need advice on used iphone 4s - meid problems?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by blithespirit, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. blithespirit macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015

    i recently was given a used iphone by a roommate who since moved to the phillippines. i assumed it had been his, and there was no information on it when i got it so i figured it was ok to use. i checked the number on the sim card to see if the phone had been reported lost or stolen, (on the website where you can do that) and it had not.

    i looked into activating it with a service called 'freedompop' which claims to support the iphone 4s, however their automatic checker at their site told me that MEID number of this phone could not be supported.

    im wondering if there is something else wrong with the phone somehow, i definitely checked in the database to see if it was reported lost or stolen and it was not. so im not sure what the problem could be or how to fix it. it seems to work in every other way. i also dont know a lot about freedompop, maybe the problem was with them somehow. i cant afford a really expensive plan, im just hoping to see if i can activate this phone since it was free and it seems like a nice phone.

    anything anyone could tell me would be very helpful :}} thanks a lot.
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You are in the United States?

    You use the term 'MEID' instead of 'IMEI'. That to me is a keyword that indicates that you have a CDMA phone and not a GSM phone.

    There are only two major CDMA carriers in the US, Verizon and Sprint. Verizon locked their 3G phones to their network. If you had an iPhone 5 or better it would be unlocked.

    Sprint locks all their iPhones to the Sprint network.

    In both cases, unless I am entirely wrong and your phone is an AT&T or T-Mobile phone, then there is nothing you can do except get a plan on the carrier the phone is locked to.

    The fact that the MEID has not been blacklisted has nothing to do with the phone being unlocked or not. My iPhone 5 has a clean MEID, but it's completely and unalterably locked to Sprint.
  3. blithespirit, Feb 2, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015

    blithespirit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015
    ok well thats extremely interesting thank you... yes i am in the united states.

    when i look under settings, i can see that it is a 'sprint' phone... however, it has several numbers listed, one is called the 'MEID' and another is called the 'IMEI'. they are listed right next to ech other, with something called the 'ICCID' in between.

    it also has a serial number that is different than all those.

    the numbers for 'meid' and 'imei' are exactly the same numbers.... except in the 'imei' there are some spaces between the numbers, and there is one zero at the end..... thats the only difference..... so there is an 'imei' number listed. its the exact same as the 'meid' number except for the spaces and the zero.

    i have not tried to give anyone that number becuase i assumed they were the same thing, i didnt notice the zero before you mentioned this.

    sooo hm. maybe i should be giving people the number with the zero at the end when i try to activate the phone? i will try this but, any other information would be extremely helpful! thank you so much!!

    edit: i just tried both the imei and serial numbers, at freedompop and they did not accept either one. hrmph.
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You just told us it's a Sprint iPhone.

    It's locked to Sprint. Sprint is the ONLY carrier you can activate it on. You can sit there and try and get it activated on Freedompop until you are old and gray but it's never going to happen.

    Sprint does not unlock their iPhones for use on any other domestic carrier, hence the phone will not activate on Freedompop.

    If Sprint is too expensive for you then you should think about getting a different phone or maybe try one of Sprint's MVNOs - Boost or Ting.

    Once again. It's locked to Sprint and that is the ONLY network it will activate on.
  5. blithespirit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015

    ok well, that seemed a little unecessarily rude. you told me i needed an imei number and i was telling you i had one. i told you the phone was given to me. i actually qualify for free phone from the government becuase i am disabled. however i was given an iphone and am tryign to see if i can use it. no need to have an attitude.
  6. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I am not being rude, I am telling you the facts.

    Nowhere did I mention needing the IMEI.

    All I said was that your MEID reference indicated you had a CDMA phone. You confirmed that by saying it was a Sprint iPhone.

    All iPhones have IMEIs. AT&T and T-Mobile use the IMEI only to activate phones on their networks. Verizon and Sprint use MEID (which is based off the IMEI and is why the IMEI and MEID have similar numbers) to activate phones on their networks.

    You cannot use this phone unless you wish to activate on Sprint or one of it's MVNOs that allow you to bring your own phone.

    That's not an attitude, it's a simple statement of fact.
  7. blithespirit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015

    ok: well i appreciate you answering my question. that being said, im going to leave some feedback. the fact is saying its a 'sprint' phone was basically -totally- meaningless to me. i have never paid for phone service and know nothing about any of these companies or how they work. i dindt even know it was a 'sprint' phone until you told me to look for that and even so, i still had no idea what significance that had.

    everything ive read to this point indicates its extremely easy and common to unlock -any- phone, and this is why i came here to see if this was true.

    so you just telling me its a 'sprint' phone and it was 'locked' to sprint as i said, really didnt mean anything to me at all. as far as i have read, its easy and common to unlock -any- phone, and noone said anything about 'sprint' or anything else being a factor.

    i can see reading back in your other threads that you seem to feel this is a really common issue and you seem to be pretty upset about it. maybe this -is- something that should be made into a sticky thread, or put in the FAQ, if its really such a huge problem and that annoying for people to ask.

