Use Original SIM For International Unlock?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by blairh, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. blairh macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    My uncle has asked me to prep his old iPhone for use in Italy. He is going to request an unlock on the device from his carrier Sprint (he's paid it off and is currently using a newer iPhone). Once the unlock is granted does he need to keep the original SIM in the iPhone when it comes time to back up and then restore to complete the unlocking? He won't have the SIM for international use until he is in Italy next month. Thanks.
     
  2. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #2
    It doesn't need the original sim. The IMEI number gets unlocked via some magical Apple server. When he places any other sim in it will check to see if it's been unlocked. Does he not have Sprint sim in it now? If not and it's working sounds like it might already be unlocked.
     
  3. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #3
    The old iPhone has his old Sprint SIM in it now. He is now using an iPhone 6S with a different SIM. Still Sprint.

    The old iPhone is not being used currently. I restored it and deleted it from his devices on iCloud and iTunes. I actually took the SIM out and threw it in the trash but then I wasn't sure if it needed to be physically in the iPhone when I did a restore post-unlocking, so I put it back in.
     
  4. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
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    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #4
    Gotcha, anyway, you don't need the original sim.
     
  5. eyoungren, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #5
    This is Sprint. On phones older than the 5c the IMEI of the device is tied to the serial number of the original SIM.

    OP's uncle is going to need the original SIM in the phone in order for the unlock to apply if the device is a 4s or 5.

    OP. Note the following…Sprint currently requires a device eligible for unlock to have been active for 50 days on their network. They may demand that you have the old iPhone active before they unlock it, despite it having been used on Sprint before.

    You do not mention what old iPhone your uncle has, but as Sprint's first iPhone was the 4 and 4s it cannot be older than that and since you mention a SIM card it cannot be an iPhone 4 because the Sprint iPhone 4 has no SIM card tray.

    So, either a 4s, a 5, a 5c or a 5s. In the case of the 4s and 5, the international unlock is ALL they will give you. They can't unlock those fully.

    Also, regarding a restore, this is only really been necessary if you had a 4s or earlier and the year was 2011. It's really unnecessary to do that now although most CSRs push it on you.

    But if you want to get that "Congratulations, your iPhone is unlocked message" (as proof the phone is unlocked) then go ahead and restore through iTunes.

    Last note. There is no way to tell if Sprint has actually submitted the unlock or not without testing a different SIM in the phone. It is entirely possible that Sprint will drop the ball and your uncle will arrive in Italy with a locked phone. So, do your best to make sure Sprint has done it's job before your uncle leaves.
     
  6. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #6
    Interesting...SIM cards go bad (rare, but it happens). If the original SIM goes back it's permanently locked?
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
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    Phoenix • 85037
    #7
    If you have a 4s or a 5 and the SIM card goes bad you can get another one. But Sprint has to do the reprogramming in house because the IMEI is tied to the SIM card serial.

    It's possible to use either phone without a SIM card but you will get no data. And in the case of the 5, you will get no LTE.

    This was back when Sprint was being very draconian in their device locking.

    Since the 5c though, Sprint has not tied the SIM serial to the IMEI of the phone. Sprint continues to use both but authentication and authorization to use Sprint's network no longer demands the pairing. So, swapping SIMs between iPhone models (5c or above) is possible.
     
  8. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #8
    It's my uncle not my dad.

    The iPhone is an iPhone 5.

    This iPhone was used by my uncle for a few years before he upgraded to the iPhone 6. He has not used this iPhone 5 since last fall. So you are saying that Sprint will not unlock the iPhone as it currently is not active on their network? That seems crazy. What is he supposed to do then?

    He only needs it for an international unlock.

    Why would Sprint 'drop the ball' regarding the unlock? Once the unlock is requested and granted, shouldn't it be guaranteed? I've unlocked several iPhone's via AT&T and once the unlock was granted I never worried about it. I guess restoring through iTunes and getting the 'congrats' message is a reason to do that then. Just to be sure.

    Edit: I found this on Sprint's site. I think it can still be unlocked even if inactive.

    For inactive devices, current Sprint customers must contact Sprint Customer Care to request that their device be unlocked and may have to take steps to perform an over-the-air update to ensure the unlock programming has been relayed to the device. Additional validation may be required to ensure eligibility.
     
  9. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #9
    My apologies. I went back and fixed that in my original post. My only defense is that at the time I typed this I had not had my second cup of coffee.
    The requirement for the phone to be active for 50 days is a recent additon Sprint made to it's unlock policy within the last month.

    You have to understand that Sprint is not like the other three carriers when it comes to SIM cards. SIM cards only started to become a big deal to Sprint around 2012 because Sprint has always been CDMA and has not had to deal with them until they started rolling out LTE.

    So, they drop the ball a lot. Sure, if Sprint submits the unlock you're good. But they have a bad habit of promising to submit an unlock and then taking an inordinate amount of time to do it, not doing it correctly or just not doing it at all.

    There's one person on reddit that's irate right now because he's fully paid off his Sprint device and Sprint has told him that they would submit the unlock in 3-5 business days!

    It's also unclear how Sprint will apply this 50 day policy. The inactive user part you quote was there before Sprint added the 50 day requirement.

    All I am saying is do NOT be surprised if you get the run around and no one knows what they are doing.

    Take it from a 16 year Sprint customer. Sprint is the Arizona Cardinals, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, with incredible efficiency!
     
  10. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #10
    I just spoke to a customer rep in their unlock department on the phone. They said the fact that the iPhone is inactive is not an issue.

    They even said I could request the unlock on my uncle's behalf but I need his account number and PIN which I don't have. I was surprised they didn't require him to be the one making the unlock request.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #11
    That's great! You got a rep who actually knows what they are doing!

    Glad to hear it. I hope they follow through quickly!
     

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