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  • AT&T Reportedly Unlocking On-Contract iPhones with Web Form


    For those of you who are AT&T users and have wanted to unlock your iPhone, you might be in luck. The wireless carrier has been reported to hand out free factory unlocks to customers with on-contract iPhones. Requesting an unlock through AT&Tís web form seems to have produced good results for a number of iPhone owners. The folks over at Ars Technica have heard the following from AT&T customers (Ars poster lunarobverse) who received free clean factory unlocks while on contract:

    I got this even though Iím 10 months into my 2 year contract. When I upgrade to the iPhone 5 next week, Iíll still have to pay the ETF but itíll make selling my old iPhone (or handing it down to an iPhone-less friend) much easier.
    After other users reported trying to call in and getting their iPhone 4S unlocked, many said customer representatives told them the service could not be offered until after they had paid the subsidy. This leads to the conclusion that potential unlockers will have better luck getting through to AT&T by using their web form instead. According to AT&Tís Seth Bloom:

    The only requirements are that a customerís 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.
    If your application to receive an unlock is granted by AT&T, youíll be sent a confirmation number requesting you to restore your iPhone in iTunes. While the device is being restored, youíll see a message that your iPhone has successfully been unlocked on AT&Tís end. Aside from getting an unlock under the table, itís usually quite difficult to make a carrier unlock your iPhone before the contract expires so this news might come in handy to many. At the very least, you can try to get your iPhone unlocked to sell it for more before the next-gen iPhone is announced on September 12th. See if the method works for you and report back to us with your results.

    Source: Ars Technica
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Reportedly Unlocking On-Contract iPhones with Web Form started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 310 Comments
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thazsar View Post
      I'm starting to reconsider the iPhone 5 purchase on my third line. If it means I'm stuck w/ another Data Plan for 2 yrs (on a line I don't use) then I might wait till December to upgrade.

      I'm just not completely confident in the 'ghost line' advice I got from the AT&T rep...
      Depending on what data plan you went for you are looking at $600-$960 spread over two years not including the cost of the iPhone or activation fee. You would have been better off just buying a unlocked iPhone 5 when they are released.
    1. Shigoroku's Avatar
      Shigoroku -
      Strange. According to my email timestamps, I submitted my unlock request on 2012-09-11. I didn't get a response within the time I was supposed to, so I tried my sister's T-Mobile micro SIM on 2012-09-16 and it worked. I just got an email yesterday (2012-09-26) finally telling me that the unlock request was approved. What's with that email delay, AT&T?

    1. BustAGroove's Avatar
      BustAGroove -
      I was able to get iPhone 4 unlocked after submitting online unlock request and following up with AT&T online chat representative. Told them needed unlock request expedited for "traveling". Representative said that it couldn't be expedited. I asked if request could be escalated to supervisor and within 10 minutes the unlock request was processed. All we need to do is do a full backup + restore and should then be good to go.
    1. Shigoroku's Avatar
      Shigoroku -
      Try the new SIM before you bother with the restore.

      I didn't have to restore or even reboot my phone. When I didn't hear back from AT&T, I got curious. I swapped my active AT&T micro SIM for my sister's active T-Mobile micro SIM...while the phone was already on. After a minute, the carrier logo said "T-Mobile" and I took the screenshot you see above your post. I had tried it days before and it would not work...so this phone was definitely locked to AT&T before.

      There never was a "your phone is now unlocked" confirmation message on the phone.

      I believe the instructions that say to perform a back-up / restore are out-dated; or they are meant to cover phones that might be running iOS 4. iOS 5 enabled many functions over-the-air that previously required you to connect to a PC running iTunes.

      ...or maybe it was because I was already using iOS 6? :hmm:
    1. Trials's Avatar
      Trials -
      Anyone have some suggestions on legit sites that offer unlocks and can vouch for?
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shigoroku View Post
      Try the new SIM before you bother with the restore.

      I didn't have to restore or even reboot my phone. When I didn't hear back from AT&T, I got curious. I swapped my active AT&T micro SIM for my sister's active T-Mobile micro SIM...while the phone was already on. After a minute, the carrier logo said "T-Mobile" and I took the screenshot you see above your post.

      There never was a "your phone is now unlocked" confirmation message on the phone.

      I believe the instructions that say to perform a back-up / restore are out-dated; or they are meant to cover phones that might be running iOS 4. iOS 5 enabled many functions over-the-air that previously you to connect to a PC running iTunes.
      This is very true. No need for BackUp Restore nor to lose your jailbreak. Just put another GSM SIM in and bam, you're unlocked. Some people won't have access to another SIM to test and they just want confirmation that they're unlocked. They can check on these IMEI checker sites to verify their unlocked status. Only if they really want to see that "congratulations you're unlocked" message would they need to do a restore.

      And if you're jailbroken and don't want to lose your jailbreak all you need to do is download the tweak called "SAM" and choose the 'deactivate' button. Then hook up to iTunes and you'll see the congratulations you're unlocked message and it reactivates you in the background. But even with a jailbroken phone all you need to do is put in another company's GSM Sim and you'll automatically see you're unlocked. It's just so easy.

      It makes me wonder why people fooled around with all of the software unlock options and the Gevey Sims for so long. And worrying about basebands, etc. Why did we ever have to do that?
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      This is very true. No need for BackUp Restore nor to lose your jailbreak. Just put another GSM SIM in and bam, you're unlocked. Some people won't have access to another SIM to test and they just want confirmation that they're unlocked. They can check on these IMEI checker sites to verify their unlocked status. Only if they really want to see that "congratulations you're unlocked" message would they need to do a restore.

      And if you're jailbroken and don't want to lose your jailbreak all you need to do is download the tweak called "SAM" and choose the 'deactivate' button. Then hook up to iTunes and you'll see the congratulations you're unlocked message and it reactivates you in the background. But even with a jailbroken phone all you need to do is put in another company's GSM Sim and you'll automatically see you're unlocked. It's just so easy.

      It makes me wonder why people fooled around with all of the software unlock options and the Gevey Sims for so long. And worrying about basebands, etc. Why did we ever have to do that?
      Some people don't have a choice unfortunately. I still use gevey sims for people. Not every carrier offers this IMEI unlocking.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      Some people don't have a choice unfortunately. I still use gevey sims for people. Not every carrier offers this IMEI unlocking.
      Yeah - I hear ya. But Gevey is still 'baseband specific' - right? There are some phones that can't ever be unlocked - right?
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      Yeah - I hear ya. But Gevey is still 'baseband specific' - right? There are some phones that can't ever be unlocked - right?
      yup
    1. blkcadi's Avatar
      blkcadi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trials View Post
      Anyone have some suggestions on legit sites that offer unlocks and can vouch for?
      There are about 10 threads about unlocking devises. Is it an AT&T phone?