If you buy an iPhone from AT&T, it will be "locked" to AT&T's network. That means if you try to put in a T-Mobile SIM, it won't work. Same with an international SIM if you're traveling. Just because you're locked, though, doesn't mean you can't unlock. AT&T has a process in place for you to request a code to do just that. Of course, there are requirements and some restrictions you needed to be aware of first.
What requirements does AT&T have for unlocking?
Before requesting an unlock code from AT&T, there are some requirements you'll need to know.
- The phone must be locked to AT&T (of course).
- It can't be reported as lost or stolen (also, of course).
- It can't be associated with fraudulent or illegal activity (see where we're going here?).
- All of your iPhone's service commitments and installment plans are completed, and all early termination fees are paid in full.
- The phone is only active on your AT&T customer's account.
- If you just upgraded your iPhone, you must wait the 14-day "buyer's remorse" period before you can request to unlock your previous device.
There may also be some special circumstances for different AT&T services, like Go Phone and pre-paid customers. Be sure to check out the eligibility of your iPhone before continuing.
How do I request an unlock code from AT&T??
AT&T says it will respond to any request to unlock your phone within two business days.
- Go to att.com/deviceunlock.
- Read and agree to the eligibility requirements to unlock your device.
- Complete and submit the request form.
- You'll receive a confirmation email with your unlock request number.
- Select the link in the email within 24 hours of receipt to confirm your unlock request.
- AT&T will respond within two business days.
- AT&T sends you instructions to unlock your device if your request is approved.
Important note: Just because you go through this process does not mean you're guaranteed success. AT&T has the right to deny any request and may need you to complete additional steps before they say yes.
Have you unlocked your AT&T iPhone? Let me know how the process went for you, and if you have any tips to share!
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.