Is there difference between factory unlocked and carrier unlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by yalag, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. yalag macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #1
    Is there difference between a factory unlocked and carrier unlocked iPhone? I ask this because you can no longer buy a factory unlocked phones from Apple store, you can only get those online. I plan to buy one from the store on day 1 and get my carrier to unlock it for me for a fee. So is there a difference doing it this way versus buying a factory unlocked iphone?
     
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #2
    Not really.
    They both will work with any carriers gsm sim.
     
  3. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #3
    Thanks, I just want to be sure there isn't some minor limitation with a carrier unlocked iphone. I always considered the factory unlocked phone to be the purest.
     
  4. Domino8282 macrumors 6502a

    Domino8282

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Southeast USA
    #4
    I want to know this also... Everyone says no, but I would like to know if there are ANY physical differences whatsoever, even minor ones.
     
  5. Mr Hill macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    There's no difference other than the fact that a factory unlocked iPhone comes unlocked straight out of the box. After the carrier unlocks it they're pretty much the same.
     
  6. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #6
    Some carriers like Verizon and Sprint unlock only some of the bands, and not the ones compatible with USA gsm carriers. Also some carrier models come with Carrier IQ installed.
     
  7. kendu2412 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Fairfield CA
    #7
    NO , everything will be the same when you unlocked by factory or carrier.

    The different between them is , unlocked by factory very easy without requirement, and if unlocked by carrier, you have some requirement like have to good standing , on service on 90 days , no spending limit on your account .....
     
  8. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #8
    Oh god that is horrible. I want a "pure" iphone. Can you please provide official sources?
     
  9. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #9
    Seem to recall reading someone with an carrier unlock having issues activating after a full reset. It was looking for the original carrier sim?

    Once it was activated it worked with all sims, but after some sort of reset it required the original?
     
  10. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #10
    There's no such thing as a "pure" iphone.
    Its just an unlocked phone that's it.
    Dont over analize it.

    No, once its carrier unlocked you never need the original sim.
    A carrier unlocked iphone can activate with any sim.
    If it doesnt its not unlocked period.
     
  11. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    #11
    CDMA iPhones sold in the US are only unlocked for foreign SIMs by the carriers. It isnt by band as suggested above but by country code on the SIM. This can be demonstrated by trying an ATT SIM whe in another country- wont work.

    None of them are 100% unlocked but the GSM model is the closest. Will work with any SIM but no CDMA carriers.
     
  12. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #12
    The Factory unlocked iPhone 5 will be a GSM enabled phone, yes it will have the CDMA capability but no CDMA carrier will allow you to add it to their network unless it was ordered for use on their network. LTE support also varies.

    Along as you are not trying to use an Unlocked Sprint or Verizon iPhone 5 on another CDMA carrier you will be fine. Both Sprint and Verizon will unlock the GSM / LTE bands for use outside of the US. They block any US GSM/LTE usage in the US.

    Here is a great link from the Apple Canada Online store that explains the basics.

    http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/shop_iphone/family/iphone/iphone5

    About the unlocked iPhone.

    The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice. The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers. An unlocked iPhone 5 may not support LTE networks in all other countries; contact service providers for details.

    If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It arrives without a SIM card, so you’ll need an active SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

    Dave
     
  13. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #14
    Factory Unlocked vs. T-Mobile Contract-Free

    I know I'm resurrecting an old chestnut, but the contents are still valid today. :)

    Applejuiced, if you recall, I always buy the factory unlocked phones yearly directly from Apple and sell my old one on eBay. With the new jailbreak being released, would you advise purchasing the T-Mobile Contract-Free phone outright (insuring a carrier unlock) or should I wait for the actual factory unlocked one to be released? I'm looking at resale value here and am unsure whether the serial numbers are different or if anyone really cares about that anymore. Googled, but didn't come up with any specific answers aside from this thread.

    Many Thanks!
     
  14. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #15
    I don't think it makes any difference my friend.
    They're both unlocked.
    And as long as you listed factory unlocked they will both sale for the same amount.
     
  15. BensonTT macrumors regular

    BensonTT

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    #16
    For unlocking a phone do you really need to restore the phone on iTunes or can you just do a network reset on your phone?
     
  16. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #17
    You dont have to restore any more.
    They might tell you that but all you need to do is stick the sim in and connect to wifi to activate it with the new simcard.
     
  17. BensonTT macrumors regular

    BensonTT

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    #18
    Awesome! Just what I wanted to hear :)
     
  18. terraphantm, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #19
    That's not how it works.

    For all iPhones, when you do a restore, the iPhone becomes completely locked -- it won't work with any carrier. When you insert a SIM, the phone requests an activation ticket from Apple. If the IMEI of the phone is in the unlocked database, Apple sends out a ticket that will work with any SIM. If the IMEI of the phone is in a specific carrier's database, Apple will only send out a ticket if you have that carrier's SIM.

    What this also means is that if Apple were to stop activating old phones or go out of business, these phones would become useless bricks.
     
  19. fiveainone macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    #20
    Aren't all T-Mobiles phones bought from Apple online store unlocked? I was looking at Amazon trade in, and they had T-Mobile and Factory Unlocked versions, with T-Mobile being $100 less.
     
  20. ET iPhone Home macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Location:
    Orange County, California USA
    #21
    Since when can you not purchase factory unlocked from Apple? I bought a 5S factory unlocked this April 2014. Not the T-Mobile contract free, but the FACTORY UNLOCKED!

    The difference between the two is that one has no SIM included, but Apple gave me one for both T-Mobile and ATT.
     
  21. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #22
    Thanks, AJ!

    Now the debate becomes: do I grab a 6, or do I wait a month for the 6+? :(;)

    This occurs even with Factory Unlocked phones?

    According to all the reports I've read, yes.

    However, even if you purchase it outright at a T-Mobile store, you have to get them to unlock it before you walk out the door. :rolleyes:

    Since when the phone is released until a few months later -- usually December. ;)
     
  22. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #23
    Go for the 6 Plus bud.
    Size matters:D
     
  23. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #24
    Hahahahaha

    Even with the "3-4 weeks shipping" timeframe?

    (I couldn't even find a store to fly to in the USA that had the big boy in stock! :eek:)
     
  24. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #25
    Your name says it all, huge al:D
    What I did is kept checking the stock levels of local apple stores at night.
    They update them regularly for the next day. Within a day I had already snagged a 16GB 6 Plus at a store about 30 minutes away. It was worth the drive instead of waiting a month I guess.
    Just try it at night to reserve one and go pick it up the next day.
    Also waiting in line the morning when they open seems to work since they do have them available every day for people.
    Check out this thread on details how to do it the night before for in store pickup.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1784178&highlight=iphone+6+reservation
     

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