8 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2012 6:17 AM by Hardy worker
Hardy worker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I am looking for a way to determine if a used Iphone came from the factory carrier unlocked. I want to be able to check before I buy it and before I get ripped off.  There are too many charlotans out there passing off their jail broken phones as "factory unlocked". .Calls to apple are not helpful. Apple does not  want to be helpful in this even though they have a distain for jailbroken phones.
Thank you


iPhone 4, iOS 5.0.1, Any phone any software.
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,890 points)

    No way to tell just from examining the phone.  You can try a SIM in it and see if it works?  Find out what model of iPhone and when it was purchased.  Prior to iPhone 4 there was no such thing as an unlocked iPhone sold in the USA, and even unlocked iPhone 4 only became available reletively recently.  Also, where was it originally purchased?  Again, in the USA, you can only get unlocked phones direct from Apple, not from any carrier's stores.

     

    Also, how much did the original owner pay?  Unlocked phones cost considerably more than any carrier-locked subsidized phone.  Was the phone originally sold with a plan?  If so it will be locked.

     

    Far more often then not, if you cannot get simple answers to such simple direct questions of the seller, they are selling a hacked phone, NOT an officially unlocked one.

  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (93,630 points)

    Unfortunately, there is no way to tell. Your best assurance is to always purchase from an official source that sells officially unlocked iPhones. Otherwise, you roll the dice.

  • akom1976 Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)

    The answer is simply. Factory Unlocked means that who produce the phone has not locked the phone so the only one that knows that is Apple. iPhones are unlocked because their IMEI in Apple's Activation database results as unlocked. So If you call Apple they will be able to tell you if an iPhone is unlocked or which carrier it is locked to.

  • Hardy worker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Michael I find you post informative. Lots of good ideas to give someone a head start. Thank you

     

    I agree that buying from a reputable dealer is a good way to go, still not quarranteed. I did and was still ripped off.  The "complaint" should actually go to Apple cause they left this void wide open and sippery people like to fill it.

     

    Again Apple is not helpful in this. They do not want to waste their phone service entertaining calls from potential used iphone purchasers.

     

    A online phone checker ideal. They could charge a minor user fee.

  • Hardy worker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Don't know if this helps. But I posted a model number online and up pops a number of seller sites indicating that another seller is posting the phone as unlocked. May not be a garantee but it may help. Tried it on a couple of phones that people were advertizing and received a number of hits from alternative sources.

  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (93,630 points)

    You can't go by that stuff anymore. At one time such was a good indicator, not anymore. iPhone distribution is just too widespread.

  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,890 points)

    Hardy worker wrote:

     

    Don't know if this helps. But I posted a model number online and up pops a number of seller sites indicating that another seller is posting the phone as unlocked. May not be a garantee but it may help. Tried it on a couple of phones that people were advertizing and received a number of hits from alternative sources.

     

    I would not trust that.  The ONLY sellers of officially unlocked iPhones are Apple themselves, or in some countries, Apple Authorized resellers do sell offically unlocked devices (none in the USA do though, only Apple sells unlocked phones here).  ANYbody else claiming they sell unlocked phones is almost certainly referring to hacked phones, not truly carrier unlocked phones.  There are many posts on here that can attest to the fact that it is impossible to identify an officially unlocked iPhone merely from the model number or serial number range.

     

    Seriously, if you did not get it as unlocked directly from Apple,  the odds are highly likely that whomever is selling it is outright lying - they are selling hacked, not unlocked phones, and the first time you try to update it it is going to lock right back to the original carrier.  Buy an iPhone claimed to be unlocked from anyone else at your own risk.  And again, you can find many posts on these very forums of people who have done so, and come to regret that choice later (often left with a bricked or relocked phone and no way to use it at all).

  • Hardy worker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Good advice guys. Appreciated

    Michael you lighted on another possibility. If they allowed an itunes update onsite before purchase would that help? Supposing they did. I know that  hacks can be inserted into itunes but they will have to choose the file rather than an automatic update and you would have to watch the process.