Unlocking Sprint iPhone 4s for international use

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by trixr4kidz, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. trixr4kidz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #1
    I have a Sprint iPhone 4s that I want to send my friend in Amsterdam for her personal use in Europe. As I understand it, simply replacing the sim card in a Sprint phone will not work. The 4s is no longer active on the Sprint network because I upgraded to the 5s. So Sprint will not unlock the 4s for me because it isn't an active device - despite calling and whining and asking to speak to a supervisor. According to them, once the device is not active, they have no way of communicating with the phone. (I think is a load of BS since the phone can clearly receive Sprint service. I could be wrong.)

    I've looked around at ebay and general Google searches for a work around, but it is all rather confusing!

    I would like a "real" unlock, not a jailbreak, so that she can update the software without having to worry about it suddenly not working after a software change. But I can't seem to find something that will clearly work. I don't want to pay to ship it, have her pay VAT tax on importing it (a hefty 21%!), only to have it not work in the end.

    Is there a way to unlock a Sprint iPhone 4s for international use without Sprint? What do you recommend as a workaround?
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    Very simply. No.

    No workaround. No third party unlock. Nothing.

    Add a line to your account and activate the phone. Wait 90 days and pay your bill on time. Call Sprint and get the international unlock.

    There is no way around this. There is nothing out there that will give you a way around this. You will be wasting your time trying to find one if you do not like my answer because it may not be what you want to hear.

    The one option available to you is what you've stated you don't want, which is a non-true unlock. A Gevey SIM or some sort of SIM interposer will work if you can find one. But that's not a true unlock.

    By the way. Unlocking does not necessarily require a jailbreak. While there are some third party unlocks that may require you to do this so that the unlock will work, I've already stated that there is no third party unlock available for a Sprint iPhone.

    I'm sorry to say, but this is the reality.
     
  3. trixr4kidz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #3
    Thank you so much! See, this is how you can tell I have very little idea what I'm talking about. I thought a Gevey SIM was a jailbreak!

    I found a local guy who uses Geveys to do unlocks, but I wanted to make sure that was really possible, since I can't check if it works on an international carrier from the states.

    I was reading online that the Geveys weren't working after software updates, which is why I was hoping not to use them.

    Is there a "sim interposer" you recommend? Will they all stop working after a software update?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #4
    I'd love to help on that one, but I've been on Sprint since 1999 and have never been on another carrier. And since LTE showed up in my area I have no plans to leave. Don't do much travel either, so, I've never had any need for a different SIM, let alone an interposer. My iPhone 5 is actually the first phone I've ever had that has a SIM. Note that a Gevey SIM is actually a SIM interposer.
    Yes.

    The Geveys are tuned to the specific baseband/OS in order to work. An update changes that and requires a new Gevey.

    Just so you understand what a SIM interposer does (knowledge is power)…it sits between the SIM and baseband of the device and because it's between the two it performs what's called a MITM (Man In the Middle) attack on the baseband. This defeats the restrictions and tricks the phone into functioning. That's why it's not a true unlock. Because if you remove it, the phone is still locked.
     
  5. trixr4kidz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #5
    I think I understand now. I don't mind the "if you remove it the phone is still locked." I just didn't really want to have to worry about the phone suddenly not being usable.

    Software updates do NOT happen automatically though, right? Apps are now automatically updated, but not software.

    Do you think it would be a big deal to never update the software?

    My friend is NOT very tech savvy, and, in fact, doesn't even own a smartphone currently! I thought it would be so great to help her out, but this is much more complicated than I imagined!
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #6
    Well, if the phone is using iOS 7 then updates will download automatically. I don't believe they install automatically, but if the phone is a 16GB or so it might be an issue if you friend stores things on the iPhone.

    One of my coworkers can't update to iOS7 on her iPhone 5, because it's 16GB and the update itself is about 3GB. With all of her music and stuff on there (even though she pared it down) she does not have enough space to install it. And, she can't get rid of the download.

    The update badge will still show on the Settings app. If your friend is not tech saavy that might prompt some snooping and clicking which you may not wish to occur.

    I don't think leaving it unupdated would be an issue, other than the badge showing all the time. Eventually though when she can't install apps because she does not have a high enough version of iOS that might be a problem.

    Yes, this is a hassle. I don't agree with Sprint's unlock policy. In fact I hate it. But there isn't anything I can do about it except inform people. Sprint doesn't make it easy to upcycle phones, except if you are turning them over to Sprint or another Sprint customer.
     
  7. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #7
    This whole drama is why I will never, ever, EVER be a Sprint customer again while this policy is still in force.

    Every other carrier will unlock phones for you, even if you have to wait for your contract to end. Sprint won't.

    They're being needlessly stubborn and don't deserve our business. Switch to T-Mobile, they have a better network anyway. :)
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #8
    They are being Sprint. If you understand what the Sprint culture is then this makes perfect sense.

    Sprint operates (corporately, as a whole) in a take no responsibility for your actions manner. Lying, deceit and obfuscation are a big part of how the whole machine works. But since Sprint is a business and this kind of thing tends to drive customers AWAY instead of towards you, Sprint has this unlock policy designed to keep you here once they've got you. You can still leave, but you have to pay to do so, so Sprint makes bank one way or the other. Mismanagement, doing things half-way, starting crap before finishing the previous crap you started is part of it too. However, Sprint does have the capacity to learn. They don't make any announcements about much of anything any more (except when the reps lie to you on the phone) because they've been burned by putting out hard dates and not delivering.

    I suspect Masayoshi Son is finally discovering just what it is that he got with 80% ownership of Sprint. I've heard a rumor that Sprint employees are nervous. If true, they should be. Unfortunately, Dan Hesse has immunity.
     

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