Buying an iPhone 4S Without a Contract Makes it Unlocked

Oct 25, 2011 - 96 Comments

Apple iPhone 4S in white

Anyone can buy an unlocked iPhone 4S right now if you are willing to pay the full price of the device, meaning the lower carrier subsidized contract 4S prices do not apply. The unlock applies to both the GSM and CDMA carriers currently being sold, available at the following price points:

  • iPhone 4S 16 GB – $649
  • iPhone 4S 32 GB – $749
  • iPhone 4S 64 GB – $849

The iPhone 4S GSM SIM card slot is unlocked when the full retail price is paid at an Apple Store. In the case of the CDMA carriers selling the device like US carriers Sprint and Verizon, the Micro SIM card slot is also unlocked and will support other GSM carriers. The carrier unlock allows the iPhone to be used on another US carrier like T-Mobile, or allows for cheap roaming abroad with the purchase of a local SIM card, with the other benefit being that you are not tied to a contract with any single US cell provider.

You can verify the unlock immediately when the iPhone 4S is first connected to iTunes, where the following message is displayed:

unlocked iPhone 4S message in iTunes

Initial reports indicated the unlocked 4S would be sold in November, which may suggest a change in policy at some point when paying the full out-of-contract price.

Buying an unlocked iPhone at full price is typical outside of the USA, but in the USA was somewhat of an anomaly until earlier this year when Apple started selling the iPhone 4 unlocked at the full retail price. That has since translated to the iPhone 4S, and presumably will carry on with future iPhone releases as well.


Related articles:

Posted by: Matt Chan in iPhone, News


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  1. Shah Jee says:

    sorry network locked iphones 4s.

  2. Shah Jee says:

    i want to buy hundreds of AT&T blocked mobiles iphones 4s… so wats the prices in US and who can provide me?

  3. AJ says:

    I’m going to buy an unlocked iphone in the next month and I have a question. I live outside the US and I want the iphone to work on carrier in my country, but I will stay a few weeks in the US after buying the iphone. If I buy it with no contract from the Apple Store and then activate it with a prepaid plan from any US carrier, will it still be unlocked to use in my country?

  4. santhosh says:

    what happens if i will bring iphone 4s contract phone from usa to india. wha happens to contract.

  5. Ethan says:

    I would like to buy an unlocked iphone 4S from the Apple store which i would like to use with my Orange plan when I am in Israel and with my AT&T plan when I am in the US. Will I be able to interchange the micor sim cards using the same phone in both places? This is more a matter of convenience than cost as I am already paying for a plan in both countries.

  6. MOE says:


    • Satish says:

      MOE says:

      This is Apple’s discount structure for the Officially Unlocked iPhone 4s:

      Quantity Discount%
      1 0
      2 5
      3 10
      4 15
      5 20
      6 25
      7 30
      8 35
      9 40
      10 45
      11 50
      12 55
      13 60
      14 65
      15 70
      16 75
      17 80
      18 85
      19 90
      20 95
      21 100
      30 145
      40 195
      50 245
      100 495

      So basically, once you buy more than 21 unlocked iPhone 4s ‘s, Apple starts paying YOU. If you buy 100 iPhone 4s ‘s, they will pay you more than 5 times what you paid them. I am not sure if US Customs or TSA will give you trouble taking them out of the country in big quantities. You might want to take one on each trip.

  7. Michael in Maine says:

    I bought a full-priced ($850) unlocked iPhone 4S in November, last week, due to some problems with the WiFi to 3G switching (or non-switching) Apple offered to replace it with a new one. I made it clear that my original phone was unlocked. After some uncertainty on the part of the “Genius” he set me up on a new iPhone 4S, but I have not way of verifying my new iPhone is truly unlocked. I’m leaving for Europe in a couple of months and plan on using a different SÏM while there. Any suggestions?


    • Marci says:

      Hi you could try inserting a sim card from a different US company. If it works I would guess that your phone is unlocked.
      Good Luck

  8. Valeriane says:

    Hey guys,

    Sorry to bother you again with the same topic but I’m about to buy me an unlocked iphone 4S and I’d like to be as sure as possible that my iphone will work in the US but also in France.
    I’m doing an internship in Miami so for several months I’ll be using the iphone 4S with a T-Mobile 4G prepaid plan, I don’t mind if the 4G doesn’t work I just need 3G and network to call and text. Can you assure me that the unlocked iphone will work with T-Mobile? For now, I have a “normal” simcard, if I go to a T-Mobile store to change my sim card into a microsim card will they charge something?

