Quickest way to get a 6 unlocked for international use?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by cameronjpu, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. cameronjpu macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    I read through the first 5 pages of questions but didn't see the answer, so my apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.

    I have 13 months left on my ATT 5S contract. I am looking to buy the 6, at full retail, but I would love it to be unlocked for international use from day one if possible. I don't see any mention of unlocked phones being sold day one, so my guess is that there is no good option for me to get an i6 quickly.

    I leave the country early November and i don't expect supply to meet demand before then, that's my constraint. I would also like to have an easier time selling it in 14 more months by being factory unlocked.

    Final, loosely related question: if I buy the i6 through Apple and not ATT (so it is unlocked), will ATT unlock my 5S as it's no longer on the contract? Or is that 5S still the contract phone until 14 more months pass.

  2. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    The only way that I know for sure to get a new unlocked phone is to order a Verizon phone as they all ship unlocked (T-Mobile phones might be unlocked as well).

    Check with AT&T, but it sounds like if you pay for a phone in full, they will unlock it for you right away.


    Since you will need to pay full price, you should be able to unlock it immediately. Assuming that is the case, your 5S will probably need to wait 13 months before it can be unlocked.
  3. elypcool macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2009
    Im on the same boat, need it unlocked right away... So its either hope that ATT sells it at full price (probably not) or Tmobile sells them unlocked... Are those the only options we have? what about adding a new line and then paying ETF?
  4. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    Can't buy the Verizon phone without signing up for a contract, right? They won't just sell you a phone free and clear, will they? And the ATT 6, even at full price, will they really unlock it? That would be fine with me, since the price (750 for 64gb i6) and the outcome (unlocked, no new time on my contract) would be the same. Thanks!
  5. questionmark32 macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2013
    So after doing some calling, texting, etc. with CSRs with Verizon, AT&T, and Apple, this is what I found

    Apple: They claim that none of their phones are currently unlocked. We know this not to be true since all Verizon phones are GSM-unlocked. I was told that in a month they will be selling 'SIM-Free' iPhones. I believe both Verizon and T-Mobile iPhones are GSM-unlocked since that's the way it's been for quite some time now.

    AT&T: I spoke to them and I was told that they may be selling their iPhones at full price. IF they are not, you can sign up for the Next program and then subsequently pay off the phone in full. You will not have a contract and you will be able to request your phone to be unlocked (I have done this myself in the past and they unlocked it the day I bought my phone). She told me that it MAY take 3-5 business days (which is very true according to my experience with unlocking my AT&T phone).

    Verizon: If you're looking to buy the phone at full retail value, you can as long as you are a customer. Buying the iPhone at its full price will not affect your current contract either. So if you really want the Verizon iPhone, but don't have an account with Verizon, you can ask a friend or someone you trust to buy the phone tonight at full price and it won't affect their contract.

    Honestly, I wish I could give some of you better news, but this is the best I could get from all of the CSRs I spoke to.
  6. elypcool macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2009
    So I can add a line buy the 6 on next, pay it in full the next day and then ask for a unlock? seems to good to be true...
  7. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    Theoretically, you can buy a Verizon phone with a new phone # and as a new account, and chose the cheapest plan. You can then cancel your account after you receive the phone, and pay the early termination fee. It ends up being about the same price as buying the phone up front ($450 subsidy vs. $350 termination fee + $35 activation + some money for the first month).

    I'm sure that Verizon frowns on this, and you might get a black mark against your name with them. I don't think I would do this, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    As far as unlocking an AT&T iPhone 6 bought at full price, I don't know if they would do that or not. Their website definitely implies that they would, but I don't know all the "fine print". If you go this route, check with AT&T first.
  8. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    Not a terrible idea except for expecting them to wake up at that hour and do you that favor (here in DC, EST). But maybe I could get their login info and do it myself....
  9. elypcool macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2009
    In case none of the carriers offer them at full price and we are left only with t-mobile do we need an account with them if we are paying the off contract one?
  10. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    Oh wait, that's actually no help. Since I use ATT, a Verizon i6 won't help. The SIM slot is unlocked but only for international use. ATT SIM won't work in it.
  11. WolfSnap, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014

    WolfSnap macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2012
    Huh?? You're just making this stuff up now..

    Buying **ANY** phone from Apple at full price is a cash-transaction. The phone is given to you UNLOCKED. Period. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or even Sprint, if purchased at full price is COMPLETELY unlocked. Pop in your sim, and activate it. No need to even call your carrier. It'll just work.

    Buy it elsewhere, and it'll be unlocked.

    Here's how it works. When you buy at Apple, the checkout scan of the IMEI enters the unlock status into their database. If it's full price, it's entered as UNLOCKED. If you buy any other way, it's locked to the carrier that the SIM comes from.

