iPhone SE 3 cuts carriers out of the buying process in the US

iPhone SE 3 cuts carriers out of the buying process in the US


The new iPhone SE is available is available in the same colors as before, but it's much-improved on the inside.
It's now a lot easier to buy Apple's most affordable iPhone.
Photo: Apple

The new iPhone SE is Apple’s first smartphone that can be purchased without carrier credit checks in the United States. Customers can obtain the device without having to provide their phone number or Social Security information.

This applies only to AT&T and T-Mobile customers for now, who will be able to take advantage of a new feature called “on-device authentication” during iPhone SE’s setup process. It is also expected to be available on iPhone 14.

iPhone SE starts giving carriers the boot

Buying an iPhone through Apple in the U.S. usually means having to provide your phone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. This allows your carrier to run a credit check and approve the purchase.

It’s not the most painful experience in the world, but it certainly slows down the buying process. So, Apple has begun taking steps to eliminate it. With iPhone SE 3, which hits stores today, Cupertino cuts carriers out of the buying process.

Apple adds ‘on-device authentication’ to iPhone

Those on AT&T or T-Mobile won’t need to provide carrier information at the time of purchase, Bloomberg reports. Instead, they enter this data during the setup process after they’ve turned on their iPhone SE for the first time.

Apple reportedly told retail staff that the new feature is called “on-device authentication.” It already removed the requirement to enter carrier information online during the preorder process for those on AT&T and T-Mobile.

This not only speeds things up, but it means customers no longer need to choose a carrier plan before buying a new iPhone. Workers say it will improve customer service, since “activation servers can be overloaded” at times.

Coming to Apple Store this month

Apple is yet to confirm this change publicly, but it is believed it will roll out to its retail stores on March 27. Bloomberg also reports that Verizon will eventually add support for “on-device authentication” eventually.

“Apple will also let users purchase an iPhone SE in stores with Apple Card monthly installment plans — without connecting it to a carrier,” it said.

And it won’t remain exclusive to iPhone SE, of course. Apple is using its newest device to test the feature, but it will likely be available on iPhone 14 this fall, and could also be added to other iPhone models with a software update.

Cult of Mac's Newsletters

Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.