should be expecting an email or some sort. So I called up ATT this morning, just to see whats going on. The representative told me he doesn't (or can't) see any additional progress on my case, but the case is also not closed yet. He then explain to me the when a case is "not closed yet" that means ATT is still reviewing the case and has not gone out to Apple yet. This is the point when I got annoyed, I politely told the representative "So at first you told me 24-72 hours, during the second call not only did you tell me it will get done by the 16th but you also put the blame on Apple for being slow (by a supervisor at the time). and just now you are telling me that ATT is still working on the case!". So I'm left with two options which is to wait or to submit another case. I told him there is no point submitting a new case considering you guys are probably just be doing the same thing anyways. So after three phone calls and default on multiple deadlines (with endless extension) ATT is still working on it....Way to go ATT, I'm so glad I switched away from you, same old ATT.

Update 4: Alright, it's 18th now and still nothing. Frankly I'm not sure what to do at this point. I don't even know if anybody is reading this update anymore. I was told by the representative on the 16th that the only way to do this is to get the case out again, which would probably take another 8 days. I asked to speak to the department that is working on this but he said there was no way to him to get me there. So I'm not sure what to do at this point, maybe I will try to call again.

Update 5: So this would be the last update, I finally got it to work. I'm still not a big fan of ATT though. Anyways, I wrote a new post (Link: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...355644&page=17 #406). Enjoy, feel free to contact if anybody has any questions.

Last edited by aajeev; Apr 18, 2012 at 10:53 PM. Reason: update
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 05:36 AM   #19
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I'll have to dig out the old 3GS in a few days and have them unlock it. I don't really have any intentions of selling it or using it outside of AT&T, but if it's available, why not?
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 05:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unlimitedx View Post
customer service rep says i need to wait until june until they can unlock my iphone 4 which i got on launch day in june 2010. any one else get a different response? i already was eligible for upgrade to 4s in feb and have done so, so the 4 is no longer used.
That's contrary to the statement they sent out regarding the unlock eligibility. It clearly stated that if you had upgraded early, your phone was no longer considered to be under contract. I would call until you get someone who knows this.

Quote:
...they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 06:36 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by justinfreid View Post
Nice that AT&T has come around to doing this, upsetting that the method requires the backup and restore which might endanger jailbreaks.
Meh. The only reason I've got mine jailbroken is to unlock it in first place. Of course with this particular version JB/unlock, there is no way back.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 06:40 AM   #22
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Has anyone tried to unlock a phone that was a replacement?

My 3GS has been out of contract since July 2011. However, 2 weeks before my AppleCare expired, I got a replacement, also in July 2011.

I called AT&T yesterday and I was told that my phone was not eligible yet because no "unlock code" was available for it yet. I know that the unlock takes place through iTunes so there is no apparent "code" to speak of.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 06:50 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by DualShock View Post
Has anyone tried to unlock a phone that was a replacement?

My 3GS has been out of contract since July 2011. However, 2 weeks before my AppleCare expired, I got a replacement, also in July 2011.

I called AT&T yesterday and I was told that my phone was not eligible yet because no "unlock code" was available for it yet. I know that the unlock takes place through iTunes so there is no apparent "code" to speak of.
Just got off phone with ATT support. My 3GS has been out of contract since July 2011 and I had it replaced last summer. The tech at first said that I was not eligible and then she submitted a special case number. She texted me the case number and said the resolution date is April 16. Seems weird but maybe it will go through.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 06:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by baryon View Post
I hope that one day operators will not be allowed to lock your into their crappy networks, and that people will be given the freedom to travel and swap operators as they wish, without having to wait 2 years.
What a glorious day that will be indeed when we have to pay the actual retail price for the phone (in the U.S.), instead of the low subsidized price that AT&T offers.

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Old Apr 9, 2012, 07:14 AM   #25
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Online chat support:

Jewell Hillier: The case number is xxxxxxxx - to be resolved on or before April 16,2012 - You will receive a call or an email with the code and instructions on how to unlock.
ME: Why so long that you can't just unlock my phone
Jewell Hillier: We do not have the unlock codes - we send in a case - Apple send us the unlock codes.
ME: Ok.
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