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steveroche5

Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

Fri, Mar 6, 2015 8:52 PM

More iphone unlocking problems

I'll keep this short. I was given an iphone 5 for my birthday from a friend who upgraded.

It is paid off, off contract, clear IMEI. I submitted 3 unlock requests to ATT and got 3 different emails of approval, with confirmation codes. Still, when I erase/restore the phone, or whatever, I get no "congratulations your phone is unlocked" screen on itunes. I am trying to use it with Tmobile, which I have had for five years. The T mobile store puts their SIM in it and it is rejected each time. This means that the phone is still locked to ATT.

 

They tell me to call Apple. Apple tells me it's still locked, and that they can do nothing to help me, and that they are very sorry and don't understand why ATT is behaving this way.

I call ATT again. I am very polite. AT&T person tells me 1) re-submit the request

and  2) I am not the original owner therefore I cannot request unlock (then why the approval emails? Why not deny me?).

I contacted the woman who gave me the phone. I hate to bother her, let alone ask her for part of her Soc Sec number so I can fill out another request form. She said she called ATT and they told her I had to get an account with them to use the iphone. (?!). Or, she said, if I don't want to do that, I should call this number (a customer service number) and they would unlock it for me. I recognize the number. I've called it many times. I called it again, and no, they can't/won't unlock it. They said 1) i've probably been doing the itunes restore in the wrong order, and 2) it's actually still on their 'locked' list. (so if I was doing it wrong it wouldn't matter anyway? I think?)

They say to re-submit the request, or better yet, have HER submit the request.

She may think 

this is a simple thing and that I am not mentally equipped to handle this simple task. I've backup/restored this twelve times,

and tried several different SIM cards. All rejected. Except for the ATT SIM. I last tried all of this stuff yesterday, after giving up for a week. I am in no hurry. If I knew that there was a wait time, I would gladly wait (not the 14-day upgrade period, that is long gone).

 

I am giving the phone back to her, because ATT has won. They do not want the phone to go to anyone else. 

Otherwise she would have been told by ATT when she asked....that she needs to go online and fill out a request. Instead, ATT told her that I needed to get an account! Or to give me the customer service number and they 

would help me through the unlock process. Well, we know how that turned out. They said it is still on the 

Locked list. Also they suggested I call Apple. I believe this is becoming a game among ATT

customer service reps..

 

I'm about to give the phone back because it is too stressful to have something nice sitting there

which you are told you cannot use. Why does ATT behave this way? WHy not reject my "unlock request" out-of-hand if I am not the original owner? It would have saved me a lot of time and 

$30 to an Apple technician, to tell me that it's still locked... yes, they charged me $30 to 

troubleshoot, when there was no trouble. Just a locked IMEI.

 

And why is 'non-ATT customer' even an option on the unlock-request form if it is not accepted?

 

I have shortened this story, and have left out a few long calls to ATT, Apple, and Tmobile, all who point to each other.

 

Does anyone have any hints about getting truthful information out of ATT customer service reps? I will bet money that the next one I call will tell me that I don't have to be the original owner to request an unlock. 

 

The phone meets all of the other required criteria.

 

thanks in advance.

steve

iphone5 doorstop

 

[Edited for privacy-please do not post personal or unique information such as but not limited to full names, employee ID numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc.]

 

Responses

Accepted Solution

Community Support

 • 

15.2K Messages

5 years ago

Hi there @steveroche5

 

I’d be happy to help with your device unlock! Here’s how the iPhone unlock process goes:

 

You can also visit our main Unlock Forum here.

