or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T's iPhone unlock process accomplished through Apple's iTunes
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AT&T's iPhone unlock process accomplished through Apple's iTunes

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
AT&T has begun allowing out-of-contract customers to unlock their iPhone for use on other carriers, and the unlock codes are applied to the device after restoring through iTunes.

AT&T began offering eligible customers the ability to unlock their iPhone on Sunday. Customers who were among the first to take advantage told AppleInsider that after dialing 611 to speak with a customer service representative, they were met with a lengthy wait to speak with a technician.

Once that AT&T representative was on the phone, they asked a series of qualifying questions to ensure that the user was eligible for their iPhone to be unlocked.

The unlock process is detailed by AT&T in a PDF document shared by users who request the service. In it, the carrier offers a series of four steps that must be accomplished in order to complete the unlock.

The unlock code actually comes through Apple and is administered through iTunes. AT&T's instructions tell users to open iTunes on their Mac or PC, connect their iPhone via USB, and backup and restore their handset. Restoring the iPhone will unlock it for use on other carriers.




AT&T's instructions also include a link to a support document available on Apple's website. There, users are instructed to reseat the SIM card in their iPhone, restore their handset, or contact their carrier if they experience issues with unlocking via iTunes.

If the authorized unlock is completed successfully, users are met with the message: "Unlock Complete. Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked. To set up and sync this iPhone, click Continue."

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 54
Its weird, us Europeans have never ever had to restore our iPhones when unlocking them, and we've been able to unlock them for 4 years.
post #3 of 54
"If the authorized unlock is completed successfully, users are met with the message: "Unlock Complete. Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked. To set up and sync this iPhone, click Continue."

Don't be concerned if you don't get the message. I had my carrier in Europe unlock my iPhone and no message. It's worked great with 3 different services, an OS upgrade and 2 resets set up as new. Needs to be done with the carrier you started with (non issue in the USA).

It was years ago but as I recall, that first sync to unlock is a restore. Any carrier specific settings are checked during sync and modified if needed.
post #4 of 54
The iTunes restore isn't necessary in most cases. I've had 4 iphones unlocked through Rogers in Canada and after the first I never did the itunes restore. I just popped in a foreign SIM and it worked fine. I think for one of the I had to reboot the phone before it recognized the SIM.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #5 of 54
Here in the US, i would have thought a carrier that offers a sim (plan) that can do voice only - no data plan at all would become very popular. I, and several friends have older phones that could be used by other members of their families (kids) and with this plan the phone is no more expensive on a plan than any other phone, and data is only Wifi
post #6 of 54
Well, I think the resale value of my eligible iPhone 4 has just been considerably enhanced.
post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

AT&T has begun allowing out-of-contract customers to unlock their iPhone for use on other carriers, and the unlock codes are applied to the device after restoring through iTunes.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]

So I got my iPhone 3G unlocked this morning. It was a relatively simple painless process. I called AT&T Customer Service, they verified that the phone was not under contract, checked the IMEI number and passed me on to their technical support who updated their database,

The next step was to backup and restore the phone. And as soon as the restore finished I got the message that the phone was unlocked.

It took a total of 30 minutes on the phone to complete the process. AT&T Staff was very courteous and helpful. The only complain, if any, is the on hold music - it is one long ad for AT&T.

post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

Well, I think the resale value of my eligible iPhone 4 has just been considerably enhanced.

It is enhanced for you if you now want to use it unlocked but as for resale value, you have to compare it to every other legally unlocked iPhone now out there on eBay, so its relative value is the pretty much same.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #9 of 54
Have any non-AT&T customers attempted to get their long out-of-contract phones unlocked? Success?
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

It is enhanced for you if you now want to use it unlocked but as for resale value, you have to compare it to every other legally unlocked iPhone now out there on eBay, so its relative value is the pretty much same.

I bet a lot of people don't know about this yet, so now might be a good time to sell if you're going to.

The fact that they can do this makes me think it wouldn't be too hard for them to brick a stolen iPhone if they wanted to. That would be such a good service.
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

Well, I think the resale value of my eligible iPhone 4 has just been considerably enhanced.

That would be false. Demand for unlocked iPhones has not shifted. Supply has shifted to be higher. If anything, the prices of unlocked iPhones will now drop.
post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by daving313 View Post

That would be false. Demand for unlocked iPhones has not shifted. Supply has shifted to be higher. If anything, the prices of unlocked iPhones will now drop.

