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chunter1001

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
82
6
I just got off of the phone with Apple and am confused. I purchased an iPhone 11 Pro Max from Apple. I was under the impression from the language on Apple.com that all iPhones bought directly from Apple are compatible with all US carriers - regardless whether they are CDMA or GSM. The exception being if somebody bought from Apple using AT&T Next financing.

Apple told me on the phone that my phone is locked to GSM because I ordered it from them with an AT&T sim. That doesn’t make any sense to me. But if it is, that certainly isn’t written anywhere that I saw online.

Can anybody confirm whether this is correct? If it is locked to GSM I will need to return the iPhone and get one that is compatible with all carriers by Friday. Thanks!
 

ASUgrad1999

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2012
180
152
Gilbert, AZ
I bought the AT&T 11 Pro Max from Apple because I wanted it unlocked. I currently have the eSim with AT&T (postpaid) and the regular SIM with Verizon (prepaid). Hope that helps.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors G5
Oct 20, 2011
12,686
10,518
Austin, TX
I was under the impression the phone would be unlocked, but the only way to know for sure is to drop another SIM in there.
 

VineRider

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2018
1,350
1,163
From the Apple Website (when in purchase mode for iPhone 11 pro down at the bottom under unlocked and sim free "will my iPhone be unlocked" link)

Nearly all iPhone models sold on apple.com and at the Apple Store are unlocked. This means they aren’t tied to a single carrier. The exception is when you buy an iPhone with AT&T Next. It will be tied — or locked — to AT&T.
  • Your iPhone will be unlocked when you:
    • Choose any carrier and select One-time payment.
    • Choose any carrier and select Apple iPhone Payments.
    • Choose any carrier and either join or upgrade with the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program.
    • Purchase a SIM-free model. This is like any other iPhone, just without a carrier nano-SIM card.
  • Your iPhone will be locked when you:
    • Choose AT&T as your carrier and pay with AT&T Next.
 

Dwalls90

macrumors 603
Feb 5, 2009
5,428
4,416
See attached screenshot from Apple's site. Looks like it aligns with your understanding and what Apple support told you.

There is only one model for all carriers (when purchased in US), so there are no technical model differences that will cause you problems, only that it's potentially "software" locked to AT&T.

Since your phone was purchased for AT&T (correct me if I'm wrong, and you actually bought the SIM free phone), unless you bought it outright (full MSRP), bought it under the Apple Upgrade Program, or bought it using Apple iPhone Payments (financed through Apple, not using the Apple Upgrade program), then by deduction you bought it using AT&T Next and therefore it's locked to AT&T.
 

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chunter1001

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
82
6
Thanks. I bought it outright from Apple. I did not buy it using AT&T Next.

There are options to buy outright (single payment) that include which carrier you want to have the sim installed for and then one that is sim free.

I choose to have the att sim installed, but bought directly from Apple in a single payment.

So, it sounds like maybe I got bad info from Apple? My iPhone should be fine for both GSM and CDMA, but it just came with the AT&T sim installed and activated?
 

tps3443

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2019
1,406
908
NC,USA
I just got off of the phone with Apple and am confused. I purchased an iPhone 11 Pro Max from Apple. I was under the impression from the language on Apple.com that all iPhones bought directly from Apple are compatible with all US carriers - regardless whether they are CDMA or GSM. The exception being if somebody bought from Apple using AT&T Next financing.

Apple told me on the phone that my phone is locked to GSM because I ordered it from them with an AT&T sim. That doesn’t make any sense to me. But if it is, that certainly isn’t written anywhere that I saw online.

Can anybody confirm whether this is correct? If it is locked to GSM I will need to return the iPhone and get one that is compatible with all carriers by Friday. Thanks!

I pre-ordered through AT&T on a 2yr agreement it is financed currently. And it works with any SIM card. Verizon/T-Mobile/AT&T.

I removed the included sim before powering on, and installed another AT&T SIM card to transfer my number from another line.
 

timeconsumer

macrumors 68020
Aug 1, 2008
2,059
2,053
Portland
Thanks. I bought it outright from Apple. I did not buy it using AT&T Next.

There are options to buy outright (single payment) that include which carrier you want to have the sim installed for and then one that is sim free.

I choose to have the att sim installed, but bought directly from Apple in a single payment.

So, it sounds like maybe I got bad info from Apple? My iPhone should be fine for both GSM and CDMA, but it just came with the AT&T sim installed and activated?
If purchasing outright always choose the sim-free/unlocked version. That being said, since you bought it outright it should be unlocked. Have you tried contacting AT&T for them to check if it’s unlocked on their end?
 

archer75

macrumors 68040
Jan 26, 2005
3,116
1,746
Oregon
Even last years phones worked with any network unlike previous years. Only difference is what is locked to a carrier. Though they can be unlocked.
Point is, the hardware is there to work on any network.
 

zaxdude

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2011
264
11
If purchasing outright always choose the sim-free/unlocked version. That being said, since you bought it outright it should be unlocked. Have you tried contacting AT&T for them to check if it’s unlocked on their end?

I bought the outright, unlocked 11 Pro version at Apple. I wanted to change to the eSim, which wasn't difficult at all -- was done in less than 10 mins over the phone. I mentioned to the rep that I was travelling to Europe in November and wanted to have the physical SIM slot free. He said he wanted to make sure my phone was unlocked to be sure (even though I told him I bought the SIM free, unlocked version). He then came back and said that my phone was locked, and that AT&T will lock the phone once the SIM is inserted. He said he'd submit for it to be unlocked, but I was still a bit ticked off if what he said was true about it being locked. That's like buying a car and being told you don't get the key to drive it.
 

Packers1958

macrumors 68000
Apr 16, 2017
1,944
2,576
South Dakota
Verizon locks their phones for the first 60 days, and then they automatically unlock afterwards. I would bet AT&T does the same thing. Doesn't matter if bought directly from Verizon and AT&T or Apple.
 
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