AT&T iPhone Unlocking Down Worldwide since Tuesday – Suggests Permanent Shutdown!
*UPDATE 10-7-2013 ON BOTTOM OF PAGE:
** Update 10-8-2013 ON BOTTOM OF PAGE
*** Update 11-4-2013 ON BOTTOM OF PAGE
On Tuesday earlier this week, third party businesses offering factory unlocks for AT&T devices, including the iPhone, reported significant delays in unlock requests submitted to AT&T. End users are able to pay these third party providers to submit their unlock request directly without having to fulfill AT&T’s customer unlock requirements which mandates all requests must be submitted by an active or former AT&T account holder.
In the grey-market, end-users, cell phone repair stores and wholesalers of used devices rely on these third party unlocking companies to circumvent the carrier requirements. After being being fully shut down for four days straight, direct unlocking companies are at a loss for words and signal that the shutdown could be permanent.
A college friend of mine called and asked if I could get an unlock done for him because his provided had been down for two days; he wanted to know if I was able to submit it through our unlock company. After sending over the IMEI, I went to our portal to submit the unlock request only to find that services were limited and the cost increased from .60 cents to $22. A few hours after submitted the request, I was refunded in full with the following message:
“ALL AT&T services are down and not operational. It’s DOWN WORLDWIDE. THAT MEANS EVERYONE, NOT JUST OUR COMPANY. This means absolutely no one can process them right now. There is no ETA for all we know it’s down for good. If there are “COMPANIES” that promote it working, good luck on getting your money back. We were the direct suppliers for AT&T Services & there is new policies to abide making it almost impossible to unlock phones with AT&T.”
I thought that maybe the recent government shutdown might have something to do with the extended unlock downtime. However, direct unlock wholesalers quickly confirmed it had nothing to do with the politicians’ inability to pass a bill that resulted in a partial shutdown during the same week. To my surprise, there seems to be very little to no press around the issue on any of the popular tech and mobile phone forms or news websites that were quick to cover the announcement of such services earlier last year.
AT&T’s website still indicates that active customers of their postpaid plans and prepaid Go Phone users can submit device unlock requests given the eligibility requirements are met. This suggests that AT&T is most likely behind the unlock shutdown for third party providers.
This is sure to gain some serious press early next week. Everyone from iPhone repair shops, wholesalers, international mobile traders and end-consumers relied on this third party service to unlock their devices. Everyone is patiently waiting for any new information regarding last week’s shutdown and the future of the third party unlocking industry.
Update On IMEI Unlocking Shutdown 10-7-2013
Unlocking is still down as of Monday morning. Many were expecting to have updated news Monday morning, however, no new news is simply more bad news. It appears as if AT&T is not the one to blame for the unlocking shutdown last week. Many sources in the unlocking community suggest that third party providers who use an Apple GSX Exploit Method for Unlocking have been shut down.
What is the Apple GSX Unlocking Exploit?
LetsUnlockiPhone.com describes this method as:
“This system is available to particular groups of users. For example, you can use it if you are a service provider and need to order device’s parts or process repairs [for official Apple service providers]. But you cannot access it if you are an ordinary user. Secondly, there is no way for you to unlock iPhone with GSX if you are not one of authorized service providers working in partnership with Apple. In other words, if you don’t have a GSX account you are not eligible to get unlock for your iPhone. Surely, there is a way to get such account if you become friends with iPhone carriers or repair shops that already have one.”
Our interpretation suggests that some third party “Officially Authorized Server Providers” for Apple has access to a tool that gives them the capability to submit IMEI unlocks directly while bypassing AT&T’s unlock requirements altogether. Most of the major unlock service providers most likely do not have a GSX account themselves, but are relying on an a network of GSX account holders to submit the IMEI unlocks for them. Using the GSX Account solely for this purpose without actually having to service the handset would be considered “unauthorized use.” This widespread abuse of such a tool caused Apple to shutdown the system entirely.
How Can I Get My AT&T iPhone Unlocked Now?
You still have a few options. This would mainly apply to end-users as all the suggestions below are not something any business would easily replicate for bulk IMEI unlocking or wouldn’t make financial sense compared to their cost of sub-$1 unlocks.
- If you’re an AT&T/GoPhone Customer – You can submit five IMEI unlock requests per year per account holder for free online through AT&T’s website. The iPhone does not have to be one you bought from AT&T, but the used device must still fulfill the original account holders contract obligations. Go Phone subscribers must have had six months of service in order to fulfill the request.
