1 Reply Latest reply: Jul 24, 2012 10:57 AM by jfaughnan
jfaughnan Level 3 Level 3 (785 points)

A (good) friend gave us an 8GB post-contract AT&T iPhone 4 with cracked glass. I believe Apple will replace it with a comparable refurb for about $150 (not sure).


Here's the question. Since it's out of contract my friend can ask AT&T to authorize an unlock. I've done this with two of our phones; AT&T just checks the IMEI against my account.


Problem is, if we get a refurb the IMEI changes. I assume the refurb will be AT&T carrier locked, and since the IMEI won't match her contract AT&T won't unlock it.


Does anyone know how Apple handles this?


(If I find out from the Genius bar I'll respond to this post with the answer.)

iPhone 4, iOS 4.3.3
  • jfaughnan Level 3 Level 3 (785 points)

    I met with two Apple Genius Bar staffers today, and neither knew the answer. This is what they do know:


    1. Only ATT&T does US post-contract carrier unlock. Verizon/Sprint can't/don't. So nice advantage AT&T.

    2. If you buy an unlocked phoned it will show as unlocked in Apple's database and if you have it serviced it will be replaced with an unlocked phone. However, if you have a post-contract phone unlocked they don't THINK Apple updates the database used to check replacement status.

    3. If you are post-2 years with AT&T, but haven't switched to a new phone/contract (so old contract is current) there is an option. What happens is that in this situation you do the glass repair / refurb switch, then put your SIM into your phone and AT&T changes the IMEI associated with your current (completed) contract. Then you go through the unlock process with AT&T.


    They've never come across my situation. My guess is that there's no way to do it at this time.