My Experience With Unlocking my AT&T iPhone

My Experience With Unlocking my AT&T iPhone

Last month I was asked how to unlock a iPhone 4S from AT&T. Off the top of my head I informed my friend to go to their local AT&T store and ask a sales representative to unlock the iPhone. A week later my friend informed me that my answer was wrong. With egg on my face and my professional ego taking a hit, I decided to get to the bottom of how to unlock at AT&T iPhone. I have an iPhone 4 that I use as a spare phone is begging to be unlocked.

 I decided to follow my own advice and drove to my local AT&T store. Andre Simmons who is an AT&T Retail Sales Consultant immediately greeted me. After our introductions, I informed Andre that I would like to unlock my iPhone 4 which I pulled out of my pocket. I was quickly informed by Andre that unlocking a phone is done online and not in an AT&T store. I followed up with his response with the question “Why AT&T staff are not able to unlock a phone?” My response was “It is AT&T policy.”   I can see the conversation with Andre going from pleasant to the feeling I was bothering him. My guess he did not have a sale so I am wasting his time. I followed up with another question “What is the web site to the submit a request to unlock my iPhone 4?” Andre’s answer is go to the AT&T web site and do a search for unlock phone which he wrote on the back of his business card. I was not satisfied with Andre’s answers and argued my point of a lack of customer service to not have the ability to unlock cell phones and tried to push a point of someone at the AT&T store should have the ability to unlock cell phones. Shane who is another AT&T Retail Sales Consultant heard my conversation with Andre and stepped into the conversation. Shane confirmed Andre’s answer of going to the AT&T web site to submit a request to unlock my iPhone 4 and gave me the web site to begin the process of unlocking my iPhone 4. The web site Shane gave me is With the information in hand, I thanked Shane and Andre and went back home.

I fired up my computer and typed within my web browser. I read the information, selected the check box at the bottom of the web site that I have read and agree to the eligibility requirements for unlocking my device, and selected the Agree button. I quickly received a email from AT&T that informed me they received my request and it is under review, gave me a request number, and informed my request can take up to 5 business days. With the four major cell phone carriers agreement with the FCC to the unlocking cell phone policy, I guess AT&T does not want to make it too easy for me to unlock my cell phone. Five business days later, I received an email from AT&T to inform me that my request to unlock my iPhone 4 has been approved and instructions on how to unlock my iPhone 4. Below are the steps to unlock my phone from AT&T.

1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have Internet connectivity.

2. Ensure the original SIM card that came with this device is inserted in your iPhone.

3. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.

4. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes. For information on backup and restore, please visit

5. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

After following the above directions, I did not know if my iPhone 4 was unlocked or not. I did an online search and discovered the web site, which will allow me to verify if my iPhone 4 is locked or unlocked. I did have to sign up on their web site for perform the free service. Once I signed on to and entered my IMEI number, I was able to confirm my iPhone 4 was unlocked.

With an unlocked iPhone if I decided to go to T-Mobile, I can take my unlocked iPhone 4 to my local T-Mobile store and setup my iPhone 4 with T-Mobile. I can understand why AT&T did not make too easy for my to unlock my iPhone 4 because I can easily switch to T-Mobile. With my experience of unlocking my iPhone 4, I wonder is the grass greener on the other side of the fence?

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