question about unlocked iPhone 5SE

drewaz

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Dec 4, 2012
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Is an unlocked phone purchased from Apple different from a phone purchased (ie, not financed) at a carrier like AT&T?
 

vietalogy

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2006
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Both will be unlocked if paid in full. If bought at a carrier might have to do a restore or pop in a another carrier sim to make sure it's unlocked.
 
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BentTable123

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Nov 29, 2015
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There are small differences, phones from carriers will add bookmarks and shortcuts even if you reset the phone. Also hidden tracking software exists in carrier phones such as Carrier IQ.

thanks but .... is the phone itself identical?
 

drewaz

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Original poster
Dec 4, 2012
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ahh ... so it might be better to buy from Apple?

Can I just pop the SIM card from my old phone in the new one and not deal with AT&T?
 

estabya

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Jun 28, 2014
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ahh ... so it might be better to buy from Apple?

Can I just pop the SIM card from my old phone in the new one and not deal with AT&T?
As long as it's the same size SIM you can do this. I've done it many, many times.

EDIT: However, if you don't currently have an LTE iPhone you will have to call/chat with them to change the plan so you can get LTE. If you currently have an iPhone 5 or later you won't have to do this.
 
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Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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There are small differences, phones from carriers will add bookmarks and shortcuts even if you reset the phone. Also hidden tracking software exists in carrier phones such as Carrier IQ.
Apple does not allow carriers to install custom software or brand the OS. Apple also removed Carrier IQ from iOS years ago. A phone bought from a carrier should be identical to the same carrier version bought from Apple.
[doublepost=1458700058][/doublepost]
ahh ... so it might be better to buy from Apple?

Can I just pop the SIM card from my old phone in the new one and not deal with AT&T?
You can buy an AT&T phone from Apple at full price. It will be unlocked and come with an AT&T SIM pre-installed. Depending on how old your existing SIM is, it might be a good idea to get a new one since they are sometimes needed to unlock new carrier functionality.
 
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drewaz

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Original poster
Dec 4, 2012
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Apple does not allow carriers to install custom software or brand the OS. Apple also removed Carrier IQ from iOS years ago. A phone bought from a carrier should be identical to the same carrier version bought from Apple.
[doublepost=1458700058][/doublepost]You can buy an AT&T phone from Apple at full price. It will be unlocked and come with an AT&T SIM pre-installed. Depending how old your existing SIM is, it might be a good idea to get a new one since they are sometimes needed to unlock new carrier functionality.

Sorry for the confusion but I'm wondering about the SIM free phone from Apple (not a carrier version) vs. an unlocked phone from AT&T ... are they identical?
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
Sorry for the confusion but I'm wondering about the SIM free phone from Apple (not a carrier version) vs. an unlocked phone from AT&T ... are they identical?
I don't know for sure if AT&T stores sell unlocked phones (but you should be able to get it unlocked if it isn't already as long as you pay for it in full). Apart from that, there shouldn't be a difference.

But if you want to buy from Apple, there is really no reason to buy the SIM free version if you want to use the phone on AT&T. Apple's FAQ states that phones that are paid in full will be unlocked this year.
 
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lordofthereef

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Nov 29, 2011
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Boston, MA
ahh ... so it might be better to buy from Apple?

Can I just pop the SIM card from my old phone in the new one and not deal with AT&T?
Have a look on apples website for lte bands. There are two versions of the device and each is missing quite a few bands. Personally I think people stress about this too much though. I don't expect you to have any issues unless you end up relocating across the globe or you're a global traveler. So few of us fit that bill that buying the phone for the carrier you're on is probably always a perfectly solid decision.
 
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