1. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    Let me preface by saying I am definitely not a newb or stranger when it comes to phones and unlocking, etc... However, the one area where I am out of my comfort zone is buying an iPhone at full cost, no financing or contracts, and know the status of that phone being unlocked without opening it and putting a sim in it.

    So anyways, here is my question. I purchased through BestBuy's website, an AT&T iphone 7 32gb Rose Gold at full retail price. However, what was strange is when you chose the option to pay full price, and add it to the cart, the item description shows iPhone 7 32 Rose Gold - Unactivated. Nowhere does it disclose the model number or carrier.

    When I picked up the phone this evening, I checked the back of the box and it shows the model number as A1660 which I know is the iPhone 7 which has the CDMA bands as well as the GSM LTE bands which basically is the version used on Verizon and Sprint. I found it odd that they did not give me the A1788 which is the GSM only version of the iPhone 7.

    Anyways, the BestBuy rep at the instore pick up counter confirmed with the BestBuy Mobile people that the phone is for sure unlocked, however, and here is the part I am questioning solely based on the fact I purchased from BestBuy, is she told me that once you insert a sim, regardless of carrier, it will then lock the phone to that carrier of the inserted sim forever. I am taking this with a grain of salt based on my well rounded knowledge of unlock protocols.

    In my 12 years of my interest in cellphones and tech in general, I have never heard of this being true. I know that iphones purchased at full cost with absolutely no financial obligation attachments are unlocked by default, and I also know that all Verizon phones are unlocked by default by law due to their agreement with the FCC from some years back.

    Since I am planning on gifting the phone to someone, before I do, I wanted to reach out to my fellow iMore community members to see if anyone out there has ACTUALLY had this happen to them (not necessarily just being told this by someone) where the phone actually locked permenantly just as the BestBuy Mobile people say it will.

    Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated Again, this is just one area that I have never dealt with as I have always purchased my iPhones from either Apple directly or my carrier store directly.
    09-19-2016 09:44 PM
  2. eyecrispy's Avatar
    I don't think that's true. If you paid full price it is unlocked. I doubt it will lock to the carrier once a sim is inserted.
    09-19-2016 10:10 PM
  3. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    I don't think that's true. If you paid full price it is unlocked. I doubt it will lock to the carrier once a sim is inserted.
    Thanks Eyecrispy. Yeah, I know it sounds crazy considering I have never heard of that happening on any of the forums here at iMore and others in all my years. I am almost positive that if BestBuy's claim were true, this would have been well voiced here in the community over the past few years that they have been selling phones.

    I have searched high and low via Google Search and just could not find another sole who has actually had this happen. I dont even know if the sim card inside the phone is Verizon or Sprint since I am going to gift it, and want to let that person open it. If its Verizon, then perfect, since we all know the Verizon phones are unlocked.

    Well hopefully this all works out for my giftee Thanks again for chiming in. I definitely appreciate your response. A little affirmation goes a long way.
    09-19-2016 10:21 PM
  4. Alain_A's Avatar
    Well that depends, I'm Canadian, when I called att for info for buying a US phone through them and paying cash. I was told such phone had to be active on their site for at least 6 months before it was eligible for unlocking.
    Unless I got misinformed, that is what I know
    09-19-2016 10:21 PM
  5. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    Well that depends, I'm Canadian, when I called att for info for buying a US phone through them and paying cash. I was told such phone had to be active on their site for at least 6 months before it was eligible for unlocking.
    Unless I got misinformed, that is what I know
    I can confirm this is true if purchasing an AT&T phone to unlock. 6 months on a prepaid plan, or 60 days on postpaid is required according to several AT&T reps I have spoken with in the past.
    09-19-2016 10:24 PM
  6. Alain_A's Avatar
    I can confirm this is true if purchasing an AT&T phone to unlock. 6 months on a prepaid plan, or 60 days on postpaid is required according to several AT&T reps I have spoken with in the past.
    Yeah, but one paid full price right off the bat, it should be automatically unlocked
    09-19-2016 10:28 PM
  7. eyecrispy's Avatar
    Yeah, but one paid full price right off the bat, it should be automatically unlocked
    True. I've purchased phones outright every year and they've always been unlocked from the start.

    OP, I am currently using a Verizon iPhone 7 with an ATT sim. If you'd like, I can put my sister's Verizon sim or my parents' T-Mobile sim in my phone when I see them over the next few days to verify for you that the phone didn't lock itself to att.
    ame likes this.
    09-19-2016 10:50 PM
  8. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    True. I've purchased phones outright every year and they've always been unlocked from the start.

    OP, I am currently using a Verizon iPhone 7 with an ATT sim. If you'd like, I can put my sister's Verizon sim or my parents' T-Mobile sim in my phone when I see them over the next few days to verify for you that the phone didn't lock itself to att.
    Actually no I need as I know from all the phones I have purchased at full retail from Apple that they are not locked and don't lock later on when inserting another sim, but I definitely appreciate the fact that you were willing to do that for me The ONLY times I have received a locked from is the very few times I have purchased directly from tmobile and AT&T.

