New to the iPhone world...would appreciate some help

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by HeidiR, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. HeidiR macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2015

    I currently have a cheap smartphone that I got through T-Mobile and I use their prepaid plan. I am now interested in buying a refurbished iPhone 5/5C/5S so I've been doing some research. Those I've asked have not agreed on much so I found this site after doing more research. It seems as though folks here are generally pretty knowledgeable so I figured I'd give it a shot. I've talked to T-Mobile and have had different answers depending on the Customer Service Rep.

    Here are the things I've learned that I believe are correct:

    1. Since T-Mobile is a GSM carrier and I'm looking to get an iPhone 5/5C/5S, I will need to buy one that was originally carried by a GSM carrier (like AT&T). A refurbished 5/5C/5S originally made for a CDMA carrier (like Verizon) won't work

    2. When the next iPhone comes out (likely in September), there will be no more updates for the iPhone 5. Not sure about the 5C or 5S

    3. If buying refurbished from a third-party (eBay, Amazon, etc.), it will need to be unlocked

    4. Even if I buy one that's unlocked, the owner has a certain amount of time to report it lost/stolen and the phone won't work if they make that report

    5. I need a T-Mobile nano-SIM card (my current cheap phone uses a micro-SIM)

    After all that, I found a 5C on eBay for a reasonable price. The seller has it listed as "AT&T Unlocked for GSM Carriers (not for Pre-paid)." Now that confuses me. If a phone is unlocked, why would it not work for prepaid accounts? I asked the seller and the answer I received was basically that it won't.

    I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but do I have something wrong? Does the seller? Why wouldn't an unlocked GSM carrier work for all - even prepaid carriers?

    Any help would be most appreciated!!! Thanks so much!
  2. blondee028 macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2014
    Las Vegas
    just sold my iPhone 5

    I just sold my iPhone 5 on eBay because I upgraded to the 6 plus. I advertised it like it was..I use ATT and I when I put it up I said that it was a ATT phone..So you have to look for your carrier when purchasing it. I always sell my old phones but I always post the carrier name..Most people leave the cards in the phone and just erase all data before least they should
  3. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    For the iPhone 5 and above a Verizon one will work, just be sure to avoid sprint phones as those aren't unlocked.

    5C will likely get updates for as long as the iPhone 5 does as it is essentially the same hardware in a different case. As to if iOS 9 will support it or not we don't know, but if it runs it will likely be pretty slow.

    You could get one that is locked to the carrier that you want to use, but I would recommend getting one that is unlocked. All Verizon models are unlocked so that might be a good way to go just to make sure that you don't run into a clueless seller that tells you it's unlocked when it isn't.

    Make sure the seller removes the device from their iCloud account otherwise you'll run into problems restoring it. If you get it from somewhere like ebay they tend to side more with the buyer so you're probably safe if they do decide to report it as lost or stolen, also make sure you buy from someone with decent feedback.

    As for the seller you found, he is clueless. If the phone is unlocked it will work on any carrier including with prepaid plans. So either it isn't really unlocked like he says it is or he is making things up. Either way I'd probably avoid it so you don't have a problem with getting a locked phone.
  4. HeidiR thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2015
    Thanks for this information. I agree the data should be erased. Since I go with pre-paid T-Mobile, I don't really call them my carrier, per se. If I stop paying today, they're OK with that. I'm still be able to talk and have data by using wifi but won't have any 4G access.

    I use my current phone so little that I'm OK with just using the prepaid plan and not getting locked into a 2 year agreement with a carrier.

    Thanks so much for this!!! I really thought I was losing it because being unlocked but not unlocked for prepaid made no sense to me, as I indicated. I am glad you confirmed that the seller is clueless.

    The seller has sold over 7700 of the 5C, so I'd think they'd be more savvy about what factory unlocking means.

    Checking the feedback had me waffling too though because there are 120 negatives in the past month, but 5200 positives - and many of the negatives are because the charger didn't work (I could cheaply buy another) or it's dented/scratched (expected because it's described as in "good", not "excellent" condition). Only a couple are negatives because the phone wasn't unlocked when it was advertised as such.

    I still think I'll avoid this seller though since they're so naive about the whole unlocking process. Maybe they trust whomever is selling it to them but aren't verifying that. Either way, it doesn't sound like a good idea to buy from them, even at the very reasonable price they're selling.

    I'll still be keeping an eye on this thread to see if anybody else has a different perspective but thanks again for your responses!!
  5. jahall05 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2013
    Here is what I know (or think I know)

    1. Most have pointed out that you can use a Verizon 5/5c/5s. DO NOT USE A SPRINT ONE! However, it should be noted that I used a 5 on AT&T from Verizon and while it worked, LTE was not compatible since the bands are not the same. I did get "4G" HSPA+.

    2.The iPhone 5 should get iOS 9, but I wouldn't expect it to get anything past that. So the 5c should also get iOS 9.

    3. Depends on the model. If it was for AT&T then yes it will. Verizon iPhones are all unlocked (but only support certain bands for LTE).

    4. Eh, it could happen. But the person selling it to you (3rd party) probably already has the documentation to keep this from happening.

    5. Yes. You will need a nano-sim.
  6. SeilerBird macrumors 6502


    Nov 12, 2014
    Why not buy a new 6 since it is not that much more than a 5 and it would be a new phone? i got mine from Walmart for $649 and I use StraightTalk at $45 per month.

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