Thinking about buying an unlocked iPhone 3GS, but I have a few questions...

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iboy38, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. iboy38 macrumors member


    Mar 30, 2009
    Waldorf, MD
    I really wan't a iPhone, but my parents can't afford to pay AT&T's bill every month. They only stick with T-mobile so I was thinking, maybe I should buy an unlocked iPhone from eBay and use it with my family's data plan. But I have a few questions:

    1. What are the pros and cons of buying an unlocked 3Gs?

    2.Will I be able to update the new firmwares that come out?

    3. Does it have to be jailbroken too?

    4. When I buy one and connect it with my iTunes account will it ask for me to activate it or will it automatically lock it?
  2. Vandam500 macrumors 68000


    Sep 29, 2008
    1. Pro- Don't have to sign a contract and get cheaper monthly bills if you go with T-Mobile. Cons- You are stuck with T-Mobiles Edge network because their 3G network isn't compatible with the iPhone.

    2. This depends if you buy a factory unlocked iPhone or a iPhone that was unlocked with a jailbreak. If its factory unlocked you can update all you want without any problems. If it's jailbroken unlocked then you can't update until the jailbreak/unlock is updated (Updating without waiting can permanently lock your iPhone).

    3. If you buy a factory unlocked iPhone then no. If it's not factory unlocked then it has to be jailbroken to work with T-Mobile.

    4. If the iPhone is already activated then it won't ask you to activate. If you don't have the latest version and there is a update then it may ask you to update but you can cancel it. Up to now all firmwares for all iPhone's are unlockable so you can update to the newest version at the moment and unlock your iPhone without a problem.

    Hope this helps:)
  3. iboy38 thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 30, 2009
    Waldorf, MD
    What's the difference between a factory unlocked iPhone and a non factory unlocked iPhone???
  4. Vandam500 macrumors 68000


    Sep 29, 2008
    A factory unlocked iPhone means that it was made with no carrier pre-configured. So basically it works with any GSM carrier without any jailbreak or anything.

    A non-factory unlocked iPhone means that it was say for example made for AT&T but someone jailbroke it and unlocked it so it can work for other GSM networks.
  5. foxyscull macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2009
    I want to buy an Iphone..and the iphone that im considering is supposed to be a factory unlocked one. How do I make sure that the piece is factory unlocked and not otherwise?
  6. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    If you buy it from a country that offers factory unlocking, that's pretty much the only way.
  7. Legolai macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    I beleive italy and australia are the main countries that sell factory unlocked iPhones, Also in the UK anyone who has purchased an iPhone on contract from O2 can get it unlocked for free from them for free, so that may be an avenue for you too.
  8. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    There are actually at least three classes of unlocked iPhones:

    1) Factory unlocked: the iPhone comes out of the box already unlocked and ready to work with any technologically compatible carrier anywhere in the world. This happens, for example, with all iPhones sold in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Belgium and Italy. (And other countries)

    2) Authorized unlocked: the iPhone was initially sold with a lock to a single carrier, but the carrier offers a service to remove the lock, with Apple's cooperation, albeit sometimes only after certain eligibility requirements (such as payment of a fee, or passage of time) are met. After the authorized unlock has been performed, the phone becomes essentially identical to the factory unlocked phone described above, ready to use anywhere in the world with any technologically compatible carrier. This is available, for example, in Australia and France. (And other countries)

    3) Unauthorized unlocked: the iPhone was jailbroken and hacked, without the carrier's or Apple's consent, to remove the lock.

    There appears to be at least one other similar condition that's worth mentioning. In some countries, it appears that the phone comes out of the box in a semi-locked state, willing to accept a SIM card from any of a limited set of authorized carriers within that country. Then, once the phone has been successfully activated on a given carrier, it may lock itself down to just that one carrier.
  9. jbs1077 macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2009
    I want to add some info to your post.

    I bought my 3GS from Australia and it came factory unlocked that's because I bought them from the Apple Store directly. However, if you bought them from the carrier then it would be carrier locked but I was told it can be unlocked for a fee which then it'll be like your regular FU. :)

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