Carrier (T-Mobile iPhone 5s is LOCKED- Unlocked iPhone 5s Discussion)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MicroMacTosh, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    There's a lot of inaccuracy and rumors swirling around these forums with conflicting views on the locked and unlocked status of iPhone 5s linked to carriers .... here is a bombshell I found out today and completely flabbergasted ....

    It appears what Apple is calling the "T-Mobile contract-free" iPhone 5s is actually locked to T-Mobile, and needs to be unlocked by T-Mobile.

    The wording of the text has been changed too, before it said "unlocked", now the ad on just says contract-free with no mention of the T-Mobile variant being unlocked. Apple said I had to call T-Mobile to get it unlocked.

    I escalated with higher-ups at the Apple store as well as T-Mobile, in person and on the phone, and the answer from T-Mobile is even if the phone is bought full-priced, it is locked to T-Mobile, and can be unlocked only under certain conditions (minimum 40 days owning device, minimum top up of 50 dollars on prepaid)

    Apple also said the T-Mobile iPhone 5s bought in the Apple store would need a call to T-Mobile to be unlocked (DESPITE paying full-price !!) T-Mobile detailed their unlocking policy, saying 40 day minimum before unlock can be done, to deter people selling abroad ....... what right do they have to lock a phone that's been paid for in full ??????

    I was furious and arguing with T-Mobile and Apple employees and reps all day to get to the bottom of the situation, and the final answer seems to be it is locked.

    When the T-Mobile iPhone 5 was launched, was it unlocked if payed full-price ? Subsidized ? I've unlocked T-Mobile iPhones before through a source, so means they were locked to T-mobile.

    What is the situation and best way to get an unlocked iPhone 5s- unlocked meaning able to use the phone with any GSM carrier immediately, without need for an unlock code.

    T-Mobile iPhone 5s seems locked to T-Mobile, even payed full price at Apple store.

    AT&T is locked, but easily unlocked. If paid full-price for AT&T iPhone 5s, will it be unlocked immediately there ? Is a contract necessary ?

    Verizon - is it unlocked off the box ? If bought full-price, is a contract necessary with Verizon.

    I just need to buy a few completely unlocked without hassles of contracts and signing up, just pay money and get out with phones I can insert any SIM card.

    Now, seems like NO ONE knows what the hell is going on, the system in the U.S. is INSANE.
  2. macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2010
    I am VERY curious too bc I have AT&T and I want to buy the 5S unlocked, insert my AT&T sim card and have it working.
  3. macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    This is no surprise...unlocking is takes like 5 seconds after you call them. :rolleyes:
  4. macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2010
    if you read the OP paragraph, Tmobile requires 40 days before unlock


    T-Mobile phones comes unlocked because they have contract-free phones you do not have to use T-Mobile if that is not your preference.

    Okay well this is official on the Apple store they will come unlocked.

    Thats what Apple told me when I called
  5. macrumors regular

    Feb 29, 2008
    It is actually 40 days of continuous service with T-Mobile. I bought my iPhone 5 from a friend who paid the full price of the iPhone 5 32gb out of contract and it was still locked to T-Mobile. He had it for 3 months, sold it to me and called last friday to have it unlocked but was told I had to wait until this past monday to call back and have the unlock approved. I got an email from t-mobile support stating that my unlock was approved and successfully done & to wait 72 hours from the time on the email for it to work. I have followed the instructions and connected my iPhone 5 to itunes on my imac but have not seen the "congratulations, your iPhone is now unlocked" message.

    I don't think it is right that you pay full price for an iPhone and still have it carrier locked. They should also note that it has to be 40 days of service with the carrier not just 40 days because people will continue to be confused.
  6. macrumors 68040

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    - If you buy it from the Apple store, it's unlocked. Apple doesn't sell locked T-Mobile iPhones.

    - If you buy it from a T-Mobile store, even at full price, it will be locked to T-Mobile until you've had service with them for 40 days and then they will unlock it.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2011
    Talk about last minutes changes! I just noticed that today Apple changed the wording in their web site from "T-Mobile Contract Free and Unlocked" to just "T-Mobile Contract Free" for the 5s. But when you make a slection the product name displayed on the upper right side still says "iPhone 5s 64GB Space Gray (GSM) T-Mobile Unlocked"

    To add to the confusion, the product description still says that it can be used with a local carrier SIM when traveling internationally. :confused:

    Not sure what to believe anymore. I was planning on using this with AT&T because I don't want to renew my contract.
  8. macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2013
    i had a bad experience with them. That's why I'm not even delighted with what they are offering. A lot of people in my country (Phiiippines) think that just by buying the phone from t-mobile everything is a walk in the park. It's a good thing you raised this up.
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    Why did they change the wording and remove unlocked for tmobile , and specifically say it had to be unlocked with tmobile, as well as this being confirmed by tmobile corporate ?

    AT&T iphone sold at apple is locked .

