Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would finally be offering unlocked iPhone 4s in the U.S. Unlocking the iPhone has largely been a process of the jailbreak community for the past few years, so needless to say the news was surprising.

Since the announcement, a lot of folks have been wondering whether or not AT&T or Apple would be able to unlock previously owned devices. Well, 9to5Mac has just discovered that some Apple stores do indeed have the ability to unlock AT&T-branded iPhones…

It seems that Apple retail stores are able to unlock AT&T iPhones, which are different than the unlocked models Apple announced earlier this month. The information comes from a “trusty retail source” who received this note from his higher ups:

“Running low on any of the Unlocked iPhone 4 SKUs? You’ve got a solution. Sell any of the AT&T iPhone 4 SKUs as Device Only, and they’ll get unlocked too.”

The catch? You must still purchase the device at full retail. So for the 16GB model you are looking at $650 and it’ll run you another $100 for the 32GB.

The interesting thing here is that Apple is unlocking these phones at the point of sale for the customer, who is then allowed to take the device to another carrier like T-Mobile. My how things have changed in the last 6 months.

Thoughts?

  • Pittlife

    I’m surprised theres a method to unlock without jailbreaking. Wonder how they do it.

    • Igeek1218

      Ummmmmmmm it’s apple product… They can do that…

  • zaba

    so if i am reading this right if i buy iphone 5 with contact they will unlock it?

    • Joe

      you have to pay the no contract price which defeats any reason for signing a contract

    • Joe

      you have to pay the no contract price which defeats any reason for signing a contract.

  • BD

    But, can I take my previously purchased for full price AT&T iphone into an Apple store and ask for it to be unlocked?

    • Braulio

      I believe they want you to buy a new one so, they’re going to tell you that you’ll need to buy one. Lol if you need it to be unlocked then you can always jailbrake it 🙂 it’s not that hard to do. iDB has it all here for you to follow without messing up, and if you do you could always restore and start over. It’s just a learning process if you haven’t done it.

      • YoMamma

        Not if you have an iPhone4…

      • Juan

        it has nothing to do with difficulty. It has to do with ultrasnow supporting only specific versions of basebands.

  • The question is, will they unlock iPhones that were already purchased? ಠ_ಠ

  • Chris

    I mean this isn’t a very new thing. In Europe, where since the first 2007 Iphone “Contract Selling” is illegal, or put under lots of restrictions, we had unlocked Iphones forever, and for those who bought It locked (T-Mobile Germany for example) The carrier had to unlock it after the 2 year contract was over. Did it with my first 3G, took 2 minutes. He sent my Serial No. to an Apple mail Adress, and back home Itunes announced me that my phone isnt locked anymore…
    Never understood why that doesnt worked in the states…

    • J-P

      Because it is a monopoly. Every Country in the world, or almost, and I have been in plenty of them, you buy your SIM card separately from the phone and then you can use the SIM card from any company you want and use the same SIM card on many phones. I am now in China and travel to Mongolia. So I have 2 SIM cards on for each country and exchange them at the airport when I land. Simple and convenient. When I am back in the US, I buy a T-Mobile prepaid SIM card and insert it in my own phone without having to pay a yearly or 2 year contract.
      US big businesses like AT&T have lobbied and enforced the locking of the SIMs. So much for free democracy. I think it is highway robbery by these US big companies. Time to catch up withthe rest of the world.

  • They must have secretly jailbroke the AT&T iPhone and took off Cydia and installed Ulatrasn0w. Lol. I wonder how they unlock AT&T iPhones without jailbreak. Secretly buying GEVEY sim unlcok?

    • Massie

      I think you’ve got it backward—it’s AT&T that was unlocking Apple iPhones. When they do they send the imei to Apple, who has always been able to do it.

  • aalan

    Is no secret how they do it. They take your IMEI and put it in their “white list”

  • Would i be able to take my 3gs to an apple store and unlock ? or do i have to pay the full price of an almost 2 years used phone ?!!

  • Chris

    Like I said, here In Europe its a normal operating way, and not ATT but Apple is able to unlock every Phone Worldwide. And If you signed a contract over 24 months, after those months they should unlock it for free… At least they are able to. Some carriers over here, like in France ask you 15 dollars or so, to send the unlock things to apple. But It should be possible. On some carrieres, like Germany or Luxemburg you even are able to unlock by youre self over a Website after youre contract time.