Factory Unlocked iPhone Question

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Wicked1, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    If you get one of these besides paying like tons of cash, can you jailbreak it, or is it only unlocked to use on any GSM carrier? What would be the advantage of getting an unlocked version, I currenty have AT&T and do not plan on going to T-Mobile and the iPhone doesn't work on Verizon or Sprint?
  2. jamaggic macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2009
    SC, thank God
    factory unlocked

    if you get a 32g 3GS from ATT (locked) its about $199 plus about $70/month = about $1100 1st year and about $840 for second and following years. You can JB and unlock it reliably a number of ways if 3.1.2... if you buy a factory unlocked for anywhere from $650- $1000 and use it on T-Mob you can add it to your T-mob plan for about $10/month and anywhere from $5.99 to $25/month for data. Only difference is Tmob 3G frequency is different from hardware in iphone so you only get Edge. I have not found this to be a problem. So the first year expense is about the same but you save much for all following years. Factory unlocked can be JB no problem.
  3. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    An unlocked iPhone can be jailbroken like any other locked iPhone, assuming the firmware version it has and the current freely-available software tools for jailbreaking allow it.

    I had a factory unlocked 3G that I got from a friend in New Zealand (I've since sold it and now use a locked 3GS). The major advantage of a factory unlocked iPhone is that you can easily pop in any SIM card from any carrier and you don't have to worry about firmware updates breaking the jailbroken or unlocked state. That's pretty much it. If you don't expect to travel where you will need to use local SIMs in other countries, a factory-unlocked iPhone will not be much more valuable for you than a locked one. I never jailbroke my factory unlocked 3G but did rely on its unlocked status when traveling in Europe. I have not jailbroken my current 3GS and keep it up-to-date with new firmware for work purposes and personal peace of mind. I don't see leaving AT&T in the near future, though I would be tempted if/when a CDMA-compatible iPhone is available. Until then, a locked 3GS suits me fine and I get my jailbreaking/unlocking thrills with a spare first-gen iPhone I have.
  4. ichabodkky macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I have wondered. What is the physical difference between a carrier locked phone and a factory unlocked phone? Is it a chip in the phone or something?
  5. androiphone macrumors 65816

    Dec 13, 2009
    entirely software it is just a code to allow one type of sim thats it, locked and unlocked versions are identical can JB both and you can even unlock a JB sim locked phone
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    If you plan on using it in AT&T and not on Tmobile don't bother paying extra for a factory unlocked.
  7. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    There is really no reason buy a factory unlocked iPhone unless you are committed to buying only unlocked phones (like me :D)

    The unlock is done via iTunes activation; when you activate via iTunes, Apple will match your phone's IMEI and serial number to their database and if the phone shows as locked in their database it will activate locked and if unlocked it will activate as unlocked; that was why you have to activate it first and then you can use the third party tools to "software" unlocked it and why a restore will lock it again (since when you activate it, it will lock again).
  8. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    I'm looking for an iPhone 3g 8gb for my mom. I'd like to get a factory unlocked one to make her life easy and that way she (well, me really) doesn't have to worry about firmware updates breaking the unlock if it was orig AT&T.

    She Will be using on t-mobile with a $6.99 or $9.99 (whatever price I can get it at since I have an older plan) t-zones.

    Hoping to spend as close to $300 as possible. I'm watching ebay auctions to see if that can happen. On craigslist, it's too hard to figure out what (if any) are factory unlocked.

    I'd like to get one more for my wife and would like to make that a 3GS if possible, but again, I'd like to spend as little as possible. Also, would like to have hers just remain factory unlocked. Those are way high priced - I'd say around $1k. I did see one reseller selling factory unlocked iPhone 3gs for $400 - but you had to buy a minimum of 3 and that would require some coordination w/ other members here, etc
  9. b.lang macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2010
    im interested in going in with you for 1 factory unlocked 3gs iphone. is there a way to send personal messages?
  10. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    The auction's seems to have been removed. Maybe it was fraudulent? My hunt continues
  11. archipellago macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2008
    can you receive stuff from Belgium/Italy? they are all unlocked.
  12. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
    just a fyi

    if you looking on Ebay or online stores be real careful where you buy from since there are a ton of ripoffs out there. A Factory unlocked phone will always command a higher price! never pay with a cashiers check or personal use Amex if you can even Paypal offers some protection. but if somebody is over seas you have almost no recourse to go after them. just be careful use common sense. ;)
  13. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    I've been looking for a while for a factory unlocked iphone on ebay and this is just impossible to find at a decent price. The best i'm finding is a phone priced in the $400s for an iPhone 3g and I don't want one of those now. Plus so many auctions get pulled because of scams.

