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Non-contract AT&T iPhone 5s can reportedly be unlocked via iTunes

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
It was revealed on Wednesday that customers who paid full freight for an AT&T version of Apple's iPhone 5 can easily unlock the device with a quick iTunes reset.

First discovered by TechCrunch, the simple unlocking procedure is said to work with iPhone 5s purchased from AT&T at full price, with the process being quite simple compared to the carrier's traditional previous method of submitting an online form, sending a fax and waiting up to a week for a restore.

The publication was able to confirm the easy one-step process with AT&T's technical support and successfully unlocked the device in iTunes.

"After restoring the device in iTunes, the user is prompted with the usual unlocking message: 'Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked,'" the report said.

From that point, according to TechCrunch's Romain Dillet, all that was needed to gain access to T-Mobile's network was the trimming down of a compatible micro-SIM card to fit in the iPhone 5's nano-SIM tray. The device recognized T-Mobile's signal within seconds, allowing both calls and EDGE data to go through without issue.

iPhone 5 Unlock
AT&T iPhone 5 running on T-Mobile's network after unlock.
Source: TechCrunch


Dillet explained that when an iPhone is purchased, the handset's IMEI is added to Apple's database, though it appears subsidized phones hold a different status than those purchased at full price without a contract.

While the publication was able to successfully unlock an iPhone 5 purchased through Apple retail, the procedure could not be confirmed on another pre-ordered unit "even though the device was purchased at full price, it was tied to an existing AT&T account during the pre-order process."

It was previously reported that Verizon's iPhone 5 ships unlocked for GSM networks.
post #2 of 37
This appears to be true, we have not tried it yet.
post #3 of 37
Lmfao @ Edge data
post #4 of 37
What is the iPhone 5S? Is that next year's model? 1smile.gif
post #5 of 37
I noticed on the ATT site that they require you to purchase a plan for the no-contract iPhone 5. That does not make sense. is there a way to get around that?
post #6 of 37
I can confirm this. I did exactly this, quite by accident, a couple of days ago.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdj View Post

What is the iPhone 5S? Is that next year's model? 1smile.gif

"iPhone 5s" denotes plurality. 

post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by justmeblue View Post

This appears to be true, we have not tried it yet.

 

Here is how it looks, I finally got around to the required restore although it's not with AT&T

 

 

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 #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerD View Post

I noticed on the ATT site that they require you to purchase a plan for the no-contract iPhone 5. That does not make sense. is there a way to get around that?

Yes. Use Straight Talk (www.straighttalk.com) to access the AT&T network.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #10 of 37
You can use pre paid AT&T, it's called Go Phone.

How do you quote?
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerD View Post

I noticed on the ATT site that they require you to purchase a plan for the no-contract iPhone 5. That does not make sense. is there a way to get around that?

You can use pre paid AT&T, it's called Go Phone.

post #12 of 37
This has been true for all iPhones since they started selling unlocked. If you go to an apple retail store and purchase a GSM model iPhone (of any generation) as 'Device Only', it is automatically unlocked.

The trick is, if the device is paired to a network, such as the AT&T iPhone 5's right now (because they don't sell an 'Unlocked' model yet), you have to wait about 10 minutes for Apple's systems to propagate, then restore the iPhone for the unlock to go through.

So, if you want an unlocked iPhone 5, just go to an Apple Retail Store and purchase an AT&T model 'Device Only', then bring it home and plug it into iTunes and restore it.

When you purchase as 'Device Only', you don't have to provide any info to a carrier, it is just the iPhone.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerD View Post

I noticed on the ATT site that they require you to purchase a plan for the no-contract iPhone 5. That does not make sense. is there a way to get around that?

If you order it online, you risk getting a new contract with ATT, even if you pay full price.  Better to get the phone, like I did, directly from Apple.  I spent over 1 hour on the phone today with 3 -way call (me, ATT, and Apple) to verify that, indeed, my un-subsidized ATT phone purchased last Friday at the Apple store was ALREADY unlocked, and I did not even have to reset it, or go onto itunes to do so.  This was in spite of the fact that I own an iphone4S that is still within contract.  Even though I asked last Friday, Apple gave me incorrect information, and I was told my phone was locked, and that the only way to get it unlocked was to return to Apple within 30 days, and they would only do it if the unsubsidized phones had been released, which they said was unlikely - repeat: that was INCORRCT information.  Unsubsidized phones (not part of family plans as extra phones purchased) come UNLOCKED from Apple - nothing else needs to be done.  Apple even suggested that, if I wanted to make sure before travelling abroad, to visit a local T-mobile store, and have them insert a nano-sim to test it out.  I can imagine that you would have to pretend you were thinking about switching to T-mobile from ATT in order for T-mobile to do this, but it was a good suggestion, particularly since I like to use Vodaphone in Europe whenever possible (owns T-mobile for those who may not know).  I was told last year, by the way, that US T-mobile sim chips will not work in Europe, but never took one with me, prefering to get a local plan in Germany, which worked quite well on my ipad2 (I didn't have an unlocked iphone4 last year, so am looking forward to using my iphone5 the next time I'm abroad). Hope this helps.

