Apple CEO Tim Cook convinces AT&T to unlock customer’s iPhone

“We get many emails on Apple’s customer support experience,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac. “While not always positive, some are excellent examples of Apple going beyond the average company.”

“Today, a reader and trusted tipster reached out to us and explained that a personal email to Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who is known to keep up Steve Job’s long-time tradition of answering customer emails, resulted in AT&T making a ‘special one-time exception” to fulfill a request it previously refused,” Kahn reports. “The reader was reassigned to Canada for work and decided he wanted to use his iPhone 3GS (which was on AT&T at the time, but has since finished its contract) on a Canadian carrier’s pay-as-you-go plan.”

Kahn reports, “AT&T refused to unlock the device, insisting only Apple could. Apple suggested the reader call AT&T again, because only the carrier could authorize the unlock. When he did, the only advice the reader received was to ‘Just jailbreak your phone.’ We heard reports of many similar situations and both the carriers and Apple often give inconsistent information related to unlocking iPhones, which result in confusion among consumers. Frustrated, the reader sent an email to Cook asking him for help.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. There is no reasonable cause for anyone to be denied an unlocked phone.

    If you are bound to the terms of your agreement anyway, the subsidy is covered.

    Personally, I’d love the options for two numbers on one device.

    1. This is a classic case where the government SHOULD intervene and make it illegal to lock down phones as long as that person is paying their bills. The two year subscription should be irrelevant.

      Why the heck should AT&T care if my phone is unlocked? They still get their monthly subscription $$$ whether I use their services or not.

  2. SInce my first Mac in 12/84, and particularly in the last 10 years, I have found aapl customer services to be almost always great. This combined with the great products make buying aapl a no brainer.
    Buyers of Windows or Droid gear who end up on support lines or try to solve the unsolvable on their own don’t value their personal time very highly.

  3. > the only advice the reader received was to ‘Just jailbreak your phone.’

    It should be noted the “jail-breaking” (allowing software that does not go through Apple or the App Store to be installed) is NOT the same thing as “unlocking” the phone’s base band (allowing it to work on other carriers’ networks).

    Apple sells phones that are unlocked, and they are not jail-broken.

      1. Nope. I used one of the “hacking” utilities on my original iPhone. There are three primary modifications you can make to the stock “firmware” (the iPhone’s base software).

        (1) Bypass activation – Makes “restored” iPhone active (not a brick) if user has no active AT&T phone number and does not want to sign up for a new plan.

        (2) Unlocking – Allows it to work on other carriers’ networks.

        (3) Jail-breaking – Allows software that does not go through Apple or the App Store to be installed.

        It is possible to do any one or combination of those things.

        And even the iPhone 3GS was sold unlocked in some markets.

      1. That is not correct. Unlocking can be done without jailbreaking. In some markets, carriers do it; in others, locking is not even allowed by law. In US, every model since the original EDGE, all the way through 4S, could be unlocked without having to do anything else (such as jailbreaking) to it.

  4. Mid day my wife sent me an e-mail at work saying “Um, Tim Cook’s special assistant just called and she wants to know if AT&T has unlocked your phone yet??? Why does Tim Cook care about your phone?”

    My favorite part of the article.

    1. It would have been even more fun if it went:

      Why does Tim Cook’s “special assistant” care about your phone?? Who is she??? How do you know her???? What business is it of hers to call YOU????

  5. My hats off to Mr. Tim Cook he is a great rep of his brand. I own an iMac 27″ iPhone 4, ipad2 64 FB and an iPod. Believe me when I say this it was the greatest day when I decided to switch from a droid to an iPhone and PC to an iMac. Absolutely beautiful products that operate smoothly and with imatch and iCloud what a great innovation. I think Apple is a great company and tell everyone everyday and I have managed to sway a few to the apple camp. Thanks Tim Cook and the late great Steve Jobs for providing the world with such great service and great products.

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