    That's it. There's nothing else.

    One minor caveat; Verizon, due to policy (not due to technical issues) will not add a new IMEI to their network. It's either a Verizon IMEI or it won't work. That's not because the phone isn't unlocked, or that it technically won't work -- but, because of their internal policy which says that they don't activate non-verizon IMEI's.
  12. duaneu macrumors 6502a

    Jun 19, 2010
    Bellevue, WA
    Any phone but Sprint. Don't ever buy a Sprint phone except to use on Sprint. Even full price from the Apple Store, it will be locked to Sprint's network.
  13. Nde macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not trying to be rude or anything, but if you have a trip and you already have a confirmed unlocked 5s, can you just take the 5s with you can get the new iphone 6 after your trip? Why take the rise of not having an unlocked phone. The IPhone6 wouldn't give you much anyway. NFC wouldn't be out for awhile. Camera is almost the same. Sizes, yes but you have already use the iPhone 5s for a year, why not use it for another month or two.
    I know if I have a business trip, I wont even update my IOS.
  14. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    lol. Well let's be clear here, I'm the one asking a question, and using my best knowledge to make decisions. So I'm not making anything up, I'm going with what I know and asking for help.

    Now, my impression is, and again, since I'm asking a question please keep the all caps nay-sayery to a minimum, that no Verizon iPhone will ever work on any USA carrier. Even when they unlock the SIM slot for you, it remains locked for USA-based carriers. Now, maybe that's different for a full-priced Verizon iPhone, but (here's the kicker, WolfSnap) that's why I'm here, asking this question.

    Now, I assume that you know the difference between unlocked phones and off-contract phones. Whether a phone is "all cash" or not. And yes, I know that when you buy an unlocked phone it is fully unlocked. But in the past, Apple has not sold unlocked iPhones from day one. And you could buy a full price ATT or Verizon phone, off contract, which would still be locked to those carriers.

    So anyway, while I guess I don't need your opinion in response (because you seem pretty unlikely to say anything different based on my opinion) I would love to hear from anyone else who can confirm or refute that Apple will be selling fully unlocked iPhones tonight.



    I don't have an unlocked 5S.
  15. Nde macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Your starting post is very confusing to many of us.

    No one really knows what the Iphone will be like in terms of lock or unlock. 99% of the post on iPhone are all rumors or guesses here. Even the one with screenshots are all uncertain. Why don't you pay in full the Tmobile iphone6. If it doesn't work, there you go. Return it.

    I know I am. Pay in full three Tmobile phones tonight. If it doesn't work, I will return it.
  16. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    I don't understand why, it seems like if you don't know the answer, then that is the answer to give. The question is pretty simple: if you buy a full price phone, is it unlocked?

    Apple has been selling these phones in roughly the same way for the last seven years, and has been selling them on all carriers in the states for three years now. I figure there must be someone here who has made a habit of buying full price phones and would know if they are unlocked for international use.

    Again, it's okay to not know the answer to my question, but the appropriate way to express the fact that you don't know is to either not answer, or say that you don't know the answer and give a suggestion, like you did.
  17. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    Okay, I apparently was one of the lucky ones and was able to buy my phone last night through the Apple website. Given the limited options, all of which forced me to choose which carrier I would be using, I chose the only one that was available for full price, the T-Mobile option which was listed as no contract. So, am I going to be able to take the Sim card out of my AT&T 5S and start using the six on day one? Or is that phone going up on craigslist or being returned?
  18. illutionz macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2007
    Rhode Island
    The T-Mobile carrier free purchased from Apple website comes unlocked. Just take out the T-Mobile simcard and restore the phone. Then it should say it's unlocked.

    If you get the phone from T-Mobile directly, it'll be locked
  19. cameronjpu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2007
    How interesting. If true, then I got lucky :) thanks! I think I will be waiting to see if anyone else succeeds at that before I risk my $800 box :)
  20. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    It depends on which carrier and where you buy it from.

    All new Verizon iPhones (well, phones in general) with LTE support come unlocked regardless of payment method (contract, EDGE, full price) or purchase location because of their agreement with the FCC when they licensed new spectrum.

    Phones bought at full price, contract free from Apple Store are unlocked except for the Sprint version.

    Phones bought at full price from AT&T and T-Mobile are locked and there's a wait time of I think 30 days or more before you can request an unlock.

    Phones bought via contract or financing program from AT&T and T-Mobile are locked until you fulfill the terms of your contract or have paid the phone in full.

    Sprint phones are locked, period. They don't have an unlocking program for use with other US carriers in place as of the moment. They do unlock for international use but only after several months.

    Hope that helps.

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