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Community Support

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2.7K Messages

Friday, November 24th, 2017 1:25 PM

AT&T Device Unlock Help - Solutions & FAQS

​Learn what you need to do to unlock your device and the requirements ​

Notice

If you are not the original owner of the device​ and are denied a device unlock, you will need to reach out to the original seller/ owner. AT&T is unable to assist. Read below for more information. 

To unlock your device, you need the right keys. By keys I mean, device eligibility. Unlocking your phone seems cut and dry but there are requirements it must meet first.  Below you learn which set of keys you'll need before your device can be unlocked. You'll also find information about why your request may have been denied (​​scroll toward the bottom of the page​​)​​.​

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​How to request a device unlock​

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​Check the status of your request​

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  1. ​Go to our ​​Device Unlock portal​​.​​ ​
  2. ​Select ​​Yes​​ if you are an AT&T Customer, ​​No​​ if you are ​​not an AT&T customer​​. ​​ ​
  3. ​Enter your telephone # if ​​you are​​ ​​an AT&T Customer​​. Enter your IMEI if you ​​are a non-AT&T Customer, Email confirmation will also be required.​​ ​
  4. ​Follow the prompts. ​
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  1. ​Click the link in your *Text message to check your status. If you are a **non-AT&T customer, click the link in your Email follow steps 2-4.​​ ​
  2. ​Go to our ​​Status Portal​​.​​ ​
  3. ​ Enter your IMEI Number & Request Number.​​ ​
  4. ​Follow the prompts.​
  5. ​ ​ ​

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​*AT&T customers will receive a unique Text that can be used to check the status of your unlock request without the need of entering your IMEI Number or Request Number.​

​**Non-AT&T customers will receive an email and must follow steps 2-4 above.​

​Things to know:​

  • ​The device unlock process usually takes minutes and we will let you know when your request is complete. For non-AT&T customers If prompted, please confirm your request in the email we send you.​
  • ​AT&T cannot unlock devices from other wireless carriers.​
  • ​Business customers can submit an unlock request through the same ​​Device Unlock portal​​.​
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​Email Confirmation ​

​In some instances, you may need to confirm an unlock request via email. In some instances, the email is routed to your primary email folder, in others, it may have been routed to spam. So, check spam and trash to make sure the email did not go there. ​

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​Website Troubleshooting​

​If you have an issue with the site, delete cache, cookies, and restart your browser. In some instances, you may need to use another browser. ​

​General Requirements for All Unlock Requests​

  • ​The device must be designed for use on, and locked to, the AT&T wireless network.​
  • ​A device bought at full price must wait 60 days from that purchase date to be eligible to unlock (Prepaid requires 6 months of service & Postpaid is 60 days from the date of purchase if paid in full)
  • ​It must not be reported lost or stolen​​.​
  • ​It’s not associated with fraudulent activity​​.​
  • All the device’s service commitments and installment plans are completed, and all early termination fees are paid in full.​
  • ​The device is not currently active on a different AT&T customer’s account.​​ ​
  • ​If you performed an early upgrade, you must wait the 14-day buyer’s remorse period before you can request to unlock your previous device.​​ ​
  • ​Visit our Unlock Support page for the ​​full requirement list​​. ​
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​ ​​eBay & Non-AT&T Purchases​
​Before purchasing a device from a non-AT&T authorized dealer or sites like eBay, make sure the seller performs the unlock request. In some instances, you will have to contact the seller to perform the request. If the device was purchased by another provider, they should have online resources to unlock the device. If you purchase the device and it is NOT unlocked AT&T will not be able to unlock the device.​​ ​​ ​

​​​Postpaid Customers​
  • ​ ​​If your device was purchased on an installment plan, your account must be active for at least 60 days, with no past due or unpaid balance.​ ​

​AT&T Prepaid​

  • ​ ​​The device must be active for at least six months of paid service.​
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​ ​​Non-AT&T Mobility Customers​
  • ​You currently do not or you’ve never had an AT&T wireless account and you meet the General Requirements for unlock requests.​ ​
​Deployed Military Personnel (Current AT&T Customers Only)​
  • Current AT&T customers who are active and deployed military personnel, and have provided deployment verification, need to meet all the General Requirements, except those related to the device's service commitments, installment plans and early termination fees.​​ ​
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​Have you submitted an unlock request that has been denied and you are unsure why?​

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​Chat with us​​ so we can look at your request further. (Scroll down to find the chat option)​

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​Important:​

​ ​​AT&T reserves the right to deny any unlock request that it concludes would result in an abuse of this policy or is part of an effort to defraud AT&T or its customers. AT&T further reserves the right to alter this unlocking policy at its discretion without advance notice.​
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​ChrisZ, AT&T Community Specialist​

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AT&T Help

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.

*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.