    Back in France, I’ll be using my Iphone with an Orange sim card do you think that it will work? Will I have any problem with the phone excepting the problems I can have with the carrier?

    Thank you very much

  9. Bertha says:

    When you said : “Connecting to your computer/I tunes”. Do you mean that you plug your phone to your computer to active it?

  10. Steve says:

    That’s correct,
    the instructions above were for November 2011 when 4S were not yet sold unlocked.

    • Ben says:

      Will your instructions work with a iphone3g unlocked..I want to use it on a prepaid Tmobile plan..
      Apple iPhone 3G – 8GB – Black (Unlocked) Smartphone

  11. […] you buy an iPhone 4S off-contract from Apple, the phone comes unlocked. This means the iPhone can be used on any compatible GSM […]

  12. […] all off-contract iPhone 4S models have been sold unlocked anyway. stLight.options({ […]

  13. Marcelo says:

    One detail that I’ve noticed:
    You should enable this: Settings -> General -> Network -> Cellular Data.

    Sometimes I turn it off, and for some reason, I turn off my IPhone 4S. When it wakes up, nothing works!

    My carrier needs to contact the mobile through 3G / EDGE / whatever so it can work properly.

    So, if you’re still trying to activate your phone to your local carrier, put the AT&T SIM chip back, turn that option on, turn off your Iphone and start the activation process again.

  14. Marcelo says:

    Daniel / João

    I had the same trouble that you’re experiencing now.

    Try the steps I mentioned.

    Remember not to turn on your IPhone before connecting to your computer / ITunes . It will start automatically. And be patient!

    By the way:
    Thank you, Steve! It was your post that guided me.

  15. Steve says:

    looks like for now, the 4S is not jailbroken.
    So patience is a virtue…

  16. Steve says:

    For locked iPhones, you may try to jailbreak it following
    Then sooner or later, ultraSn0W (available from Cydia) may unlock the baseband, meaning you will be able to use any sim card.
    But I don’t know when and if this will be possible.
    In the meantime, do not upgrade your iphone to iOS 5.0.2, etc… stay with your current system, and ultraSn0w may be the solution one day.

  17. patricia says:

    If I purchase the factory unlock iphone 4s from apple store, will i be able to use it in my country nigeria with my local gsm carrier.

  18. Joao says:

    Hi, I’ve activated my Iphone using the AT&T SIM card and now it doesn’t work with my carrier.. I live abroad (Brazil)… does anyone know what should I do pls?? Help me! Steve? Marcelo?

    Best Regards


  19. Luis says:

    I purchased a iPhone 4s factory sealed off ebay….even though it said its for at&t…will i be able to follow Steve’s process and get it unlocked?… After all the phone is it has never been activated..What should i do!!!

  20. Marcelo says:

    I’ve bought an Off Contract AT&T IPhone 4S one week ago and I hade trouble trying to active it. Then I saw the post from Steve and remade my steps:
    0 – Ensure you have wifi and internet access.
    1 – Turn IPhone off
    2 – Remove the At&T sim card
    3 – Plug your carrier sim card
    4 – Launch ITunes
    5 – Connect your IPhone
    6 – The ITunes will synchronize your phone
    7 – Wait until the activation process begin

    Voilá! It worked for me.

    Now I’m using my IPhone 4S with my Claro sim card (Brasil)

    • Antonio says:

      I followed this steps and it worked. Got the “your iphone has been unlocked” message.

      I’m using it with a Telcel sim card (Mexico)

  21. Steve says:

    No, you can’t use Spring or Verizon.
    Apple is clear about that. Unlocked phones are only to be used with GSM operators. The CDMA ones are unfortunatelly not working.

    Besides, today, for those of you who want an officially unlocked 4S, you can order it from the Apple Store directly.
    There is no more need to buy an AT&T one by reserving it, unless you’re in a hurry and can’t wait the delay to receive it.

