Apple Can Unlock AT&T iPhone 4 at Checkout

Apple Can Unlock AT&T iPhone 4 at Checkout

On June 14 Apple began selling its GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in America, but what if they don’t have any left when you go to pick one up at your local store? Well, the guys at the checkout can now take an AT&T iPhone and unlock it instantly for you.

A source for 9to5 Mac has provided the site with a note from an Apple Retail Project Manager that reads:

Running low on any of the Unlocked iPhone 4 SKUs? You’ve got a solution. Sell any of the AT&T iPhone 4 SKUs as Device Only, and they’ll get unlocked too.

As we learned back in April with CutYourSim, the unlocking process is all related to your iPhone’s unique IMEI number. Apple takes your device’s number and stores it on a “whitelist” database that allows it to connect to any GSM network — including those that don’t even offer the device.

This means that if you pay the premium ($649 for 16GB or $749 for 32GB) for an unlocked device, as soon as you get it home you can insert any SIM card for any GSM network of your choice without being tied into an AT&T or Verizon contract.

Of course, the benefits for doing so right now are pretty chintzy, at least domestically. AT&T remains the only GSM carrier which supports the iPhone’s 3G capabilities, making any potential T-Mobile switcher subservient to EDGE. Still, for travelers going abroad who want to avoid extortionate roaming charges with a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM card, this is a god-send.

  • Chris Brunner

    That begs the question: Can we?

    -Chris
    http:friendsofmac.net

  • guiyeja

    “AT&T remains the only GSM carrier which supports the iPhone’s 3G capabilities, making any potential T-Mobile switcher subservient to EDGE”

    So this means that possible outshore buyers can’t use 3G network? i’m confused…

  • CharliK

    Poorly typed sentence by Killian. In the US T-Mobile is forced by various laws to use a different spectrum than the GSM 3g standard so folks created to standard for other carriers (ie ATT) don’t work on T-Mobile’s 3g, just EDGE. 

    You’ll be fine if you buy one and go overseas. Or if you bring your overseas one over here. Provided you can get a prepaid ATT sim to work or you cut down a SIM for someone else without screwing it up. Cause only ATT is using microsims at the moment. 

  • guiyeja

    Great! thanks for the heads-up! i’m switching over to iPhone this year (probably september when the 5 arrives). My knowledge on this subject is poor (at the moment), so i’m doing my research before it gets to the stores. 

    My biggest concern is how to bring one overseas (Venezuela, specifically) and use it here with my GSM carrier without having any kind of trouble, network-wise.

    I hope this unlocking service can be available when the iPhone 5 gets to the AT&T  stores in a near future…

  • ggore

    There are lots of small, regional cell phone carriers in the U.S. that an unlocked iPhone will work with.   Some have 3G capabilities that are compatible, while others will only work on the EDGE network.     Still this fact makes the iPhone now available to the millions of customers of these smaller carriers that have up to now been unable to enjoy.  These smaller carriers fill in the gaps in AT&T’s swiss cheese coverage map, and people in those areas have been clamoring for the iPhone since its introduction.

  • Nir Alfasi

    the cheapest site there is: http://blackbox-iphone.com

  • Dimus2001

    Hey.

    I bought my Iphone4 in august in the US.It was locked by at&t.
    Is it possible to unlocked it in legel way?

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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