post #14 of 37
"The device recognized T-Mobile's signal within seconds, allowing both calls and EDGE data to go through without issue"

"Lmfao @ Edge data"

Depend on location, I live in Alhambra, my T-Mobile iPhone 4 show 3G
post #15 of 37

 

T-Mobile iPhone 4 Factory Unlock, Alhambra CA

post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indiekiduk View Post

You can use pre paid AT&T, it's called Go Phone.
How do you quote?

 

i have no idea...

post #17 of 37
T-Mobile's 3G coverage as it goes live can be seen here: http://airportal.de/
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indiekiduk View Post

You can use pre paid AT&T, it's called Go Phone.
AT&T does not permit you to use Go Phone plans with the iPhone.

You have to buy their no contract monthly plan, which is different. And more expensive. Shocker, eh?
Edited by focher - 9/27/12 at 4:34am
post #19 of 37

True. I called AT&T about this and the rep told me that you can use their pre-paid plans, with the lowest plan starting at $25, on the iphone 5. However, the rep told me that only voice and text would work with the iphone 5 and that you would not be able to receive data.

post #20 of 37

O2 in the UK unlocked my iPhone 3GS in the same way -- once they had processed my request, i received an SMS telling me to insert a SIM from another network in the phone and connecting it to iTunes. My bro-in-law also had his 3GS unlocked in the same way, and son did the same with his iP4.

 

These were all phones on contract and all that was required was that we continued to meet our contractual obligation. Apple supplied phones charged at full price are always unlocked.

post #21 of 37
hmm - how do you cut down the sim card? my wife's iPhone 4 qualifies for an upgrade but my iPhone 4S does not until mid 2013. If I could use her number to upgrade then swap around sim cards that might get me to upgrade sooner than later.
post #22 of 37
post #23 of 37

Man, easy to unlock the iPhone 5 off-contract, Verizon model is unlocked straight from the factory.....what is going on here?  I can see myself buying a lot of bad ESN Verizon models and putting them on cheap GSM carriers.  

post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

If you order it online, you risk getting a new contract with ATT, even if you pay full price.  Better to get the phone, like I did, directly from Apple. 

 

Did you order it online from Apple or in an Apple Store? The problem on the online Apple Store is that there appears no way to purchase a no-commitment phone. On the AT&T site, you can choose a no-commitment phone but it forces you to also buy a plan. I understand that once you have a no-commitment iPhone 5 how to technically unlock it, but so far no one has really explained the procedure to buy a no-commitment AT&T iPhone 5 model without even a monthly plan.

post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

Did you order it online from Apple or in an Apple Store? The problem on the online Apple Store is that there appears no way to purchase a no-commitment phone. On the AT&T site, you can choose a no-commitment phone but it forces you to also buy a plan. I understand that once you have a no-commitment iPhone 5 how to technically unlock it, but so far no one has really explained the procedure to buy a no-commitment AT&T iPhone 5 model without even a monthly plan

You have to buy it IN PERSON at Apple store. ATT will not have unsubsidized phones for sale for quite awhile. Apple's phones will be no contract and unlocked already, and you can activate your new phone with Att without incurring a new contract commitment. That's exactly what I did.
post #26 of 37
Originally Posted by indiekiduk View Post
You can use pre paid AT&T, it's called Go Phone.
How do you quote?

 

Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post
i have no idea...

 

Quoting Tips!

 

 

This is how you do a single quote. 

 

 

This is how you can quote two or more posts at once. "Multi" stays selected as you select more posts, and until you hit "Quote" on another post.

 

Never touch Reply. Don't get in that habit. It's useless. I don't know why it's there at all, just as I don't know why the "Start a New Thread" button is on every thread instead of just the subforum hubs. 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post


ATT will not have unsubsidized phones for sale for quite awhile. 