What used to be a locked iPhone is now an unlocked iPhone. That is why its resale value has gone up. Little to do with supply and demand.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

What used to be a locked iPhone is now an unlocked iPhone. That is why its resale value has gone up. Little to do with supply and demand.


As Retrogusto pointed out. That may be true for the very short term while there are still locked phones to compare it to. In a very short period of time there will be no locked phones on the secondary market so the price will flatten out to where the market value is competitive. I suppose if you want to leverage this short term phenomena you could buy up some locked ones, unlock them and profit.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheviot View Post

Have any non-AT&T customers attempted to get their long out-of-contract phones unlocked? Success?

I am a CSR with the AT&T tech support. I unlocked several dozen yesterday and the ones out of contract where the same.
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

I am a CSR with the AT&T tech support. I unlocked several dozen yesterday and the ones out of contract where the same.

Is there any other way to contact at&t support than by phone? (EMAIL !!? )
i read something about online "live chat" on the at&t website but i it can't get there because it requires a wireless number to activate my newly made account.. (or something like that..)
I´m not in the states and would prefer getting my iPhones unlocked without having to call them.
(would`t be cheap i guess...)

I`d be very glad if you could help me with this!
post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

I am a CSR with the AT&T tech support. I unlocked several dozen yesterday and the ones out of contract where the same.

When I called Sunday morning, I pressed "Technical Help" menu option and talked a rep.
She asked me for IMEI number, created a "case" which later would be forwarded to "Unlocking Dept" and said someone would contact me within 5-7 business days.
She also asked for my email. So far I did not get any emails from ATT.
My phone is 3GS, out of contract and not active. I do not remember whether I bought it through Apple or ATT.

I really need to have it unlocked by Friday, because I was going to give it to someone going to Europe that day.

I will probably give ATT another call today, hoping to run into a CSR who could help me unlock the phone sooner than 5-7 business days...
post #17 of 54
You lucky AT&T out-of-contract customers! In Canada I have to pay my carrier, Fido, $50 to unlock the phone after it is out-of-contract. Highway robbery. I wonder why AT&T is so magnanimous in doing the unlock for free. I am out of contract up here in Canada so why should I pay to have it done?
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple II Plus View Post

You lucky AT&T out-of-contract customers! In Canada I have to pay my carrier, Fido, $50 to unlock the phone after it is out-of-contract. Highway robbery. I wonder why AT&T is so magnanimous in doing the unlock for free. I am out of contract up here in Canada so why should I pay to have it done?

It's Rogers, so of course they want to gouge you if they get the chance. They aren't the most hated company in Canada for nothing.

At least they will do the unlock. Bell still refuses and Telus still says they want to but that they have 'technical' limitations on unlocking iphones, which is a bold faced lie.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #19 of 54
So... if the contract is bought out, will the phone be eligible unlocking? I heard no, but wonder if in all the confusion maybe?
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
Reply
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
Reply
post #20 of 54
I'd argue that the value might go down. Unlocked iPhones were more valuable because they were harder to get. So, it is possible locked iPhones will further decrease in value, and unlocked ones might go down as well.

MIne are not officially unlocked. I will wait until the jailbreak community gives the OK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

It is enhanced for you if you now want to use it unlocked but as for resale value, you have to compare it to every other legally unlocked iPhone now out there on eBay, so its relative value is the pretty much same.
post #21 of 54
Hey. My name is Matias. I'm from Argentina. I have a iphone 4. I want to unlock it. (Sorry, my English is not good.) I read that I need an account to unlock it. I wanted to sign up forat & t but could not because they ask me for phone number. From my country I can not call at & t. Does anyone can help me? thank you very much, greetings from Argentin
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecobrasnake View Post

Hey. My name is Matias. I'm from Argentina. I have a iphone 4. I want to unlock it. (Sorry, my English is not good.) I read that I need an account to unlock it. I wanted to sign up forat & t but could not because they ask me for phone number. From my country I can not call at & t. Does anyone can help me? thank you very much, greetings from Argentin

AT&T cannot unlock your iPhone. Only the carrier to which it is locked may unlock an iPhone.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

So... if the contract is bought out, will the phone be eligible unlocking? I heard no, but wonder if in all the confusion maybe?

"Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones," the statement reads. "The only requirements are that a customer's account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee."

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #24 of 54
Be sure you contact the technical support option when you call in -- the customer service people are a joke, and they have to transfer you to the technical support folks anyhow to complete the process.

I just unlocked my original iPhone and a 3GS -- no problem, just restore in iTunes, and it tells you that it has been unlocked in iTunes. All you need is the IMEI #s.

Now, why didn't this just happen automatically -- give me a button on the iPhone -- unnecessary steps!
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

Its weird, us Europeans have never ever had to restore our iPhones when unlocking them, and we've been able to unlock them for 4 years.

This is the way we've been doing it in Australia since 2008.

Give carrier IMEI details, wait a couple of days, backup and restore.

The only issues are when the handset has been replaced by Apple and it's IMEI isn't in the carriers database, then it can take a little longer.

I've always unlocked my iPhones.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #26 of 54
I have an ipone 4 that I know longer use because I got my iphone 4s in Nov when it was released. Does the phone have to be active for you to unlock it?
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

This is the way we've been doing it in Australia since 2008.

Give carrier IMEI details, wait a couple of days, backup and restore.

The only issues are when the handset has been replaced by Apple and it's IMEI isn't in the carriers database, then it can take a little longer.

I've always unlocked my iPhones.

Days? Really? Everyone I've done in Canada has taken maybe an hour and most of that time has been explaining to various departments at the carrier that I want to unlock. Once I get through to the unlocking team it takes about 3 minutes. The carriers have Apple provided and certified system which allow them to submit the IMEIs to Apple's whitelist.

I wonder what is different in OZ that it takes them thousands of times longer to make the same DB inserts.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Days? Really? Everyone I've done in Canada has taken maybe an hour and most of that time has been explaining to various departments at the carrier that I want to unlock. Once I get through to the unlocking team it takes about 3 minutes. The carriers have Apple provided and certified system which allow them to submit the IMEIs to Apple's whitelist.

I wonder what is different in OZ that it takes them thousands of times longer to make the same DB inserts.

It's actually shorter, advising a couple of days wait makes sure it's done just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

It's actually shorter, advising a couple of days wait makes sure it's done just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.

I see.

Actually your other comment was interesting too:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The only issues are when the handset has been replaced by Apple and it's IMEI isn't in the carriers database, then it can take a little longer.

This was actually a loophole that was commonly used in Canada to have in contract iPhones unlocked. If you exchanged your phone with Apple, then the carrier lock carried over to the replacement but it was never registered in the carrier system. So, you could then call in and request the unlock. They would trace the IMEI, it would come back without any obligations listed and they would do the unlock. They fairly quickly closed this loophole by simply denying to unlock any iPhone that they couldn't find in their own IMEI database.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

MIne are not officially unlocked. I will wait until the jailbreak community gives the OK.

If you get it officially unlocked, then downgrade (assuming you backed up your blobs) I wonder if the unlock will still be in place?
post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marku5 View Post

Is there any other way to contact at&t support than by phone? (EMAIL !!? )
i read something about online "live chat" [...]


I`d be very glad if you could help me with this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by itisole View Post

When I called Sunday morning, I pressed "Technical Help" menu option and talked a rep.
She asked me for IMEI number, [...]
I will probably give ATT another call today, hoping to run into a CSR who could help me unlock the phone sooner than 5-7 business days...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Days? Really? Everyone I've done in Canada has taken maybe an hour and most of that time [...]

I wonder what is different in OZ that it takes them thousands of times longer to make the same DB inserts.

In the UK, I'm with O2 and the way they does this is you just need to go to their 'unlockmysim' website, enter your phone number and IMEI and the next day they will txt you saying that your phone is now unlocked. The next time you connect to iTunes (to sync), it will again confirm and then it will kinda reset (or you may call it a restore) and everything is done. No need to phone up etc. Simples.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by itisole View Post

When I called Sunday morning, I pressed "Technical Help" menu option and talked a rep.
She asked me for IMEI number, created a "case" which later would be forwarded to "Unlocking Dept" and said someone would contact me within 5-7 business days.
She also asked for my email. So far I did not get any emails from ATT.
My phone is 3GS, out of contract and not active. I do not remember whether I bought it through Apple or ATT.

I really need to have it unlocked by Friday, because I was going to give it to someone going to Europe that day.