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1 Attachment

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

6 years ago


@JoeJohn wrote:

@GLIMMERMAN76 1. Buy a prepaid sim. 2. Take an iphone that is over 2 years old paid off and never been on a prepaid service but has not been unlocked by ATT. 3. Stick the new prepaid sim in that phone. 4. Send a text

message or use some data to verify its been activated. 5. Try to get the iphone unlocked.

 

 

you will recieve an error saying the phone was subsidized by att and wont be unlock eligible till after 6 months. 

 

Moral of the story: do not purchase devices or use sim cards from ATT its better to avoid their services all together. Plenty of carriers do not lock their phones (sprint & verizon) cdma

Iphones are backward compatable with gsm. ATT makes it difficult for you to recoup the cost of your device, preventing upgrades, turning your phone to a brick. ATT will keep this software bug inplace, hopefully someone files anticompetitive practice LS.


@JoeJohn

 

sprint does lock their phones ONLY verizon does not and that is changing this month....  I also bought a iphone x from apple inserted a att sim card in it..  It got locked...  Sent in for unlock code and phone was unlocked in about 6 minutes.  Prepaid is where the problems are.

Mentor

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50 Messages

6 years ago

@GLIMMERMAN76 ATT is where the problems are. I really don’t see how you contribute anything valuable to this community. This is my favorite from ATT.

 

You've tried to unlock this device too many times. Wait 30 days and then submit a new request.

 

Thanks for choosing us,
AT&T”
 
No reason, just i tried too many times which was once because their system failed as usual the first time. Phone unlocks work like 1 out of 8 times.

 

Mentor

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50 Messages

6 years ago

@GLIMMERMAN76 Are you actually saying its not a problem that they are locking a phone you paid for? This is anticompetitive. Do they like send you free tshirts or something? How can you defend these practices?

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

6 years ago


@JoeJohn wrote:

@GLIMMERMAN76 Are you actually saying its not a problem that they are locking a phone you paid for? This is anticompetitive. Do they like send you free tshirts or something? How can you defend these practices?


@JoeJohn

 

Actually I like device locking because its really suppose to stop theft...  Do I think ATT's unlocking system needs work yes and I have complained about it for years(prepaid should not lock a paid off device like it does).  Is it that big of problem that ATT locked a phone then I got it unlocked later?  Not really...  I have never had a problem unlocking a phone on any carrier...  If you don't like ATT's rules and policies you are free to leave and find another carrier you have to speak with your wallet...  I did when I moved to att from verizon years ago.

Mentor

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50 Messages

6 years ago

@GLIMMERMAN76 locking doesnt prevent theft it prevents using the phone on another carriers network. Icloud activation lock prevents theft. Regardless you can always load hacked software on the phone to get around this. It has no purpose but to force a consumer to use one carrier. ATT rules would be reasonable if they honored their policies but they don’t. This is nothing more than a scam in my opionion. For instance an iphone user travels abroad and uses an att prepaid simcard on business. Now when they get back home their phone is locked, they have to spend time on the phone with customer support trying to get them to honor their policy. This costs money, now you need staff entire teams of people to manually work around the software bugs in their system. There is a reason well managed companies like google and verizon would never do this. Because it increases operational overhead. By not honoring their policy through their unlock portal they loose any short term money they could have made in operational overhead due to supporting droves of angry customers that a phone they paid for not purchased from att was locked. If you think this has any positive effect on customer loyalty - long term outlook - seriously you need help. If you walk into an att store you just can feel how irritable the sales staff is because they are so uncompetitive. ATT just really has no other hope but to use anti competitive practices and govt lobbying to slow down their imminent demise. They have good coverage, they could compete, but they just cant seem to consistently provide anytype of service. They constantly have to have promotions to get people to join to make up for their complete lack of consistency in their pricing and service. The tech giants have stepped in, they are not happy. From a cash standpoint, they can compete with a monopoly. Its only a matter of time now untill the free market speaks. If they only listened to their customers they could probably prosper and be around forever. But the fact they are so desperate they have to sell two for one locked phones shows they lack any vision or real strategy.

Guru

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673 Messages

6 years ago

@JoeJohn Man don't talk about what it costs you. You've spent a lot of time here which certainly has cost you. And why? You can take your phone to another carrier and they'll buy you out of AT&T. I'm looking right now at T-Mobile as they can save me ~$1,000 a year. There are several locked phones that would go over if that move were made and they'd all be replaced with new S9+. Sprint is doing this and I'm sure Verizon is - I haven't checked -.Locking phones provides the carrier more advantages than it does the end user, no question. Unlocking phones shouldn't be as much of a pain as it is with AT&T. My understanding is that Verizon will be locking phones soon. They all have the right to do so with subsidized phones. But once a phone has been paid for in full, obligation met the phones should be unlocked and I believe it should be an automatic thing. Why would you spend so much time on this when you can easily walk away from AT&T to another carrier?