    I really was solely concerned about iphone purchased off contract at BestBuy since I have never done that before from BestBuy. BestBuy happened to be the only place with stock. My gut tells me that the people at BestBuy either don't know what they are talking about, or, that they are trained to say that in order to discourage customers from buying phones outright from their supply since they have activation quotas, or something the likes thereof.
    09-19-2016 11:01 PM
  9. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    I think I will just for the sake of doing my complete due diligence, I will call Apple tomorrow to see what their response is to BestBuy's claim.
    09-19-2016 11:04 PM
  10. eyecrispy's Avatar
    I think I will just for the sake of doing my complete due diligence, I will call Apple tomorrow to see what their response is to BestBuy's claim.
    Not a bad idea. I think it's their lack of knowledge.
    09-20-2016 04:54 AM
  11. TwitchyPuppy's Avatar
    If you bought an AT&T one, it's locked to that carrier. Hence why the "Unactivated" status. So when an AT&T SIM will be put in, it will "lock" to that carrier (even if it's already locked). Unlike Verizon.

    That's my understanding of what the BB rep said. And it somewhat makes sense.
    Even bought at full price, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket and such aren't factory unlocked.
    09-20-2016 08:29 AM
  12. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    If you bought an AT&T one, it's locked to that carrier. Hence why the "Unactivated" status. So when an AT&T SIM will be put in, it will "lock" to that carrier (even if it's already locked). Unlike Verizon.

    That's my understanding of what the BB rep said. And it somewhat makes sense.
    Even bought at full price, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket and such aren't factory unlocked.
    I figured AT&T iphones sold at BestBuy will be locked, just like if I were to buy it at an AT&T. That was not the issue. BestBuy sold me a Model A1660 which is not the AT&T model, but the Sprint/Verizon model. What I thought was strange is that no one at BestBuy new if the phone was pulled from their Verizon stock or Sprint stock, or something different entirely.

    As of today, when my girlfriend opened the phone and put her AT&T sim in, and then when we tried my tmobile sim, it rejected the tmobile sim. I actually thought when BB told me that its basically an unlocked phone but will lock to a carrier once a sim is put in that they were full of it since this particular situation apparently is not common. Never have I ever heard of this happening anywhere. Carriers (except Verizon) sell locked phones regardless if you pay outright. Apple sells unlocked phones by default unless you do a carrier finance/upgrade plan, then those get locked (again, except for Verizon). However, unlocked phones do not ever lock back to a carrier, at least not in my 12 years of dealing with cell phones.

    Basically I learned something new in the mobile space today and that is BB iphones, when purchased outright are unlocked until you put a sim in, which tells me that their stock of iphones is truly "unique" in some sort of way, just not sure how to describe it really.

    Anyways, all is good since we got AT&T to unlock the phone with a quick email.
    09-20-2016 03:48 PM
  13. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    Not a bad idea. I think it's their lack of knowledge.
    Update: Apple was not really sure as to why the BB iphones would lock as soon as a SIM was put in. But I was able to get AT&T to unlock the phone within minutes of emailing them
    Craig and Sherry_B like this.
    09-20-2016 03:51 PM
  14. eyecrispy's Avatar
    I figured AT&T iphones sold at BestBuy will be locked, just like if I were to buy it at an AT&T. That was not the issue. BestBuy sold me a Model A1660 which is not the AT&T model, but the Sprint/Verizon model. What I thought was strange is that no one at BestBuy new if the phone was pulled from their Verizon stock or Sprint stock, or something different entirely.

    As of today, when my girlfriend opened the phone and put her AT&T sim in, and then when we tried my tmobile sim, it rejected the tmobile sim. I actually thought when BB told me that its basically an unlocked phone but will lock to a carrier once a sim is put in that they were full of it since this particular situation apparently is not common. Never have I ever heard of this happening anywhere. Carriers (except Verizon) sell locked phones regardless if you pay outright. Apple sells unlocked phones by default unless you do a carrier finance/upgrade plan, then those get locked (again, except for Verizon). However, unlocked phones do not ever lock back to a carrier, at least not in my 12 years of dealing with cell phones.

    Basically I learned something new in the mobile space today and that is BB iphones, when purchased outright are unlocked until you put a sim in, which tells me that their stock of iphones is truly "unique" in some sort of way, just not sure how to describe it really.

    Anyways, all is good since we got AT&T to unlock the phone with a quick email.
    So weird. So wrong.

    So, would a Verizon one lock to a carrier if purchased from BB?
    09-20-2016 06:59 PM
  15. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    So weird. So wrong.