  22. brandt00 says:

    I am interested in purchasing an unlocked iPhone 4s. I have read al of the comments and procedures. If I purchase one from the Apple store, request an at&t one, then go home, connect to itunes, then I could use it on Sprint service? This us all new to me. Do I ask Sprint for a sim card? Is the phone really worth almost $900? I may leave Sprint when my contract is up to go to Verizon, but I don’t want to be in another 2 year contract with Sprint. I don’t do overseas travelling, so do I need an unlocked one? Any help Will be great.

  23. Andrew says:

    Is this true for Sprint phones still unopened?

  24. Mike says:

    Hello everyone, I purchased a 32gb iphone 4s at the apple store on fifth avenue (reserved it on Nov 24th and picked up on Nov 25th). I asked for the At&t “device only” and they told me it was ok, but that I would have been locked to At&t no matter what I did. Just returned home today (I live in Italy), i put my Vodafone Italy microsim in the phone before turning it on e then connected the device to itunes. After a few seconds the famous message showed up (in italian of course) iphone unlocked!
    I did everything like our friend steve told us, it works!!!

  25. Steve says:

    Not at all.
    There are two things:
    1- factory unlocked from Apple Store, but this currently takes 2 weeks to be delivered

    2- off contract AT&T phones reserved (not ordered) so you have them the day after. That’s when you’re in a hurry.

  26. Junaid says:

    Think you peoples are mixing two thing in each other:

    one is off contract AT&T IPhone 4S
    other is Carrier Unlock IPhone 4S from Apple store

    Am I right?

  27. Steve says:

    The goal is to get an AT&T phone, reserve it and get it from the store. No contract.

    DO NOT TURN IT ON as I mentioned earlier.
    Remove the AT&T card, insert a foreign one, turn it on, don’t go through the iPhone settings, connect it to iTunes, this will unlock it.

    If you don’t follow exactly this procedure, it’s lost.
    If you turn it on with the AT&T card, it won’t work.
    Read instructions…

    For the other question: will an iOS update keep the unlock? Yes, I did unlock it under 5.0 and then updated to 5.0.1 and am now in Switzerland with a swiss operator, everything’s fine.

  28. Eddie says:

    So I was only able to reserve a 16gb iPhone 4S online with Sprint instead of AT&T… If I go tomorrow and pay full price and get it ‘unlocked’, will I be able to use it with any GSM carrier in the states?

  29. Mari says:

    Hi, I got an iPhone no-contract AT&T, but I activated by my iPhone itself with the SIM from my country. I didn’t see any message saying my iPhone was unlocked. How could I know that it is really Unlocked? I can use my phone on my carrier and AT&T in roaming and after a time, the phone shows “invalid SIM”. I turn off and turn on and it starts to work again on my own carrier. How I know it is unlocked? Why some times I got “SIM Failure”?

  30. selena says:

    My uncle purchased a full price iphone 4S from AT&T store without contacts. As they told him the phone is automatically unlocked and he will be able to use it when traveling to other countries. He went to vietnam and tried to insert a local sim card and it did not work. He then call the AT&T store, where he purchased his phone, the man said he will contact the Apple Store and ask for a code number to unlock the phone then email my uncle back. It’s been 2 weeks and he still have not receive any messages from them. He regretted that he didn’t buy the unlocked iphone straight from Apple Store.

  31. Thuy says:

    I also wanted to ask if it becomes locked when/if it gets a iOS update? Anyone knows?

    • Matt says:

      No, if you buy an iPhone unlocked it stays unlocked forever.

      • Thuy says:

        Thanks for your reply, I meant if I buy the off contract at&t one as people have talked about here. Then get it unlocked using another sim (I have a simple mobile and also an international sim, but not a micro sim). What if you later updates it, will it still stay unlocked! Cause I dont want to order it online and wait weeks for it! Thanks

  32. Jose says:

    If I want to purchase the unlocked phone but port my existing cell phone number over to the iPhone, how would I do that? I’m currently using a Motorola Droid on Verizon network but am out of contract and want to go to the 4s. Thanks!

  33. Jake says:

    Steve: To complete the you should see if you can still use it on AT&T as well and not lose you unlocked GSM status.

    I want one of these I may even pay full price, but I don’t want to buy an unlocked phone that has support for CDMA, but it can’t be used because I require unlocked GSM as well.

  34. Guilherme says:

    Hi! Some unlocked 4s already available for Sale online!!! But 1 to 2 weeks delivery.

