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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
Note: This is a rehash of the original UNLOCK tutorial created by member SGMD1. All credit will go to him. Please thank him for his hard work. :D

DISCLAIMER: This guide applies to ONLY VERIZON IPHONES. Sprint has a different policy regarding this issue.

Verizon has a policy that they will unlock the SIM on any world phones on their network as long as they meet the requirements. This also includes the iPhone 4S.

This official unlock allows the use of foreign SIM cards while traveling abroad, or for use of foreign SIM cards roaming on GSM networks in the United States.

This is different than the jailbreak or Gevey SIM unlocking method; SIM unlocking through Verizon is permanent, free, and will not affect your warranty in any way. There will be no jailbreaking involved!

1. Meet the following requirements:

* Must be a Verizon Wireless customer.
* The iPhone 4S being unlocked must be active on the Verizon Wireless line of service.
* The line of service must be active at least 60 days.
* The line of service must be in good standing for the past 60 days.
* Only one SIM Unlock per line every 10 months.

If you don't meet one or more of the above requirements, call anyway. You may still get lucky.

2. If you have the requirements then Call 1-800-711-8300 (Verizon Global Support), select option 2, and ask the representative for a SIM unlock. Say something simple such as, Hi, I would like to request a SIM unlock so I can use third party SIMs on my iPhone while I'm traveling abroad. The representative will then most likely transfer you to their unlocking department. (really the same department just staff that specialize in the unlocking process)

Occassionally a representative may not know exactly what you are referring to; make sure you are not transferred to a different department. You are in the right place. Explain that they should have a walkthrough on how to do this, and that it allows for the use of local, non-Verizon SIM cards while traveling abroad.

3. Get confirmation from the rep that the unlock has been applied to your account, usually the rep will either have you make an agreement over the phone or shoot you an email stating that Verizon will not be held responsible for any use or charges brought on by third party SIMs that you use.

4. Verizon has done everything they had to on their side. The next step will be on your side. To complete the activation you will have to insert a foreign SIM card and NOT a USA AT&T or T-Mobile SIM as this is a unlock meant for use outside the USA. At the time of inserting your SIM card make sure you have access to either Wi-Fi or a computer with iTunes and internet. The phone will contact the Apple servers and then your unlock should be complete. The phone should show that it is roaming on AT&T.

(if you do not have access to a foreign SIM, you can always get one when you visit another country and complete the unlock then)

5. Your iPhone is officially and permanently unlocked for international use. :cool:

DISCLAIMER: You will NOT see an unlock confirmation in iTunes as that is for a factory-applied unlock only


under construction

How will this unlock benefit me? Why can't I just roam internationally on Verizon?
You can check out Verizon's outrageous international roaming fees
DATA plans:
VOICE plans:

I thought Verizon iPhones don't have SIM slots?
That is true for the iPhone 4. However, with the new 4S that has changed. Apple has consolidated the GSM and CDMA technologies in the new hardware using a QualComm Quad Band chip. This saves production costs, and allows the iPhone 4S to be a true world phone. The 4S comes with a Verizon branded Vodaphone Micro-SIM.

Will I be able to use my phone on AT&T and T-Mobile after unlocking?
No, this unlock still does not allow use with any other USA carriers but it will with any other GSM carriers outside the states.

What does one SIM unlock per line every 10 months mean?
This means that for every phone line that you have, you can request one permanent phone unlock. So if you have a family plan with 5 phones and meet the requirements for at least 60 days in good standing for all lines you may request 5 unlocks. From the date a unlock is used you will have to wait 10 months before using that same phone line to unlock another phone. So in 10 months you may request unlocks for 5 more phones.

Why is there a 10 month limit?
This is to prevent people from unlocking too many phones for resale.

So can I request an unlock even if I don't travel much and really don't need it?
Yes, even if there is a slim chance you might need an unlock for third party SIMs while traveling I would recommend on doing the unlock. You will have to wait 10 months for another unlock from the day of the unlock so why not do it sooner?

Will this affect my plan in any way? such as unlimited data?
Nope, nothing on your plan or phone will be affected other than available use of third party SIMs.

