Previous 1 2 3 Next 41 Replies Latest reply: Dec 13, 2014 7:17 PM by ChrisJ4203
matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

4 month ago I purchased a factory unlocked iPhone 4S in a France Apple Store (about 630 euros). I´m from Argentina and the fact that the phone is factory unlocked was necessary for me to use it in my country.


After my trip to France, I arrived to Argentina and inserted my micro-sim into the new iPhone. It showed the "Activate iPhone" screen, went through the steps and the phone worked perfectly with my Carrier.


Yesterday I wanted to change of carrier, so I inserted the new micro-sim (brand new, never used) into the phone. It showed the same "Activate iPhone" screen BUT it won’t activate. It says "SIM not valid" and "Only compatible SIM cards from a supported carrier may be used to activate iPhone. Please insert the SIM card that came with your iPhone or visit a supported carrier´s store to receive a replacement SIM card” I inserted my old micro-sim and it worked correctly... Inserted the new one again and wont activate, showing me the error mentioned. The phone catches signal and the 3G icon also appears, so it seems the iPhone and the sim card are working.

This is an image of the error (not my phone, found it in the web):


I tried restoring the iPhone to fix this and things got worse: Now I can’t activate even my old and new micro-sim, leaving my iPhone 4S useless (can’t pass the activate screen).


What I have done:

-Tested both micro-sims in another iPhone 4S (factory unlocked) bought the same day and in the same Apple Store and they worked correctly.

-Tested both micro-sims in another phone, the work OK.

-Tried restoring into DFU mode. Same error, can’t pass the activate screen.

-Called Apple Support in the US. After 20 minutes we couldn’t find a solution, they suggested me to go to an Apple Store and change my iPhone for a new one (223 warranty days left).


In my country we don’t have Apple Stores and i can´t have access to one, so now i have an iPhone 4S i cant not eve use as an iPod, leaving it totally useless.


For me it seems a software issue, like if Apple detected my iPhone as "not factory-unlocked" and tells me to insert the one of the original carrier. I DONT HAVE AN ORGINAL CARRIER SIM CARD AS THE PHONE DIND´T CAME WITH ONE (FACTORY UNLOCKED).


About my iPhone:

iOS 6.0 (restored twice from iTunes)

No jailbreak

No "soft unlocks" or "Gevey unlock" was used (it was unlocked and didn´t need it).



I will greatly appreciate any help!!

Apple Support Team: If you need the IMEI or Serial Number please ask me.


Thanks in advanced,


iPhone 4S, iOS 6
  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    Please help me! I’m stuck at the activation screen and I can’t use my phone at all (not even as an iPod...)


    I bought a factory unlocked iPhone just to avoid this and here I am...


    Best regards,


  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    Apple: PLEASE HELP ME. 10 days have passed and I cant use my iPhone!!


    Already called twice United Stated call center and they couldn´t solve my problem.... I dont speak french so I cant call France call center.

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,335 points)

    You are not speaking to Apple. Contact Apple Care. They can confirm whether or not the phone is actually unlocked. If it needs service, you will have to take the phone back to France to have it serviced.

  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    KiltedTim, thanks for answering. I already called twice United States call center and they couldn´t solve my problem. I asked textually "Can you tell me if my phone is unlocked" and they told me the can’t see that information.


    As I don’t speak french I can´t call France Apple Care (only French). By the way, when I bought my iPhone in Paris, France Apple Store they talked to me in ENGLISH.


    Looks like I spent 700 dollars in a phone that only lasted me 4 months, thought Apple support was better than it really is.


    Now, ironically I depend on the hacker’s community to JAILBREAK the iPhone 4S iOS 6.0 to let me use my factory unlocked iPhone bought 100% legal.

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,335 points)

    Maybe you should have thought of that before purchasing a phone from outside your country...



    Now, ironically I depend on the hacker’s community to JAILBREAK the iPhone 4S iOS 6.0 to let me use my factory unlocked iPhone bought 100% legal.

    Good luck with that.

  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    Why should I care of that when Apple claims itself to have "worldwide warranty"?



  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,335 points)

    There is no "worldwide warranty" on the iPhone. Apple never claimed there was.  READ the warranty agreement.

  • imobl Level 5 (6,137 points)

    Apple did not lock your iPhone - the problems are due to the jailbreak

    which made unknown changes to the software. This was further

    complicated by the attempt to restore.


    Google may provide some assistance. Or utilize the jailbreak community -

    they do support their software, don't they <g>?

  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    Please don´t generate confusion: My phone was not jailbroken -it doesn´t exists any 6.0 jailbreak for the iPhone 4S-. Supposing the cause was the jailbreak (which it wasn´t), I already restored twice and the problem continues.


    The problem occurs when the phone requests the activation query in Apple servers and they deny the query saying the SIM is not from a valid carried (which it is valid as it is a factory unlocked iPhone). It worked correctly until I restored my iPhone.

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,335 points)

    Whether your phone was jailbroken or not, no one here can do anything about it. You will have to work it out either with Apple if you actually purchased an unlocked phone, or with the carrier it's locked to if you did not.


    Look carefully at your receipt. If a carrier is listed at all, the phone was not sold unlocked.

  • iPhone_Warrior Level 3 (660 points)

    matias_2 wrote:


    It worked correctly until I restored my iPhone.

    Sounds like your phone was hacked before the 6.0 update. If so updating to 6.0 it re-locked it to Apple specs for that phone.

    As Tim said, look at your original receipt. If there is carrier info on the receipt then you have a locked phone and will need to work with that carrier to get it unlocked.

  • matias_2 Level 1 (0 points)

    The phone is factory unlocked because it worked correctly with 2 different carriers during the 4 month I have it. The problem began when I inserted a new sim (from another carrier) and now it won´t activate. The 2 sims that worked before now they don´t (won’t activate when in the past they did). I already looked at the receipt and it doesn’t mention anything about any carrier.


    For those who might think my phone before was unlocked "iligally" or "unofficially", it doesn´t exist any method to unlock an iPhone 4S.


    It was bought in an official Apple Store so it it impossible that it was unlocked "unofficially"

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,335 points)

    You can repeat that all day long. It doesn't make any difference.




    Try a DFU mode restore. If that doesn't fix it, call Apple Care or make an appointment and take it in to an Apple Store in the EU and have it looked at. If they say it's not carrier locked, then tell them to fix it.

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 8 (47,833 points)

    I'm not sure what anyone else can tell you. While I am not making any judgement about where or how you purchased the phone, the only thing you can do if you purchaed the phone from Apple is to take it up with them at the Apple Store you purchased the phone at. As was explained before, the warranty is not international, it is to the country the device was purchased at. If you spoke to someone at the Apple store in France in English, I suggest trying to contact them by telephone and see if you can speak to someone again and have them check against your receipt to see if the phone is truly unlocked. Apple would not relock a phone, the carriers are the ones that handle the locks. However, in my opinion, you will have to return to the French Apple store to get this straigtened out.

Previous 1 2 3 Next