How Do You Unlock A Replacement iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by blairh, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. blairh macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    Apple replaced my iPhone this past Monday. It had hardware issues and they replaced it. The iPhone I had replaced was unlocked by AT&T, my carrier.

    So as I'm getting ready to leave the store I ask the technician if this replacement iPhone is unlocked and he says 'no, you need to call AT&T and just have them unlock it like your previous one'. Okay.

    So I call AT&T and we do the request on the phone. Yesterday I receive an email that the IMEI is not recognized as an AT&T IMEI.

    I call AT&T today and they say I need to speak with Apple. They get Apple on the phone and they leave.

    Apple says they have opened the case and that I just need to do a backup to iTunes, restore as new, and restore from the new backup. This man from Apple is very nice but not confident this will work.

    I do as he says. I call him back. He says, 'great, now resubmit the IMEI to AT&T, they should unlock it now'.

    When I attempt this the website states the IMEI does not appear to come from an AT&T device. So that is a no-go.

    I also found this link which states I need to unlock my original iPhone but I thought this was already unlocked (as I had received a 'complete' status when looking up my old iPhone plus I spoke to someone at AT&T on the phone and they assured me the iPhone was unlocked.)

    So, now I'm stuck. I've reached out to the person I was dealing with at Apple (waiting to hear back) but I'd love some feedback here. I'm assuming the issue was that my original iPhone that was replaced was never truly unlocked and that somehow is messing with my current replacement iPhone. Please help if you can. Thanks.
     
  2. eyoungren, Jul 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    If your previous phone was truly unlocked then it sounds to me like Apple screwed up and the genius either didn't understand you or knowingly passed the problem on because they screwed up.

    I'd call Applecare and ask to speak to a manager and then explain the issue to them. Apple is supposed to replace like for like and the fact that the IMEI is not in AT&T's database means they didn't give you an AT&T replacement or a replacement that AT&T would have whitelisted.

    Apple screwed up - even if your previous phone was indeed still locked to AT&T. They should fix this.
     
  3. jdlindsey7 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #3
    I literally lived this exact same scenario a month ago. I literally spent 20 hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T over the course of three days.
    My advise: request that your new phone be unlocked (sounds like you've already done this), and then call AT&T customer service relentlessly. I talked to about 15 reps (sadly not an exaggeration) over those three days before one finally was able to help. Regardless of what anyone at AT&T tells you, the rep has the ability to unlock your phone. They will tell you that they have to send a fax to a special department at AT&T that handles phone unlocking but that's a lie. The final rep said that she saw I had called many times, I'm sure my account is flagged now , and that she would be glad to help. She put me on hold for 30 seconds and came back and said all was good to go. I popped in another carriers SIM and it worked. No restarting. No plugging into iTunes. Nothing.
    I don't know how it works, and I feel your pain, but just keep calling until you get the right person. ne.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 6, 2016 ---
    In my case, I told Apple that my phone that needed replacing was SIM unlocked by AT&T but they wouldn't replace that phone with another unlocked phone. The manager told me that locked/unlocked was between the carrier and customer. Major flaw in the system and a headache for sure.
     
  4. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #4
    Furthermore the issue is that the person I'm dealing with at Apple on the phone doesn't seem to know the answer. I just sent him my latest status online and he said he'd send the info 'to engineers at Apple'. What?!?!

    I'm busy tonight but I'll call them tomorrow and hopefully have this all resolved. I'm curious, if my IMEI isn't recognized by AT&T then perhaps it's already unlocked? I have no idea. I shouldn't have to be dealing with this in the first place. I will never purchase a locked iPhone ever again. This is nonsense.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #5
    Which is why I was saying to ask to speak with an AC+ manager/executive. Guy may be very friendly, but low-level friendy reps can't help you.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 6, 2016 ---
    That does not sound right at all. They are supposed to replace like for like and the activation ticket for the old IMEI should be altered to affect the new IMEI as well.
     
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #6
    That is not right.
    If you replace an unlocked iPhone you shouldn't have to chase AT&T to unlock your replacement.
    I wouldn't leave handing in an unlocked iPhone and walking out with a replacement of an AT&T locked device.
     
  7. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #7
    Have you actually tried using a non AT&T sim in it? Or are you just going by the sales rep's word? The replacement should be unlocked if the original was unlocked. Perhaps your phone actually is unlocked and that is why they can't unlock it again?
     
  8. G.McGilli macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    #8
    There was a thread about this exact same issue a month or 2 ago - and the theme was 'engineers' at Apple - they needed to just add the IMEI or serial # or something etc etc to something and bam - fixed.... The thread is probably buried somewhere here but it had a happy ending...
     
  9. tl01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #9
    This. My replacements have been unlocked without me doing anything even when I had to choose my carrier at set up. I never even mention my phone is unlocked.
     
  10. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #10
    OP: If you ever get a replacement phone for AT&T you can submit an AT&T unlock request online and it will be approved within 2-3 days. It doesn't matter if you are under contract, replacement phones have a different IMEI number than what is tied to your contract so it will unlock. I have done this multiple times.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    Did you read the part where OP stated that AT&T said his IMEI was not an AT&T IMEI?
     
