Unlocking an old AT&T iPhone
March 25, 2014 6:45 AM   Subscribe

The spouse and I upgraded from an iPhone4 and 4s on AT&T to newer iPhones on AT&T. Then someone mentioned we can sell the old phones on ebay, but to be sure and unlock them first, as they're worth more that way. But the old phones are no longer are active phones and AT&T is refusing or can't unlock them. Is there any way to unlock (but not jailbreak) an old iPhone 4 and 4s on the AT&T network that are no longer active as phones?
posted by sock, the puppet to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you submit the unlock request on the AT&T Unlock page? What exactly was their reason for not unlocking your phones?
posted by dcjd at 6:48 AM on March 25, 2014

Can you put your current SIM cards in the old iPhones temporarily so they will be active on AT&T's network when you request to have them unlocked?
posted by stopgap at 6:51 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Can't submit the unlock request as the phones have no number tied to them at this point.

The iPhone is sealed, can't remove sim. Not even sure it would work without breaking warranty or something physical on new phone
posted by sock, the puppet at 7:20 AM on March 25, 2014

The SIM is in the tray on the side of the phone. Use a paperclip to pop it out: How to remove the SIM card
posted by stopgap at 7:26 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

(But I see they moved from micro- to nano-SIMs. I think you have to use an adapter to hold the contacts in the correct position.)
posted by stopgap at 7:28 AM on March 25, 2014

Try submitting the unlock request with the phone number each phone used to have.
posted by soelo at 7:32 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was able to unlock my old iphone with ATT after the fact. The number that had been assigned to it was at that moment assigned to my new iphone.

Did you try calling them?
posted by eas98 at 7:37 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah you should be able to use the old number in the form. My friend sold me her old 4S and unlocked it using that form with the old number (her current number). It worked fine. It didn't even need to be connected to a cell network to unlock, everything happened over email.
posted by mskyle at 7:38 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a last resort, this is definitely something they can do in person at an AT&T store, if you have one nearby. I've had it done with previous phones (but not an iPhone). They can put in their own temporary SIM if necessary.
posted by stopgap at 7:56 AM on March 25, 2014

Submit the request with AT&T’s form using the phone number that was used on the phone when it was on your account, even if that phone number is now in use on your new phone. I just did this with my deactivated iPhone 4S. You will need a SIM card in the phone to activate it. The SIM does not need to have service — it can be the old SIM card that had been in use on your phone — but the iPhone does need to have a SIM card in it to restore and unlock.
posted by andrewraff at 7:59 AM on March 25, 2014

Response by poster: Tried filling out the on-line form, the unlock was denied because we just upgraded two days ago, so we to check back after 14 days. I assume this is about the return policy?

Haven't had time to go by an ATT store. Thanks for the answers!
posted by sock, the puppet at 3:14 PM on March 25, 2014

Yeah, just give it a few weeks for all the databases to catch up with each other and give it another try before futzing with going to the store.
posted by rockindata at 8:07 PM on March 25, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, once the two week period was up, I redid the automated unlock request and it only took 5 minutes until it was done.
posted by sock, the puppet at 1:27 PM on April 15, 2014

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