Unlocked iPhone 5 (3rd party unlock) lost unlock

TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
Back when the iPhone 5 (not 5s) first came out I had it unlocked by a 3rd party. It's a T-Mobile model. It worked fine on T-Mo for months then I switched to ATT and it's been working fine on ATT for almost a year. I needed to do a restore and after restore it lost it's unlock. When I put the AT&T SIM in it all I get is the "SIM IS NOT VALID" for this carrier long message and can't even access anything. When I put an old "dead" T-Mo sim in it it comes back but obviously it is of no use.

I called T-Mo and they won't unlock it since it was purchased direct from Apple (and I no longer have an account with T-Mo).

Am I dead in the water with this? Any way around it. Again, it's a T-Mobile phone purchased from Apple direct for full price.

Edit: The restore was done from iCloud recent backup because there was no computer backup.

It's my wife's phone.
 
Last edited:

P A U L

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
42
0
Back when the iPhone 5 (not 5s) first came out I had it unlocked by a 3rd party. It's a T-Mobile model. It worked fine on T-Mo for months then I switched to ATT and it's been working fine on ATT for almost a year. I needed to do a restore and after restore it lost it's unlock. When I put the AT&T SIM in it all I get is the "SIM IS NOT VALID" for this carrier long message and can't even access anything. When I put an old "dead" T-Mo sim in it it comes back but obviously it is of no use.

I called T-Mo and they won't unlock it since it was purchased direct from Apple (and I no longer have an account with T-Mo).

Am I dead in the water with this? Any way around it. Again, it's a T-Mobile phone purchased from Apple direct for full price.

Edit: The restore was done from iCloud recent backup because there was no computer backup.

It's my wife's phone.
Have you checked the IMEI?
If it's 'factory unlocked' then it will show once you enter the IMEI online.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
Have you checked the IMEI?
If it's 'factory unlocked' then it will show once you enter the IMEI online.

Like the original message stated:

It was purchased as a T-Mobile phone (not unlocked).
It was unlocked by a 3rd party over a year ago when still on T-Mo.
I switched to AT&T 8 months ago where it has been working fine (so it WAS unlocked).
I just did a restore and now it is NO LONGER UNLOCKED (or so the message says).
 
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P A U L

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
42
0
Like the original message stated:

It was purchased as a T-Mobile phone (not unlocked).
It was unlocked by a 3rd party over a year ago when still on T-Mo.
I switched to AT&T 8 months ago where it has been working fine (so it WAS unlocked).
I just did a restore and now it is NO LONGER UNLOCKED (or so the message says).
I know you said by 3rd party.
But once its unlocked, it's permanently unlocked unless it was a software unlock (older days when you needed to jailbreak to unlock).
You can check online by typing in your IMEI and seeing if its permanently unlocked.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
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FORMERLY NJ now FL
I just called Apple. They say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do, I have to call T-Mo.

I just called T-Mo and they say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do since I'm not with T-Mo any longer.

It was NOT a software unlock. I paid $15 for the unlock back July 2013 from someone off this forum (not that it matters). When, I plugged it into iTunes at that time it said "congratulations your phone is now unlocked."

I switched to AT&T Sept 2013 and it worked fine on ATT up until tonight after I did a restore (tried both iTunes and from iCloud).

I tried my SIM from my 5S and get same message. Both SIMs work in my 5S so it isn't a SIM problem.

The message is:
The sim card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a carrier that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iphone. Please insert another sim from a supported carrier .... blah blah blah.
 
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P A U L

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
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I just called Apple. They say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do, I have to call T-Mo.

I just called T-Mo and they say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do since I'm not with T-Mo any longer.

It was NOT a software unlock. I paid $15 for the unlock back July 2013 from someone off this forum (not that it matters). When, I plugged it into iTunes at that time it said "congratulations your phone is now unlocked."

I switched to AT&T Sept 2013 and it worked fine on ATT up until tonight after I did a restore (tried both iTunes and from iCloud).

I tried my SIM from my 5S and get same message. Both SIMs work in my 5S so it isn't a SIM problem.