    • ray b says:


      im from panama and do business in the USA. I have a few connections in the electronics field and can get you iphone 3 – 4s unlocked How much are you guys paying for it out there right now?

      im traveling there over the weekend so if you can let me know we can set something up.

  35. Steve says:

    follow up on my 4S.
    It did work.

    So for those of you tempted:
    1- try to obtain a 4S for AT&T in an Apple Store only, not at an AT&T store. I got mine by reserving it at 9pm on the Apple website, to be picked up the day after

    2- Picked it up at the Store, said it was for my wife and she would decide later which AT&T plan she’ll get. Thay replied “no proplem, no contract yet” and charged me $849 for the 64Gb (hey! No taxes here in Oregon, how cool)

    4- Remove the AT&T sim card
    5- Plug in your mirco-Sim card and now turn it on
    6- Do not go any further in the setup process on the iPhone itself
    7- Plug it in to your PC or Mac and launch iTunes
    That’s how I got the “it’s unlocked” screen described in this article
    8- Continue setup in iTunes. Once done, continue with the setup on the iPhone

    That should be it.

    Just tried with a Sunrise carrier (Switzerland) and it worked ok.
    Went to the local T-Mobile store to get a micro-Sim for my US prepaid plan, they gave it to me free, tested it in the store, and activated it. Now it works fine with T-Mobile as well.

    How cool is that.

    Again, I think that the main difficulty here is to actually get an iPhone from the Apple Store. Besides that, it’s a piece of cake.

    • Thuy says:

      Hey, i was wondering if you know if this would work with a simple mobile sim card or a h2o wireless sim card. If not then where do i get a cheap t-mobile sim card just to unlock it! Thanks

  36. Steve says:

    I was miraculously able to reserve one 64Gb tonight on the web site, and it’s available tomorrow at the Apple Store 10am.
    I’ll see whether they let me leave with it, without a contract.
    If yes, then I’ll see whether this works or not with a different sim card.
    I’ll keep you posted.

    By the way Gustavo, no, $1400 for a 4S doesn’t seem like a fair price, the most expensive one, the 64Gb is $849 in the US.
    $849 in Switzerland and €849 in Europe (about $1000)

  37. Gustavo Gutierrez says:

    The unlocked iphone 4s is being sold in Panama for $1400.00s this a fair price?

  38. Steve says:

    I went back and picked another guy and pretended I wanted an iPhone without contract for my wife, since I didn’t know which carrier she wanted.
    After telling me it was better to try to find out which one she wanted, he admitted that the only way to go would be to buy the AT&T one (not the Sprint or Verizon one) and then select the carrier online via iTunes. He said “that’s kind of a workaround for the unlocked version”.
    But the problem is that they don’t have them in stores and you have to try at 9pm on the web site… and if I’m correct the web site brings you to the contract selection.

    But he said that the AT&T off contract is an unlocked one (a workaround in the meantime).

  39. Guilherme says:

    They told they would sell it out of contract?

  40. Steve says:

    I went to the AppleStore in Portland, OR this afternoon in order to ask for a off-contract phone.
    The guy told me that even though it was out of contract it would still be locked to AT&T.
    I showed him this web page on my current 3GS and he said that “people are getting confused about what unlocked means, yes it’s unlocked for AT&T”.
    Then I said that if you insert a T-Mobile Sim card, it would work and he told me that “yeah, but you will pay full roaming charges”.
    This is BS to me. I need an unlocked one before Nov 15 so I’m ready to get one if the unlock is confirmed. I will use it with T-Mobile in the US and Sunrise in Switzerland.

    If I get one without contratc and i notice it doesn’t work with both sim cards (I have them with me here in Portland), can I return the phone?

    Thanks for any help

  41. Hope says:

    I found this article very interesting. I really want an iPhone, preferably 4S, but I know I cannot afford the contract at this time. I currently have an extremely old and crappy (but cheap!) phone, and do not have any contract. Does it make sense to ask for an iPhone for Christmas, and use it as an iPod Touch until I feel I can afford a contract? Or would I be better off asking for an iPad and buying my own data plan?

  42. m says:

    winnie pooh says:
    October 31, 2011 at 8:50 am
    How did you guys get the no contract/unlocked 4s? I researved one on line and went to store to pickup yesterday. The staff insisted they can not sell my a no contract one. I was told all 4s have to be sold with contract and be activated IN STORE. I even talked to the manager.
    Did they BS me, or this is a new apple policy, or you guys are lucky?

