How AT&T unlocked my under-contract iPhone 4S in two days

Last week we reported that AT&T was reportedly starting to unlock iPhones that were still under contract. Though they had been a few reports of this, we hadn’t been able to verify the information ourselves.

I decided to take the matter in my own hands and submitted a request to unlock my under-contract iPhone 4S via AT&T’s handy online form. I was a bit doubtful because I had previously asked AT&T if they could unlock this device for me, and at the time, they kindly declined, saying that they couldn’t because I was still under contract.

A couple days after filling out the request form, I received the following confirmation email from AT&T…

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone.

We have reviewed your request and confirmed that you are eligible to have the requested iPhone unlocked.

Please allow 24 hours upon receipt of this notification to complete the unlock.

To complete the unlock, simply:

  1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have Internet connectivity.
  2. Ensure a SIM card is inserted into your iPhone.
  3. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.
  4. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes. For information on backup and restore, please visit
  5. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

Additional information on unlocking can be found at

For questions regarding AT&T’s wireless service and iPhone, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.

We thank you for your continued business.


AT&T Customer Care Team

So yes, I can verify that it works. All you have to do is fill out this form and wait patiently for AT&T to get back to you.

By the way, because I have an iPhone 4S, I didn’t even have to restore to complete the unlock process. All you have to do if you have an iPhone 4S is to pop out the AT&T SIM card and put a SIM from a different carrier (ie. T-Mobile) in. The phone will activate itself within seconds. If you have an older iPhone, you will have to restore, or I guess you can use RedSn0w to deactivate/reactivate the device, which could save you a restore.

Now the question on my mind is why would AT&T let me unlock my eleven month old iPhone? After all, AT&T isn’t the kind of carrier that likes to do nice things for its customers. AT&T likes to do nice things for AT&T!

Maybe they want me to unlock so I can sell my iPhone on Craigslist and buy the iPhone 5 and be locked in another 2-year contract?