Things you will need:
You must have an AT&T account in good standing (or know someone who does)
iPhone must not be tied with an existing contract or have an outstanding bill
1. Call or get on a Chat support with an AT&T representative. They will ask for your account information to verify that you have an account with them. If you don’t have one, ask a friend to call for you or to get on the support chat for you.
2. Tell the rep you are traveling and need to do an iPhone unlock.
3. Give the rep your phone’s IMEI number. On the iPhone, Settings >> About. You will see the IMEI number.
4. You will get an email from AT&T with the instructions. Actually getting the instructions is important because that means they have put your IMEI number in their system to authorize the unlock when you do it through iTunes.
Here are the instructions from AT&T:
Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your iPhone.
We have reviewed your request and confirmed that you are eligible to have the requested iPhone unlocked.
To complete the unlock, simply:
1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have internet connectivity.
2. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.
3. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes .
For information on backup and restore, please visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.
4. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.
Additional information on unlocking can be found at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3198.
For questions regarding AT&T’s wireless service and iPhone, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.
We thank you for your continued business and look forward to providing you with the best customer service.
AT&T Customer Care Team
**Make sure you when you RESTORE, YOU MUST RESTORE TO FACTORY SETTINGS! THEN you can restore from the backup you created. You won’t lose any information. My first attempt, I just did a Restore From Backup immediately after the Backup. And it did not work. I verified it didn’t work with AT&T. See the chat log below.
You are supposed to get a confirmation from iTunes indicating that your iPhone is unlocked. But many users, including myself, did not get one. To verify, you have to call AT&T or chat with them online. They are able to check if your phone was indeed unlocked or not. Obviously, you can use a SIM card from another carrier to test with, but I did not have one.
Here is the chat I had with the AT&T rep.
Please wait for a chat representative to respond.
You are now chatting with ‘Amy Budge’
Amy Budge: Thank you for contacting AT&T Live Support Chat!
Amy Budge: I understand you are needing a status update on your request?
Me: No. The request was completed and I was sent instructions on how to Unlock. I need to confirm that it was successful. iTunes did not give me a confirmation that it was unlocked.
Amy Budge: I apologize for any frustration and inconvenience.
Amy Budge: I will be more then happy to help you.
Amy Budge: I appreciate your business and patience. One moment while I access your account.
Amy Budge: The device was unlocked on AT&T’s side. You need to complete a backup and restore in iTunes to complete the unlock.
Me: Yes I did that but there was no success message from iTunes. Are you able to check if it was truly unlocked?
Amy Budge: It is not unlocked.
Me: Back up, and restore from back up? Or restore back to factory settings?
Amy Budge: You need to do the backup and restore again in iTunes.
Amy Budge: You need to back up your information so you do not loose anything. Than hit restore in iTunes.
Amy Budge: You need to have an AT&T sim card in the device. You need to have the latest version of iTunes. You also need to be connected to the Internet while complete the steps.
Me: Yes I have an AT&T sim in right now. Let me download the latest itunes and try again.
Amy Budge: If you need assistance with the backup and restore I can provide the number for Apple.
Me: I have a link to the support documentation from the email I got from At&T.
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: Can you hang on while the restore completes?
Amy Budge: I sure can.
Me: Is it true that after several unsuccessful attempts, the iPhone will be tied with AT&T for good?
Amy Budge: That is not true with the iPhone.
Me: Thanks for that. That is what the last rep told me.
Amy Budge: Let me re-confirm. I am unaware of this.
Me: iPhone is retoring iphone software now…
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: …restoring iphone firmware….
Amy Budge: Ok.
Me: now is asking me to set up my iphone
Me: I will proceed to restore from backup
Amy Budge: Yes.
Me: The restore is complete. And I am back at the home screen on iTunes. Can you check if the unlock was successful?
Me: I did not get any message that says it was successful.
Amy Budge: I have refreshed and it is now successfully unlocked Mr. xxxx.
Me: Thank you for the confirmation. Are you able to send me a confirmation via email?
Amy Budge: I am sorry but I do not have a confirmation email I can send. I can assure it is now successfully unlocked.
Me: Do you know why iTunes did not give me a confirmation?
Me: I will be traveling overseas soon so it is important that it works with another carrier while I am overseas.
Amy Budge: I cannot say why iTunes is not providing confirmation as it is Apple’s software.
Me: Ok thanks.
Amy Budge: I understand and your phone is ready to use with another carrier.
Me: Thanks for checking and your help today.
Amy Budge: You’re Welcome Mr. xxxx! Is there anything else I can do for you today other than assisting with unlocking your iPhone?
Me: That is all.
Amy Budge: Have I resolved your reason for contacting chat today?
Amy Budge: Thank you for contacting AT&T Live Support Chat. Have a Wonderful Day!