How does AT&T create the unlock

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by sfphoto, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. sfphoto macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    I have a non activated wiped 4s.

    AT&T sent me the email 'connect to iTunes after 24 hours', restore as new (which will upgrade my iOS).

    How does AT&T accomplish the unlock?
    Is there something in the new iOS?
    Perhaps it happens when the phone is activated?

    I do not plan to activate with AT&T.
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6


    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix • 85037
    The IMEI of your iPhone is entered into the Apple controlled unlock database. iTunes checks every time you sync to see if your IMEI is in that database. If it finds it, then your phone is unlocked.
  3. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2008
    And that IMEI is only added to the list if your carrier decides to send it there; i.e. when you submit an unlock request to your carrier.

    the IMEI can also be added to the list if you buy the phone full-price from the apple store. i got my 5S from the apple store and paid full price non-contract and didn't activate it. First thing that happened when i synced it with iTunes was the unlock message.
  4. sfphoto thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    So the 24hrs. ATT mentioned in their email is in order for the Apple database to be updated.

    If iTunes checks when the phone is synced (after the 24 hrs.) then perhaps the 'Restore as New' mentioned is not needed?

    The ATT note simply says 'Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes' but includes a link to Apples HT1414: 'restore your iOS device to factory settings' ' iTunes will download the iOS software file and restore your iOS device'

    This would imply that the unlock is contained in the new iOS. This would also imply that one can not restore from *.ispw files on hand.
  5. sfphoto thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    So you are saying that simply snyc w/ iTunes to unlock?

    Perhaps the 'Restore' mentioned in the ATT email is not needed or could be 'Restore from Backup' ?
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6


    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix • 85037
    Any answer I give you about "restoring is purely speculation. I assume that instruction is included because being fully updated might eliminate potential problems. Restoring as new forces the phone to be updated.

    But again, that's just a guess.

    I'm not an AT&T customer and have never unlocked my phone(s) (impossible to do for domestic use on Sprint). I was just passing along the info about the unlock database because that's general info.
  7. sfphoto thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Thanks to all the above for their input!

    Here is an update.

    48 hours after receiving the note from ATT, I started iTunes 10.5 (for which I had emptied the folder user>music>itunes).

    Connected wiped phone with original non-activated sim installed. iTunes message "previously synced with another library' said OK and synced (empty phone, empty library etc.), iTunes backed up automatically.

    As the phone is new to me no need to restore so did not.

    Unlocked fine. Device log shows new carrier profile installed.
  8. ParishM macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2007
    Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
    once the IMEI is updated in Apples database you have 2 options

    1. do a full erase and restore in iTunes
    2. insert SIM from different carrier and do a basic "Sync" in iTunes.

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