Unlocked available in store or not?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ninethirty, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. ninethirty macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    I'm sorry if this has been asked already, but it's not immediately clear from thread titles.

    I know that Verizon phones are GSM unlocked - that'd be great if I wasn't already on contract with AT&T (I'm using an unlocked 4S I brought with me from Europe).

    I've heard that GSM iPhone 5's can be bought in store as 'device only' for full price, and that they're factory unlocked.

    However, I asked an Apple chat specialist about the process for obtaining one now that the reservation process is in place (with no option for device only) and she told me that Apple does not sell a fully unlocked phone and that I will NOT be able to obtain one in store.

    Is she misinformed, or am I? I understand I'll have to wait in line if I want one - that's fine, but I don't want to wait if it's not possible to get one.

  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    With the reservation system in place it is going to be a lot more difficult to buy non-contract phones if you are eligible for an upgrade, since you'll need to wait for the pre-sold phones to be released at the end of the day. In other words, if someone pre-orders a phone but doesn't pick it up, Apple will cancel the sale and release the phone for sale first-come first-served, in which case you can buy it device-only and it will be unlocked.

    If last year is any indication, they will start selling an unlocked version in stores in a few weeks after the initial rush has passed and you'll be able to get that one in the stores or online.
  3. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Ah, ok. Good to know. Still a bit unclear as to whether they are actually selling unlocked phones at all (as per Apple saleswoman), but I suppose I can just hop on over to the Apple store at lunch and ask.


  4. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2011
    Guess will be that the pure unlocked phones(VZ has the GSM part unlocked) will be available once they begin selling in china and other major international markets. think it's a couple of weeks. This prevents people for trying to make a profit from buying here and selling there
  5. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Well, not necessarily. They're US is pretty much one of the only countries that iPhones are sold locked to the carrier. I've bought one through Canada, where they're sold unlocked on day 1. It's on it's way. But I wanted to also pick up a white which is why I was asking about here. There seems to be confusing information about whether you can or can't purchase a device only GSM phone in store at the moment. A lot of people say you can - but there's no information on the site, and Apple themselves (online anyway) say no.

  6. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    For anyone interested, I went to the Apple Store on Michigan Ave in Chicago at lunch today and spoke to a really nice store employee who confirmed that you can DEFINITELY buy device only phones at full price, but that those phones WILL be locked to the carrier. They are not unlocked phones. He said they're hoping to get information really soon about unlocked phones but that nothing is known right now.

    I'll stick with the actual unlocked phone I've ordered from Canada.

  7. Mac7 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2009
    I was told the same but sticking my tmobile sim in the verizon model worked just fine. except for edge...:mad:
  8. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Well yeah, the GSM slot in the Verizon phone is unlocked. That's confirmed, but people keep saying here that you can buy an AT&T iPhone 'device only' and it's unlocked, but Apple says no. I'm tempted to believe people here on the forums instead of some Apple store employee, but it's more money than I care to wager with incase they're wrong.

  9. upnorth85 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    unlocked phones

    For those on T-mobile should buy an unlocked version of the AT&T version not the Verizon one, unless you are fine with Edge. T-mobile has switched on the 3G on 1900 MHz frequency and next year will have AT&T compatible LTE. As to unlocked iPhone 5: Apple usually starts selling unlocked version at its stores 2-4 weeks after launch in the US. That said, currently a few people reported on tmonews web site that they walked in to Apple stores and said they were AT&T customers and bought the full priced unlocked versions of the phone on the basis that they did not want to activate their phones. No AT&T account details were taken from them nor verified if they were AT&T customers. T-mobile itself is expecting nano sims in mid October. I thus plan to wait until mid-October to buy an unlocked GSM version. If you see the average selling price for phones sold to carriers it is at the lowest memory iPhone, indicating that Apple provides discount to wireless providers. So when Apple sells full priced unlocked phones at its stores it make more profit than selling to wireless provider customers such as those on AT&T and Verizon. So there is no reason why Apple will not sell such phones. It however delays this so as to meet the backlog from customers on wireless providers with whom they have agreements. So if you wait a month or so more you can buy an iPhone 5 unlocked.
  10. auero macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2006
    If you're buying a phone from AT&T at full price without a contract it is unlocked. Verizon phones are unlocked. I'm not sure about Sprint.
  11. bozzykid macrumors 68020

    Aug 11, 2009
    It's all in the terminology. They don't sell "unlocked" phones. They do sell "device only" phones. So when you are in an Apple store tell them you won't to buy the phone only and you will come out with a fully unlocked iPhone.


    If you pay full price in an Apple Store for a phone, it will be unlocked. Just connect it to iTunes and you are done. The "unlocked GSM iPhone" will be the AT&T phone but unlocked. But if you buy the AT&T phone at full price, it is the same thing.
  12. RNVarma macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2010
    I bought my iPhone 4S on the second day of availability last year. It was the AT&T model, device-only, and it came factory unlocked (I used it on T-Mobile the same day I bought it). I might be able to shed some light on the situation for the iPhone 5.

    It appears there are two ways to buy device-only iPhones 5 from AT&T, with the only difference being if the Apple employee adds your account/phone number information.

    I bought my 4S and didn't mention any account information or phone numbers. It appears that if you purchase it like that, the AT&T iPhone will indeed be factory unlocked.

    If you purchase the device-only iPhone 5 and mention account information or phone numbers, it looks like Apple associates it with your account and thereby locks it to AT&T. I am not sure what's happening with people who are restoring their iPhones 5 and getting them unlocked; maybe they didn't provide any account information in the first place.

    So, a factory unlocked iPhone 5 is not advertised as available in the USA, but it is available if you buy at least an AT&T iPhone 5 device-only and do not have the Apple employee associate it with any current AT&T account.

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