bought iPhone SE in Japan, but it's locked, what to do?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jetlagged, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. jetlagged macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2012
    I bought an iPhone SE 64 go in Osaka Japan at the official Apple Store full price of course. It cost me $60 more compared to the USA. I asked 2 staff if the phone is unlocked and will work in the USA. (I needed a new phone and I wanted to upgrade my iPhone 5 anyways coz it is dead completely, so I had no choice) they both said yes it will work in the USA.

    Anyways I popped in a local data SIM card to the iPhone SE, and noticed the apn settings under cellular is not there (this SIM card worked with my unlocked iPhone 5 and I was able to input the apn setting before my phone died on me) So I paid to check if the phone se is locked or unlocked, the results said it is locked. You gotta be kidding me!!!!

    Now I am really annoyed. I love the iPhone SE, but I don't know what to do. I will go back to the USA next month, but I need this phone to get around Japan and take photos. Should I return it, or ask them to unlock it? Can they even unlock it? Man I hope so. I figure I'd post here coz I want to come prepared before going back to the Apple Store in Osaka. best case is to just return it for a refund, but I'll be dinged with the restocking fee. Ugggghhhh I am so mad.
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Not every carrier allows you to modify the APN settings (that's what jailbreaking can do for you).

    Do you have service from the local carrier of the SIM you popped in? If so, then the fact that you popped that SIM card in, were not told 'Invalid SIM' and got service tells you all you need to know. It's unlocked.
  3. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Sure if Apple Store in Japan is like in the USA. You shouldn't have an issue with getting a refund and if Japan Apple Store policy is to charge restocking fee. A manager should be able to over ride the restocking fee.

    After all. You said you were sold an unlocked iPhone and it's not unlocked. So either they give u an unlock iPhone or return it. Pretty simple.

    And you are 100% sure this is official Apple retail store in Japan?
  4. jetlagged, Aug 17, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016

    jetlagged thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2012
    It's a local prepaid data SIM card only since tourists are now allowed to have voice calls unless they rent an actual phone. Since the local data sim card won't even work, and I checked my locked status online, i have all the evidence I need. I completely understand checking the apn settings is not a sure fire way to know if a phone is unlocked. That's why I verified it with an onine service. My iPhone 5 was unlocked and I was able to use that very same data sim. But now it won't work on my SE

    Yes it's the official Apple Store in Osaka, that I'm sure. I even looked it up online, it's legit.

    Im going back to the Apple Store tomorrow or the day after that.
  5. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I've seen online statuses throw false positives and negatives before. My phone is confirmed unlocked and it still reads as locked to T-Mobile in the online checkers.

    In short, the best way to confirm an unlock is to actually pop a different carrier sim in.

    If I were a betting man, I'd say it's unlocked and you're worrying about nothing.
  6. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    If SIM from USA does not work on this phone bought in Japan then you can use this to argue with them.
    Otherwise, it might be a bit hard.
  7. mlemonds macrumors 6502a


    Apr 9, 2008
    Lexington, KY
    try can't you use them to change your apn
  8. Lomity macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2015
    Similar experience. It shouldn't be locked if purchased from Apple Japan. APN settings are hidden for me as well. Go to the sim provider's site and see if there is a link to install the 'APN profile'. If so, one click and you should be set up. Good luck.
  9. Lomity macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2015
    Btw, here is an example:

    Note the section "if you can't set APN manually".

    Finally, if this works for you, when you go back to the US make sure you delete the profile before using a US SIM. Otherwise you won't have data.
  10. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    I have lived in Japan and have friends that came to visit while I was there that bought an iPhone 6s while there. This was at an Apple Store in Tokyo, but it was unlocked and works perfectly overseas. So you should definitely be able to get the same.

    Which carrier are you using? And did you install all the right settings? I used So-net (NTT Docomo) prepaid and I had to install carrier settings from their website manually before it worked. I could not change the APN profile either, which I normally can with my SIM-card. I have an unlocked US iPhone.
  11. jetlagged thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2012
    Thank you all for the reply. Maybe I'm just worrying over nothing. I'll try downloading the apn setting online.

    I have freetel data sim only (it says docomo on the top left for the wireless phone company) Well hopefully it's unlocked.

    I downloaded the apn setting profile as suggested by lomity, on the freetel site and installed it on my phone. And the sim is working on my iPhone SE. I hope it's really unlocked coz I would be angry if it isn't. Well I'm not going back to the Apple Store then.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I went to imei info site to check if my phone is locked or not. Should I just ignore the result?
  12. Lomity macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2015
    If it was locked it wouldn't be working unless by chance it was locked to DoCoMo. I bought my 6s at an apple Japan store and have used it on 3 or 4 networks in other countries including the US with no problems. Sounds like you are in good shape.
  13. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California
    Ignore those sites, they notoriously show wrong information.
  14. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    imei info site is wrong as it says i have a 64gb iphone 6s plus.

    But i have a 16GB model.
    I'd say you will be ok.

    Here in UK I got my phone from three, but currently has an EE sim in it.
    I know not the same but in UK most networks have sim locked phones.

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