How to know if your iPhone is unlocked?

Chiuy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 24, 2011
305
0
NorCal, Bay Area
I have the iPhone 3GS and was hoping to sell it. How do I know if it is unlocked? (Beside putting in another carrier SIM)
I jailbroken it before though, not sure if it is unlocked.
The phone can be used without the SIM card though.

Can I just also sell it to another ATT user? Will that work too?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
Restore it in iTunes. If iTunes says "This iPhone has been unlocked", it's unlocked. If it is originally an AT&T 3Gs, it iTunes won't say this. Yes, you can sell it to other AT&T users if that is an AT&T 3Gs.
 

reclusive46

macrumors 65816
Apr 14, 2011
1,088
27
Canada
Restore it in iTunes. If iTunes says "This iPhone has been unlocked", it's unlocked. If it is originally an AT&T 3Gs, it iTunes won't say this. Yes, you can sell it to other AT&T users if that is an AT&T 3Gs.
Thats not true for iPhones that came unlocked. They never say anything. The only way to try is to put another carrier sim in.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,196
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Thats not true for iPhones that came unlocked. They never say anything. The only way to try is to put another carrier sim in.
This holds true in the UK, not sure about the US though...All my phones have been purchased through Apple and any sim will work...If I don't like my current provider (O2) I ditch them (three month rolling contract) and go elsewhere. I guess we have it better than you guy's what with AT7T, Verizon etc. locking phones down. You are sort of "Buying" a provider with the phone.
 

JD92

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2005
934
30
Unless you explicitly set out to unlock it at some point, it's probably still locked.

This holds true in the UK, not sure about the US though...All my phones have been purchased through Apple and any sim will work...If I don't like my current provider (O2) I ditch them (three month rolling contract) and go elsewhere. I guess we have it better than you guy's what with AT7T, Verizon etc. locking phones down. You are sort of "Buying" a provider with the phone.
How did you get a three month O2 contract? I know Tesco do them, but Tesco's missing a few features I like - I'd love it if I could get a three month O2 contract.
 

otchealth

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2012
1
0
iphone unlock

While most iPhone users are aware of unofficial unlock methods, you may be surprised to discover that it’s possible to legally unlock your device, courtesy of Apple.
 

goosnarrggh

macrumors 68000
May 16, 2006
1,570
2
While most iPhone users are aware of unofficial unlock methods, you may be surprised to discover that it’s possible to legally unlock your device, courtesy of Apple.
... Only if Apple has received permission, from the carrier through which the iPhone was originally sold, to apply the official unlock.

The OP owns an iPhone 3GS, and lives in Northern California. That means it was most likely sold through AT&T. So, with overwhelimg probability, it is fairly safe to say that the OP does not own an iPhone that was sold through a carrier that has given Apple permission to apply an official unlock.

Anyway, even if you don't have Apple's permission to do so, unofficial iPhone unlocks have been ruled "not illegal" in the USA.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
type in the iPhone model number and I will repply back with the carrier it's locked too...
The iPhone model number is not a reliable way to check if the iPhone is unlocked. It is only good for telling which location the iPhone was sold in.

Thats not true for iPhones that came unlocked. They never say anything. The only way to try is to put another carrier sim in.
Even factory unlocked iPhones need to be unlocked via iTunes. By default all iPhones are locked and when they are restored, iTunes checks with Apple to see if that particular iPhone can be unlocked. Apple can lock or relock all iPhones and iPads simply by removing that device from the unlock database.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
Even factory unlocked iPhones need to be unlocked via iTunes. By default all iPhones are locked and when they are restored, iTunes checks with Apple to see if that particular iPhone can be unlocked. Apple can lock or relock all iPhones and iPads simply by removing that device from the unlock database.
Nobody has disagreed with that*, but the "Congratulations, your iPhone is unlocked" message doesn't normally appear if you bought your phone directly from Apple "factory unlocked".

My iPhone 4 shows that message when I restore in iTunes because I bought it from my old carrier and they unlocked it for me (for free).

*Except I will now! How can all iPhones be locked by default? Which carrier would they be locked to?

The real answer is that an iPhone is not locked to any carrier until it is activated. Apple sends an WildcardTicket to the device at the time of activation which tells the device which carrier(s) it is locked to and whether a country lock is in effect (as is the case with Verizon/Sprint unlocks).
 
Last edited:

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
In what way?

The carrier lock is controlled solely by the WildcardTicket. An unactivated device has no WildcardTicket, so it cannot be locked or unlocked in that state.
It's locked in that the baseband hasn't been set and is in its default state of null.
 

apollo1444

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2011
1,303
5
mexico
The iPhone model number is not a reliable way to check if the iPhone is unlocked. It is only good for telling which location the iPhone was sold in.



Even factory unlocked iPhones need to be unlocked via iTunes. By default all iPhones are locked and when they are restored, iTunes checks with Apple to see if that particular iPhone can be unlocked. Apple can lock or relock all iPhones and iPads simply by removing that device from the unlock database.
true but if it's an iPhone 3GS sold in the UNITED STATES the obvious answer is ATT don't you think?
same with an iPhone 4 GSM sold in the states...

sure they can be factory unklocked USA phones but you wouldn't want to know if it belongs to a carrier if the phone is already unlocked...
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
true but if it's an iPhone 3GS sold in the UNITED STATES the obvious answer is ATT don't you think?
same with an iPhone 4 GSM sold in the states...

sure they can be factory unklocked USA phones but wouldn't you want to know if it belongs to a carrier if the phone is already unlocked...
There can be a factory unlocked 3Gs in the US and an AT&T unlocked one. There was this popular service that was able to insert an iPhone unique number into Apple's unlock database. Some people with AT&T iPhones had their numbers added. Thus, the creation of some unlocked AT&T iPhone 3Gs'.

Apple and AT&T both sell unlocked iPhone 4's in the US. They sometimes have the same model number as the locked ones. Making the model an unreliable way to checking upon a carrier lock.

If an iPhone is sold factory unlocked by Apple (not AT&T), it is carrier free and being carrier free, it never belonged to any single carrier. Some of these carrier free ones have the same model number as an AT&T locked one.
 

HomerM1

macrumors newbie
Sep 13, 2012
1
0
Atlanta.GA
To check if phone is unlocked

Hmmm... I don't know about giving out your IMEI number to a website. The 2 ways that I'm aware of is to either
1) Call your service provider and ask them(AT&T, Verizon, etc...)
-or-
2) put in a different carriers SIM card (as mentioned earlier in the postings.)

As far as the UK having the month to month or 3 month contract for iPhones, we also have this now in US. Go to link below for more info

http://www.mcewenmedia.com/SOLAVEI

;)