Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on unlocked:

The best ways to buy an unlocked iPhone X


iPhone X
Don't lock yourself to a carrier -- buy your iPhone X from Apple instead.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It might not seem like it at the time, but buying an iPhone for full price upfront is probably the cheapest option. Swallowing the $1,000 purchase price of an unlocked iPhone X isn’t easy. However, you won’t wind up tied to carrier contracts that trap you for a year or two. Plus, you can pick a cheap, $10-per-month prepaid data plan instead.

In the European Union, Apple sells unlocked phones from the get-go. If you buy a new iPhone from Apple on launch day, it will not come tied to a carrier. In the United States, SIM-free iPhones usually go on sale a few weeks after launch.

Today we’ll look at how and where you can buy a SIM-free, unlocked iPhone.

Unlocked iPhone 5s Now Available From Apple Online Store In The U.S.


iphone 5s
The iPhone 5s introduced us to Touch ID.
Photo: Apple

Apple has today begun selling the iPhone 5s unlocked and SIM-free to customers in the United States. Customers can stick in any GSM SIM card (so that’s one from AT&T or T-Mobile) when they receive the device and begin using it immediately with their existing plan — but they’ll have to wait 1-2 weeks for it to ship.

How To Enable T-Mobile’s LTE Network On Your Jailbroken iPhone 5 Now



Earlier this week, T-Mobile announced that it will finally begin selling Apple’s iPhone next month, almost six years after the device first made its debut in the U.S. When you buy an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, it will come with support for AWS bands, so that it can be used on the carrier’s LTE network.

Existing iPhone 5 handsets already in circulation don’t have this, but it can be enabled on the AT&T and unlocked models. And if your iPhone 5 is jailbroken, you can enable it yourself. Here’s how.

U.S. Senator Proposes Bill To Make Cellphone Unlocking Legal Again


illegal iPhone unlock

As of January 26th, it is now illegal for you to unlock your smartphone if you want to use it on another network. Carrier unlocking has been legal in the U.S. for years, but in October the Library of Congress ruled that unauthorized unlocking is a crime.

The Obama Administration has already voiced its opinion that citizens should be allowed to unlock their smartphones without risking criminal penalties, and a senator from Oregon just introduced a bill that would making unlocking legal again.

Apple Now Officially Selling iPhone 5 Unlocked In The U.S.


The iPhone 5 will be in 97 countries by 2013.
The iPhone 5 will be in 97 countries by 2013.

The iPhone 5 is now available for purchase unlocked at an unsubsidized price on Apple’s U.S. online store. Customers should also be able to pick up an unlocked iPhone 5 in U.S. Apple Retail stores as well. Pricing starts at $649 for the 16GB model.

It typically takes Apple a couple months before it starts selling a new iPhone model unlocked. Today a new option has appeared in the online store for selecting an unlocked model without a two-year carrier contract.

Unlock An Off-Contract iPhone 5 For Free With An iTunes Restore


AT&T is at war with the FCC.
Photo: AT&T

Verizon sells the iPhone 5 unlocked out of the box, but what about AT&T? If you buy into a two-year contract for the subsidized starting price of $200, you’re usually not able to get an unlock until you’ve fulfilled your contract.

Buying off-contract for the full starting price of $649 is another story, however. AT&T customers in good standing should be able to get a fully priced iPhone 5 unlocked for free, but the process requires filling out a web form, sending a fax, and possibly waiting more than a week.

As it turns out, unlocking an unsubsidized iPhone 5 is as simple as restoring the device in iTunes.

The Real Reason Verizon Sells The iPhone 5 Factory Unlocked


The iPhone continues to do well on Verizon.
The iPhone continues to do well on Verizon.

It was recently revealed that Verizon sells the iPhone 5 factory unlocked out of the box. Not only can you use the Verizon iPhone 5 on another CDMA carrier, but the device will also work on non-LTE GSM networks, like AT&T. U.S. carriers will typically unlock off-contract iPhones for free, but Verizon is selling the iPhone 5 unlocked with a two-year contract as well.

Buying an iPhone 5 at the full, unsubsidized price on AT&T doesn’t guarantee that it will be unlocked, but AT&T will typically grant unlock requests for customers in good standing. The same goes for AT&T iPhone owners who have fulfilled the life of their two-year contract.

