AT&T offers new online unlock request form to unlock your out-of-contract iPhone

“AT&T has just launched a new webpage that allows you to request a SIM unlock for an out of contract iPhone,” Chris Oldroyd reports for iMore.

“AT&T has always made it reasonably difficult to unlock a device on its network but now it seems to be softening its approach and actually trying to make it easier for iPhone users,” Oldroyd reports. “The form is fairly simple to fill in and if you meet a few simple requirements you can have your iPhone unlocked in 5-7 days.”

Oldroyd reports, “Anyone with an out of contract iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS considering selling to fund the iPhone 5 when it is released, should take advantage of this free service from AT&T. Having your device unlocked officially by AT&T will certainly increase its value and salability.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. 5-7 days is a pretty substantial lead time. I was able to call them and have my iPhone 4 unlocked immediately. This was very useful since I was going on a trip abroad and didn’t think of doing it before the day I was leaving.

    1. i have a iPhone 4 and I am waiting on the 5 as well. I also have unlimited data on mine as well. So I called AT&T the other day to resolve an issue on one of the phones on my family plan. I asked them the question about loosing the unlimited data going to the new iPhone and they assured me that I will not loose it even if I decide to go to another smart phone.

  2. I quibble with the author. ATT has never made it “reasonably difficult to unlock a device”. It has always been UNreasonably difficult, IMHO. This new approach is how it should always have been, although the speed of implementation shouldn’t take any longer than a debit card transfer. It’s not like they have to wait for the check to clear.

    1. Quite. It has never been reasonably “difficult”. For the past six years, every 18 months or so, I have been requesting my dumbphone unlocking codes, for two phones each time. Every single time, about eight times so far, the customer service agent would send me an e-mail with unlocking instructions. While I was still on the phone with him/her (and he/she was going through the motions of reading the unlocking instructions), the e-mail would arrive, and I’d unlock the phone before (s)he would even finish reading the script. I don’t think any part of this was unreasonable, or difficult, or a combination of the two.

      The only unreasonable thing might be the lead time, which is likely only if you submit the request online. If you call, you’ll likely get it done within seconds, or minutes.

  3. “Having your device unlocked officially by AT&T will certainly increase its value and salability.”

    I have yet to see one site offering more for an unlocked phone.

    Second, as someone who paid to buy an unlocked phone, I think the policy stinks.

    1. I’m not sure I understand, what policy is the one that stinks?

      As for unlocked phones, for very obvious reasons (ability to use them overseas) unlocked phones do have higher value, as unlocking is normally something one would have to pay for (if the carrier refuses to do it for free, as AT&T did before).

      1. Some of us bought unlocked phone and factored in that we could recover part of the higher upfront in resale. If every out of contract phone is unlocked, the value of our purchased for full price (unlocked) Phones has been significantly diminished.

        1. Not really. Your up-front full price was (presumably) $650. The open-market value of a locked new, unopened iPhone is likely some $30-50 lower. However, the owner is still paying full retail price of $650 (amortised over the life of that two-year contract).

          After, say, two years, the value of both iPhones has dropped. Once unlocked, the value of the iPhone out of contract would be precisely the same as the value of your, purchased-for-full-price contract-free iPhone (assuming all other factors are identical). However, the other user had to go through the effort do do this unlocking song-and-dance routine with AT&T and you didn’t. And if he didn’t unlock, his phone would have been even less valuable than yours.

          So, no, your value has not been diminished; it is his phone the value of which has been increased by unlocking it.

            1. Perhaps in theory, but practically, it will have absolutely no impact, since the number of used iPhones being resold won’t really change much, if at all. Who wanted to sell it before, will want to sell it now, and who didn’t bother trying to sell it before won’t be bothered now either. Other than few geeks who might think that they’d have a better shot at selling unlocked and decide to sell after all, most people won’t really be affected by this in any meaningful way.

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