Do I need to plug into iTunes for an unlock?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Retired Cat, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Retired Cat, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013

    Retired Cat macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
    I received an email from my carrier that my iPhone 5 is unlocked. I confirmed via a free IMEI checker on the web.

    Do I need to plug the phone into iTunes to complete the unlock? Or will a SIM card from any compatible GSM carrier work now? suggests that all one needs to do is put in a SIM from the new carrier and complete setup process, no need for iTunes. Anyone done this?
  2. megapopular macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2007
    My education on the matter shows that an iTunes restore is the only thing that completes a software unlock. It has to go through the iTunes server.
  3. LiveWireless macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2013
    My test says no. ... And once I was using the sim iTunes or even after a restore itunes would not give me the message (windows iTunes). The sim just worked.

    Just try it there is nothing to lose and if it works you save lots of time not having to do a restore.
  4. Irock619 macrumors 68000


    Sep 16, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    As per att I had to plug into iTunes. The restore took about 20 min.
  5. pdxa4 macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2008
    What website did you use to check the unlock ?
  6. Retired Cat thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
    Is the "lock" actually on the iPhone's iOS, or is it a server-side lock on Apple's activation system?

    From what I understand, Apple has a database of all iPhones that contains info on whether each IMEI is locked to a specific carrier. Does the iPhone check w' the Apple server when a new SIM is inserted and activated?

    I am curious about this from a technical perspective.
  7. penajmz macrumors 68040


    Sep 11, 2008
    New York City
    Just use a different sim. It will respring and it will be done.
  8. Retired Cat thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
  9. pdxa4 macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2008
  10. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    According to SwiftUnlocks website you plug into iTunes and a restore isn't necessary. But that doesn't answer your question.
  11. Retired Cat thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
    I'm thinking that iTunes pushes a message to confirm the unlock, but doesn't actually change anything on the phone.

    Just my theory. Was hoping that someone with insider knowledge of Apple and iOS could tell us for sure.
  12. pk7 macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2011
    I think this is the case. My old 3GS and 4S were unlocked (3GS through AT&T, 4S through SwiftUnlocks) and I don't even remember plugging them into iTunes after that.

    Took them both to India and they worked fine on the local GSM carriers.

    In fact, I only just got the "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked" message a week ago on both phones when I had to restore the 3GS to give to my younger brother and when I had to restore the 4S to sell.

    You should be good to go.

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