 

I was with Bell Atlantic from 1989-1994 and had to move over to Bell South Mobility because Bell Atlantic wasn't able to provide service ion the area any longer. Bell South Mobility changed names to Cingular who bought AT&T. At some point in the Bell South Mobility I changed phones and from a business paying for it to me paying for it. So I've been a customer for a long time, which means nothing to AT&T. I've had my times that I've been very upset with AT&T, I mean very upset. You seem to be over the edge upset. Honestly, you should take your phones to another network and not waste time on what has become a circular debate.

 

I'm looking to leave because of cost, not because of the things I'm upset about. Why? Because I know that eventually I'd get upset with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint etc

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

6 years ago


@JoeJohn wrote:

@GLIMMERMAN76 locking doesnt prevent theft it prevents using the phone on another carriers network. Icloud activation lock prevents theft. Regardless you can always load hacked software on the phone to get around this. It has no purpose but to force a consumer to use one carrier. ATT rules would be reasonable if they honored their policies but they don’t. This is nothing more than a scam in my opionion. For instance an iphone user travels abroad and uses an att prepaid simcard on business. Now when they get back home their phone is locked, they have to spend time on the phone with customer support trying to get them to honor their policy. This costs money, now you need staff entire teams of people to manually work around the software bugs in their system. There is a reason well managed companies like google and verizon would never do this. Because it increases operational overhead. By not honoring their policy through their unlock portal they loose any short term money they could have made in operational overhead due to supporting droves of angry customers that a phone they paid for not purchased from att was locked. If you think this has any positive effect on customer loyalty - long term outlook - seriously you need help. If you walk into an att store you just can feel how irritable the sales staff is because they are so uncompetitive. ATT just really has no other hope but to use anti competitive practices and govt lobbying to slow down their imminent demise. They have good coverage, they could compete, but they just cant seem to consistently provide anytype of service. They constantly have to have promotions to get people to join to make up for their complete lack of consistency in their pricing and service. The tech giants have stepped in, they are not happy. From a cash standpoint, they can compete with a monopoly. Its only a matter of time now untill the free market speaks. If they only listened to their customers they could probably prosper and be around forever. But the fact they are so desperate they have to sell two for one locked phones shows they lack any vision or real strategy.


@JoeJohn

 

what tech giants would that be that have stepped in?  Google?  Project Fi is just a testing ground for google...  I alpha and beta tested it...  Using sprint and Tmobile does them no favors in some areas....

 

The prepaid thing has to do with iPhones unlocked overseas android phones don't lock to ATT...  I know I use a ton of them for work...  Overseas iPhones also do not lock to ATT...  The problem with iPhones locking to ATT has to do with the universal model that best buy is selling or a phone that is ATT branded in the first place then it gets locked...  But if you unlock the phone BEFORE you insert a prepaid sim the phone stays unlocked.

 

 

Mentor

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50 Messages

6 years ago

@ODad i agree with you they have a right to lock subsidized phones because if they didnt they would be unable to profit. People simply wouldnt be able to get phones at a low upfront cost. But relocking phones, turning paid off phones into no longer eligible locked prepaid devices, and just simply telling people try again in 30 days with no reason is a complete abuse of their market position. I have two phones they still need to unlock. And ill be on here for years if thats what it takes. Its priciple that they are doing this to so many consumers. So the longer it takes them to unlock my phones, the more bad PR they will receive. If I have to start writing stories to tech bloggers and journalists outlining my unbelievable interractions I will. Justice must be served, and i know just about every att customer feels the same way. So at my own expense I will educate them with the proof of my interractions to bring this scam to light.

Contributor

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3 Messages

6 years ago

I don't understand why the system says that I have not been active for at least 6 months. I have had this S7 with the current AT&T sim since June 2016. I bought the AT&T sim card in Sept 2015. I even bought the phone at full price from Best Buy.


I have been mostly on the 25 cents/minute plan for the entire time (sometimes I switch to the $2 daily if I need data). Why would my account not register as being active for at least 6 months?

Every time I email AT&T, they tell me to submit an unlock request, which is promptly declined. Any suggestions on how I can unlock my phone? I can't afford another phone.

I have read through the requirements listed at https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1008728. I need assistance beyond what is written on that page.

My hunch is that AT&T either counts the 6 months consecutively (if you switch plans, the counter goes back to zero), or the 25 cents / minute plan isn't considered a qualification of 'active accounts'.

Please help,

Thanks!

Mentor

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50 Messages

6 years ago

This is a scam on ATTs part. If you have an old att phone lying around try to unlock it. It will send you back one of many errors, non of which actually show the true state of the phone which is paid off and unlock eligable. Stick a prepaid sim in it. Now all the sudden it becomes a prepaid device that cannot be unlocked. 

 

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