iPad 2 is Unlocked – Swap in a New Micro SIM Card and Go

Mar 26, 2011 - 26 Comments


We’ve received a few questions from those outside of the USA asking if the iPad 2 3G model from the USA will work in their home country. The answer is generally yes, assuming your local cell provider is a GSM compatible network and that you have a micro-SIM card that will fit into the iPad 2 3G (you can also carefully cut down normal SIMs to fit, see link at the bottom of article).

This is also great news for international travelers, since you can just swap in a new sim in a new country and you’ll be online. Of course just because you can use elsewhere doesn’t solve the problem of actually finding an iPad 2 in stock somewhere, and you must buy the 3G AT&T model which is one of the most popular versions.

Unlocked iPad 2 works in the USA with T-Mobile
The iPad 2 being sold unlocked is not just useful to those outside of the USA though, being unlocked means the device can also be used with T-Mobile in the United States. This is just a matter of plugging in a T-Mobile compatible micro-SIM with a data plan and activating it on the TMO network. That said, the number of users activating iPad 2’s on US Tmobile is probably small since the data plan that AT&T offers with the 3G model is a pay-as-you-go plan.

What about the iPad 2 CDMA model?
As of now, the CDMA iPad 2 is not unlocked. It’s possible that someone will figure out how to do this in the future like Cricket and ChinaTelecom have with the CDMA iPhone 4, but for now you should get an iPad 2 3G model if you want to use it outside of the USA on a cellular network.

What’s the deal with locked hardware anyway?
Unlocked cell hardware is somewhat unusual in the United States, which goes partially to explain the popularity of the jailbreak and unlock movements, and those who setup iPhones as pay-go phones. Carriers here typically like to lock devices to their network to prevent people from leaving their service with the same hardware. The thought goes that since you’d have to buy a new phone for a new network, you’re more likely to stay on your existing one. The plus side to this is the locked carrier will usually subsidize the hardware price in the USA, which is why you can get a new iPhone for $199 with a 2 year contract. Carrier unlocking is rare elsewhere in the world, with many countries in Asia, the EU, and elsewhere in North America allowing users to go to whatever network they want.

If you want to cut down a normal SIM card to be a Micro-SIM, here’s a nice photo guide that shows how to do this with a meat-cleaver.


Related articles:

Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad


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  1. shashank says:

    i currnetlly own an ipad 2 .but when i put a micro sim it shows that no sim is installed.plz help me

  2. MacNation says:

    My iPad I use every day is Locked
    Only at Apple, if I forgot my password to any website in the world there is a way to retrieve it BUT not with your IOS device. No your going to delete all I have purchased and expect me to spend 6 hours waiting for over 50gb of stuff to restore at a USB snails pace… Brilliant… listen I dont know why the code I use to use no longer works, I use it eevry day and some genius is going to say well you forgot it but I still know my postcode so NO I did not forget it. I think this is got to be the stupidest system every devised. If your bank did this to you would walk.

  3. Oscar says:

    Ipad2 wifi+3G ATT version is NOT locked to ATT carrier.
    It should be named iPad2 wifi+3G GSM version instead.

    Basically 2 version:

    wifi + 3G GSM = would worldwide with GSM service

    wifi +3G CDMA = only work in USA

    Hope that help

  4. vernalisa palo says:

    Good day…i bought yesterday ipad2 wifi which i really don’t know that it’s not possible for navigating with out simcard or broadband;we dnt have any internet lines on my house and thats why i need to get another ipad2 wifi+3g.is that possibile to swap it on….even we add some box..thank you

  5. Simon says:

    Will my iPad 2 remain unlocked even if I upgrade the firmware? I am using the iPad for the first time but I have unlocked iPhones in the past and the procedure needs to be done after every iPhone firmware upgrade. I’m hoping this is not so for the iPad’s?



  7. Myrna says:

    I have an iPad 2 wifi 3G , 32gb. I bought it online at walmart
    And I found out that there is no micro simcard slot. Seems useless if there’s no slot for simcard. Specially I’m from the Philippines
    I really need the one with slot. Is there any possible to put a micro simcard slot on my iPad 2?

    • Oscar says:

      iPad2 with wifi only will not have SIM card Slot, period.
      Ipad2 wifi+3G have 2 version: Verizon version will not have SIM slot as it does not require a SIM card and it only work in USA.
      The ATT version of iPad2 wifi+3G will HAVE a SIM slot and will work any country that have GSM 3G service.


  8. David N. says:

    I have an ipad1 and someone ask me whether my ipad is unlocked, how do i verify that? if suppose my ipad it not unlock, how do i unlock it? I have ipad1 64GB 3G with AT&T.

  9. Steven says:

    Can I use the ipad 2 in india without unlocking ?

  10. Joji says:


    I have iPad 2 and have already inserted a microsim inside. The network provider has already set up internet settings on it but for some reason I can’t activate the internet. When I open safari, it says, no cellular data plan activated. I tried a lot but it doesn’t work. Can anyone help with this? iPad is useless if you can’t access internet. “don’t have wifi”.


  11. Sternburg says:

    could anyone please inform me wether the IPAD version-2 with 3G is really locked or unlocked? Could it be used with another country’s service provider’s micro SIM card the Verizone or / and A&t?

  12. Layi Amokeodo says:

    I have iPad one , to day I got my ipad2 from USA (wifi 3G with 32GB) but no sim card slot. Am living in Nigeriamy ipad1 had sim slot do I can work on net . What will I do ? Thanks

  13. SG says:

    I have an Ipad 1 and 2 , both 3g, Both using AT&T
    Qusyio I hve is… Will be taveling to t Bahamas, since these are unlocked, can I take out the sim card and insert a “local” sim card so utulize local GSM and charge.
    Guess I could try it and if it does not work I could always sign up for the International Pan through AT&T.

    Same question would apply for my Blackberry.

    Any ideas or commets?

  14. 878 says:

    so how come the apple website says “The iPad you choose is configured to work only with one carrier”?

  15. qka says:

    Cricket uses Sprint’s network, roams on Verizon’s

  16. Parakeet says:

    It would be more accurate to say that all iPad 2 GSM models are unlocked, regardless of where they are sold.

    • Gaurav says:

      But if we go onto any apple site of any country, they have carriers shown above the 3g models?? What does that mean??
      I want an ipad 2 3g 16gb in india, whrer it is not being sold currently but thinking of getting one from uk or denmark..Please advice me what to do?? Will i be able to run 3g here??

      • Parakeet says:

        I don’t know this for sure but I think they are all unlocked, at least in the USA they are and the US is the most strict with locking. Contact EU resellers they will let you know, I would guess they are all unlocked too since the EU is like states.

        • Gaurav says:

          But i contacted customer care in the US..and the representative said the ipad 2 wont work apart from AT&T or Verizon…I can order one from US too…But how do i tell my Uncle in US how to purchase the GSM version as he is not well versed with Gadget lingo

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