    YES < they BS'ed you. they tried to do that to me, but i told them no way. Next time say its a gift for someone else thats why you're buying non contract full price. and which store was this? maybe you and i went to the same store.

    btw, does anyone know when the official factory unlocked is being released?

    • Caligirl says:

      I somehow ended up on this site and read your post. If not too late, official AT&T factory unlock started approximately 04-01-12. I had an old iPhone unlocked and now use it with T-Mobile.

  43. rhufs says:

    What is CDMA stand for? how and what to do on smart phones? particularly in iPhone 4S. thanks..

  44. Lindsay says:

    I just bought a 4S in the Verizon store with a contract, but I deactivated my contract when I left because I actually live in France and just happen to retain my old US number for when I am there. I want to unlock my phone so I can connect it to my French account when I am here, and my US account when I am there, but I don’t know how to unlock it…I use Orange in France.

    Any help would be great!

  45. Rob says:

    How can i know for sure if my iPhone 4S is factory unlocked, i got it under contract from my carrier in a two-year contract. I was messing around and i discover that if a place another carrier SIM card, it will work perfectly. all functions 3G, SMS/MMS, Voice and Data.

    Is there a way i can find out if my iPhone is factory unlocked? Or my carrier will locked in a future??


  46. nebo1ss says:

    Those of you buying it at Target, Walmart or ATT it will not work. You must buy it off contract at an Apple store. Only the ones from Apple directly will be unlocked at checkout.

    • GAbe says:

      I today tried a method that’s been going around on YouTube. You get an at&t sim and keep swapping sim card from AT&T and a pay as you go tmobile mini sim. I did get the tmobile logo up in the left corner of the phone and it went away. The funny thing of it is I got a text message from my friend on my iPhone. I put my tmobile sim back in my g1 and I received the message again. So. Something is up. This iPhone 4s was purchased at a att store. I came across this phone on a trade. I had a ipad2 I wanted to get rid of. So I got this iPhone 4s on a trade. Anyways my point is this phone can be used being bought from a att store It worked that one minute then it dropped.

    • Ana says:

      Too late, I bought it at Target and dosne’t work in south america :(

  47. Skylar says:

    Guys, this may have been true at first for CDMA phones but I confirmed today it does not work for a “Verizon” phone bought at the Apple Store.

    I went through the process an had a lot of help from my sales rep as well as a “green badge” (mobile specialists on the Apple sales floor). They were curious about this article and agreed to go through with selling me a Verizon phone at full price then testing my Orange France and T Mobile SIMs.

    After the sale we activated it via wifi (PC Free). The Orange France sim worked right away and I got two SMSs from France and a data signal (roaming on AT&T). BUT, we then put in the tmobile sim and a funny thing happened. The iPhone rebooted to activation mode as soon as the tmobile signal was found. It tried to activate with Apple via Wifi (later attempts would even use the tmobile cell data). After talking to Apple the phone went into a SIM lock down mode. It said the SIM was not supported based on carrier.

    As soon as I took the tmobile sim out the phone jumped back to the home screen, essentially activated w/o a cell signal. Putting the Orange sim back in worked. Putting Tmobile back in went to lockdown again. So what is going on?

    As I tried the sims the Green Badge was curious that the orange card worked and went to check my status via Apple’s system. He came back with a screen verifying the phone was NOT unlocked. It had additional info about CDMA locked to Verizon and GSM in some kind of VF unlock (and a few letters I don’t remember). He didn’t know what this meant so he got on the phone with a mobile genius to interpret the unlock status. The answer was that this was a “temporary unlock” status. No more details on that but the key as that as far as iOS and iTunes are concerned the phone is locked and the GSM is in some kind of conditional unlock for non-US SIMs. T Mobile and AT&T will not work.

    So what’s with the Orange card working and not the US cards? Well the official Verizion policy is that when they unlock GSM they still prevent US sims from working. Additionally, a Verizion sales rep told me that existing customers (accounts older than 90 days, not new customers) will have the phone gsm “unlocked” as soon as they buy. So my guess is the temporary gSM unlock is for existing customers and the international lock status could change after activating the phone on Verizon’s network. So it seems things are more or less working as Verizion and Apple said they would. No idea how long a new Verizion full-price phone would work internationally w/o being activated on Verizion but US-carrier lockout was a deal breaker for me. Also the official lock status in Apples system was not a good sign for future freedom.