  12. rigormortis, Jul 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016

    rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #12
    1. Try a different sim from another carrier.
    2. Try backing up and erasing the iphone and restoring it
    3. Verify the model # is what AT&T wants. On an iPhone 6s this would be A1633, A1634, 6 would be A1549 OR A1522
    4. Not a valid AT&T imei could mean that the IMEi was never activated under your account. Make sure the IMEI is registered to you. The IMEI needs to have been used on on their network to be eligible for an unlock. The IMEI needs a history that it was assigned to an account.
    5. Go to ATT's imei checker to see if its supported.
    6. Go to cricket wireless's imei checker ( cricket supports the non AT&T version of the 6s, A1688 and A1687 )
    7. Maybe ask the AT&T store to formally activate your handset with a new SIM card
    8. Go back to apple and and specially request the SIM FREE version.


    4 ( I was able to verify this 3 times by trying to unlock GO PHONES. I had to go to the store and have them place the imei on my go phone account to make it eligible for an unlock.) simply putting a sim in does not qualify

    Thats all I can think of to help.

    The only way that I can think of that AT&T insists that its not one of their imeis is
    1. Apple gave you the wrong phone. like a model a1687, a1688,, a1586, a1524 that was locked.
    2 the iphone was never activated for AT&T ( see #4 )
    3. You are an owner of an iPhone SE and the imei is not on their books yet. And you have to wait 90 days after the launch of the iphone.
     
  13. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #13
    I'm not the OP (I'm on T-Mobile by the way) but maybe this may help OP.
     
  14. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #14
    Yeah I repled to the wrong person hah
    --- Post Merged, Jul 6, 2016 ---
    Simply putting the SIM card in an iphone does not register the imei to your account. I feel if att's website said the imei was supported and you formally activated with a new SIM card. That would give you the unlock eligibility in 30 seconds

    Unless of course its an iphone SE, and if the iphone SE hasn't been on the market for 90 days
     
  15. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #15
    You shouldn't have to do that or go out of your way asking AT&T and waiting days to use your phone. It should all be done automatically when you swap devices at Apple.
    It shouldn't happen the way it did for the op.
     
  16. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #16
    The OP still hasn't said if he actually tried to see if it was unlocked with a different SIM. I think probably the only thing that shouldn't have happened how it did is a sales person that didn't know anything shouldn't have told him it was locked.
     
  17. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

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    Dec 11, 2007
    #17
    Guys I'm on hold with Apple. I'm waiting to speak with an advisor. The woman who answered my call at Apple today looked into my situation and is telling me my iPhone is actually unlocked but I need to restore the iPhone before I leave. (Backup to iTunes, restore, restore from backup.) She's also telling me I need to do this once I return from Italy and use my iPhone again with AT&T.

    This makes no sense to me. If my iPhone is unlocked then it's unlocked and I can use it with another carrier. She's saying once I insert a SIM it becomes locked to that carrier unless I restore again.

    This is wrong, correct? She's claiming this is how it works now with iOS.
     
  18. EDH667 macrumors 6502a

    EDH667

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Location:
    Northern California
    #18
    You do not have to restore the iPhone for the unlock to work, that was the old way of activating the unlock. If you want to verify it is unlocked just install another SIM like T-Mobile.
     
  19. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #19
    An unlocked iPhone is simply unlocked. You can swap SIM cards as much as you want. No restoring required.

    I'd request to speak with someone else...
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2016 ---
    As a few others have asked. Have you actually tried a SIM from another carrier? That's really the only way to confirm it is unlocked.
     
  20. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #20
    I have a SIM from the Italian carrier I will use next week when I get to Italy. Is that sufficient? I don't have an American SIM to try. The advisor said to insert the Italian SIM now. If I get an 'unsupported SIM' message then the iPhone isn't unlocked. Does that sound right? She wasn't entirely sure but she said I might as well try. Bottom line she sounds confident it's unlocked. Showing up as 'multi mode unlocked' on her side.

    If that wasn't enough, the first Apple employee who I had spoken with today who was dead wrong had someone from AT&T on the phone with us too and SHE said yes, you need to restore your iPhone each time you use it with a new carrier. What a freaking joke these people are. I will never purchase a locked iPhone in the future.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2016 ---
    I just inserted my Italian SIM. It states 'SIM locked'. When I tap 'unlock' it asks for a PIN. Does that mean my iPhone isn't unlocked? Or does this have to do with my Italian carrier?
     
  21. jdlindsey7 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #21
    Apple won't be able to help, or at least they couldn't in my situation. Call AT&T and demand your phone be unlocked, whether or not they think the phone is an AT&T IMEI or not doesn't matter. I had the exact same problem and the phone that AT&T and Apple said was unlocked wouldn't take a SIM from another carrier. At some point I got lucky and got the right person at AT&T and they were able to do do something on my account and unlock the phone in seconds.
     
  22. EDH667 macrumors 6502a

    EDH667

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Northern California
    #22
    Yes, you should have received a PIN from the Italian carrier to unlock the SIM. I have had this on several foreign SIM cards. Once you enter the unlock code remember it since you may have to use it again once you get to Italy. Also you may incur some roaming charges using the Italian SIM other than in Italy.
     
  23. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    They don't know what they're talking about. If the phone is unlocked, you can swap SIMs without restoring. Here is the Apple document that covers unlocking.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201328

    That sounds more like the SIM itself has a PIN and needs to be unlocked. Do you have a different SIM to try? A friend with T-Mobile or Verizon?
     
  24. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #24
    I found the PIN for my Italian SIM and I successfully entered it. States 'no service'. So does that mean I'm in the clear?

    I'm away from home this weekend and would need to go a carrier store to test their SIM. Would like to avoid that if possible.
     
  25. RadioGaGa1984 Suspended

    RadioGaGa1984

    Joined:
    May 23, 2015
    #25
    Seems to me then the iPhone is unlocked. If it wasn't you would've received an unsupported sim screen.
     

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