Yesterday marked the day that AT&T, the iPhone’s original carrier since 2007, began unlocking iPhones. Previously, AT&T subscribers were able to have their phones unlocked providing that it wasn’t an iPhone, but that strange policy is now a thing of the past. However, if you’re currently sporting a new iPhone 4S or other model that is still under a 2 year contract, AT&T will not unlock your iPhone. In addition to that, AT&T account holders that are in bad standing with the company also won’t be able to have their iPhone unlocked.
AT&T released a statement last Friday saying:
Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer’s 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.
iPhone users can request their phone be unlocked by visiting an AT&T store, calling the AT&T support line, or chatting with a technical service representative online. Despite the high wait times with their online chat system (it took me 56 minutes), I’d still recommend chatting with a representative due to the general consensus that phone support reps may not have gotten the memo about iPhone unlocking yet while the chat reps have.
Even though unlocking the iPhone 4S is out of the question, I still gave it a shot and asked an online chat representative about it. I’ll save you the trouble of trying yourself if you’re thinking about doing it. Here’s our conversation below:
Me: Would I be able to unlock my iPhone 4S?
Rep: The option to unlock the phone would depend on how it was purchased. Did you purchase the iPhone 4S with a new 2 year agreement?
Me: Yes, from an Apple Store.
Rep: Thank you. In order to unlock the phone the contract that was used to purchase the phone would need to have been completed. Since the iPhone 4S was recently launched the phone would still be in contract. Unfortunately, if the contract has not been completed we would be unable to obtain the unlock code.
Folks that have an iPhone 4 or below can request to have their devices unlock. All you need to do is send your iPhone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number to the chat representative. You can find that number under your iPhone’s Settings app and going to General > About. You’ll receive an email (seen below) shortly after requesting that you backup and restore your iPhone with iTunes for the unlocking to take effect. I also want to note that there have been reports of AT&T not assisting customers with the unlock process if they didn’t purchased their iPhone from AT&T. Yes, that includes an Apple Store.
That means if you’re currently using a jailbroken iPhone, you will loose your jailbreak after restoring. Your iPhone will automatically update to the latest version of iOS, and unfortunately there isn’t a jailbreak for it yet.