Help me finish unlocking my iphone, please!
October 31, 2012 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I live in London and will soon be travelling to Melbourne, Australia. I have an iPhone 4 and a contract with Three UK; this week I paid Three fifteen quid to unlock my phone so that I can use a local sim when I'm abroad. Three sent me a text telling me my unlock request has been processed, and to finish the unlocking process I need to insert a non-Three sim card and connect the device to iTunes. I don't have another sim card and am not sure where I can get one before I catch my plane on Saturday. Help?

A few more details;

- Presumably I have to procure a cheap pre-paid account sim card. Where can I get one of those? I'm near Upper Street, Islington. Should I go to a Vodafone shop, or do they sell these things at Tesco's?

- What's going to happen when I do this? Is it going to wipe my phone? Will it force me to update to iOS 6 (I'm still using iOS4 and would prefer not top update right now).

- Ideally, I'd just wait until I get to Melbourne and do this process with the Australian sim card I'm going to buy. But I sync my iPhone to my home desktop and am worried about wiping all the music, books etc off my phone if I do this using the bare itunes that's on our travel laptop.

I'm sure I'm over-complicating all this, but I'd love some advice/perspective/brains. Fanks!
posted by hot soup girl to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you'll be fine waiting until you get here. It won't wipe the phone, don't worry. All that will change is the carrier logo in the top left corner.
I can't believe they charged you 15 quid to unlock it, those mercenary bastards.
Also: are you up for a meet up? Some of us Melbourne Mefites are quite nice.
posted by goshling at 3:11 PM on October 31, 2012

You can just borrow a friend or co-worker's sim card to complete the process. It only takes a few minutes.
posted by third word on a random page at 3:34 PM on October 31, 2012

Response by poster: > I think you'll be fine waiting until you get here. It won't wipe the phone, don't worry.

Won't syncing the iphone to my travel laptop (which has itunes on it, but none of my music, apps, books etc) basically wipe the phone?

> You can just borrow a friend or co-worker's sim card to complete the process.

I would, but I a) work at home, alone, and won't have any social contact with anyone apart from my husband (who's also on Three and will need to complete this process) between now and when I travel, and b) will probably need to cut the sim card down to micro-sim size to fit the iphone, which I can't do with a friend's sim.

and yes, a meetup! I hadn't thought of that! Good idea.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:45 PM on October 31, 2012

Best answer: If there is a tesco near you they will sell you a tesco mobile sim (and probably a load of other ones) for a few quid, (the vodaphone shop will also have them but might well try and charge a tenner). It is very easy & cheap to buy a sim card - don't sweat it!
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 4:07 PM on October 31, 2012

Best answer: I assume you're still using your current account since you unlocked the phone? I don't see much point in buying another SIM before you reach Australia. The phone is unlocked and ready to use with any SIM.
I just plugged my iPhone 4S (iOS 6) into a different computer than I sync it to & nothing happened. Well the phone synced to the new computer, there was no data loss. Make sure you create a backup first just in case.
Right click on the device in iTunes & click Back Up, then plug the phone into the laptop you'll be using when you travel & see if tries to do anything nasty like wipe your phone. Hopefully it won't.
posted by goshling at 4:46 PM on October 31, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all. I don't know why I thought this would be so complicated! I waited until I arrived in Australia, then completed the process with a local sim card—backing up the iphone to my laptop before restoring it. It all worked perfectly and my brief pre-holiday panic was for nought.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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