Question about replacing AT&T sanctioned unlocked iPhone

bniu

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 21, 2010
989
181
So my question is this, I have an iPhone 4 that will in a few weeks be eligible for an unlock. However, that iPhone 4 has a broken button that only works half the time. Should I get it replaced first before I do the unlock or does it not matter?

After AT&T unlocks my iPhone, if I have to bring in to Apple for service, will I get an unlocked iPhone as a replacement or do I have to get the replacement unlocked again by AT&T?

Spoke to some Apple store reps in passing today but they all seem to be pretty clueless (like most retail staff, go figure...), one even claiming that AT&T doesn't unlock iPhones...:confused:
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
I would replace it first. Then call AT&T to unlock.
Keep the receipt they give you at Apple when they replace your iphone in case AT&T tells you that's not the original imei iphone they have on file for your account.
Then they will unlock it for you.
 

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,164
72
Even if you get it unlock before you take it to the Apple store for a replacement, Apple should give you a replacement with the same lock/unlock status as the broken unit. Sonic you bring in an unlocked unit, you will be given an unlock replacement.
 

DroidRules

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2010
1,006
1
Even if you get it unlock before you take it to the Apple store for a replacement, Apple should give you a replacement with the same lock/unlock status as the broken unit. Sonic you bring in an unlocked unit, you will be given an unlock replacement.
No I don't believe you are correct. They know the device wasn't unlocked when he bought it so the unlock status should not matter when they replace it. You get what you had, black 32g locked iPhone gets you the same. I'd be very surprised if they exchanged it with an unlocked one.
 
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angrydog

macrumors member
Dec 12, 2009
78
0
UPDATE: So I went to the Apple Store and got a new iPhone 4. They did not give me a factory unlocked iphone, instead the "Genius" puts in a request ticket to Apple's unlock servers. I waited 20 minutes to turn the iPhone on as per "Genius'" request. Once I turned it on, the phone did accept my T-Mobile sim. Also the "Genius" told me I only have a 90 day warranty but I checked my serial on Apple's website and I have a full 1-year apple-care warranty.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=14831948&postcount=11
That's my experience with an AT&T sanctioned unlocked iPhone 4.
 

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,164
72
thank you for clarifying this, I was under the impression that if we someone comes in with an unlock iphone that needs a replacement, the genius should exchange it for an unlock one as well. Strange...for those of us that bought the 4S at full price right before the "official" announcement was made by Apple about selling unlocked 4S iphones in the US. we were some of the first ones that got them (originally from at&t, with out a contract).

I hope my iphone 4S does not break and end up getting a locked replacement.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,058
51
Bristol, UK
thank you for clarifying this, I was under the impression that if we someone comes in with an unlock iphone that needs a replacement, the genius should exchange it for an unlock one as well.
They will.

ALL iPhones are identical* (at least of each type - e.g. a black iPhone 4S 32GB)

There's no such thing as a "locked" iPhone or an "unlocked iPhone".

AT&T's iPhone is the same as T-Mobile Germany's iPhone.

Locking to a specific carrier is all controlled through software.

When you take a broken iPhone to the genius bar, they will simply take a re manufactured device and copy the same "Activation Profile" that your broken device has to the replacement.

That means that if you got your original phone unlocked by your carrier, the replacement will also be unlocked.
If you bought an unlocked device directly from Apple, the replacement will be unlocked.
If you bought a locked device from a carrier, the replacement will be locked to that carrier.

At the genius bar, the whole process is semi-automated.

When you activate the device (using iTunes or on the device directly in iOS 5.0+) the lock status is determined using Apple's servers. This approach means that they can set any phone to be locked to any carrier (or no carrier) in a matter of seconds. They don't need to stock every possible combination of device in the store as a replacement.

Think about it, they'd need to stock:

iPhone (AT&T)
iPhone 3G (AT&T)
iPhone 3GS (AT&T)
iPhone 3GS (Unlocked)
iPhone 4 (AT&T)
iPhone 4 (Verizon)
iPhone 4 (Sprint)
iPhone 4 (Unlocked)
iPhone 4S (AT&T)
iPhone 4S (Verizon)
iPhone 4S (Sprint)
iPhone 4S (Unlocked).

PLUS: every color and capacity combination. I've not even considered "local" carriers like C-Spire.

*The only real exception to this is the iPhone 4. There's the original GSM device, and the CDMA variant for use by Verizon and Sprint.
 

CyBeRino

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2011
732
26
They will.
That means that if you got your original phone unlocked by your carrier, the replacement will also be unlocked.
No, it won't.

If you bought an unlocked device directly from Apple, the replacement will be unlocked.
Indeed, it will. (And if they goof it up, you can go back and have it fixed.)

If you bought a locked device from a carrier, the replacement will be locked to that carrier.
Indeed, it will.