There’s been multiple theories suggested to explain why Verizon is behaving this way, but the real reason is much simpler than you would think.

Verizon iPhone 5 Comes Unlocked Out Of The Box, Works On GSM Carriers Like AT&T


Some really good news just surfaced for current and potential Verizon iPhone 5 owners.
Some really good news just surfaced for current and potential Verizon iPhone 5 owners.

It’s been confirmed that Verizon is actually selling the iPhone 5 factory unlocked out of the box, and you can pop in another SIM card to use the device on even a GSM network like AT&T. Jeff Benjamin of iDownloadBlog has already tried inserting an AT&T SIM card into his CDMA Verizon iPhone 5, and it worked!

Unlocked iPhone 5 Pricing And Availability Details Revealed


Screen Shot 2012-09-13 at 11.41.27 PM

Pricing and availability details have surfaced regarding the unlocked flavor of the iPhone 5. Like previous generations, the base 16GB iPhone 5 starts at $649 unlocked, with 32GB costing $749 and 64GB costing $849.

What about getting to pre-order an unlocked iPhone 5? Looks like you won’t be able to do so on the web this weekend. Your best bet is visiting an Apple retail store on launch day next week.

T-Mobile Wants Unlocked iPhones And Offers Big Savings, But Is Its Network Ready?



For a company that’s wanting to “sell against the iPhone,” T-Mobile still wants whatever business it can get from unlocked iPhone owners. Earlier today we told you about T-Mobile’s new microSIM kits that will easily unlock an iPhone 4/4S to run on its GSM network.

It appears that T-Mobile is also readying flyers that say “Bring Your iPhone to T-Mobile for BIG SAVINGS!” But can T-Mobile’s network really support iPhone users on 3G and eventually 4G speeds?

Sprint’s iPhone 4S Will Be Unlocked, And So Will Verizon’s After 60 Days [Update: Too Good To Be True]


iPhone 4S

If you’re buying your new CDMA iPhone 4S through Sprint, then you’ll be pleased to know that the device will come unlocked — allowing you to stick in any SIM and use the device on any network. If you’ve ordered a Verizon device, however, it will come locked to Verizon, but you can request to have it unlocked after 60 days.

Apple Stores Could Start Selling Carrier Unlocked iPhone 4s On Wednesday



The iPhone 4S might not be out until September, but that doesn’t mean a new iPhone won’t be released in its traditional launch window that June. In fact, new iPhones could hit the Apple Store as early as Wednesday… but don’t expect new hardware. Instead, if the latest report pans out, expect carrier unlocked iPhones that could work on both Verizon and AT&T.

Mock Trailer for Fake Geohot Biopic: Unlocked




Speaking of jailbreaks, check out this trailer for Unlocked, a mock biopic in the style of The Social Network incorporating footage from his various media appearances as well as a movie starring The Wire’s Ziggy that I’d be pleased if you guys would identify for me in the comments.

Brilliant, though I can’t tell if it’s been done by geohot’s fans or people pissed off at his jailbreaking queue-hopping on Sunday.

Analyst: 400,000 iPhones in Use on China Mobile Network



Image via Paul Stamatiou
It’s an open secret that there are legions of iPhone owners who operate their phones outside of Apple’s officially sanctioned networks AT&T, O2, Orange, and T-Mobile Germany, either because they live outside of the countries where the iPhone is on sale or because they’re aware that AT&T has terrible coverage.

What is less well-known is just how big the problem has gotten. BusinessWeek reported last week that 800,000 to 1 million iPhones have gone AWOL after legitimate purchase. And now this weekend, analyst In-Stat claims that 400,000 of those iPhone are all in operation on China Mobile, the largest carrier in Mainland China.

This makes a few things clear:

  1. Apple should get a distribution deal in China as fast as they can. They’re just leaving money on the table right now.
  2. Apple would be making more money if they hadn’t gone with an exclusive network for each market. If the iPhone ran GSM and CDMA and was available far and wide, they would be making more money and they wouldn’t need to concern themselves with unlocking. By getting into bed with AT&T and making a part of its revenue dependent on “legitimate use,” Apple has taken an anti-consumer stance that will hurt it in the long run. Unlocked iPhones are only a problem because they depend on an outdated business model. Apple should be embarrassed for taking part in it.

Via iLounge