Unlock an iPhone 3GS without SIM card?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Cubytus, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #1
    Hi there,

    I bought the used iPhone 3GS at an unbeatable price from a former boss when his contract expired and he was offered with an iPhone 4S. However, he forgot to unlock it before selling it. Of course, he kept the SIM card that goes in it.

    Since the original provider wouldn't lift a pinkie to unlock it if original owner isn't present on the phone for 30 minutes (yes, that's how cell companies are like in Canada!), would there be a way to unlock it while keeping the ability to upgrade as I want to?
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #2
    I bought some iPhone 3GS units in the philippines at a flea market type of place and one of them was locked to AT&T. I went to a website called Beijing phone repair or something like that (I'm sure it'll come up if you google it) and they did a factory unlock for a fee (which I paid via PayPal). It worked fine after that. I think they do Canadian carriers too.

    Otherwise I'm sure you can get around things by jail breaking and going that route.

    Or you can contact your former boss and take him to dinner (and catch up on old times!) after he accompanies you to the carrier and gets it sorted for you.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #3
    I was looking for a way to do it for free, and permanently.

    And the carrier wouldn't do it in store. It has to be done over the phone.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    VolceOntra

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    #4
    SIM card doesn't need to be active to... Um.... Activate. So amazon a cheap SIM card and it should work :)

    Edit: never mind...
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #5
    I do have deactivated SIM cards for testing purposes. However, will I be able to keep my software upgrade capability and have a permanently-unlocked iPhone?
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    That doesn't exist.

    If you want a factory unlocked iPhone you either buy a factory unlocked iPhone, get the carrier to do it, and failing that use one of those online services. They seem to have access to Apple's database and within 24-48 hours will unlock your iPhone permanently.

    The service I used cost me $15 because I paid extra for rush service, but I think they normally charge just $10. Small price to pay to have a factory unlock (which is permanent) on a previously carrier-locked iPhone. It's also relatively hassle-free. Just enter your IMEI number and send money via PayPal and then a short time later your iPhone is unlocked.

    Edit: I think the online service charge more for Canadian carriers, but I know it can be done. Though the point is if you don't use one of these online services and you can't get the former owner to help you, then you are going to be stuck using a jailbreak or you will just be out of luck.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #7
    How come these third party providers have access to Apple's database? Isn't access reserved to official providers? That is actually the method boasted by the provider as they said they will have to look in Apple's database if the phone was stolen, before unlocking it. However, they do charge $30 for that, which is already cheaper than unlockers doing that in third-party stores.
     
  8. macrumors Nehalem

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #8
    Then have the carrier unlock it if its cheaper.
    You will not be able to permanently unlock it yourself for free.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #9
    It is cheaper but much more binding, having several constraints that I am looking to avoid.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #10
    Well, with Canadian carriers being what they are, they wouldn't unlock it since it "disappeared" from the account because it was inactive in the original owner's account for more than 90 days (guess he waited a bit using the iPhone 4S before selling the 3GS).

    I am now on my own trying to find a decent prices official unlock.

    And this question is still unanswered: how do third party unlockers actually register as "official" unlockers, getting access to Apple's database?
     
  11. macrumors Nehalem

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #11
    Most likelly they have someone on the inside that works for the carrier.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #12
    And these "insiders" being partnered with through which channels? They surely don't come from backdoor meetings.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #13
    It doesn't cost just "more". It costs 6 TIMES (!!) the standard price. This difference is unjustifiable to my eyes. Will just have to look elsewhere as I find no sense in paying almost as much in unlock as I paid for the phone.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #14
    Good luck with that. If you can't get the carrier to unlock it, then you are stuck with using an unlocking service. You could buy a Gevey SIM adapter, but it may not work with iOS versions. It will depend on what iOS is on the phone.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #15
    At the very least, it proves that the iPhone is probably Apple's worst-serviced device. I can't see why they legally couldn't mark their phone as unlocked in their own database, considering even the carrier doesn't remember this phone.

    And I don't have a clue about the iOS version: there's no carrier-issued SIM card inside, so I can't verify.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #16


    Technically, it is the carrier responsible for the unlock on locked phones. My guess is that their policy is the original phone owner who had account with them must unlock the phone.

    If you want an unlocked iPhone, pay the no contract price from Apple and you get a unlocked phone from factory. Apple does not have a responsibility to unlock a locked phone you bought used from someone else. If you are buying a used phone and need it unlocked make sure you are buying an unlocked phone or be willing to pay on unlocking service. It's pretty simple.
     
  17. macrumors Nehalem

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #17
    I have no idea.
    You can always try getting a job at the carrier to unlock it yourself:D

    That would be common sense.
    Instead of buying a locked iphone and then complaining about why you cant unlock it for free or for cheap:D
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #18
    Apple has no responsability, carrier has no responsability after 90 days, seller can't help. Who's responsible then?

    It wouldnt hurt apple in any way. They are already servicing out of warranty devices, free of charge. Why not the iphone?
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #19
    It's locked to carrier for a purpose. The phone was subsidized by the carrier. Meaning the carrier paid for a portion of the phone that was used under contract with said carrier. Carriers have an agreement with Apple to not unlock phones that are subsidized by said carriers. In other words, the carrier has a contract with Apple to pay these phones, as long as Apple doesn't unlock them. That is why it is the carriers responsibility.

    Furthermore, why would a carrier or Apple do anything for you? You don't have an account with said carrier and you didn't by the phone new from Apple. You bought used from a third party and more than likely they probably told you it was unlocked and it wasn't unlocked, so now your shifting the blame to Apple. If you bought an old Nokia phone locked to carrier, would you expect Nokia to unlock for you? Guess, what Nokia wouldn't unlock it either.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #20
    makes sense, if only they had part time positions available. They work in the same building as I am, but there is a language barrier between us. Never got to speak to them.

    As for the other proposal, no other phone seems as difficult or expensive to unlock as an iphone. I unlocked tens of nokia, sony, htc, samsung, usually for about $12, never $60.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #21
    It costs $2-3 for AT&T in the US. It is carrier specific on the costs. The Canadian carriers are more hard core about their subsidized locked iPhones.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #22
    nokia doesn't have a central database holding all it's phone statuses.

    Re read my posts, the seller never pretended it was unlocked.

    And the carrier shouldn't have to say anything about subsidizing, this phone is out of contract since a year, so completely paid out by the original contract holder, rthey don't have anything to win refusing to unlock it except a bad reputation, which they already have as the most expensive carrier in canada.

    I would have bought it from Apple, if they indeed had iphone 3gs for sale. But they don't.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #23
    Like I said, you bought a locked phone. You should have researched the options for unlocking before purchasing. The only reason Apple maintains the database is because the iPhone needs to activated to function. Apple doesn't make the decisions on what phone is allowed to be unlocked. It's the responsibility of the carrier to unlock the phone or you can use an unlocking service.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #24
    I did exactly that, hence this topic. I am not new to unlocks, and never paid more than $20. As for any other phone, I assumed that the iphone would be unlockable.

    Butt sometimes an occasion with an extremely good price quickly wanes off, so there's no time for an in depth research, and that's what happened here.
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #25
    What carrier is it? You might want to get a prepaid SIM from that carrier to see what iOS it's running etc... So you can see if can Jailbreak and use a software unlock or use Gevey SIM.

    For some reason and I don't know why, the Canadian carriers are more difficult to unlock, hence the higher price for the unlocking service.
     

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