Let AT&T help you elebrate your dad with Father's Day Gifts that connect us.
The new iPad Pro & iPad Air!
J

New Member

 • 

7 Messages

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 3:44 AM

Are AT&T iPhones sold on Apple really unlocked?

I keep my phones until they die, coming from an iPhone 7, and always pay for them in full, usually used. This time I am going to buy the iPhone 13 mini at full price since COVID and dealing with the circus that is Craiglist and FB Marketplace isn't worth it. The Apple website specifically says "All iPhone models are unlocked except those purchased with AT&T Installment Plans." Based on this information I should be able to pay for an AT&T phone outright and receive it unlocked, saving that $30, but I've seen older posts suggesting otherwise. I have an AT&T prepaid account, and have had one for years and am very happy with it, so I am not even sure how it would work to unlock it since I technically don't have a billed account. I just want to make sure my phone is unlocked and I don't feel completely dumb trying to save $30 on a phone that is useless to me traveling abroad, which I do quite often, or at least did pre-pandemic.

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Expert

 • 

23.9K Messages

2 years ago

Actually the phone will lock to ATT for 6 months once a sim card is installed if you do not pay the extra 30 dollars for the unlocked version.

Those are flex retailer phones used for the carriers.

An Unlocked iPhone has a different SKU.  That is the whole reason they are charging the 30 dollars more.

Accepted Solution

Community Support

 • 

232.7K Messages

2 years ago

We'll be happy to clarify this for you @Jessiebanana.

 

If you put an AT&T Prepaid SIM card into the device, it will be locked to our network for six months before being eligible to unlock. At that time, you would have to submit a request to unlock it. If having it remain unlocked from the start is important to you, you'll want to spend the extra $30.

 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns; if so, we'll be happy to assist.

 

Darais, AT&T Community Specialist 

ACE - Expert

 • 

64.7K Messages

2 years ago

To get your current phone unlocked, use the unlock portal. You don’t need a “billed account”.

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/

Yes, phones bought from Apple not on an installment plan are unlocked. Since you are prepaid, there is no upgrade fee. There really is no such thang as an AT&T iPhone. The only thing that makes it AT&T when buying from Apple is getting an AT&T SIM card. As a prepaid customer, I’m not even sure you can get an ATT SIM card, that may be for postpaid only. You can buy a SIM card free iPhone and just move the SIM card from your current phone when you get the new phone.

New Member

 • 

7 Messages

2 years ago

Thank you! My current phone has a SIM card and Apple can tell it's Prepaid. It says that I have to buy the phone in full, which is fine and my intention anyway. It saves me the $30 is all when I go to check out. I know there is no real AT&T phone, and I honestly don't get the $30 savings thing, but I heard a lot about no AT&T phones being unlocked when I searched the topic.

This is what it says as an FYI.

"If you'd like to proceed, you'll need to purchase a full-priced iPhone, and insert an active SIM card or contact AT&T to activate your device."

Prepaid functions similarly enough to a normal plan, outside of upgrades and installments, and the rates are more affordable, so that's why I like it.

ACE - Professor

 • 

3.1K Messages

2 years ago

@Jessiebanana If you purchase the iPhone full price directly from Apple either online or in store select “Connect on your own later”. Do not need to contact AT&T to activate. Just move your SIM to the new phone. This way the phone is unlocked and you can move to another carrier without requesting unlocking. Another plus is if you travel overseas it is easy to pop in a local SIM. Bought my last 3 iPhones this way and just moved my SIM without any interaction with AT&T. My account updated with the latest iPhone info immediately. 

ACE - Master

 • 

10.9K Messages

2 years ago

When you buy from Apple, it spends on who you are paying.  If you are paying Apple for the phone, whether you pay the full price all at one, or using the Apple installment plan (0% for 24 month, and the money goes to Apple, not AT&T), the phone comes unlocked.  

If you buy the phone from Apple, but are using the AT&T installment plan, then the phone will be locked, just as if you had bought it from AT&T.

New Member

 • 

7 Messages

2 years ago

Well, the 50/50 response has definitely left me confused. Since I don't have any international trips planned immediately, I may just get the AT&T phone from Apple and report back. I have a work phone with a SIM I can test to see if it's unlocked, and if it isn't find out what the process is like with AT&T when you have purchased direct and in full.

ACE - Expert

 • 

64.7K Messages

2 years ago

Not sure why you are confused. If you buy a SIM card free iPhone from Apple, it will be unlocked. You can easily verify it’s unlocked by going to settings/general/about/carrier lock. If unlocked it will say “no SIM restrictions”.

New Member

 • 

7 Messages

2 years ago

@sandblaster There is no need to be rude. I would prefer to save the $30, so I would like to buy the "AT&T" one. Half the respondents have said it will be unlocked if I pay for it and the other half said it wouldn't be. You all have high ranking so I have no reason to be confident in one opinion over the other.

ACE - Expert

 • 

24.8K Messages

2 years ago

@Jessiebanana I purchased my iPhone 12 directly from Apple as SIM-less. No installment plan, just credit card for full price. I then walked around the corner to an AT&T Corporate Store and had them install a new SIM for free. I could've used the SIM from my 8 Plus but I wanted the new SIM in case we decided to switch our plan to an Unlimited one to take advantage of 5G (FWIW).  The phone worked as expected and when we finally did switch our plan to an Unlimited one, all was well.

The iPhone always indicated it was unlocked. Settings -> General -> About -> Carrier Lock - No SIM Restrictions

(edited)

Not finding what you're looking for?
New to AT&T Community?
New to the AT&T Community? Start by visiting the Community How-To.
New to the AT&T Community?
Visit the Community How-To.