After giving in to the pressure from consumers, AT&T finally started unlocking contract-free iPhones as of April 8th. Well for once, AT&T is actually going above expectations to make the process easier. You don’t even have to visit your local AT&T store to unlock the iPhone; you can do it online right from home.
First you’ll have to obtain your contract-free iPhone’s unique IMEI number. Jump into the Settings app, then General, then About. Scroll down and voila! First step complete. Next, log in to AT&T’s website with your credentials and bring up AT&T Wireless Support Chat, both of which I’ve linked to here for your convenience. Fire up a chat with one of the support representatives and request that your device be unlocked. As long as your iPhone was bought from AT&T, not locked into a contract, and you have your IMEI number handy, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The final step requires some reliance on Apple. AT&T pushes your request to Apple, then Apple has to email you the unlock code. It’s done within 72 hours, but it could take as little as an hour to receive the email. Before utilizing the unlock code, you’ll have to backup and restore the iPhone through iTunes. If all goes as planned, you’ll be able to roam freely with your unlocked toy.
It’s not too hard, but there’s a lot of opportunities for disaster here so stay cautious. If you’re feeling sociable today, you can always take the traditional route and visit your local AT&T store. Happy unlocking!