"Unlocked" vs "Factory Unlocked"

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MacMonkey13, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. MacMonkey13 macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm getting ready to sell my iPhone 4 on EBay. I noticed "Factory Unlocked" phones sell for more.

    Would my ATT unlocked (thru a request to ATT) phone sell for a similar price or are Factory Unlocked phones worth more for some reason?
     
  2. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #2
    They shouldn't be worth more, but ebay is not immune to marketing gimmicks!

    If you look at some other kinds of devices on ebay like Kindles, some people advertise that they are unlocked (even though unlocking doesn't apply to Kindles). Unsurprisingly, those sell better than the ones that don't mention it.
     
  3. PsstGreek macrumors 68040

    PsstGreek

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    #3
    "Factory unlocked" would be either the iPhone was unlocked by AT&T or someone got it IMEI unlocked from eBay. Or it just it was purchased factory unlocked from Apple.

    "Unlocked" could be that it was unlocked of ultrasn0w (software) or the iPhone comes with a Gevey Turbo Sim. If it comes with a turbo sim, well it's definitely not unlocked. The turbo sim has to be inside the phone constantly to even consider the iPhone unlocked, plus those things aren't really reliable.
     
  4. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #4
    This is of course your opinion, and at one point, a lot of people agreed with you.

    These days, there are a wide variety of methods to get an unlocked phone: Apple sells them (or will soon enough), carriers like AT&T sell them at the "no-commitment" price unlocked, Verizon sells them unlocked, many carriers will unlock iPhones either during or after a contract. There are also many third party services now offering unlocks too.

    The community can't seem to decide whether "Factory Unlocked" should refer only to phones that were sold as unlocked (by Apple or a carrier) or whether any officially unlocked iPhone should come under that too.

    My iPhone 5 was unlocked by my carrier, the factory had nothing to do with it (*)

    *Not that any iPhone leaves the factory unlocked anyway.
     
  5. PsstGreek macrumors 68040

    PsstGreek

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    #5


    This is true. Back in the day an iPhone would actually leave the factory "factory unlocked (Apple)". I guess every iPhone now that's "unlocked" should be described as just unlocked now matter where it came from. Factory unlocking has too much of a broad meaning now and isn't that very specific.
     
  6. dr.rosenrosen macrumors newbie

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    #6

    I would argue that factory unlocked really just means legitimately unlocked vs jailbroken & unlocked.

    It's irrelevant whether its unlocked new from Apple or unlocked by the carrier, either way future software updates are a non issue as they would be with a self unlocked device.
     
  7. fruitpunch.ben macrumors 6502a

    fruitpunch.ben

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    #7
    Doesn't every iPhone leave the factory unlocked? And then it is locked when you activate it on a subsidized plan?

    Anyway, when I read "factory unlocked" I just assume it means "officially unlocked". So when I get my iPhone unlocked by my carrier, I sell it on ebay as "factory unlocked" just because it is effectively the same thing, won't confuse people, and will sell better.
     
  8. QuarterSwede, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #8
    Exactly, and I think that's how most people take it. I just sold my 4S and made it clear that it was an official at&t unlock that could not be revoked. It sold in 1 day.

    Also, take as many high quality macro shots of the phone as possible. People are drawn to that, especially with a ton of crappy photos in auctions on eBay. Setting the price slightly lower than the average Buy it Now price helps as well; a few bucks is all it takes sometimes. Oh and free shipping (that's another thing people are drawn to). I sell my stuff within 24 hours every time (I use the Buy it Now option); eBay, Craigslist, it doesn't matter.
     
  9. MacMonkey13 thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    Thanks for the info and the EBay tips. I'm actually going to be selling two identical iPhone 4. Should I just sell them separately?
     
  10. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

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    #10
    Yes, separately. I would actually sell them one at a time, myself.
     
  11. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #11
    An iPhone that is in the box is in an unactivated state.

    The activation wizard in iOS 5+ or iTunes determines which carrier (if any) the device should be locked to when the device is being activated.

    Both activation methods check a database Apple maintains of each device and its lock status.

    The database is updated when the device is sold to you or issued as a replacement.

    The flexibility of this approach means that Apple does not need to stock an array of devices to suit the range of GSM carriers on offer.
     
  12. Myiphone7 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Factory unlocked = Aapl store, AT&T customer service, eBay.

    Unlocked = jailbreak
     
  13. Merkie macrumors 68020

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    #13
    So what does "locked" mean then? According to you, if I reset the phone and insert my SIM (which I use in an unlocked iPhone 5) into the previously locked phone and activate it, it will work? I doubt that. I don't think it works like you say it does.
     
  14. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #14
    It's not the SIM that's locked it's the specific carrier/device number (IMEI, etc) of the phone that is.
     
  15. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #15
    Exactly.

    SIM Locking is controlled by the baseband of the iPhone, which gets told (at activation) which carrier the device is locked to.

    Every time you restore the device, this data is cleared from the baseband, but then it's recreated when the device is re-activated.
     
  16. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #16
    Separately will most likely fetch more. People generally want a bundle discount if sold together.

    Also, be as honest with the condition as possible.

    If a device has been used it is never in perfect condition and people are suspect of those descriptions. When you show what is wrong with a device, even if it's something as small as a slight scratch on the back glass (something that is normal and inevitable for iPhone 4/4S's), people know what they're getting and you gain their trust, selling your device for what you want (as long as the price is reasonable of course). You'll find most don't care if it's not 100% perfect.
     
  17. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #17
    You don't have to restore an iPhone to get it to unlock like they say you do. All you have to do is insert another carrier's microSIM and wait a minute or two for it to search and find the network. Just did it the other day.
     
  18. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #18
    That's how it should work, but people report that AT&T unlocks don't work that way.

    I unlocked my phone on Tuesday without a restore (or connecting to iTunes).
     
  19. Merkie macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Right, so there is a database that specifies which IMEI is locked? I previously thought you were saying the database gets updated each time you activate the device according to the inserted SIM card.
     
  20. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #20
    Nope!

     
  21. Merkie macrumors 68020

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    #21
    Makes sense :).
     
  22. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #22
    The phone that worked with was an unlocked at&t 4S. So, that wasn't my experience.
     
  23. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #23
    Interesting!

    Posters on here seem to complain about having to restore their phone to get the unlock to complete.

    I always found it odd how AT&T unlocks need (or at least appear to need) that extra step when no other carrier does.
     
  24. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

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    #24
    Second this.
     
  25. MacMonkey13 thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    I'm a little confused about the conversation of having to restore the phone to unlock it.

    Since I'm selling, I should request that ATT unlock it first and then erase all my data? Would the phone still be unlocked for the buyer?
     

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