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Possible to buy unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple store?

Possible to buy unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple store?

Old Oct 6, 13, 7:24 pm
  #1  
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Possible to buy unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple store?

Hi,

If I buy the ~$700 iPhone 5s from the Apple store, can I use the phone freely abroad in Asia and Europe, or would I need to unlock it still?

I'm asking because I see the apple website listing a "contract free" version via T-Mobile, but have heard that the phone would still be tied to T-Mobile and needs to be unlocked. I just want to buy a 5s from Apple at full price that's unlocked to begin with. Any ideas if that's possible?

Thank you!
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Old Oct 6, 13, 7:30 pm
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Apple usually sells unlocked iPhones but apparently doesn't yet with the 5s. If you buy the T-mobile version it will be locked to T-mobile in the US, but will work with any SIM card outside the US.
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Old Oct 6, 13, 8:28 pm
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Isn't the verizon one unlocked as well?
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Old Oct 6, 13, 8:38 pm
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To clarify, you mean that while the TM contract free version will be tied to TM in the US, when abroad there will effectively be no restriction whatsoever with local sim cards?

The phone is meant to be a gift to an abroad friend, so it would presumably stay abroad for its lifetime. Ideally I'd like to hand the phone in its original wrapping without burdening the recipient with having to unlock it somehow.

Thank you.
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Old Oct 6, 13, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by accrue450 View Post
The phone is meant to be a gift to an abroad friend, so it would presumably stay abroad for its lifetime.
Make sure that you buy a model that supports the LTE bands in the country where the phone will be used.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
Isn't the verizon one unlocked as well?
Yes - same thing. The only US SIM it will accept is Verizon's, but it will work with any SIM of a carrier based outside the US.

Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
Make sure that you buy a model that supports the LTE bands in the country where the phone will be used.
Also important consideration.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Apple usually sells unlocked iPhones but apparently doesn't yet with the 5s. If you buy the T-mobile version it will be locked to T-mobile in the US, but will work with any SIM card outside the US.
Does TMO still have their mandatory 30-40 day waiting period before unlocking for international networks? They did with the original 5, even if you paid full price....did they change this policy with new 5c and 5s?

The ideal model is Verizon 5s from apple. It would be factory unlocked for ALL providers, including TMO/AT&T/international providers. But from other forums, it appears apple hasn't made them available yet....OP needs to call apple to confirm.

Last edited by dtsm; Oct 7, 13 at 8:44 am
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Old Oct 7, 13, 8:46 am
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I bought one in an Apple store the day it was launched..... you need the T-mobile GSM model (A1533).
No problem getting the version without a contract.....
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Old Oct 7, 13, 9:14 am
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The VZW is also unlocked for use abroad.

Regarding T-Mobile, a contract-free device (non-subsidized) is locked to TM?
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Old Oct 7, 13, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Regarding T-Mobile, a contract-free device (non-subsidized) is locked to TM?
I put my European SIM in it while in the US, worked like a charm.... so no.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Yes - same thing. The only US SIM it will accept is Verizon's, but it will work with any SIM of a carrier based outside the US.



Also important consideration.
Are you absolutely sure about that? My VZW iPhone 5 has taken an at&t and a lycamobile us sim without issue.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
Are you absolutely sure about that? My VZW iPhone 5 has taken an at&t and a lycamobile us sim without issue.
The iPhone 5 from Verizon was completely unlocked when initially sold - no idea if they changed that. Verizon iPhone 5 comes unlocked, usable on AT&T | Apple - CNET News
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Old Oct 7, 13, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Yes - same thing. The only US SIM it will accept is Verizon's, but it will work with any SIM of a carrier based outside the US.
That was the way it was for the iPhone 5. However, not sure that is how it is for the 5S. I wouldn't be surprised if it is different this time, given the sales lines I was being provided by Apple sales reps.

Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
Make sure that you buy a model that supports the LTE bands in the country where the phone will be used.
Less of an issue with the 5S than with the 5.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 3:07 pm
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The Verizon iPhone 5 and higher (including 5S/C) is fully unlocked out of the box including US domestic SIM's (e.g. AT&T and T-Mobile). This includes ALL VZW Global LTE devices (devices with LTE + CDMA + GSM/WCDMA). This is due to a FCC ruling when VZW bought their billion $ 20MHz LTE spectrum in the US placed by Google for an "open network".
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Old Oct 7, 13, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
The iPhone 5 from Verizon was completely unlocked when initially sold - no idea if they changed that. Verizon iPhone 5 comes unlocked, usable on AT&T | Apple - CNET News
The AT&T version was unlocked as well, bought one for my wife who was in China at the time.
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