I will probably give ATT another call today, hoping to run into a CSR who could help me unlock the phone sooner than 5-7 business days...

In their defense most don't read blogs or anything. This was a surprise for most people at my call center. In fact the iphone unlock training doesn't start until this week. At & t did this with little warning to the very people who would be unlocking the phone.
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheviot View Post

Have any non-AT&T customers attempted to get their long out-of-contract phones unlocked? Success?

I am not currently an ATT customer. I canceled service about 9 months ago. One of my iphones was the original that I used until June of 2011 and one was an iphone 4 that I paid the cancellation fee on.

Both were unlocked in less than 30 minutes. I got the message about unlocking on the 4 but not on the original. The original is now making calls on another network. I am still working on my SIM cutting technique for the 4.

ATT was very nice and friendly about the whole process, especially considering I haven't given them a dime in almost a year. As stated before the only bad part was the hold "music" being a giant ATT/android add.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by itisole View Post

When I called Sunday morning, I pressed "Technical Help" menu option and talked a rep.
She asked me for IMEI number, created a "case" which later would be forwarded to "Unlocking Dept" and said someone would contact me within 5-7 business days.
She also asked for my email. So far I did not get any emails from ATT.
My phone is 3GS, out of contract and not active. I do not remember whether I bought it through Apple or ATT.

I really need to have it unlocked by Friday, because I was going to give it to someone going to Europe that day.

I will probably give ATT another call today, hoping to run into a CSR who could help me unlock the phone sooner than 5-7 business days...

I had the same experience on Sunday, but when I called back on monday they had the whole process streamlined.

Just call them back and you will be unlocked in about 30 minutes.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by balsy2001 View Post

I had the same experience on Sunday, but when I called back on monday they had the whole process streamlined.

Just call them back and you will be unlocked in about 30 minutes.

I called them again on Monday and mentioned the case number that had been created on Sunday.
The rep looked over the case and repeated the same story about having to wait up to 7 days. I said some people getting this matter resolved within the same day. I then was transfered to a manager... I hoped manager would say something different, But no, the manager repeated exactly the same thing, and said she can't do anything to speed up the process.

I'm now going to call them again and not mention the existing case. See if anything changes.
post #36 of 54
So I can unlock the locked iPhone 4 I bought at an Apple Store recently, even though I didn't by the contract? Technically, my iPhone 4 is out of contract because it was never in one. Has anyone in a similar situation been able to unlock theirs?
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcallows View Post

So I can unlock the locked iPhone 4 I bought at an Apple Store recently, even though I didn't by the contract? Technically, my iPhone 4 is out of contract because it was never in one. Has anyone in a similar situation been able to unlock theirs?

If you bought it very recently and it wasn't on contract (so full price) and you bought it directly from Apple, it should already be unlocked. If it isn't then AT&T should unlock it for you, assuming you meet the rest of the eligibility requirements (i.e. have an account with them).

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

In their defense most don't read blogs or anything. This was a surprise for most people at my call center. In fact the iphone unlock training doesn't start until this week. At & t did this with little warning to the very people who would be unlocking the phone.

I never understand why they do that. The same thing happened when Rogers in Canada started doing unlocked. Word spread through blogs but the employees were mostly unaware. Speaking to one of the people at the unlock dept on the first day it was offered, they also only ordered and received a single system from Apple to do the unlocks. They were hammered that first week with people calling to do the unlocks so some people were getting through to the unlock team and then having to wait for hours for the line up of staff at the computer to enter their IMEIs. They couldn't do it on any other system.

You'd think the carriers would understand that there would be high demand for the service and prepare accordingly.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple II Plus View Post

You lucky AT&T out-of-contract customers! In Canada I have to pay my carrier, Fido, $50 to unlock the phone after it is out-of-contract. Highway robbery. I wonder why AT&T is so magnanimous in doing the unlock for free. I am out of contract up here in Canada so why should I pay to have it done?

Wow, up until last week when AT&T refused to unlock any iPhone for any reason, Canadians paying $50 were considered the lucky ones.
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

Its weird, us Europeans have never ever had to restore our iPhones when unlocking them, and we've been able to unlock them for 4 years.

In the US companies like AT&T subsidize many iPhones; hence they want them locked to THEIR service.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T's iPhone unlock process accomplished through Apple's iTunes