 

  1. Unlock request is submitted to AT&T
  2. Approval for unlock is sent to both Apple and customer
  3. The device is approved for unlock by Apple
  4. Customer performs Apple’s unlock procedure in iTunes
  5. After completing successfully, the iPhone connects to Apple’s activation servers where it receives the unlock approval
  6. The device is successfully unlocked

 

It seems in this case, we’ve gotten to Step 4. but haven’t yet been able to get the process to be completed in iTunes. Please try the following as closely as possible and you should then see the message of congratulations confirming that the device has indeed been unlocked:

 

  • Connect device to iTunes and perform a full backup (File > Devices > Backup)
  • Once backed up, keep the device connected to iTunes and on the phone, head to Settings >General > Reset
  • Choose Erase All Content and Settings
  • The device will restart and display the setup screens
  • Proceed through the device setup, and choose Setup as a new iPhone
  • Device activation will occur, and you should see that the device is now unlocked via a message displayed in iTunes
  • The device is now unlocked, and you can choose Restore from Backup in iTunes to restore your data!

If you are in need of further assistance, please contact us via Private Message.

 

I hope this helps!

Charise

AT&T Customer Care

Need help with an account specific question?  Post a new question here on the forums by clicking the "Ask a Question" button.
For additional support, please visit us at our AT&T services hub.
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*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

76.9K Messages

5 years ago

To unlock an iPhone (unlike other phones) you must have the original SIM card in the phone.
I am guessing the original owner moved it to her new phone.

This is why it would be best if the original owner processes the unlock.
Once she does that... With the original sim installed, restore to factory as many times as needed to get the "congratulations...."

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

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Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

5 years ago

I believe that the ATT sim card that came with the phone was from ATT,
since that is the plan she had and still has.
It's never had a non-ATT sim card in it. So I don't know what you are
asking here

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

76.9K Messages

5 years ago

I will reword....
She has a sim in her new phone, she can only have one active SIM card with her information, so the one in the phone you have is inactive. Nothing more than a place holder.
The phone can only be unlocked with her active SIM card.

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
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Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

5 years ago

Ok, well, I am learning here. Her phone number is still in the phone, if
that matters, and when turned on the phone says 'no service.'
But the ATT sim card in it allows it to function at least as a wireless
device (it will not function without a SIM). I do know that she changed
(upgraded) phones and kept her number. Perhaps she held onto the old SIM to
put into her new phone.
But through erase and restore, her old phone number still comes up on the
phone. It doesn't ring of course. Her new phone rings.

I made the assumption that with her getting a brand new expensive iphone
that a new fresh SIM card would come with it.
Why carry over an old SIM card that is a year old or more?
She is not the type to specifically put in a 'placeholder' sim card into it
just to give it to me. Basically she said "Here
is a gift, go unlock it, do what you need to do, you know how to do these
things, the account is paid and the IMEI is clear" so she assumed no
problems.

My best guess is that ATT has been changing some requirements for this
unlock process, and not all their published material is up to date yet. Nor
are their customer service people all on the same page. And my timing was
just poor.

I really did not want to make a problem out of this. I went through the
proper channels. I did not go try to jailbreak it.

But I'm all ears... if I need to get her 'original' nano-SIM to do this
(though how I will get it is unclear.. she may fly in next weekend but it
will be brief)... I sincerely hope ATT joins the 21st Century sometime
soon...

anyway, thanks for your input!
steve

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

76.9K Messages

5 years ago

I get that her sim is in the phone. But it's not active. It has to be unlocked from AT&T and her account with her active sim.

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
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Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

5 years ago

So... the unlock approvals I am getting from ATT simply mean that it's not
unlocked YET, and as soon as I fly
to NY and meet with her and get the old SIM card out of her new phone, then
I can initiate a proper unlock with this phone? I wish, in the 9-10
conversations I have had online and over the phone with ATT, that at least
one person had told me this.

And ATT ca't remotely unlock it,
because why would they?

Well, I get that this will never be my phone, but I was studying the FCC
laws and the Feb 11th deadline, and wondered why ATT
didn't simplify the process a little bit more.. (because they don't have
to?)

Now, according to her talk with ATT, they told her they would walk me
through unlocking it (but they told me they would not).
I will ask her if she carries the original SIM card or if it is in her new
phone, or if she left it with this phone.

