Will AT&T unlock an out of contract phone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Becact, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. Becact macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2013
    How does this work? The person in the store told me it's illegal for carriers to unlock phones, which seems dumb, but I do remember reading something about it last year.

    If ATT won't do it, what's the cheapest/free/easiest way to unlock an ATT phone?
  2. AceMason macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2009
    Swiftunlocks.com is really good. I unlocked my AT&T iPhone 5 as well as 5S with them. It's only $2 and they did it within a couple hours.
  3. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Supposed to be it's illegal for a third party to unlock phones.

    Yes, ATT can do it but you have to jump through hoops. When I did the upgrade swap with my iPhone 5 last year, requesting it through the ATT website didn't work so I had to call and speak to a rep to do it at their end.
  4. wenstinator macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2011
    I requested an iPhone 5 unlock via the AT&T website on the same day I did an early upgrade to the 5s (9/20). AT&T unlocked the phone a few hours later and I sold it on eBay that night. Couldn't have been any easier.
  5. Becact thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2013
    I see that swiftunlocks needs me to use my working SIM, which I'm using in my new 5S. Will using the SIM in the old 5 I want to unlock mess up the SIM or flag it with ATT or anything? The site isn't that descriptive on how it works
  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Google is a great tool for things other than email, for example it's great for searching the web for info.

    Typing "AT&T phone unlock" into Google.com provides several search hits, the very first one is a link to the instructions from AT&T on how to ask them to unlock your phone or tablet.

    Unlock your AT&T wireless phone or tablet

    If you're off contract it's fall off a log simple with no hoops. Fill out the form. Wait a day or so. Receive the instructions in your email. Follow the instructions. Done.

    I've done this for a couple of iphones on my account that were out of contract. No muss, no fuss, no cost.
  7. Becact thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2013
    Did you need to leave the SIM in the phone? How does it get the data from ATT? The phone has no SIM currently...
  8. AceMason macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2009
    It's faster if you call AT&T, they can walk you through it.
  9. Becact thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2013
    No need to be condescending, this is an iphone forum after all. I'm not sure they'll see my old 5 as out of contract, since I used a cross upgrade to get the 5s... But I'll give it a shot! :)
  10. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    I was going for snarky, this is MacRumors after all... Oh well. :D

    Might be worth a call to cust svc and go for the "I'm travelling out of country" story. I'm not sure an iphone5 will have "aged" enough on the account to be eligible without an override.

    $2 to Swiftunlocks may be the better option when you factor the cost of your time.
  11. RyanDe680 macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2009
    Has anyone unlocked a phone on a business account? I am using my company's discount and I keep receiving rejects.
  12. Becact thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2013
    Thanks all. I just ended up using swiftunlocks for $2. Curious to see how it works. Even if it's a total scam I'm only out $2.
  13. AceMason macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2009
    It works trust me, I did it this morning for my 5S. When you check your order and it says Unlocked, just go to iTunes and restore the phone and it'll say Congrats, your iPhone is unlocked or something like that.
  14. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    i bought an out of contract 5s and itunes unlocked it on activation
  15. fiat macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2013
    Deeddawg, thank you for the post. Questions: 1. can I use any computer to go att site to fill the unlock request form? or I must use the iphone to do that? 2. the email address you type in the form must be the one associated with the att account for the iphone? or I can enter any of my new email address (as long as I can receive the instruction)? 3. Can you briefly describe the instructions att sent you to unlock? will it be all same/similar to all iphone users? or for same iphone models? Thanks
  16. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2008
    ATT will unlock any off-contract phone. I got my 4S unlocked thru them the day my contract expired.


    You can use any of these 3rd party sites, but like everyone is saying, its technically illegal lol. If you can get it legally unlocked thru ATT, i dont see why not.

    Just go to that link i gave you, enter all your info, and you'll get the email within 24 hours.


    If you upgraded a line, then your old phone automatically is eligible for unlock after 14 days (return period for your new phone) is up.

    AT&T tracks the IMEI of all phones associated with its accounts.
  17. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    (1) I didn't need to use my phone to go to the website, just used a computer. Don't remember if it was my home laptop or work laptop.

    (2) No idea. I used the same email since it's a junk address I use for various vendors. I have no reason to think they care what email address you use.

    (3) Same for any iphone AFAIK. Here's the email:

  18. fiat macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2013
  19. MJedi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2010
    Just enter in your information in the unlock request form on AT&T's website:


    When I submitted the unlock request for my iPhone 4S, I was surprised that they responded with the approval after a few minutes. I assume it's automated for out-of-contract iPhones.
  20. enthusiastic macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    I want to play the "I'm traveling out of country card" before I try my luck with third party unlockers.

    However, I have a few concerns:

    1. I couldn't find US iPhone unlocks on swiftunlocks.com. Only Canada, Germany, AUS and France

    2. Say I get the phone unlocked (from AT&T or third-party). When I upgrade my phone after two years (to say iPhone 6S :p), would I have to go through the same procedure to unlock it? Or does the "unlock flag" carry over?

  21. DucMike, Nov 4, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    DucMike macrumors member


    Sep 25, 2013
    Sacramento-area, CA
    Not necessarily true. I used their web portal four times & went thru three chat sessions before someone was actually able to get my old 4s lined up for it's unlock. The system kept confusing it with the 5s & had just picked up & was refusing the unlock. Once they put a case thru proper channels, I got my magical email a day later. Just need to post it up on CL or eBay & get it off to it's new home.
  22. aggieastrosfan macrumors member

    May 28, 2011
    I was able to do this,but only because my company switched from ATT to T-Mobile. I bought it at the discounted price, had it on an ATT line for 3-4 months, and then they ported it to T-Mobile. I submitted a web request and after hearing nothing after 12 business days, I called and they took care of it right then. Have it activated on my T-Mobile line now.
  23. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If, for some reason you can't use the website and you are an existing AT&T customer, you can call them to submit the request on your behalf. I recently called to have a MiFi unlocked and the quoted turnaround is 48 hours.
  24. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Out of contract phones can be unlocked by AT&T freely. AT&T will even help you out.

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