    So what’s up with you guys having reports of t mobile cards working in CDMA iPhones? T Mobile had an answer w/o me asking. When I went to get my MicroSIM they asked if my iPhone 4s was in the “first batch.” I asked why that mattered and she answered that evidently the first batch of 4ses were unlocked. They are in Sf near Union Square and everyone there was a tourist buying Pre-paid cards for their iPhones. They said they had seen lots of US iPhones work without a hitch – ie, being unlocked, but only in the “first batch.” so it could be that this story was written about phones in the first batch.

    Regardless, this article needs a followup because I can testify it no longer works for Verizion phones bought full-price.

  48. winnie pooh says:

    How did you guys get the no contract/unlocked 4s? I researved one on line and went to store to pickup yesterday. The staff insisted they can not sell my a no contract one. I was told all 4s have to be sold with contract and be activated IN STORE. I even talked to the manager.
    Did they BS me, or this is a new apple policy, or you guys are lucky?

    • GAbe says:

      I have a AT&T iPhone 4s. And I don’t have a contract with AT&T. I use tmobile I got a mini sim and tried to use tmobile service and it didn’t work. I have read pages of people saying you can unlock. And that only apple can unlock it. Let’s just say I own the phone and I’m done with at&t. And I want to take this phone to another Carrier it’s suppose to be a world phone. And apple made this phone. And it was sold thru at&t. I need to get this phone unlocked It’s annoying.

    • m says:

      YES < they BS'ed you. they tried to do that to me, but i told them no way. Next time say its a gift for someone else thats why you're buying non contract full price. and which store was this? maybe you and i went to the same store.

  49. Irax says:

    I bought an iPhone 4s contract free from AT&T. When apple releases software update and if I update. Is there any chance of getting locked?

  50. yoshi says:

    So if I have sprint and I’m not due for an upgrade untill 2013. Is it worth it to buy the iphone 4s at full price??

  51. PashaPasha says:

    Guys, so if i buy a new iPhone 4S AT&T off-contract, and if put in before the first turn on my t-mobile sim-card, will it work?

  52. GAbe says:

    Funny I bought a AT&T iPhone4s on a trade for a iPad2 and I tried a tmobile mini sim and it didn’t work

    • Matt says:

      You have to pay the full out of contract price, the contract price isn’t unlocked.

      • GAbe says:

        I don’t understand. I own the phone now. I hear all kinds of story’s I’m calling apple in the morning. I called AT&T if I wanna use there service I got to do two year contract and pay a deposits of some crazy amount. I’m sure apple can unlock this phone.

  53. Ana says:

    Hi.. I bought an unlocked 4S last week at Target, took it to south america and doesn’t work, any ideas?

    • Matt says:

      Make sure you’re using a compatible carrier and 3G micro sim card

      • Ana says:

        thanks!, that’s what I did yesterday I went to the main office of my carrier (that they sell iphones but not the 4S as it is n ot in the country yet) and not matter what they try to the SIM (they did me a new one) it doesn’t work, so be carefull cause even it is no contract it does not work always!

  54. Shane says:

    Hi. I live in Canada, and im looking to buy an Iphone 4S. If i buy an on-contract with AT&T from, and put my rogers Pay-As-You-Go SIM card, would the phone work, and would i be charged a monthly plan fee from AT&T?

    • Matt says:

      I don’t think you can get an AT&T contract without being a US citizen due to the SS# requirement, your best bet is to buy an unlocked iphone out of contract and those should be sold in Canada

  55. icrot says:

    i wish they unlocked the CDMA network too. can anyone confirm this ? when it says an UNLOCKED world-phone, suppose to we, customer, have freedom to use it on any network (GSM/CDMA) on our choice.
    but this don’t justify network incompatibilty, specially CDMA networks.

  56. Hare Krshn says:

    After purchasing this iphone legally unlocked version, is unlocking required if IOS is updated to latest?

  57. kevin says:

    I have an Iphone 3 and service with att, unlimited data. if I buy an unlocked 4s do I just plug in the sim out of the old phone?