The message is:
The sim card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a carrier that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iphone. Please insert another sim from a supported carrier .... blah blah blah.
That is strange...very strange.
Each time I've factory unlocked it, its been permanent.
Know anyone that has T-Mobile?
Maybe a friend can put his sim card in and get it unlocked via T-Mobile.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
Where do I check online? I just tried IMEI.INFO and they say I have to pay. Any other suggestions? However obviously it is NOT unlocked or else the sim would work. :).
 
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bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
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11,940
I just called Apple. They say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do, I have to call T-Mo.

I just called T-Mo and they say it is NOT unlocked and there is nothing they can do since I'm not with T-Mo any longer.

It was NOT a software unlock. I paid $15 for the unlock back July 2013 from someone off this forum (not that it matters). When, I plugged it into iTunes at that time it said "congratulations your phone is now unlocked."

I switched to AT&T Sept 2013 and it worked fine on ATT up until tonight after I did a restore (tried both iTunes and from iCloud).

I tried my SIM from my 5S and get same message. Both SIMs work in my 5S so it isn't a SIM problem.

The message is:
The sim card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a carrier that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iphone. Please insert another sim from a supported carrier .... blah blah blah.
Did you use the same sim card?

If so, then your issue is back with T-Mobile. ATT isn't going to recognize the card as being one of theirs to be activated (like the message says). You'll need to take the long road on this: activate the card again with t-mobile, unlock it with the code that you have, then take it back to ATT. Simply put, regardless of whatever party did it, ATT isn't going to unlock a T-Mobile phone.

BL.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
Did you use the same sim card?

If so, then your issue is back with T-Mobile. ATT isn't going to recognize the card as being one of theirs to be activated (like the message says). You'll need to take the long road on this: activate the card again with t-mobile, unlock it with the code that you have, then take it back to ATT. Simply put, regardless of whatever party did it, ATT isn't going to unlock a T-Mobile phone.

BL.
Yes, I used the same SIM and I also tried the SIM from MY 5S. Hers works in my phone so the SIM is fine.

I am well aware the issue is with T-Mobile. However there was no "code" to unlock it. It was done by activation server as has been done for well over a year with iPhones. No codes are used. Unless I sign up for an account with T-Mo and wait 3 or 4 or whatever months they won't unlock it. That doesn't help my wife now. The fact is, it has been working fine since September of last year ON ATT.
 
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nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
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Did you use the same sim card?

If so, then your issue is back with T-Mobile. ATT isn't going to recognize the card as being one of theirs to be activated (like the message says). You'll need to take the long road on this: activate the card again with t-mobile, unlock it with the code that you have, then take it back to ATT. Simply put, regardless of whatever party did it, ATT isn't going to unlock a T-Mobile phone.

BL.
There is no such thing as an Unlock Code for an Iphone. The phone is either in the unlock database or not. It sounds like it was in that database at one time and it dropped out for some reason. If it is possible, I think he should contact the person who originally did the unlock for him.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
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FORMERLY NJ now FL
What I ended up doing was:

Putting her phone on a T-Mo $30/mo plan so she has a phone to use (albeit with a different number) and requesting an unlock from T-Mo. Hopefully the fact I put it BACK on T-Mo won't screw up the fact I am requesting an unlock. Worse case I will port her number out of ATT temporarily until it is all resolved.

I still can't understand how a phone can lose an unlock.
 
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617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
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What I ended up doing was:

Putting her phone on a T-Mo $30/mo plan so she has a phone to use (albeit with a different number) and requesting an unlock from T-Mo. Hopefully the fact I put it BACK on T-Mo won't screw up the fact I am requesting an unlock. Worse case I will port her number out of ATT temporarily until it is all resolved.

I still can't understand how a phone can lose an unlock.
Probably a freak incident.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
Probably a freak incident.
This happened after I did a complete restore. I've done other restores in the past without issue (even IOS updates do a restore IIRC).

