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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).
- 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 (opens in new tab) 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!
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.
I am curious, I checked out the unlock page and it seems to be based on phone number. So if you replace your AT&T phone with a new phone, the old phone is no longer associated with a phone number- how would you unlock it? Is there an option to unlock using IMEI? I would prefer to unlock via AT&T and not use one of those sketchy 3rd party sites...
It's based on IMEI not number. If the phone is not financed or bought it full they will unlock it. I went 3rd party route while on financed and got it unlocked fine.
Thanks vietalogy, but I think the AT&T site asks for name and phone number to proceed. How do you get past that if the phone no longer has a phone number associated with it?
Phone number applies if you are an AT&T customer. If not, you don't need to supply those.
Right, which I am an AT&T customer. So how do I unlock a phone that no longer has a phone number associated with it?
Just use your phone number to which this phone was associated with. I have done it since 2010 and worked like a charm each time
Thanks for the reply! It won't unlock my newest/replacement phone will it, or does it ask for IMEI number later in the process?
It sounds like you're in an 'edge case' scenario. Calling customer service is probably your best bet.
How u got it unlock cause I got at&t approved it but I put in a sim it saying lock but can’t get in the touch with the owner even the owner doesn’t have the information nomore
I tried this a year ago or so with my iPhone 5. It took 3 tries and a direct call to a supervisor to get it cleared up. AT&T just submits your phone to Apple and it gets changed in their database. There no codes to put in, so if something goes wrong with the carrier submitting your phone to Apple (which happened multiple times in my case) you end up with a wiped phone that you have to restore. If you look up the process of unlocking iPhone models, it involves wiping, then hooking up to a computer with iTunes, and if you get the confirmation message saying you hooked up an unlocked phone then they did their part correctly. I feel like this process could be greatly improved. Sent from the iMore App
I've unlocked 4 phones with this and haven't he any issues. Very simple. Sent from the iMore App
I too have unlocked 4 iPhones & never had an issue.
Do you really have to wipe the phone? I need to keep my texts.
I just did both iPhones! painless.
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