Unlock code

Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
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when you get the unlock code from the carrier, I'm guessing you need to restore your phone to factory reset to activate the unlock right?
Now my question is, if you don't do the factory restore when they unlock it from att, is it going to go away or the phone is already unlocked pending restore to get it activated? Do you lose the unlock credentials so to speak if you don't use it right away and I had to do it over again?
 

predation

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2013
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829
when you get the unlock code from the carrier, I'm guessing you need to restore your phone to factory reset to activate the unlock right?
Now my question is, if you don't do the factory restore when they unlock it from att, is it going to go away or the phone is already unlocked pending restore to get it activated? Do you lose the unlock credentials so to speak if you don't use it right away and I had to do it over again?
Once unlocked, it's unlocked. I presume you put in a diff sim and enter the code when prompted?
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,789
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Are you talking about an Iphone. There is no such thing as an unlock code for an Iphone. The carrier has to put your phone in the whitelist database and you plug it into itunes and thats it. They always tell you to restore the phone but it is not really necessary.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
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Pennsylvania
when you get the unlock code from the carrier, I'm guessing you need to restore your phone to factory reset to activate the unlock right?
Now my question is, if you don't do the factory restore when they unlock it from att, is it going to go away or the phone is already unlocked pending restore to get it activated? Do you lose the unlock credentials so to speak if you don't use it right away and I had to do it over again?
No such thing as an unlock code in the context of iPhones. iPhone lock/unlock status is all done through the activation tickets. When you insert a SIM and try to activate it, the phone requests a ticket from Apple's servers. The server looks at the IMSI, verifies that the phone is allowed to get such an activation ticket, and then delivers that to the iPhone.

If your phone was activated before unlocking, and you put a SIM card in for a carrier that isn't allowed by the current ticket (different IMSI), the phone will request a new ticket from the activation server. If the phone is now in the "unlocked" list on Apple's server, the server will issue a new ticket that is valid for any SIM. If the phone is *not* allowed to receive an activation ticket for that carrier (i.e. it's still locked), then the phone will display a message saying "unable to activate iPhone" and refuse to let you do anything until you remove the SIM.

There is no need to restore unless you really want to see the "congratulations" message. It used to be necessary in the past when iTunes was required for activation, but that hasn't been the case for a long time.

There's no time limit. As soon as the carrier sends you the email saying the phone is unlocked, that's how the phone is noted in Apple's server. The next time you request an activation ticket (whether it's due to inserting a new SIM or restoring the phone), Apple will deliver a "wildcard ticket" (which is an unlocked activation ticket)
 

ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,513
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The process is pretty stupid if you ask me. iTunes should have a user driven function to check and unlock.

I used the online ATT site and put my IMEI number into the system. The unlock was granted instantly. Next, you need to reset your phone back to factory then connect it to iTunes. Before you do that make a full backup so you can restore afterwards.

The minute you connect the reset phone to iTunes it will be unlocked and you will see the message.

I did not restore as I am selling that iPhone.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
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Pennsylvania
The process is pretty stupid if you ask me. iTunes should have a user driven function to check and unlock.

I used the online ATT site and put my IMEI number into the system. The unlock was granted instantly. Next, you need to reset your phone back to factory then connect it to iTunes. Before you do that make a full backup so you can restore afterwards.

The minute you connect the reset phone to iTunes it will be unlocked and you will see the message.

I did not restore as I am selling that iPhone.
Despite AT&T's instructions, you do not need to restore. You just need to insert a different SIM. The restore is only necessary if you really want to see the "Congratulations" screen
 

Coleman2010

macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2010
1,868
115
NYC
I requested a carrier unlock for my old T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus. Once I got the email I pulled out my TMO SIM and put in an AT&T SIM. I put the 6 Plus on WiFi and it recognized the AT&T SIM. I swapped in a Verizon SIM as well. All worked. There is no need connect to iTunes or restore.
 

Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
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No such thing as an unlock code in the context of iPhones. iPhone lock/unlock status is all done through the activation tickets. When you insert a SIM and try to activate it, the phone requests a ticket from Apple's servers. The server looks at the IMSI, verifies that the phone is allowed to get such an activation ticket, and then delivers that to the iPhone.

If your phone was activated before unlocking, and you put a SIM card in for a carrier that isn't allowed by the current ticket (different IMSI), the phone will request a new ticket from the activation server. If the phone is now in the "unlocked" list on Apple's server, the server will issue a new ticket that is valid for any SIM. If the phone is *not* allowed to receive an activation ticket for that carrier (i.e. it's still locked), then the phone will display a message saying "unable to activate iPhone" and refuse to let you do anything until you remove the SIM.

There is no need to restore unless you really want to see the "congratulations" message. It used to be necessary in the past when iTunes was required for activation, but that hasn't been the case for a long time.

There's no time limit. As soon as the carrier sends you the email saying the phone is unlocked, that's how the phone is noted in Apple's server. The next time you request an activation ticket (whether it's due to inserting a new SIM or restoring the phone), Apple will deliver a "wildcard ticket" (which is an unlocked activation ticket)
Thank you sir.. this is the clearest explanation I have read so far... and also the one that makes the most sense.

So, Apple server ticket and SIM system.
Locked:
1. Activate a SIM i.e. ATT
2. Apple server recognizes its locked and sends activation ticket only for ATT
3. Activation ticket only matches with ATT, hence locked to ATT.

Unlocked:
1. Activate a SIM i.e. ATT or Tmobile
2. Apple recognizes its unlocked and sends an unlocked activation ticket which works to any carrier, i.e. Tmobile and ATT
3. Activation ticket "unlocked" should work with any SIM.

so that means, Apple screwed up because 1. My full priced phone should have been unlocked and the server should've recognized it is not tied to a subsidy or a NEXT plan. 2. I should've gotten an "unlocked" server ticket which would've enabled me to put any simcard at that point regardless of activation.

WTF, all the Apple "know it all" agents would swear it was ATT who locked my phone once i activated it with them... they straight up lied to me. They were even dismissive and when they talked to me to the point that they were arguing that its their way or the highway. I told them that's not the case but they still insisted. Bunch of USELESS know it all people.
 
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DoofenshmirtzEI

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
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so that means, Apple screwed up because 1. My full priced phone should have been unlocked and the server should've recognized it is not tied to a subsidy or a NEXT plan. 2. I should've gotten an "unlocked" server ticket which would've enabled me to put any simcard at that point regardless of activation.

WTF, all the Apple "know it all" agents would swear it was ATT who locked my phone once i activated it with them... they straight up lied to me. They were even dismissive and when they talked to me to the point that they were arguing that its their way or the highway. I told them that's not the case but they still insisted. Bunch of USELESS know it all people.
Actually, they're probably right. Apple maintains the server, but the carriers are the ones who have control over locking and unlocking.
 
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Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
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Actually, they're probably right. Apple maintains the server, but the carriers are the ones who have control over locking and unlocking.
if that's the case, then why would ATT tell apple that my phone is locked when I didn't even purchase any NEXT/Subsidy?
 
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terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
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Actually, they're probably right. Apple maintains the server, but the carriers are the ones who have control over locking and unlocking.
Well the exception to this is supposed to be if you buy a phone full price from Apple themselves. That's supposed to automatically flag the server to put the device in the "unlocked" list.