I do not have an international SIM. Is there any way to safely verify that my phone is SIM unlocked before traveling?
Unfortunately there are no other methods other than inserting a foreign SIM to verify unlock. If you do happen to bump into any problems you can still contact Verizon Global Support airtime free using your Verizon SIM when roaming. This will force them to pay high roaming charges to fix your problem.

Do I really need to have to connect to iTunes after inserting foreign SIM for the unlock to complete?
The alternative is to have a wifi access in which your phone can contact Apple servers to confirm unlock. The use for iTunes is the same idea since iTunes will use the internet to contact Apple servers.

How long do I have to wait after I have gone through the process with Verizon to be able to use third party SIMs?
The Unlock should be immediate after the rep has confirmed the process.

Would Verizon relock my phone anytime?
No, this unlock is permanent and Verizon will not reinstate a lock on your phone.

Does the phone have to be currently active on Verizon's network to be able to use with international SIMs?
Other than at the time of the Unlock the phone does NOT have to be on the network at any time or for any amount of time. I have personally borrowed a friend's line for an unlock and it has been fine. I put the phone on his phone line, went through unlocking process, and put his phone back on his line. Then I sold the 16GB phone to someone I know in China for $1000 and it is working fine.

Will I have to perform the unlock procedure with Wi-Fi/iTunes every time I plan to use third party SIMs?
No, other than the first time you insert a third party SIM, you will not have to repeat the procedure. The phone is now permanently unlock and you can freely use SIMs from then on. So the second time you leave the states just pop in the SIM and you are ready to go.

Is the unlocked indefinitely once in a lifetime or once per trip?
Once again, this unlock will be permanent and you will not ever need to call Verizon every time you leave the states. (other than to suspend your current service while you aren't here)

Will reconnecting my phone to Verizon relock it?

Will restoring my phone reverse the unlock?
No, the unlock is server sided. Apple whitelists your phone so it will not be relocked.

If I get a O2 sim card in the UK will it always show up as AT&T on the phone?
The phone will only roam on AT&T network while in the USA. In the UK it will properly show O2 as your network.

Will I be able to unlock similarly like this with AT&T and Sprint?
This is strictly Verizon's own unlock policy. You will have to contact your provider as to what their policy is. Right now Sprint is still vague on theirs and I don't think AT&T even has an unlock policy.
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macrumors newbie
Nov 16, 2011
Thanks for posting the tutorial.

I called yesterday after reading the thread and had my Verizon 4S unlocked in just a few minutes. I had a Spanish Vodaphone SIM that still had some time left on it and when I put it in the phone, it went through a short activation and then displayed a strong AT&T signal here in SoCal. I didn't want to burn up all my remaining time so I didn't leave it in long but it was nice to know it worked.


macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2011
Anyone know if AT&T is also doing this yet? OP mentions Sprint but no AT&T. When I bought my iPhone 4S, I asked them about unlocks but (as usual!) rep had no idea what I was talking about and insisted that iPhones can not and will never be unlocked


macrumors newbie
Nov 20, 2011
thank you for this!!
so to be clear.. i can call them and unlock the phone and put in a korean sim card and be charged the korean charges correct?


macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

What does this mean on vzw's website?

Note: Verizon Wireless will terminate your service for good cause if less than half of your voice or data usage over three consecutive billing cycles is on the Verizon Wireless National Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Area.


macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2011
Can I please borrow someones Verizon Line for Unlock

I just left LA about a month ago to Dubai.*I got a phone shipped from a seller in the US. It was supposed to be unlocked and ready for use here, but it isnt! I got scammed. yea well moving on...

Can anyone please help in this situation. This post explains it pretty well. Please message and I will compensate you for your work.

Please help!!

Hey Jude

macrumors 6502a
May 9, 2008
I'm picking up a Verizon iPhone on Wednesday, so this post is extremely helpful.

Thanks for the detailed post.


macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2011
To the original poster

@obscure light. What steps did you follow to activate the verizon iphone 4s on your friends line. Did you call in verizon or were you able to *228 send!? A small tutorial on that would be very helpful thanks.


macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2009
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

Just wondering, is it possible to activate the iPhone 4S with the foreign sim? (in case I have to restore my iPhone?)


macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2009
wirelessly posted (mozilla/5.0 (iphone; cpu iphone os 5_0 like mac os x) applewebkit/534.46 (khtml, like gecko) version/5.1 mobile/9a334 safari/7534.48.3)

just wondering, is it possible to activate the iphone 4s with the foreign sim? (in case i have to restore my iphone?)



macrumors newbie
Nov 29, 2011
Will Verizon REALLY unlock iPhone 4s? Where's it written?

