Is there a difference between iPhone that's purchased unlocked or carrier unlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jlmcclellan, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. jlmcclellan macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    I'm just curious if there is a difference between the iPhone 5s purchased unlocked from Apple or say buying a iPhone5s on T-mo paying it off and having them unlock it?

    About to get myself a new phone and this is the last decision for me (whether to buy in full up front or do the monthly payment plan with tmo).
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Unlocked is unlocked. There is no difference, no matter how you arrive there.

    Apple maintains an unlock database. Any iPhone that is to be unlocked, whether by Apple or a carrier, has it's IMEI entered into that Apple database. iTunes checks that database and if your IMEI is found there you are unlocked - period.

    Once your phone is unlocked, it's unlocked forever.

    Sprint is a different matter entirely.
  3. macigo macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2013
    I was bamboozled once. Fooling around with carriers and they told me that it was unlocked internationally but locked domestically. Now, I don't trust carriers, so even though there may be ways to get it unlocked, I only buy Sim-Free from Apple.

    What Apple needs to do is put a carrier status in iTunes that shows whether your phone is unlocked or not.
  4. jlmcclellan thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    I asked Tmo and they said that once the phone is paid for in full they will unlock it upon request. As long as it's unlocked I'm good and I'd rather not pay full price up front with Christmas just around the corner.

    Can anyone confirm T mobile will indeed unlock your iPhone for you?
  5. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    Thats only on sprint
  6. jlmcclellan thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    Yeah I have Sprint now and I'm leaving as fast as I can.
  7. PsstGreek macrumors 68040


    Oct 21, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    T-Mobile will unlock your iPhone, of course one you paid off the iPhone and completed 40 days or more of service.

    Paid off my iPhone, got it unlocked (in case I wanted to leave) by T-Mobile. Then promptly switched their prepaid plan. I would never do that payment plan again.
  8. bmac4 macrumors 601


    Feb 14, 2013
    Atlanta Ga
    You could try to get the financing from Apple, and then just pay it back over time. It would be almost the same thing as T-Mobile, but you would not have to wait on the unlock from T-Mobile. It would be unlocked the day Apple handed it to you.
  9. nox5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2013
    You could buy Verizon 5s that is factory unlocked and has all LTE bands for all carriers
  10. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Not quite all LTE bands for all carrier, but at least generally for international ones.
  11. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020


    Oct 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL

    As far as I know the verizon 5s is unlocked for AT&T and tmobile all bands. Just sprint isn't there.
  12. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    It make me wonder why sprint would sell even one iphone based on this.

Share This Page