However, even if the screwup does occur, it should be correctable by requesting a carrier unlock (and sending proof of retail price if necessary)
 

DoofenshmirtzEI

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
783
603
if that's the case, then why would ATT tell apple that my phone is locked when I didn't even purchase any NEXT/Subsidy?
Because carriers are scum. Apple store employees don't have any access to lock or unlock your phone. About the only thing they could do is inadvertently set the phone up as a Next phone (they can't do subsidized contracts anymore), but you'd see that on your AT&T account.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
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Pennsylvania
Because carriers are scum. Apple store employees don't have any access to lock or unlock your phone. About the only thing they could do is inadvertently set the phone up as a Next phone (they can't do subsidized contracts anymore), but you'd see that on your AT&T account.
ATT has no means to lock a phone either. Only unlock. What happened is more likely a glitch in the system
 

Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
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Well the exception to this is supposed to be if you buy a phone full price from Apple themselves. That's supposed to automatically flag the server to put the device in the "unlocked" list.

However, even if the screwup does occur, it should be correctable by requesting a carrier unlock (and sending proof of retail price if necessary)
I paid full price. I'm requesting carrier unlocked now. And I have no intention of reimaging my phone for the 2nd time again. I did a reimage to a perfectly working phone because I thought that's all that needed to unlock... But that was stupid and wasted my time. Not doing any restore soon.
 

dave006

Contributor
Jul 3, 2008
3,382
696
Just West of East
Thank you sir.. this is the clearest explanation I have read so .........<snip snip>

WTF, all the Apple "know it all" agents would swear it was ATT who locked my phone once i activated it with them... they straight up lied to me. They were even dismissive and when they talked to me to the point that they were arguing that its their way or the highway. I told them that's not the case but they still insisted. Bunch of USELESS know it all people.
Apple employees and Carrier reps suffer from the same issues, they may have a clue about activation or they might not have a clue and just make up some answer. AT&T did not lock you iPhone. What does your receipt show? The error was made by the person that processed the sale. Why not do a simple return and repurchase it? This will allow them to correctly indicate the device's status in the Apple system.

Note: The iPhone is unique in the way unlocking / locking / status is managed: Apple controls the entire process and the carriers have to follow the process defined by Apple.

Dave
 
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dave006

Contributor
Jul 3, 2008
3,382
696
Just West of East
I paid full price. I'm requesting carrier unlocked now. And I have no intention of reimaging my phone for the 2nd time again. I did a reimage to a perfectly working phone because I thought that's all that needed to unlock... But that was stupid and wasted my time. Not doing any restore soon.
You don't have to reimage your phone. Once you have a backup via iTunes or iCloud then you can always restore the latest backup. So you can always setup your iPhone as "new" for any debugging or to verify the unlock status and then you can restore your latest backup. Just remember to create an encrypted backup.

Note: Backups don't backup everything, for example emails and your music. Make sure you read about the backup process. It is very handy but not perfect.

Dave
 

Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
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You don't have to reimage your phone. Once you have a backup via iTunes or iCloud then you can always restore the latest backup. So you can always setup your iPhone as "new" for any debugging or to verify the unlock status and then you can restore your latest backup. Just remember to create an encrypted backup.

Note: Backups don't backup everything, for example emails and your music. Make sure you read about the backup process. It is very handy but not perfect.

Dave
1. Not doing a restore from backup... Uh no. 2 yes to encrypted back up...
 

ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,513
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I requested a carrier unlock for my old T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus. Once I got the email I pulled out my TMO SIM and put in an AT&T SIM. I put the 6 Plus on WiFi and it recognized the AT&T SIM. I swapped in a Verizon SIM as well. All worked. There is no need connect to iTunes or restore.
Ive done that as well in the past but it does not mean unlocked.
 

Appl3FTW

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 15, 2012
5,392
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Did you purchase from Apple.com as full price or from Apple store "Device Only"?
What are you talking about? It's purchased full price contract free. That's it. I think the problem is that this is a replacement and the replacement they gave me probably is locked.
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
9,716
3,578
What are you talking about? It's purchased full price contract free. That's it. I think the problem is that this is a replacement and the replacement they gave me probably is locked.
In general, Apple properly identifies the lock status, and the replacement generally is set the way your original was, so if your original phone was unlocked, the replacement will be too.
 
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