    but you have to remember, not everyone knows what these companies do or what they mean. you seem to assume that people asking about unlocking sprint phones are scammers or stupid or in some other way tryign to get around what you see as 'the law' but it just could be that honestly people just have no idea or have no experience with phone companies, and are genuinely asking.

    if this simple information -were- in a sticky or in the FAQ, that would certainly be easier for those of us tryign to find out this information, and save you what is apparently a huge amount of personal frustration. i -did- search the old threads for info, but having no idea of the significance that this phone was 'sprint' or not, how could i search for that?

    also to be honest, you seem sooo very personally invested in this issue, that it personally makes me less inclined to believe what you say, to be completely honest...... @ like do you work for sprint or something? why do you care so much? it kind of just motivates me to figiure that you have some personal investment.... or some motivation to protect sprint for some reason. you sound like someone who works for sprint, to be totally honest. and you do come off as very brusque and condescending, when i see very little reason for that.

    so, just leting you know ok. that being said of course i appreciate the answer, and you seem to have really become personaly invested in this issue (for some reason) just trying to give you some feedback on your style.

    not everyone knows what 'sprint' even means you know.
  8. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You are the first person in the three and a half years I have been here on this forum that I have come across who is unaware of anything about the four major phone carriers. This is an iPhone forum, most people asking questions either have service or are contemplating getting service.

    Had you mentioned that fact in your initial post things probably would have gone differently..

    If you own an AT&T or T-Mobile phone OR a Verizon iPhone 5 or newer this is the case. Sprint is the ONLY carrier that has this draconian unlock policy.

    Understandable if you didn't know. But I did not know that you didn't know that because you didn't mention it up front.

    Sprint got the iPhone 4 and 4s in 2011. That was three and a half years ago. In the Sprint BAW forums (Sprint's community forums),,, howardforums and our own MacRumors there have been hundreds of complaints about people not being able to unlock their Sprint phones. Generally if you are in these forums it's common knowledge.

    As to a FAQ, well, did you see the link in my signature? It leads directly to a four page thread describing everything about the impossibility of unlocking Sprint iPhones. I am however, not a mod here on MR, so as much as I would like to make that thread a sticky, I can't.

    I did however start that thread precisely because on that day there was no less than four threads from people wanting to unlock Sprint iPhones. No one in those threads would take "you can't for an answer.

    Again, you are the first person I have come across here who had no clue about unlocking.

    And you seem to continue to attribute things to me that I have neither said nor inferred.

    Those wanting to unlock their phones are not 'scammer's'. Most of them have paid for their devices and simply want a way to unlock their phone. Sprint denies them this. The fact that I am telling them they cannot does not mean I believe it's illegal or morally wrong. It's simply a fact. If I could unlock my own Sprint iPhone my wife and I would have been off Sprint last year.

    But most of the people who CONTINUALLY ask around here even after multiple people have stated "you can't" are simply being stubborn. The refuse to accept the reality. I cannot change Sprint's policies for them as much as I'd like to, but continuing to restate the question over and over means that I and those who are telling them they cannot unlock are being ignored and disrespected.

    It's one thing to ask. It's quite another to repeat the same question 9, 10, 11 or even more times in the same thread when other users as well as myself have said it's not possible.

    Again, I cannot make a sticky. Only the Mac Rumors mods can do that. I am not a mod. I do have a thread on this. Click on the link in my signature.

    I only become frustrated because the question is repeated over and over. If someone wants information but doesn't want to hear the answer so keeps repeating the question hoping to get the answer they want to hear, would you not become frustrated?

    I am a Sprint customer. Once, there were four threads about unlocking in the same day here. Not one of those OPs wanted to hear the truth. So, I created a thread where information about unlocking Sprint iPhones could be shared.

    How many new threads asking questions about unlocking Sprint iPhones that no one wants the truth about does Mac Rumors need?

    Believe what you want. It doesn't change the fact that you will not be able to activate that 4s on any carrier other than Sprint.

    I do not work for Sprint. And I have no personal investment in Sprint. I do have a personal interest in Mac Rumors and I don't wish to be ignored when I am telling people that they cannot unlock their Sprint iPhone. It's an answer they do not want to hear because it means paying ETF and buying a new phone. So they ignore me and everyone else that does not give them the answer they want to hear.

    I am sorry you think I am brusque and condescending. I am not trying to be and I have nothing personal against you. Again, had you mentioned you knew nothing about the carriers and that this was your very first iPhone experience I would have not made assumptions about what you knew.

    OK. You're welcome.
    Again, you ascribe things to me that aren't there. But thanks for your feedback anyway.

    I'm sorry. But that's like saying not everyone knows what "Ford" or "Chevrolet" means on a car forum.

    This is an iPhone forum. Unless you state otherwise people (myself included) assume you have some knowledge. You are castigating me for being rude to you when you didn't have the courtesy to inform me from the beginning about what you didn't know. You say I have said things when I have not and you put things on me that aren't there.

    So, I'm going to go now. Good luck to you.

Share This Page

7 February 2, 2015