I will ask Apple why they have a section in their unlocking instructions
titled " Unlocking If you Don't have the Original SIM Card"
(I'm paraphrasing here)

I am glad that at least I did not purchase this phone from anyone! I guess
that it is now a useless $650 doorstop.
I can't trust any of the unlock services which she has told me to 'just go
to.'

oh well. Thanks for the info. This whole thing makes me really sick.


but thanks, I know you are trying to help
sr

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

 • 

40.2K Messages

5 years ago

Lizdance, I am pretty sure the original sim does not need to be in the phone but it definitely does not need to be active. All of the iPhone's I have unlocked had a deactivated sim when I did the backup/restore.

To the OP, if Apple is telling you your phone is still locked, that indicates they have not received the approval from ATT to add your phone to the unlock database. Your best bet is to send a private message to ATTCustomerCare with the latest unlock approval and get them to manually resend the unlock approval to Apple.
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Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

5 years ago

Hi-

I believe I have done just what you have said, many, many times. I can't be sure that I had the phone plugged into iTunes the very last time I "ereased everything on the phone" ... I may have done the backup, restore, set up as new, and then unplugged the phone and went into the phone itself and chose "erase all content"...  perhaps it matters that it is plugged into iTunes while this is happening, perhaps not. I will know if any of this is successful only after I go to the t-mobile store again and they try one of their spare SIM cards in it.

 

steve

Teacher

 • 

21 Messages

5 years ago

I stayed up late last night wondering if I missed some part of this puzzle. I am really good at memorizing details but missing the big picture. I assumed that since I had gotten unlock approvals from ATT three times, then the phone would (should) be automatically unlocked.. right away or in a week or two.

Then I wondered if the Approval for Unlock is only half of it, and I haven't done something right to complete it (SIM card, etc). I have found an equal number of forum posts across the Web which say SIM needs to be original vs. SIM needs to just be the correct carrier (any old active ATT sim).

 

And of course, when I do call ATT, they say that the IMEI number does not show up on the "list."

(This would be the White List, where  IMEI's go when they are approved for unlock.)

 

So, if my IMEI number has not made it to the White List yet, then I shouldn't bother to do anything. My email approvals and their confirmation numbers seem to mean nothing to ATT

customer service reps. Nothing at all.

 

And there is the issue of whether to make another request (I'll just get another approval, which is useless), or try to get the original owner to go online and fill out the form herself.

That's embarassing, but I suppose I could try it. What if she gets an approval too, only to find out in a week that the phone is still locked?

 

So, I am still lacking the overall picture of how this works.

 

I'm beginning to see posts just like mine on Apple forums and phone forums... Application for unlock, approval, back-up/restore iphone on iTunes, and... nothing. Then, being told by ATT that it was never on Approval List to begin with. So, wasted time.

 

I have tried a private email/chat woth ATT a few times, am told different thing each time.

Lastly, it went something like this:  "SHE (original owner) must apply, not you"... and "If it happens five times it's permanently locked to ATT, even if SHE (original owner) is the one that has applied..

(is that fair?)

 

Lastly, this business of "having ATT send the unlock request to Apple" confuses me because 

in the four times I have spoken to Apple (and $30 technical fee!), they swear that they have nothing at all to do with unlocking, nothing! Are they lying?

 

So, I still do not have the complete picture, and I think I will make this an iphone-free day...

so I am shutting this off till tomorrow. I could use the time off from all this drama.

 

I dread going to a local place and paying $100 or more,  to get it unlocked; will it work? Will they just keep my money if it doesn't work? Will I be penalized for this by the ATT gods??

 

Jeez, if ATT would just be consistent with what they tell me over the phone, or CHARGE me

a fee.. any fee!.. and do it, I would pay. But they are not allowed to, so this is the result.

I know millions of people are trying to get their iphones unlocked now. 

 

Probably I should wait a few more months. It's all just dreadful.