  58. Ramzi says:

    The trick worked for me too.
    My European simcard was accepted without a hassle and started roaming (with AT&T but I think that was just coincidence), I then went to the T-mobile store to shrink my sim card to micro-sim size.
    You should’ve seen the grin on the T-mobile guy’s face when I walked in with a half-open iPhone 4S box asking for a sim card cutter and a pin.

    I’ve instantly had full bars with my T-mobile sim card and I had a successful iCloud restore from my iPhone 4 that got stolen last week (&^$#%#), as soon as all the apps are done syncing (that’s EDGE for you) I’ll start annoying Siri.

    The grinning T-mobile dude advised me not to update iOS but I really don’t think that Apple would push a new lock to an iPhone that has just been unlocked by Apple itself. Any thoughts on that?

    If there’s any risk, I’m probably just gonna switch for an unlocked one once they come out in November under the pretext that I got a white one temporarily because there weren’t any black ones in store (which was actually true).

    • Monica says:

      Are you able to exchange the iPhone even though you have already use them? I thought that when you want to exchange/refund, it has to be in an unopened box? Please let me know. Thank you.

  59. icebreaker says:

    “Buying an iPhone 4S Without a Contract Makes it Unlocked” Ehh…duhh, this is always the case in Europe -_-

  60. adem says:

    i didn’t there were two models of the iPhone 4s. i thought the iPhone 4s had both CDMA and GSM antenna, and what about the sim card slot, are they different on both phones?

    • Matt says:

      You are right, they are just sold on different carriers in the USA and the GSM sim slot is locked on AT&T unless paid in full. Sprint and Verizon may lock theirs in time as well. The article has been clarified.

  61. pj says:

    the sprint store tells me the same as what this article says, the micro-SIM is unlocked internationally…

    but when I called sprint’s international services….they tell me it is NOT unlocked, and it’ll be a while before sprint will start unlocking the 4S for customers in “good standing”.

    please look into this more and post a follow up article. I am thoroughly confused.

  62. hpux735 says:

    That’s awesome. The only thing that would make it better is if it became unlocked when your contract expired! :)

  63. Will says:

    And here in the US I’ve yet to find any plans that are less expensive than the contracted plans. Carriers still want to know what phone you’re using or they will know as soon as you’re using it. So definitely not sure what the advantage is. I’m out of contract with AT&T, but for the life of me do you think monthly price goes down…not one cent.

    • vdiv says:

      I am not sure that AT&T knows what phone I am using. My last two phones have been purchased separately and are unlocked. When I call customer service they ask me if I am still using a phone that is 5 years old it makes me laugh. I tell them no.

  64. Chris says:

    I can confirm this with a Sprint and AT&T iPhone 4S, just go into an Apple Store and ask to buy either with no contract. They don’t acknowledge it being unlocked in the store, but it is. I think the reason they aren’t acknowledging this right now is to prevent people buying and reselling them abroad. That was half of why it was so hard to get the iPhone 4 when it came out, they were being snatched up by campers to ship to Asia and the middle east and resell for $1000-$1500 a pop.

    Is that worth $650 though? If you travel or live in a country where you can’t buy a subsidy, yes, otherwise I’m not so sure about that. Most of us are stuck with our carriers for years anyway, and I still have an old unlimited plan that I’m not about to give up.

    • Rob says:

      Hi Chris, i was looking all over the web for someone to confirm this… so go to apple, ask for a AT&T iphone 4s with NO contract, $650 (plus tax?) go home, take the at&t sim out? insert the carrier of your choice, set it up and enjoy?

      I live in central america, i want to buy one and of course it has to be unlocked, FACTORY unlocked… so i want a friend of mine to go to the apple store and do the trick… it would be so f*** bad though if this does not work… you are absolutely sure? is there a specific apple store (selected ones) that do this or just about any?

      Please let me know… im selling mine tomorrow and i dont want to wait until after thanksgiving to get an unlocked from apple stores (the november announcement)

      kind regards.

    • M says:

      I just purchased an AT&T iPhone 4S without contract. Popped out the AT&T card and put in a T-Mobile Mini-SIM and it worked fine. However, when I plugged into iTunes (had to download it as I was not using it before), I did not get the “Congratulations your iPhone has been unlocked” message. Does this mean anything or is it really unlocked?


    • Israel says:

      Could I restore it to factory settings an than pop in a tmobile aim card than itll work

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