    Good news - standing outside a Verizon store and they say if you buy the Verizon phone full price at apple , it is unlocked .


    Count us double . They probably are hiding the point it needs to be unlocked with tmobile first to use globally with a GSM carrier .

    Funny that the Verizon one is unlocked at apple but this is not advertised as unlocked
  10. macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2011
    Did some digging around the Apple store site and found that the site code at least reffers to the T-Mobile version of the 5S 64gb Space Grey (Model ME329LL/A) as being UNLOCKED . See URL Below:

    Screenshot of server response is attached.

    Either the phones are unlocked or they are wrongfully marked as unlocked in the Apple store system.

    Attached Files:

  11. macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    This guy obviously has no idea of what he is talking about. I am here at the Apple store in Victoria Garden. The sales person clearly said the T-Mobile contract free version is UNLOCKED.
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    Just got off the phone with apple store in century city and they say it's locked to tmobile and no unlocked phones for sale

    Are they ignorant or just don't know ? I will not risk buying tmobile variants and find out they are locked as tmobile and apple insist


    Doesn' matter what they say - I literally got completely different answers from salespeople in the SAME store .
  13. macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Sounds to me like you got somebody that didn't know what the heck they were talking about, now you're spreading misinformation like its dogmatic.
  14. macrumors 68000


    Aug 11, 2003
    Yes, this is correct.

    Attached Files:

    • ip5s.jpg
      File size:
      16.9 KB
  15. macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    If you go thru the order process on the site and click the T-mobile phone on the side where your cart is it says iPhone 5s 16GB Gold (GSM) T-Mobile Unlocked; if its locked, why would the description be Unlocked?

    Edit: Exactly what I mean from the pic above.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2008
    When you select the iphone 5s T-Mobile version, this is what shows in your cart. UNLOCKED.

    edit: ha someone beat me to it :p
  17. macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Either the FCC needs to pass a regulation, or the U.S. Congress issuing a law, banning this "locked phone" idiocy. There is zero justification for it, it's only purpose is to forcefully limit consumer choice and to immunize wireless carriers from the effects of their exorbitant pricing and/or bad service.
  18. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    It's possible Apple forgot to remove the unlocked part

    Apple edited the tmobile iphone 5s description to remove the word "unlocked "

    Before it was "unlocked and contract-free" , now just "contract free"

    Why would Apple remove mention if unlocked in the last 48 hours ?

    Something is up, and Apple did not do it for no reason

    Tmobile reps INSISTED the apple store tmobile phone is locked

    I'm in Los Angeles . The Santa Monica , century city , and grove locations all insisted on this
  19. macrumors regular

    May 24, 2012
    Not saying you're wrong ... but its in T-Mobile's best interest to make you think that the Apple Store T-Mobile iPhone is locked to their network. They have nothing to lose.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2007
    bad news.

    Attached Files:

  21. macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    While I hope this isn't true I would not doubt or completely dismiss some speculation that it's locked. Afterall didnt t mobile just offer their unlocked plans this year? Could be that the contract free phones are indeed locked to t mobile at least for a reasonable amount of time (40 days is it?) to prevent people buying to resell
  22. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    That's what I've been getting ALL day from every apple and t-mobile store today.

    Either theny're all misinformed or top brass is keeping their underlings in the dark, or it really is unlocked.

    I'm guessing the best bet is buying the full-priced Verizon iphone 5s, Verizon reps tell me it is unlocked


    I was told they would be locked for 40 days for the exact same reason -- to prevent reselling abroad.

    Remember, apple had a 'SIM-free' iphone 5s on their site along with T-Mobile contract-free.

    They removed the SIM-free one.

    Can't be a coincidence ... my guess is T-Mobile bargained to have their variant locked to prevent reselling.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2013
    I told you this ***** just yesterday. But you didn't listen, and now you'll have to suffer.

    If you want an unlocked iPhone,

    Do not buy ANY iPhone with a carrier name attached. Period.

    Only buy unlocked from Apple.

    It's really that simple.
  24. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    My purely speculative guess is that Apple has dedicated all of it's day one stock to the carriers. With it looking like the rumors of low inventory of 5S looking to be true, Apple may be choosing to hold off on unlocked/sim-free units till after it's inventory has stabilized. If you look at the 5C page, it does offer both T-mobile and sim-free models. Though, there is less day one demand for them.

    I'm personally planning on moving to t-mobile with the 5S and was planning on picking up a unlocked model. Not that big a deal for me to wait 40 days to unlock. Though if the Verizon model is unlocked, might be a better option just for resale. Either way I'll be returning it in a few weeks if the T-mobile reception isn't good at my work or keeping it for a few years.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    It's not that simple because there's no iPhone listed on Apple that isn't tied to any carrier. The closest is T mobile but it now says contract free but with sim, whereas it previously said "..& unlocked" and "sim-free"

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