Unlock an AT&T iPhone from the Web with AT&T
If you own an iPhone that is not part of a contract with AT&T, you can now officially unlock the device for use on other networks. We’ve discussed this before and our previous guide on unlocking the iPhone through AT&T focused on calling a special direct line, but now we’ll show you how to unlock an iPhone entirely through the web with the help of AT&T’s online technical support chat. This method is extremely quick, there are no wait times, and it’s easier for international users or for those without access to an active phone line.
Requirements for Unlocking an iPhone with AT&T
- Any out of contract iPhone
- AT&T Login – if you’re not a current AT&T customer we’ve heard reports that you can create a new AT&T login but YMMV
- The iPhone IMEI number found in Settings > General > About
- A valid email address to receive updates from AT&T
- About 5 minutes of your time
Assuming you meet all the requirements, jump ahead and start the simple unlock process.
Unlock an iPhone with AT&T via the ATT Website
Updated with an all new easier method! AT&T has provided a new simpler method to start the unlock process for iPhones:
- Go here and fill out the Support Request through AT&T, get to that page and scroll to the bottom to find the checkbox and then choose “Agree” to begin the form process
- Wait for the unlock to process by AT&T
Unlocks through the web request form are quick and you should hear back within a few days.
Sometimes the process is even faster though. Regardless, you will hear back as to whether the iPhone is eligible for an unlock (if the requirements are met, it usually is), or if its not eligible and then AT&T will tell you why. Often iPhones are rejected because they are not out of the contract period yet, so sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting a bit longer to be able to unlock the device.
When the unlock has been approved, it’s just a matter of restoring the iPhone through iTunes to get the unlock to complete. It’s a very simple process, though as always you should backup the device before doing any kind of iOS system restore.
Alternate Method: Request an Unlock through AT&T Support
The old method through AT&T support is still listed below and may work if you have problems with the request form, or if there is some technical issue that would prevent the aforementioned technique from working.
- Go to AT&T’s online account tech support page, login with a valid AT&T ID, and click on “Technical Support” to start a chat with a live representative
- State that you would like to unlock an off contract iPhone and provide the iPhone IMEI number
- Let the AT&T representative check if the iPhone is indeed without a contract and give them an email address when asked
If everything checks out, the AT&T rep will provide you with a case number and an estimated date of completion for resolution. The date they provide is a rough estimate and by no means represents the date you will get an email from AT&T. Sometimes AT&T sends the unlock emails out within an hour but it can take up to 10 days as well, the time varies widely based on the volume of unlock requests. I have completed this process several times with multiple different iPhone models and it has worked every time, though the time between request and completion has varied.
There are a few potential situations that could complicate the otherwise simple unlocking process:
- Did you buy an iPhone used, or through a service other than AT&T or Apple? You may need to provide a receipt of purchase
- Is the iPhone still on a contract with another AT&T customer? You may need to wait until that customers iPhone contract period is up
- Do you have a past-due balance on an AT&T account? You will need to pay that before AT&T will unlock the iPhone
Once you do receive the unlock instructions from AT&T , they are basically telling you to restore the iPhone to activate the unlock. Backup before doing this so you can get back to where you were, and you’ll know the unlock worked because after restoring you get a “Congratulations, your iPhone is unlocked” message in iTunes.