When you have an iPhone replaced, you get a like-for-like replacement. Bought a locked phone originally? The replacement will be too. Had it unlocked by the carrier? Doesn't matter, it'll still be locked when replaced.

However, the carriers of course know about this concept and if you ask them to unlock your replacement, they will.
 

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,164
72
Suck having to go back via a carrier to get it back unlock, what if someone is no longer with that carrier (eg: AT&T?)...

If bought directly from Apple it makes since, so I hope I should be ok :)
 

CyBeRino

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2011
732
26
Suck having to go back via a carrier to get it back unlock, what if someone is no longer with that carrier (eg: AT&T?)...
AT&T will also unlock iPhones for former customers, so long as the requirements are met.

If bought directly from Apple it makes since, so I hope I should be ok :)
If you bought an unlocked iPhone, no worries.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
AT&T will also unlock iPhones for former customers, so long as the requirements are met.
That whole process again is what sucks.
AT&T has to check and verify all that info, they might even ask you for proof that those requirements are met prior to applying for an unlock request and sometimes those take weeks to complete.
So having to do all that each time you need a replacement is nonsense IMO.
 

Daniel L

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2009
415
101
No, it won't.



Indeed, it will. (And if they goof it up, you can go back and have it fixed.)



Indeed, it will.


When you have an iPhone replaced, you get a like-for-like replacement. Bought a locked phone originally? The replacement will be too. Had it unlocked by the carrier? Doesn't matter, it'll still be locked when replaced.

However, the carriers of course know about this concept and if you ask them to unlock your replacement, they will.
This is completely wrong. Make sure the genius bar guy/gal knows they're replacing a carrier unlocked iPhone and they will make sure you get an unlocked model whether apple has to unlock the device or they simply give you a factory unlocked model.

My AT&T 4s was replaced by a factory unlocked model. The genius bar tech glanced at something on his iPad to confirm the unlock status and proceeded to replace mine with an unlocked model. You can check which model you have by googling the model number of your phone.
 

nicholasss

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2012
188
2
Usa
No I don't believe you are correct. They know the device wasn't unlocked when he bought it so the unlock status should not matter when they replace it. You get what you had, black 32g locked iPhone gets you the same. I'd be very surprised if they exchanged it with an unlocked one.
LMFAO @signature.

Love it.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,058
51
Bristol, UK
No, it won't.
I'm sorry, but you're simply wrong.

Apple's official policy is what I have stated above.

There are some cases where this doesn't happen due to human error - this seems to be quite common in the US where unlocks have only just started happening.

As mentioned above, make sure that you tell the "Genius" that your phone is unlocked. They should be able to see that it is on their systems and they'll configure the replacement accordingly.

I have been through this process myself. I told the Genius my phone was unlocked by my (old) carrier and they made sure that the replacement was unlocked too (and it is).

They input the IMEI/serial number of the old/faulty device and as that is linked to Apple's activation servers, they can instantly tell whether it has been unlocked or not.

If you get a Genius bar replacement iPhone, they usually get you to activate it over the store Wi-Fi. If the phone is locked to AT&T and you've brought a T-Mobile SIM with you, that obviously wouldn't work. Apple would not allow that sort of sloppy experience to happen.
 
Last edited:

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,164
72
My AT&T 4s was replaced by a factory unlocked model. The genius bar tech glanced at something on his iPad to confirm the unlock status and proceeded to replace mine with an unlocked model.
This is great Daniel that you got your AT&T model replaced with an unlocked one. Question: did you initially pay full price at an Apple store for yours or you actually got it under contract with AT&T and then proceeded to carrier unlock it?
 

angrydog

macrumors member
Dec 12, 2009
78
0
Some of you are just idiots, comes onto a thread hits the reply button. Read other peoples' posts before you put false information out there.

Also, you might get lucky and get a improperly-trained 'Genius' who will just give you a factory unlocked iPhone. I confirmed proper protocol with the store manager about this 'AT&T sanctioned iPhone swap' the other day when I went to the Apple store for my Macbook repair.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,058
51
Bristol, UK
Yet it is exactly what has happened in multiple threads on this exact forum.
As I said earlier, the problem is that the staff in Apple stores have grown used to doing replacements in just one way since 2007 - locked to AT&T.

There have been problems with people who have bought a "factory" unlocked iPhone directly from Apple in a country like France (where the iPhone has been sold unlocked since 2007) and then taken it to the US for a replacement. The staff don't always know what to do in that situation and the replacement ends up being locked to AT&T.

As more and more devices are unlocked by AT&T, you should start to see more and more staff becoming familiar with the procedure for replacing a carrier unlocked device.

The key tip I can give is to mention that the device is unlocked to the "Genius".
 

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,164
72
Yes it is a good idea to let the genius know that the device is unlocked in advance when going in for a repair/replacement.
 
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