iPhone Question about iPhones locked to Verizon/Sprint

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by JeReSpringer13, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. JeReSpringer13, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014

    JeReSpringer13 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2013
    I have a couple questions that I am hoping someone here may be able to answer.

    From what I understand, Sprint iPhones cannot be unlocked to be used with other carriers and Verizon iPhones come factory unlocked.

    When I received a replacement iPhone from the Apple Store and I first set it up, I had the option to choose my carrier (Verizon, Sprint and a couple others.) By choosing the carrier, does it lock the phone to that carrier? Aren't Verizon iPhones always unlocked?

    This leads me to the next question:

    I bought a used Verizon iPhone from a friend and I had it activated on the Sprint network. It works 100%. I have a friend who needed a loaner phone and I had a spare Sprint iPhone 5 that she took to the Verizon store and they told her it cannot be used on Verizon because "the bands are different and the way the phone connects to the towers is completely different." Was this bs? The iPhone I have that had been previously used on Verizon, works flawlessly on the Sprint network, so are they interchangeable or not?

    I am getting another replacement phone in a few days after some issues came up with this one. As a Sprint user, if I choose the Verizon option while setting up the new phone, will it be locked to Verizon or will I still be able to use it on Sprint? I know this sounds self explanatory, but obviously, the phones are interchangeable on both networks in some circumstances.

    Thank you.
  2. dhlizard macrumors G4


    Mar 16, 2009
    The Jailbreak Community
    Sprint will probably accept any CDMA on their network. Verizon, on the other hand, does not accept Sprint phones to be added to their network.
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    • Because of an agreement with the FCC, Verizon iPhone 5 series (5/5c/5s) are required to come unlocked.

    • Sprint iPhones are locked to Sprint. The Sprint SIM is paired with the iPhone using the MEID of the iPhone. If the correct MEID is not detected you have no service.

    • Sprint operates on a different LTE band than Verizon. The frequencies are different. From an unlock perspective, taking a Sprint iPhone to Verizon won't happen, unless it was unlocked to begin with. You cannot unlock a Sprint iPhone (meaning one that was originally purchased and intended for use on Sprint.

    Did Apple activate your Verizon iPhone on Sprint? I ask because generally Sprint will refuse to activate any device they did not sell or that was not intended for their network.

    Whatever device you are having replaced will come back exactly the same. I.e., you are not going to get a chance to choose a network again. It will come back prepped or activated for whatever network you had it on.

    Hope that helps.
  4. JeReSpringer13 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2013
    Thanks for the info. I activated the Verizon phone through the Sprint website, so a rep never saw it to check if it was previously used on another network.

    The device I'm replacing was a Verizon iPhone, so will it come back unlocked? Or if I do have the option to choose a carrier like I did last time I had a phone replaced, if I choose Verizon, will it just not be locked to any carrier? It doesn't really matter to me as this is a backup phone that I got for hardly anything, but it would be nice to be able to use it on Sprint (with the option of activating it on Verizon) like I did with the other one in case something happens to my current phone.
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    All the way around if it was a Verizon iPhone it wil be unlocked because that is the FCC requirement for Verizon to use that LTE band.

    How it was you were able to activate it on Sprint I don't know. That's a new one on me, since they do not normally activate non-Sprint iPhones.

    I presume that your phone will come back connected to whatever network you were on when you sent it in. I have never purchased an entirely unlocked iPhone so all I have to go buy is the standard MO of Apple in that they replace a phone with whatever it was you sent in. I.e, if you're on AT&T they aren't going to send you a T-Mobile phone.

    But I've been wrong before and this is an unlocked phone so when you get it back you may be given a choice again.

    But I'm 99% sure you're going to get an unlocked Verizon iPhone back because that's what you sent them.

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