I looked at HOSTS file and nothing is blocking the Apple servers IP's and don't see anything in Windows firewall. It seems from the message I get from iTunes and on the phone when i have the ATT sim installed means the Apple Verification server doesn't see it as unlocked which it always did. Maybe I will try a restore 1 more time with the firewall and anti-virus software disabled.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
You might need to buy another unlock for it then.
I know Tmobile unlocks are expensive though.
Before I do that I'd sell it and get an ATT version. The 5 is pretty reasonable now but first I put in an "official" request with T-Mo. According to their website (http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-1588) they should still do it even though I'm not with them any more.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
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FORMERLY NJ now FL
True, cant hurt to try.
Plus, anyone who advertises they can do T-Mo unlocks always say it can take "up to a month."

In the meantime I put her phone on the cheap T-Mo prepaid plan and forwarded any calls to the new temp number. Texts will be an issue though. Too bad they can't be forwarded as well.
 
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dextr3k

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2012
357
1
I have had the same thing happen with my iphone 4 as well. It was 'relocked' but I am aware exactly what happened.

1) unlocks for iphones (read jailbreak forum) works through an activation server, so when it first activates, it gets the 'unlock bit' or whatever flag that designates it as unlocked or locked.

2) I bought my iphone 4 launchday, but could not be bothered to wait for activation servers, so I bought it factory unlocked

3) I "returned" the phone, and signed up with exact same phone on my carrier's plan, I was supposed to be using a locked phone, but since my phone was already activated before, it stayed unlocked

4) I restored my iphone to the new ios (i think 6?) and it had to activate through the servers, so it relocked itself, even though I have been using an unlocked phone for a little over a year. :mad:

5) booooooooooooooo phone locks.
 
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TB07-NJ

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 7, 2008
2,324
135
FORMERLY NJ now FL
In my case the phone was updated and restored through multiple versions of IOS with no issue, the most recent being 7.1.1. A simple "restore" killed the lock this past weekend.

Anyway, T-Mobile sent me a new unlock even though I am not with them any longer and I am just waiting out the 24-72 hours until it reaches Apple's servers.

As of last night it still wouldn't unlock even with the new unlock but sometimes you have to give it a day or 2. Worse case I'll just sell it as a locked T-Mobile phone and buy a used AT&T model for just about (or less than) what I sell it for. This is an iPhone 5.
 
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617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
3,976
818
I have had the same thing happen with my iphone 4 as well. It was 'relocked' but I am aware exactly what happened.

1) unlocks for iphones (read jailbreak forum) works through an activation server, so when it first activates, it gets the 'unlock bit' or whatever flag that designates it as unlocked or locked.

2) I bought my iphone 4 launchday, but could not be bothered to wait for activation servers, so I bought it factory unlocked

3) I "returned" the phone, and signed up with exact same phone on my carrier's plan, I was supposed to be using a locked phone, but since my phone was already activated before, it stayed unlocked

4) I restored my iphone to the new ios (i think 6?) and it had to activate through the servers, so it relocked itself, even though I have been using an unlocked phone for a little over a year. :mad:

5) booooooooooooooo phone locks.
That could be a clever way to get an unlocked phone while signing up for a contract.
 
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dextr3k

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2012
357
1
That could be a clever way to get an unlocked phone while signing up for a contract.
Well, if you can stand never updating. It was a restore that killed my phone, but I am not sure if even simple updates will kill it. That would just suck. But I had that work so I am not sure.
 
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ig888

macrumors newbie
Jul 16, 2014
10
0
New York
There is no such thing as an Unlock Code for an Iphone. The phone is either in the unlock database or not. It sounds like it was in that database at one time and it dropped out for some reason. If it is possible, I think he should contact the person who originally did the unlock for him.
This is correct. There is nothing on iPhone itself that would tell you it is locked/unlocked.
When you start iPhone with a new SIM card - your iPhone will connect (WiFi) to Apple server and check if phone’s IMEI is locked.
Did you move to another region by any chance? Apple's servers are region specific.
 
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Merkie

macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2008
2,108
682
I'm surprised some dinosaur carriers in the US still lock their phones. In Europe it hardly happens anymore. I also don't see the added value for carriers. In the modern day, carriers are not able to differentiate by phones anymore (every carrier has the same Galaxy and iPhone), so all they are really doing is generating unhappy customers. It also costs them a lot of trouble.

I don't understand it.
 
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