AT&T locking carrier-interchangeable Apple SIMs in iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3

“Apple’s new Apple SIM card in the iPad Air 2 and the Retina iPad mini 3 is designed to be universal, usable across a variety of wireless carriers in the US and UK, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and UK’s EE,” Kelly Hodgkins reports for MacRumors.

“However, AT&T is not supporting this interchangeability and is locking the SIM included with cellular models of the iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3 after it is used with an AT&T plan,” Hodgkins reports. “A newly posted Apple support document details what happens to the SIM when it is activated on US carriers. ‘Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United States, you can choose a domestic plan from either Sprint or T-Mobile and also pick an alternate plan from the other carrier as needed. When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only.'”

Hodgkins reports, “Verizon, the fourth major carrier in the United States, did not opt to allow the Apple SIM to work with its network.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, which collection of greedy bastages are worse, AT&T Mobility or Verizon Wireless?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
New ‘Apple SIM’ could significantly disrupt the wireless industry – October 17, 2014
Apple SIM card in new iPads challenges mobile networks – October 17, 2014


  1. I can’t stand these companies. In the past year, we switched from AT&T to T-Mobile and haven’t regretted it.

    What is most frustrating is seeing these companies do things that intentionally limit customer choice. It’s one thing when a company is too slow and laggardly to catch up to the latest technology. But another entirely when they make decisions that serve no purpose than to annoy their customers.

    1. Bad choice, AT&T. I would have signed up with you. But not now.

      Bad choice, Verizon. You would have been my second choice, because of coverage. But you are out of the game.

    2. I agree 1000%. I’ve been with T-Mobile since before they officially supported iPhones. T-Mobile is the answer. The difference between them and AT&T and Verizon is like night and day. If AT&T were the only cell phone provider I simply wouldn’t have a cell phone. They are worse than useless.

    3. The companies like AT&T that treat their customers poorly will live to regret it. If choice exists, we will vote with our dollars. If choice does not currently exist, then we will find a way to encourage (or force) competition.

      If companies want to succeed like Apple, then they need to change their ways and truly place their customers as their top priority. When customers are treated with respect, they will be loyal and the company will thrive.

  2. While I’m grandfathered in unlimited with ATT @$30 a month since iPad 1, I’ll be removing the Apple SIM from my iPad 2 and putting in a dedicated ATT SIM rendering the Apple SIM still unlocked and available if I should ever choose to switch to T-Mobile or Sprint.

      1. According to the article, Apple charges for the new SIM.

        “According to the Apple support document, when an Apple SIM becomes locked to a specific network like AT&T, purchasing a new Apple SIM from an Apple Retail store will allow an iPad to be usable with other carrier programs.”

        1. Yeah the more I think about it, I’m gonna check into T-Mobile on the Apple SIM and then monitor the signal wherever I go. If it turns out to be good, I think I might just disconnect my relationship with ATT permanently. This move by them is one too many wrong ways to do business. They don’t deserve our loyalty any more. 😱 😩 😁

          1. I haven’t checked into T-Mobile where I live, I know Verizon’s coverage blows, and Sprint is weak.

            I may also check into T-Mobile when I get mine. My problem is AT&T has great LTE coverage.. almost twice as fast as verizon’s..

            And I have $350 in credit at AT&T right now.. was going to use it to buy my iPad Air 2 with it, guess I still can, just without any plan.

            1. You can use T-Mobile’s “try and buy” program for 6 days. I recently did it unfortunately the service hasn’t improved in the Atlanta area so I wasn’t able to change. You can do this online at which time they mail a device to your home. Use it and return to a T-Mobile store within 6 days. The process is good and a great way to check their service. I’m hoping next year I can try it again. I would to switch carriers.

  3. Time for government to step in and fix this mess they gave helped create. Locking a sim card locks your phone so doesn’t this violate the cellphone law? Can you say crooks
    If not government then apple should step in Steve Jobs would have said something about this.


        You BOUGHT the first iPhone way back when knowing that it was AT&T only. You knew that before you spent a penny on the phone or the AT&T service.

        This is different. You BUY an iPad Air 2 knowing that it has the ability to support multiple carriers at YOUR discretion. Some carriers support that. AT&T locks you to them when you try to use their service. That is NOT the conditions under which you bought your iPad Air 2.

  4. If your device is still under contract with the carrier, I think they’ve got every right to lock down the device; however, once the contract expires, or if you want to buy out the contract, the device should be immediately unlocked.

    However, if I bought an unlocked device, and AT&T decided to lock it down to their service, I’d raise merry hell.

    1. I agree, but I think AT&T would be hard pressed to lock down a device in which they had no financial interest. The key here is DON’T buy YOUR iPad from AT&T.

  5. I wrote to Ralph delaVega about AT&T’s lackadaisical attitude about wifi calling. Guess what? I didn’t get an answer.

    One of the sales people in at AT&T store told me it was Apple’s decision to delay wifi calling on the AT&T network, but backtracked when I quoted delaVega’s statement that AT&T didn’t need to be aggressive in rolling out wifi calling because they don’t have serious coverage issues.

    I would switch to T-Mobile in a minute if their coverage was better where I live and work. AT&T (aka Bell South) got big by buying up customers through mergers and acquisitions, not because people flocked to them because they had a great product.

    The only thing that will ever motivate AT&T to improve their treatment of customers is when they start to lose them in big numbers. For that to happen, their has to be a viable alternative.

    Apple, are you listening?

  6. Did they lock down the actual iPad or just the SIM card?

    If they locked the iPad I would be very angry and demand that they unlock it. Then take your business elsewhere.

    1. No… the article is saying that regardless of where you buy the iPad… the second you choose AT&T, the SIM is getting locked.

      Granted if you choose T-Mobile, then it won’t be locked.

    1. One question though..
      The Apple SIM is in fact removable.. I’d assume Apple will sell you a new one right?

      So if AT&T locks the SIM to them.. swap out the SIM with another from Apple and choose Sprint/T-Mobile.

      Kinda wondering if the locking of the SIM is by accident?
      Verizon got sued for locking a phones abilities away from the user, requiring payment to unlock them. Apple SIM would be no different.

    2. I doubt Aaple would get involved in any lawsuit against AT&T. Apple has no part in this. They sold the customer a device intended to work a certain way. The customer took it to AT&T independent of Apple and AT&T decided to lock it. That is an issue between AT&T and the customer. Apple has no control over locking or unlocking.

      1. “How do they justify stealing the Apple SIM? They didn’t pay for it. They didn’t provide it. They didn’t subsidize the device. Why do we allow them to steal things like this? And if you call them to un lock it, will/can they?”

        It’s *NOT* AT&T’s SIM, it’s Apple’s SIM *designed* to be used by everyone.
        AT&T’s locking of the SIM, requires payment…. to fix the problem. Payment to Apple though.

        There will be a class action against AT&T at some point over this, Verizon did similar with the v710.
        Apple may not get directly involved, but they may help out T-Mobile and Sprint.. which AT&T’s locking the SIM hurts them, directly.

        1. Oh I think it’s damn shitty of AT&T and I hope they get their collective dicks sued off. I just don’t think Apple will get involved as it doesn’t invovle Apple at all. Apple has sold the device to the customer and the customer decided to take it to a company that locked it. Apple is out of the loop at that point. Apple has no control over who locks the device once they don’t own it anymore and they don’t have the ability to unlock it, only the company that locks it does.

  7. How do they justify stealing the Apple SIM? They didn’t pay for it. They didn’t provide it. They didn’t subsidize the device. Why do we allow them to steal things like this? And if you call them to un lock it, will/can they?

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