I've been looking to get the new iPhone, with new service, for the past week or so. I've read everything online, I've checked whatever policies I can find, but has anyone seen any OFFICIAL policy posted on the Verizon, Sprint, or ATT sites about unlocking the iPhone?

Sprint customer service has told me in no uncertain terms, via emails from two different reps, that they will NOT unlock the iPhone.

Verizon customer service, via chat, just told me that they WILL NOT unolck the iPhone!

The funny thing is, I had the exact same chat with ATT and they said that, if you've had the account for 4-6 months, they WILL unlock the phone.

Here's the Verizon Chat:

stu: Hi there Karen . . I'm looking to get a new iPhone but had a question. I'm currently with ATT but I'm looking to switch over to Verizon for the new contract/iphone. (I've looked around online for an answer to this but there seems to be some confusion and I can't find anything "official.")

stu: Each year, we go to Europe to visit cousins for 3-4 weeks. Usually, I just swap out the SIM in my phone for a local SIM. (International roaming isn't feasible when you need to make lots of local calls for that long a time.) Does Verizon have an official policy for unlocking the iPhone, after a certain period of time or something like that, so I can use the local SIM over there? It would be much better than having to buy an extra phone for local use.

Karen: Ok I need to look this up, would you please hold.

stu: Of course.

Karen: Ok, by using the iphone, it is global ready.
Karen: And you just would have to purchase the international service from your iphone.
Karen: It would not use any of your data.

stu: I understand that the phone is "global ready" but I want to know about being able to swap out the SIM with a local SIM instead of purchasing the international service. International service is fine to call home a few times but if you're spending extended time overseas is WAY too expensive.

Karen: No you cannot swap out the sim.
Karen: You could get the hotspot.

stu: I know that Sprint will unlock the actual SIM after something like 60-90 days of getting the contract. (As long as you've paid on time.) ATT is offering to unlock the SIM after 4 months.

Karen: Verizon does not unlock the sim.
Karen: I do apologize.

stu: Oh . . that's different. *So Verizon will not unlock the SIM for the iPhone at all?

Karen: I was told Verizon does not unlock no phones/
Karen: Look at this link I am sending you.
Karen: click here [link to hotspot information]

stu: That's for the hotspot . . I would still have to pay for all the international roaming.

Karen: Would you mind holding for a moment while I check that information?

stu: Again, just to clarify, 'cause it's sort of a strange policy, Verizon will never unlock an iPhone.

Karen: No they told me no.

stu: OK . . well thanks for your time.
Karen: I do apologize,
Karen: Wish I could have help you.

So, my question is . . is their unlock policy officially written down anywhere?


PS - Here's a tiny bit of the ATT chat:

Alyssa H.: Yes you will be able to unlock the phone after a period of 4-6 months of service with AT&T.

stu: So, if I got the phone this week and kept our account in good standing, when we go in June I'd be able to unlock the phone and use the local SIM?

Alyssa H.: That is correct.


macrumors newbie
Nov 29, 2011
Just a follow up to my last post . . .

Too many people, in too many places, have spoken about Verizon's unlocking of the iPhone. The quote in Macworld, from October, says:

“It is our standard unlock policy for all Global Phones. You have to have been a customer for 60 days and in good standing (meaning your bill is current) and the phone you want to unlock must be on our network at the time of the request. You call Verizon Wireless before you leave the country and we unlock the SIM. We will honor one unlock every 10 months.” — Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless Public Relations

So, since customer service rep "Karen" said absolutely not, I thought I'd go back on to chat and write again:

Michael: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. *May I help you with your order today?

stu: Hi Michael. I was about to buy an iPhone w/new service but I "chatted" with sales earlier (Karen) and she said that, even with an account in good standing, Verizon will not ever unlock the SIM.
stu: I explained to her the we go to Europe every year for 3-4 weeks and usually swap out our SIM for a local one while we're there. (The international plans are fine for a few calls back to the States but not for lots of local calling over 3-4 weeks.)

