Unlocking AT&T-locked iPhones

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by adamfishercox, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. adamfishercox macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2007
    I need some expertise to clear this up for me.

    I know eBay unlocks generally work for activated AT&T iPhone 5s, but I want to buy an AT&T phone from someone and then unlock it with an IMEI unlock on eBay.

    If I buy a shrinkwrapped, never activated AT&T-locked phone, do I have to first activate with AT&T (and whatever charges that incurs) before I can unlock it?

    What about if I buy a secondhand iPhone 5, that someone has already activated on their plan, but has since decided to sell? Do I have to activate or will an unlock free me from AT&T?
  2. ProudLoz macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2012
    The iPhone will have to be activated with the original number it was used to buy, specially if it was bought subsidized. However, if the phone was bought in full, there's no need to unlock it since it was bought in full. I would contact the seller and make sure how the phone was bought, and see if it was activated that way both of you won't have any issues.
  3. adamfishercox thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2007
    Assuming it was activated under the original number, can it be DEactivated? That is, once it's been activated for the original buyer, I can unlock it, or do I have do make sure the seller doesn't deactivate it before sending it?

    EDIT: And would I be able to port my number over once it's been unlocked and being used on a different network?
  4. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    I believe this would just involve swapping out one nano-SIM card for another.

    The important thing to make sure that the seller does not still have the phone under contract. If they paid the early termination fee, or they paid full-price for the phone. Then it should no longer be under contract.

    AT&T will unlock an iPhone for a customer or recent former customer as long as the phone is no longer under contract and their account is current.

    Just Google "AT&T iPhone unlock" and you will find AT&T's Web site for submitting an unlock request.

    I would ask the owner to do this before selling you the phone.

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