iPhone upgrade program - carrier activation?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Travisimo, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    I am ordering the iPhone 8 Plus on the iPhone upgrade program andI had to enter my AT&T carrier info when ordering. I understand I'll get the GSM version with Intel modem, but the phone is supposed to be unlocked. My question is do I have to activate the phone on AT&T or can I just activate it on my other GSM carrier? Or do I have to activate on AT&T first then switch sims? Does activating on AT&T require me to subsequently contact AT&T to unlock the phone or does it stay unlocked?

    Basically I just want to receive the phone and activate it on my other GSM carrier without going through AT&T.
  2. Givmeabrek macrumors 68040


    Apr 20, 2009
    Why would it be unlocked? If you upgraded an AT&T account it will be locked to AT&T.
    And yes you have to activate on AT&T.
  3. Shadowbech macrumors 601

    Oct 18, 2011
    Planet iPhone
    Not if you are doing the iPhone upgrade program. They are unlocked. Has nothing to do with carrier.

    OP you can activate it just fine but it will require to activate att first.. Will still be unlocked and you can switch sims.
  4. Travisimo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    Apple clear states that you receive an unlocked iPhone when you use the iPhone Upgrade Program. That part I know for sure. But Apple also still makes you enter carrier information when ordering a phone with the iUP. It is implied that you must activate with the carrier you chose during purchase before you can switch to another carrier, but it isn't clear.


    On the main page for the iUP, they advertise:

    "And if you ever decide to switch carriers after you activate your iPhone with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you can easily do that, too." - That seems to imply you have to activate with the carrier you chose first before you can switch it to another carrier, but it isn't clear whether you could just activate with another carrier from the get-go.

    If you click on "How to Join" link, it also gives a bit more detail:

    "When I buy with the iPhone Upgrade Program, is my iPhone “unlocked”?
    Yes. We’ll activate your iPhone on your choice of AT&T, Sprint, T‑Mobile, or Verizon, and once your new iPhone is activated, you can change carriers whenever you like. However, there are wireless network compatibility differences between an iPhone for AT&T or T‑Mobile and an iPhone for Sprint or Verizon."

    Seems clear that they want you to activate on the carrier you chose first before you switch it to another carrier. And of course, you need to have the right version that supports the bands on a different carrier. I know that won't be a problem because I want to use the phone on another GSM carrier other than AT&T. I just didn't know if anyone has tried to activate on the "other" carrier first without activating on the carrier they chose during purchase first? It's not THAT big of a deal if that's what I have to do, but I'd prefer to just activate on the other carrier first and leave my current phone on AT&T (I have lines on two different carriers with two different phones).

    This is probably a very niché question, so I wasn't expecting to get a clear confirmation. I guess I will just have to try activating with the sim from my other carrier first, and if that doesn't work, I'll activate on AT&T and then switch back to the other carrier. I just hope it doesn't try to lock to AT&T when I use their sim and then I'll have to call AT&T and tell them to unlock it since I bought it from Apple on the iUP.
  5. Travisimo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009

    So I got my iPhone 8 Plus today and I wanted to followup on my question that never really got an answer. My question was whether I would need to activate my iPhone on AT&T since that's the carrier info I used when placing my order through Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program (iUP). Here is what I found:

    1) My iPhone 8 Plus came with an AT&T sim card preinstalled in the device.

    2) Instead of turning on my iPhone with that sim in the phone, I took it out and put my iWireless sim in the phone instead (another GSM carrier that I have a line with... the one I want to use the iPhone on).

    3) When the phone booted up, it told me my phone was activating on the AT&T line in a popup, but the phone actually had carrier info for my iWireless line. It showed the right number and LTE data for my iWireless line, so everything was fine on that end. That confirmed that the iPhone was actually unlocked, and I was able to start using it right away on my iWireless line.

    4) HOWEVER, it still activated the sim card that was included with the iPhone so my wife's line was disconnected and she was at work (OOPS). It basically activate the included sim on HER line since that's the number I used when ordering (I had used her number because I was using her iPhone and the Apple Store App to order when preorders went live).

    5) At any rate, all I had to do when she got home from work was put the new sim that came with the iPhone 8 Plus back in her phone (iPhone 7 Plus) and it worked fine again.

    SUMMARY: When you order through the iPhone Upgrade Program and select a carrier, it WILL activate that sim that is included but you do NOT have to put that sim in the new iPhone (you can use it with any other sim right away). This is good news.

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4 September 19, 2017