    So, would a Verizon one lock to a carrier if purchased from BB?
    Yes definitely weird and definitely wrong. Even weirder is that ATT unlocked an iPhone model that they don't even sell lol.

    Not sure if Verizon one would lock to a carrier though. But based on my recent experience I would not put it past BB to a Verizon one that would lock itself lol
    09-20-2016 07:48 PM
  16. ame's Avatar
    IIRC the Tmo is the only "truly" unlocked model.
    09-21-2016 08:06 AM
  17. ame's Avatar
    So I asked this on a chat with Apple Support since we were trying to revive my new phone, he also said Tmo is the only truly unlocked one at purchase of full price--like a "sim free" version, that is. Otherwise:

    "you would need to have the carrier unlock the device and then restore with the new sim card through itunes after the carrier has unlocked it."
    09-21-2016 08:14 AM
  18. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    So I asked this on a chat with Apple Support since we were trying to revive my new phone, he also said Tmo is the only truly unlocked one at purchase of full price--like a "sim free" version, that is. Otherwise:

    "you would need to have the carrier unlock the device and then restore with the new sim card through itunes after the carrier has unlocked it."
    I am not sure the rep you spoke with was entirely accurate in his statement, only in that our household purchased 2 new tmobile iphone 7 Plus' and 2 new AT&T 7's directly from Apple at full price. I tested both my tmobile sim one of the AT&T phones and my AT&T sim in one of the tmobile phones when we received them last Friday just to make sure they were unlocked, as I do every year when we have ordered directly from Apple. None of the phones ever "locked" to that specific carrier once inserting the sim cards and then switching them back.

    I have never had any iphone that we have purchased from Apple at full retail lock to any carrier at any time ever after inserting a sim, in my personal experiences with Apple since the 5S and up.

    Not sure why the one I purchased at BestBuy did this, but I will take this as a learning experience and will simply not purchase from BB again when it comes to iPhones. I only purchased this particular one from them as my girlfriend's phone finally stopped working and the BestBuy in my area was literally the only store that had the color and storage size in stock.
    09-21-2016 09:49 AM
  19. ame's Avatar
    I am wondering if they grabbed the wrong phone, honestly.
    09-21-2016 10:30 AM
  20. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    I am wondering if they grabbed the wrong phone, honestly.
    Possibly, but I did ask them several times as to why when online I chose the AT&T model which is model number A1788, they gave me a Model A1660, no body knew as to why their system directed them to pull that model instead of the AT&T one. To be honest, it seemed as if none of the BB Mobile employees knew anything about actual model numbers....basically just did what the system told them to do.
    09-21-2016 02:15 PM
  21. Gene Heron's Avatar
    once you select the cellular option in settings you will be able to choose your carrier based on the sim inserted.
    09-21-2016 06:40 PM
  22. eyecrispy's Avatar
    This is one of the silliest things. I don't know why a BB phone would do that. I'm glad I know that now and will never buy a phone from them.
    09-21-2016 06:45 PM
  23. pappy53's Avatar
    Leo Laporte bought an AT&T version. It wouldn't recognize his T-Mobile sim out of the box. But once he activated it with the AT&T sim, he tried the T-Mobile again, and it worked.
    Rob Phillips likes this.
    09-21-2016 08:14 PM
  24. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Leo Laporte bought an AT&T version. It wouldn't recognize his T-Mobile sim out of the box. But once he activated it with the AT&T sim, he tried the T-Mobile again, and it worked.
    I was just thinking about that while reading these replies! He was just talking about it on TWiT or MacBreak Weekly; I forget which one.
    09-21-2016 08:19 PM
  25. TheRewardisCheese's Avatar
    In case anyone will still curious about this, I have an update.

    We returned the phone today since we were able to secure a 128gb from the Apple store, and when speaking with BestBuy about my experience with buying an iphone from them, their explanation as to why the phone model given was not an AT&T Model A1778, and as to why the phone will lock to the carrier of the first sim inserted was this:

    To make things easier for BestBuy this year, they only sell one model, the A1660, which is the one that has the CDMA and GSM bands, and are unlocked by default, so that they can activate them on any of the 3 carriers they deal with (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint). and not deal with having to stock carrier locked specific phones. the reason they lock upon inserting a sim was to comply with carrier requirements for AT&T and Sprint (Verizon phones by law cannot be locked) since 99.9% of the consumers who buy the iPhone from BB do so with starting new service or upgrades or adding a line in conjunction with financing the phone.

    What was funny was several of the BB reps in both the Returns Dept and BB Mobile all feel that particular policy is absolute horse**** and agree that if you purchase a phone at full price, it should NOT lock to a carrier since they are unlocked to begin with. They also agreed that charging an extra $50-$100 more than Apple on phones purchased at full price is horse****.

    So again, for me, lesson learned. I will ONLY purchase my iPhones directly from Apple, as I always have in the past.
    09-23-2016 08:22 PM

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