Has AT&T Unlocked Your Off-Contract iPhone Yet? [Updated]

BY Rounak Jain

Published 8 Apr 2012

AT&T iPhone

It’s April 8th, and according to AT&T’s statement issued a couple of days back, the carrier plans to unlock users with off-contract AT&T iPhones starting today.

AT&T lists the following requirements in order for you to be eligible for an unlock:

  • Your account must be in good standing.
  • You should have completed the 24 months contract period, or paid an early termination fee, or upgraded under one of AT&T’s upgrade policies.

According to some readers that have commented on the announcement post, the awareness about this policy change isn’t high enough among AT&T’s customer service reps, so expect a few clueless responses from the other end of the line when you call AT&T for an unlock.

A few comments from readers:

lynda writes: I called AT&T this morning, just after they opened the customer support lines. First customer service rep said that absolutely no-way could they unlock an iPhone, then cut me off. Second customer service rep said the same, but then did a little more research and acknowledged that they now can unlock iPhones that satisfy the requirements. However, despite the rep being able to see that my phone qualifies, they do not have access to unlock codes.

Happy writes: Called AT&T earlier today told them I have three iPhones and that I do not have an AT&T account with them and asked if I would be able to get them unlocked on the 8th and she said as long as they were free of contracts and charges they would be unlocked free of charge:}:}:}:} About time.

One reader whose unlock request did get accepted by AT&T writes in the comments section:

I just called ATT a while ago and requested to unlock my iPhone 4S which I paid the full retail price for. The guy I spoke to asked for my name, email, phone and IMEI. Put the request in and gave me a request confirmation. He confirms I will get details of how to unlock my iPhone a week from the day I called which is today. So fingers crossed.

You can note your device’s IMEI number by navigating to Settings -> General -> About, or by connecting your iPhone to iTunes and checking it from there. (You have to click on the Phone number field twice to see the IMEI number.) Alternatively, you could get this number from the SIM tray.

iTunes IMEI

After AT&T processes your request, which seems to be a week from the time they accept your unlock request, you’d be given instructions to complete your unlock.

You can call AT&T on 1-800-CALL-ATT (1-800-225-5288) or contact them via the online chat feature here and hope that the customer service rep on the phone has been briefed about AT&T’s policy change on iPhone unlocks.

Update 1:

A forum member on iMore claims he has managed to get his AT&T iPhone unlocked:

Today, 4/8/12, I called AT&T to unlock my contract free 3GS. Took 30 minutes on T’s end to get the unlock code, and only 5 minutes to perform a backup and restore via iTunes. Interestingly enough, the phone number shows as NA in the iTunes screen. Same IMEI and ICCID if you click on the same spot.

Update 2:

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

While most readers who are eligible for the unlock are being told to wait for a week to get their unlock instructions, some readers have managed to get their iPhone unlocked. We’re not sure what’s the criteria.

Since it has been less than 24-months since the launch of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, the only way you will be able to get your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S unlocked would be if you pay the early termination fee.

Update 3:

Please note that you can also request for the unlock using the online chat feature on AT&T’s website. Use this link to use the chat feature.

Update 4:

Ideally, you should not be required to restore your iPhone, connecting your iPhone to iTunes once your IMEI has been added to the whitelist should be sufficient (Check out Update 8 for more details). So restore your iPhone only if connecting to iTunes after you get a confirmation from AT&T does not work.

Update 5:

If you’ve purchased a used AT&T iPhone, then it looks like AT&T is looking at the original owner’s history and checking if he or she has completed the terms of his contract, to verify if the used iPhone is eligible for the unlock. Hat tip to chpwn!

Update 6:

According to chpwn, the maximum number of iPhones that AT&T will unlock per account is apparently 5.

Update 7:

If you’re eligible for the unlock, then you should receive the following email from AT&T, which provides the instructions to complete the unlock (via MacRumors). As we’ve mentioned earlier, you should not be required to restore your iPhone, connecting your iPhone to iTunes once your IMEI has been added to the whitelist should be sufficient (Check out Update 8 for more details). So restore your iPhone only if connecting to iTunes does not work after you get the confirmation email from AT&T.

Update 8:

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to unlock your off-contract AT&T iPhone without losing the jailbreak.

Update 9:

Users without an off-contract AT&T iPhone can check out this method to unlock iPhone using SAM.

Don’t forget to let us know what response you get from AT&T in the comments below.