 

This part isn't actually true. If you go to the online AT&T store, you can definitely purchase a no-commitment iPhone 5. You simply change the contract term drop down to "No Commitment". The new prices of 649/749/849 are then reflected in the order. The problem is that you can't complete the order without adding a plan. However, the plan is not a contract term. It's just month-to-month. If you want to actually use AT&T as the service provider, this isn't a problem. However, for anyone who wants to go with Straight Talk or T-Mobile it's essentially wasting money to pay for a month of AT&T service.

 

I'll try the Apple Store to see.

post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

You have to buy it IN PERSON at Apple store. ATT will not have unsubsidized phones for sale for quite awhile. Apple's phones will be no contract and unlocked already, and you can activate your new phone with Att without incurring a new contract commitment. That's exactly what I did.

What's the price of the unsubsidized iPhone 5 at the Apple Store? Is it $649/749/849?
post #29 of 37
So there's a 5s now? I think not.
post #30 of 37
Originally Posted by axual View Post
So there's a 5s now? I think not.

 

PLURAL. It's not like sheep.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIA View Post


What's the price of the unsubsidized iPhone 5 at the Apple Store? Is it $649/749/849?

 

Yes. Apple announced those prices last week for unlocked ones when they are available. They are the same prices that the unlocked 4S was at. And those prices match the no-commitment prices on the AT&T online store. 

post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

 particularly since I like to use Vodaphone in Europe whenever possible (owns T-mobile for those who may not know).

 

Vodafone owns half of Verizon. Deutsche Telekom (aka T-Mobile Germany) owns 100% of T-Mobile US.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post

 

Vodafone owns half of Verizon. Deutsche Telekom (aka T-Mobile Germany) owns 100% of T-Mobile US.

You are correct - my mistake.  It was Deutsche Telekom that I believe I used 2 years ago in Germany, with a sim card for my ipad2, until it started to roam in Austria - so I stopped using it there, and had to wait until I got to Italy to try to find another sim card -- but had zero luck getting a sim that worked from anyone in Venice, so I gave up looking.  Resorted to using Skype from my wi-fi connection when I got back to the hotel each night, which was hit and miss, because the hotel used a stupid Linksys home router for the whole hotel - couldn't even get it to work well sitting right next to the router in the downstairs lobby.  Hopefully, the next trip I will have better luck using a nano-sim with my iphone5.

post #34 of 37
I paid for an early upgrade from an iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5 and called AT&T last night to unlock my iPhone 4S. While I was at it, I asked if i could do the same for the iPhone 5. The customer service rep said "Yes" and something along the lines of "It's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it." I followed the instructions (backup then restore) for each phone and now they are both unlocked.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris87 View Post

I paid for an early upgrade from an iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5 and called AT&T last night to unlock my iPhone 4S. While I was at it, I asked if i could do the same for the iPhone 5. The customer service rep said "Yes" and something along the lines of "It's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it." I followed the instructions (backup then restore) for each phone and now they are both unlocked.

You must have been out of contract. Otherwise the ATT person made a mistake.  How do you really know both are unlocked?  The Apple manager said there is no way to tell without trying out a sim card from another carrier, so I wonder.....

post #36 of 37

For the 5, I got the "Congratulations, your phone has been unlocked" message after the restore. For the 4S, iTunes didn't start up after I restored, so I didn't get the message. I was able to get a T-Mobile SIM to work on it though. Both phones have "n/a" listed as the phone number when I connect to iTunes.

post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

hmm - how do you cut down the sim card? my wife's iPhone 4 qualifies for an upgrade but my iPhone 4S does not until mid 2013. If I could use her number to upgrade then swap around sim cards that might get me to upgrade sooner than later.

 

You can get a cutter that will cut a 2FF and/or 3FF (micro) SIM to 4FF (nano) SIM or you can try to do it yourself using an exacto knife. This is the cutter that I got, it works great:

 

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=20067504316

 

Oh look, the same cutter is also available on Amazon (though at 5x the cost!): http://www.amazon.com/Cutter-iPhone-Convertor-adapters-Shenit/dp/B009FWTEEC/ref=pd_sim_cps_3

 

Officially the nano SIMs are supposed to be slightly thinner than the old ones, but I found that I did not need to do any sanding with both my wife's and my SIMs. The difference in thickness is no more than the thickness of a sheet of paper.

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