Michael: ‪Okay.*‬

stu: Anyway, "Karen" explained that the policy is not to ever unlock the phone. However, it appears that there IS a "customer in good standing" policy for Global Phones so now I'm not sure what's true.
stu: Could you confirm that we can or can't get the SIM unlocked after 60 days? Here's the quote I found online, from a few weeks ago:
stu: “It is our standard unlock policy for all Global Phones. You have to have been a customer for 60 days and in good standing (meaning your bill is current) and the phone you want to unlock must be on our network at the time of the request. You call Verizon Wireless before you leave the country and we unlock the SIM. We will honor one unlock every 10 months.” — Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless Public Relations

Michael: ‪Let me see what information I can pull up for you and we will see what we can for you. One moment please.*‬

stu: Thanks, Michael . . I appreciate it. I can't seem to find anything "official" anywhere on the Verizon site.

Michael: ‪Yes you can get it unlocked just as the message you sent me said.*‬
Michael: ‪The bill would have to current for at least the 60 days before we could unlock it though.*‬

stu: Really? You sure? I keep getting conflicting answers. That would be great

Michael: ‪I am positive.‬

stu: Excellent new about unlocking . . I appreciate it. Not sure why the last rep didn't know this . . . that worries me a tiny bit. (Nothing personal.) Is the policy actually written anywhere on the Verizon web site? Some small print somewhere?

Michael: ‪I understand. I'm just glad I was able to clear it up for you.*‬

Note that no one seems to be able (or willing) to point to the printed policy on the Verizon page but at least I got a rep to say it on the record. Now, to re-check with ATT.



macrumors 65816
Jan 28, 2009
since customer service rep "Karen" said absolutely not, I thought I'd go back on to chat and write again
Waste of time. Verizon's policy on iPhone 4S unlocking has been confirmed repeatedly and discussed exhaustively here.
no one seems to be able (or willing) to point to the printed policy on the Verizon page
I just posted a link to a Verizon employee's confirmation of the iPhone 4S unlock policy on a Verizon page in the post right above yours. I'm not sure why you ignored it.


macrumors member
Oct 7, 2011
Lexington, KY
I was in Germany last week, using my Verizon 4S on a T-Mobile prepaid SIM :)
Just had to cut the SIM down, which was easier than I thought it would be!

(posted this in the other thread but might as well post it here too)


macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2011
I'm waiting for my 60day w/Verizon countdown and have a sim and simcard cutter coming in a few weeks. The SIM card I have will be from the Philippines, called Globe, where I'll be going in a few months and it'll be roaming while in the US. I'm curious to know what kind of speeds you are getting while roaming on ATT or Tmobile.


macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2011
unlock iphone 4s from verizon

i'm currently in cambodia and i don't have my verizon sim card with me and how can i unlock my iphone 4s while i'm here in cambodia? do i have to be in united states with the phone and sim to unlock it? can someone in the united states use my sim to put it in their iphone 4 and then send me the sim or how does it work?


macrumors newbie
Dec 1, 2010
is it possible to unlock the ATT iphone to work with sprint? via unlocking or any other way??


macrumors member
Oct 19, 2009
nyc ✈ italy
i have an expired sim, would i be able to put that in the phone to unlock it even though i know the sim wont work? i dont want to risk cutting down the one in my blackberry in case i mess it up

eh, nvm. i got it unlocked anyway and ill wait until i can get a sim cutter or back so i can refill my sim
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macrumors newbie
Feb 3, 2012
Going back and forth from Vodafone UK to Verizon US SIMs

Thanks for the very clear tutorial.

Can I just confirm what this part means:
Will reconnecting my phone to Verizon relock it?

I've talked to the Global group at Verizon. They say they have unlocked my iPhone 4s. I have a new Vodafone UK mini-SIM (cut down from a full SIM); it's for pay as you go, but isn't yet loaded with money.

What I want to confirm is that if I put the Vodafone UK card in here in the US & complete the unlocking process before I go to the UK, I will be able immediately to put my Verizon SIM back into the phone & continue to use it as normal before my trip, and then again after my trip.

I have to admit that having the Global rep use the word 'brick' in talking about the unlock process has spooked me a bit...
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