 

good day, everyone

sr

 

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

 • 

40.2K Messages

5 years ago

I do not understand why Apple would tell you they have nothing to do with the unlock. When you go through the backup/restore procedure, it is Apple's computers that tell your phone if is unlocked.
Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

76.9K Messages

5 years ago

@steveroche5

Good idea to take a day off. Sometimes the answer hits like lightning at the oddest times.

I will go back to my forum info and re read the unlock trouble shooting info. I hope I can find a nugget for you.

Unless I find something new, no point trying again... 😕

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
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MR_SMiT

ACE - Professor

 • 

1.7K Messages

5 years ago


@steveroche5 wrote:

Hi-

I believe I have done just what you have said, many, many times. I can't be sure that I had the phone plugged into iTunes the very last time I "ereased everything on the phone" ... I may have done the backup, restore, set up as new, and then unplugged the phone and went into the phone itself and chose "erase all content"...  perhaps it matters that it is plugged into iTunes while this is happening, perhaps not. I will know if any of this is successful only after I go to the t-mobile store again and they try one of their spare SIM cards in it.

 

steve


It matters that you have the iphone plugged in until you see message in iTunes "Congradulations your iPhone has been unlocked." But the original owner of iPhone 5 has to submit the unlock request to AT&T and do itunes unlock.

Hardcore Pittsburgh Steelers Fan
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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

76.9K Messages

5 years ago

@steveroche5

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201328
Link above, I copied the entire Apple directions for unlocking:

First, your carrier will need to process your unlock request. Then you'll back up, erase, and restore your iPhone to unlock it.
Start the process:
See if your carrier offers unlocking. Only your carrier can unlock your iPhone.
Contact your carrier and request an unlock. You might need to meet requirements to qualify for unlocking. After you submit the request to your carrier, it might take a few days to complete. Contact your carrier for the status of your unlock request.
After your carrier confirms that your iPhone unlock has been processed, go to the next section.
If you have a SIM card from a carrier other than your current carrier, follow these steps:
Remove your SIM card and insert the new SIM card.
Complete the setup process.
If you don't have another SIM card you can use, follow these steps to complete the process:
Back up your iPhone.
When you have a backup, erase your iPhone.
Restore your iPhone from the backup you just made.
Get help
Follow these steps if you have any issues or if you see this message in iTunes or on your device:
"The SIM card inserted in this iPhone does not appear to be supported. Only compatible SIM cards from a supported carrier may be used to activate iPhone. Please insert the SIM card that came with your iPhone or visit a supported carrier store."
Restore your iPhone to factory settings.
Contact your carrier to verify that the unlock was applied in your carrier's system.
Restore your iPhone from a backup

-------------------------

From wikihow
Activate your unlock: Once you receive confirmation your phone is unlocked you will have to activate the phone for the unlock to take effect.

Insert the SIM card from the new carrier. If you get a signal at this step then you are done. If not, continue on.
If you have a jailbroken iPhone, open Settings, then General and then Reset. Select Reset Network Settings, and then restart the iPhone. Proceed to the next step.
Activate the iPhone. If you get asked to activate your iPhone, you can do this one of two ways:
Directly from the iPhone over a Wi-Fi connection
By plugging in your iPhone to a computer and activating through iTunes.


If you still cannot activate your iPhone, restore it to the latest version of iOS. If your phone is jailbroken, this will remove the jailbreak. After the restore process is complete, your phone should get service.

-----------------------------

I can't find the forum comment about using original SIM card and restoring several times before getting results.
The directions from Appld differ from what I was previously told. Fingers crossed.

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
MR_SMiT

ACE - Professor

 • 

1.7K Messages

5 years ago

@steveroche5: Try think. You are on T-Mobile. You have to be on AT&T's service for 60 days to have iPhone unlocked. Probraly, AT&T servers think the iPhone 5 is on your friends account, so your friend has to do unlock routine with AT&T and iTunes.Smiley Wink

Hardcore Pittsburgh Steelers Fan
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