Earlier this month, Apple began US sales of carrier-unlocked versions of the iPhone 4S. If you’re willing to foot the larger upfront bill, you can now pick up a 4S that’s as much at home on AT&T as any number of GSM carriers domestic and abroad (frequency support notwithstanding). If you’ve got no problem being locked-on to a contract, though, and might just want to swap SIMs occasionally, a new technique has been published that claims the ability to let you switch carriers with just a few moments of work.
The instructions below are reportedly valid for the iPhone 3GS, 4, and the 4S. You’ll need an AT&T-locked phone, along with the AT&T SIM and the SIM for the carrier of your choice (trimmed-down if micro SIMs aren’t available). While these instructions describe getting the phone to connect to T-Mobile, it supposedly will work just as well for other GSM carriers.
Sure, there are quite a few steps to go through, but if you’re patient and follow them to a T, you should be rocking your own carrier-unlocked iPhone in under 10 minutes. Also keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent solution, and will need to be repeated should you reset your device.
1. Insert original carrier AT&T SIM card
2. Dial 611 for AT&T customer service hotline and drop the call
3. Turn on Airplane Mode
4. Take out AT&T SIM card
5. Insert T-Mobile SIM card
6. Make sure WiFi is off ( also tap on Forget this Network” to make sure it doesn’t connect automatically later)
7. Switch off Airplane Mode and iPhone will search for network. This is followed by the Apple splash screen appearing.
8. Activation Required will be displayed on the screen
9. EDGE network will activate automatically notice the E’ on the top left corner of the screen
10. Wait for about 20-30 seconds and turn off the phone
11. Turn on iPhone and the same Activation Required screen will be displayed
12. When you see one signal bar, tap on Use Cellular Connection
13. Eject SIM card
14. Activation Required screen will be displayed the second time
15. Insert SIM card