    I mentioned before in this thread that hte phone was for my mom so I really wanted to get a factory unlocked iPhone so I never have to worry about her accidentally updating the firmware and not being able to use w/ t-mobile. I also didn't want to deal w/ the whole jailbreaking thing. I'm now going to look for a locked to AT&T phone iPhone 3gs phone and jailbreak it myself. Just have to figure out what firmware to make sure that the phone is at and around what price I should be looking for. I'd like to get something under the warranty so that I could take it in to the apple store if something happens - is that possible on me buying a used iPhone?

    I just got a samsung moment for Sprint used off of ebay (I also have a sprint phone/plan) and spent some time with it last night and I think it would be too complicated for my mom. An iPhone is what she needs for sure.
  14. whoevereatsdies macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2010
    If i jailbraik my iphone will AT&T still charge me for my data plan? they say i have to have a data plan if i have any smart phone. im trying to get out of paying $35 extra a month.

    can anyone help me out?
  15. iMacDragon macrumors 68000


    Oct 18, 2008
    no. they know you're using a smartphone from the IMEI, which cannot be changed, and would be illegal to change even if you could.
  16. thespazz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2007
    You need a friend at ATT to even begin to try something like this. Don't know how my buddy did it.
  17. kryten3000 macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2010
    Ecuador (Cotopaxi)
    potential benefits?

    Please correct me if I am wrong but according to my understanding one of the benefits of a factory unlocked iPhone is tethering; at least here in the US. Is this right?
  18. RoadMax macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010

    Now I'm confused here...I was looking for a factgory unlocked 3GS iphone to get it from ebay or some other country that Apples sells them as unlocked.
    Does factory unlocked versiuon have to be jailbroken?
    I thought what is the point of jailbraking if it is factory unlocked, does factory unlocked mean it is legaly jailbroken from Apple?
    And if factory unlocked has to be jailbroken in order to use it what is the point of spending money on a factory unlocked insted of just get a jailbroken version.
    Can someone please clarify this?
  19. androiphone macrumors 65816

    Dec 13, 2009
    factory unlocked = sim free, it is fully how apple intended it to be you can update with official updated from apple and use it with any carriers sim card.

    jailbreaking is when you 'alow' your phone to do things that apple does not want you to do eg. full multitasking, themes ect, if you bought a locked iphone in order to unlock it to any network you have to jailbreak it to give and then apply an unlock to the device but you cannot then update through apple as you will loose your unlock, your jailbreak and possibly brick your device.

    if you have a factory unlocked iphone (depending on the firmware) you are still able to jailbreak it but you would not have to apply the unlock because you are already unlocked
  20. javeria macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2012
    i need help

    hello can any one help me out i have iphone 3 and i had installed viber and it was working ok few days back i deactivated my account and tried to activate it again but it didnt work then i have deleted voer from my phone and now try installing it but it says it need upgradation of ios4.3 but previously it worked and now i am trying but lately it said needs an upgradation and now says can not connect to itunes
  21. anonjd macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2012
    I have a question about factory unlocked iPhones. I keep reading conflicting things.

    If I buy a factory unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple, do I have to plug it in and activate it in iTunes before it is unlocked? Or, is it unlocked "out of the box"?

    And if the former is correct, will it give me a message in iTunes that it is unlocked?
  22. Supreeth macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    Locked and Factory unlocked ???

    I m really an infant regarding the matters of iPhone... So plz can anyone distinguish btw the factory unlocked version and the other(at&t,sprint,...etc).....I am planning to buy the factory unlocked iPhone from a foreign online store and I live in India...is it possible for me to use the iPhone on any of my sim in a factory unlocked version...???

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