Difference in iPhone labeling

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by elietabet, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. elietabet macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    #1
    Hello
    Does anyone here know the difference between these iPhone labeling:
    SIM Free
    Factory Unlocked
    GSM Unlocked

    Are they all the same?

    Thank you.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    Unlocked, sold without a SIM, you provide the SIM card.
    Sold locked, carrier unlocked when requested.
    The GSM radios of the device were unlocked. Usually referenced when a phone has some CDMA capabilities. More often than not this means an international unlock only and not a full unlock.

    No.

    But the result is the same…an unlocked phone.
     
  3. elietabet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
  4. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #4
    I could be wrong, but I generally understood that "factory unlocked" (vs. simply just "unlocked") was to mean that it was unlocked from the beginning (from when it left the factory basically).

    Also GSM unlocked I generally have seen treated as domestic or international unlock, just that there's a CDMA aspect to the device and the ability to use it on a CDMA carrier really depends on the carrier and not the device when it comes to that.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    Yeah, that's the way I understood it to mean too. I did a Google search to confirm and a page talking about it on eBay mentioned it the way I described it above.

    We both could be right. Or wrong. I won't argue that what I found is definitive.

    Yeah, but usually when you're getting a CDMA unlock it's for CDMA devices on domestic networks. Hence a GSM unlock, while it could be domestic is most certainly an international unlock as few networks outside the US are CDMA.
     
  6. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #6
    Well, that's the thing, I don't think there's really a CDMA unlock per se as it's more up to the CDMA carrier to decide whether or not they would allow that device and the device itself can work on it without anything needing to be unlocked as soon as the carrier allows for it. With GSM though there have been devices that would be locked from working on US GSM networks, but unlocked for international ones, although these days it's basically that they are unlocked for any GSM network, domestic or international, which effectively just makes them unlocked in general (given that CMDA generally doesn't really have a lock that's set on it). Seems like there just might be a variation of terminologies and what they could really specifically mean.
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
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    Phoenix • 85037
    #7
    I wanted to say something along the lines of having been on Sprint for 16 years that the CDMA part is what stays locked domestically and that an international unlock is GSM. But then I realized it sounds like I'm an idiot because if they unlock the GSM part it would also mean a domestic unlock as well - for US GSM carriers.

    So, at this point I guess I don't really know what I"m talking about in regard to this. I'll take your definition then. :D
     
  8. iThingsGurl macrumors 6502a

    iThingsGurl

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    Dec 3, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    You mean 'sold unlocked'?
     
  9. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

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    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    No. It was sold locked to a carrier originally. The buyer fulfilled whatever contractual obligation they had with the carrier and the carrier unlocked it upon request.
     
  10. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #10
    It seems like that would be basically just "unlocked" vs. "factory unlocked" which generally implies it was unlocked from the very beginning (as in it left the factory already unlocked).
     
  11. iThingsGurl macrumors 6502a

    iThingsGurl

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    Dec 3, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    I think factory unlocked means it was shipped unlocked, as stated here:
    While a less prevalent term in the US until quite recently, factory unlocked phones are available from manufacturers in many countries. In fact, Apple has sold factory unlocked iPhones in Canada, in addition to carrier locked ones, since the beginning.
     
  12. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

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    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #12
    Then this synonymous with similar free?
     
  13. iThingsGurl macrumors 6502a

    iThingsGurl

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    Dec 3, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    As far as Apple's terminology goes, yes SIM Free is synonymous with Factory Unlocked. In certain places, SIM Free can be either locked or unlocked, as explained here.
     

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