Purchased an "Unlocked" iPhone in the Apple Store - but it's locked?!

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Spritey, May 5, 2010.

  1. Spritey macrumors regular

    Spritey

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Canada/Norway/USA
    #1
    I am utterly confused :confused: A friend just bought unlocked iPhones in an Apple Store in the US (here in Europe unlocked= "choose your own carrier"). However, once connected to iTunes, it became clear that "unlocked" must mean something completely different in the US because they are still locked!

    He called Apple support, and they informed us that unlocked iPhones sold in the US are still locked to AT&T (?!) :confused:

    Is there an Apple-supported method to actually get these phones working? Or non-ideally: a hack (which supports upgrades?).

    Why are iPhones being sold as "unlocked" if they are in fact locked? This makes absolutely no sense to me :confused:

    Can we call AT&T and have them unlock the phones? How are phones unlocked in the US when a contact expires?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    the OC
    #2
    iphones sold in the united states aren't sold unlocked. i think there's an option to buy them off-contract, but they're still locked to at&t.
     
  3. josielinnea macrumors regular

    josielinnea

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm
    #3
    I am utterly confused :confused: A friend just bought unlocked iPhones in an Apple Store in the US (here in Europe unlocked= "choose your own carrier"). However, once connected to iTunes, it became clear that "unlocked" must mean something completely different in the US because they are still locked!

    They don't actually say that they are unlocked, they say they are prepaid or off-contract. It's not uncommon in Europe to sell phones with prepaid cards which are still locked to a certain provider.

    He called Apple support, and they informed us that unlocked iPhones sold in the US are still locked to AT&T (?!) :confused:

    See above

    Is there an Apple-supported method to actually get these phones working? Or non-ideally: a hack (which supports upgrades?).

    Apple supported when bought in the US: No. Hack: Yes if it isn't the newest firmware. If it is 3.1.3 there is no way at the moment to unlock it through a hack.

    Why are iPhones being sold as "unlocked" if they are in fact locked? This makes absolutely no sense to me :confused:

    It isn't sold as unlocked, just off-contract. In some countries there is only one provider. This is the case in the US. The iphone is always locked to AT&T. In other countries it might actually be sold either locked to a provider, or unlocked. One of those countries is Italy.

    Can we call AT&T and have them unlock the phones? How are phones unlocked in the US when a contact expires?

    Can you call AT&T? No. Can you return the phone and get your money back? Maybe. Call AT&T or the place you bought the iphone from and ask kindly. How are the iphones unlocked in the US when a contract expires? IT isn't. You are still locked to AT&T but you may choose a cheeper contract with them, or use a prepaid card instead. You can not however switch provider and still use the iPhone.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  4. Spritey thread starter macrumors regular

    Spritey

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Canada/Norway/USA
    #4
    Strange system... I can put in whichever SIM-card I want in my iPhone, but I bought it in Europe (yay, consumer laws I guess :) )

    We did specifically ask for "unlocked", but I guess the guy in the store must have assumed we meant "without a contract".

    Hopefully he'ill be able to hack his phone at least...
     
  5. josielinnea macrumors regular

    josielinnea

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm
    #5
    Check which version it's on. If it is anything lower than 3.1.3 be really careful not to upgrade. If it's 3.1.3 there's no software carrier unlock.
     

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