AT&T Phone - when/how does unlocking happen?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by HDFan, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. HDFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #1
    I purchased an unlocked T-Mobile 6+ from Apple and have used it both on the Consumer Cellular and AT&T network (the latter using the sim from my iPhone 5).

    When I travel overseas my plan is to replace the sim with a T-Mobile one for the time that I am traveling.

    Since I am grandfathered in with an unlimited data plan I actually also purchased an AT&T 6+ (identical to the T-Mobile phone) from Apple which should arrive shortly. My plan is to sell this phone with the box unopened. I would like to sell it as an "unlocked" phone, but I am not sure when and where the locking occurs. If I were to fire up the new phone I assume that it would become locked.

    My questions are:

    1) how does the locking occur? Since the AT&T phone is initially unlocked when purchased from Apple, does it happen when it is first used? Is the locking in the SIM, the phone, or a combination of both?

    2) Once this phone arrives am I at risk of having my unlocked T-Mobile phone becoming locked while using using the old iPhone 5 sim? I.E., once I start the new contract, will AT&T somehow they lock my unlocked phone? Since I will be under contract, they will think that the phone is still "theirs".
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #2
    I believe the phone is locked when it is shipped to you. If you meet att's requirements, they will unlock it. There are also services that can unlock but it is much harder than it used to be.
     
  3. kepler20b macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    Verizon yes, ATT, from the reports that I've read and the threads here, it seems it will get unlocked by them after you fulfill your contract (if you bought it on subsidy) or if you paid full price then you can request an unlock
     
  5. kepler20b macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
    #5

    Excuse me, you appear to be correct. I was mistaken earlier. T-Mobile and Verizon are expressively unlocked no matter your contract status.
     
  6. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #6
    Yep, AT&T come VERY locked.:apple:
     
  7. harpyeagle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    #7
    It depends

    It depends on how you bought it.

    1. If you bought it under a contract or through NEXT, yes, it'll be locked.
    2. If you bought it outright for a current line that is still under a contract, it'll be locked.
    3. If this is a line that is not under contract currently or if it's a new line and if the phone was bought outright, then it'll come unlocked.

    I think it's all decided at the POS where you choose how to buy it and what your current status is.

    I bought a IP6 outright but it still was locked as the line I bought it for was still under contract. They unlocked it via an online request after the contract was over(2 weeks later). So, it doesn't matter even if you own the phone in this case, it'll still be locked as the line is still under contract.
     
  8. Rigby macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #8
    If you buy a subsidized AT&T phone on contract, it is not unlocked and you obviously cannot sell it as such.
    The phone is registered as locked in Apple's activation database. When the phone is activated, it receives an activation record that locks it to AT&T, no matter what SIM you use.
    No.
     
  9. Shadowbech macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    #9
    I'm not sure if that makes any difference but I used AT&T Next to get the iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple store. I then purchased another AT&T 6 Plus device only at the Apple Store and I took the sim card out from my AT&T Next out and put it on my device only 6 Plus and connected to iTunes. It gave me an congrats your iPhone has been unlocked message.

    If you purchased the device only AT&T iPhone at the Apple store, it will be unlocked regardless if you are currently on contract or not.

    However, if you purchased the AT&T iPhone device only at AT&T store, it will be locked, and you would have to request an unlock.
     
  10. harpyeagle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    #10
    That's what happened in my case. I bought device only ATT iphone 6 from Apple Store when I had two weeks left in the contract on the line I bought it for. So when I connected to iTunes, I didn't get the message nor did ATT agree to unlock it. I have to admit though that I didn't try using the phone with another carrier's SIM at this point, but however went ahead and submitted unlock request online at their site anyways and got an email next day saying I am still under contract and the phone cannot be unlocked. I called them for an explanation and said I owned the phone. But no dice, as from their point of view, the line is still under contract. Two weeks later, after the contract was over, I submitted the same request and got an instant response saying that it was unlocked. I then tried a T-Mobile SIM and it worked.

    Now if I had bought a T-mobile/Verizon device only to use it on the ATT line that was under contract, I believe it may have been a different story.
     

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