- Have a Friend Who’s an AT&T/Go Phone Customer? – Find a friend or who is an AT&T or Go Phone subscriber to submit your IMEI for you. Offer him/her lunch or a drink of their choice in exchange for the favor.
- Alternative Third Party Online Service Providers – Not all service providers are shut down. The GSX method surely provided the most direct approach with only an IMEI needing to be submitted electronically. There are IMEI unlocking providers still out there online that offer the service. I’m not exactly sure of their approach, but the cost for all of them is significantly higher ($25-$60). I’m confident their “secret method” requires many more steps than the GSX method and, therefore, the price is adjusted accordingly. I’ve used three successfully since last week’s shutdown, a few of them being BlowFish Unlocks ($22-24/hour service) and iDeviceGuys.com ($25, 1-5 days). The others are through somewhat “unofficial” channels, such as Apple forums and community websites.
- Buy Verizon iPhone 5 or 5s – Verizon iPhone 5 and 5s already come factory unlocked for the GSM network out of the box. The same could be said about buying an iPhone that’s not on AT&T’s network as unlocking for other networked locked phones seems to still be chugging along (at an increased expense).
- Gevey Sim Card – These cards were king of the land before AT&T announced IMEI unlocking. These hardware unlocking devices are cheap to buy. Honestly, though, for a few bucks more you can get it factory unlocked which carries a much higher resale value when you go to sell and you don’t have to worry about compatibility if you upgrade to new software through iTunes.
Regardless of this shutdown, we’re still anxious to get an official statement from Apple or AT&T about the issue. We’ll keep you posted and update the blog post when something new comes in.
Update On IMEI Unlocking Shutdown 10-8-2013
According to a few legitimate sources, we can now confirm the shutdown stems from AT&T. The masses of unlockers (mostly the larger guys pushing volume at the less-than-$1 range) used a handful of direct sources to AT&T to fulfill their customers unlocking request (or had direct access themselves). AT&T unlocking requirements were simply not checked as hard or prevented through this direct channel compared to individual contract customers’ requirements. AT&T simply decided to become more strict overnight and instead of policing the IMEI unlock submissions, they disabled a majority of the direct sources’ access and only left a few options and vendors’ access intact. This doesn’t mean everyone who was working directly was abusing the system; it simply means that direct supply is now limited to far fewer direct vendors. With these vendors having less competition to worry about, prices will go up.
Most unlock vendors have since reinstated IMEI unlocking services on their website along with IMEI Status checks; at a varying cost of $20-$35 per unlock. Expect the cost to remain in the same ball park for the long haul and kiss the days of cheap (under $1) unlocks goodbye forever!
Update On IMEI Unlocking Shutdown 11-4-2013
Unlocking prices have skyrocketed to around $100 a piece. Even at such a price, customers are experiencing
extremely delayed unlocking times mostly refunds and empty promises from reputable unlocking companies. These companies are experiencing changes every few days and most might not admit so, but they really shouldn’t even be offering unlocking services now. If you submit an unlock at this point, even at a high price, you can only cross your fingers and hope that your IMEI gets submitted and if fails, that your vendor will refund you promptly. Speaking on the phone this week with a few clients, pretty much no one is able to submit an IMEI successfully with any vendor at any price unless you’re an AT&T customer.
I’ve been banned from a few forums, sent some nasty comments and received some wild e-mails for even referencing that an unlocking shutdown was coming. This is mostly because these admins wanted to continue to collect their customers’ money and hope that they weren’t further restricted. All I can say at this point is this:
I do not know ONE unlocking company that can truthfully guarantee successful unlocking of one or many devices via IMEI for iPhones ANYWHERE as of today.
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Hello, Admin! 🙂 Do you have any news on this issue? Would be really appreciated! 🙂 Thanks a lot. Have an outstanding day!
ANGRY CUSTOMER says
Please no one should use http://www.cellunlock.net. They are very unreliable and not worth using to unlock your phone. After placing an order for over 1 month, they didn’t bother to contact me and when I sent them an email. They refunded my money. Thats pretty unfair, so people don’t tie your money down with Cellunlock.
so far no luck.. is any one unlocked any i phones in last 2 weeks please let us know..
Nokia Lumina 520 unlock. Anyone know where to go for this, I have paid (and been refunded) by two companies and told by about 5 companies that they cannot at this point due to the AT&T servers being down.
Is there not a bruteforce/software dongle approach out there? The AT&T people on the phone are a bunch of a$$h0l$.
If I had known I wouldnt have bought the phone but i jumped on a plane and no longer in the states.
I bought an iphone 4s with the carrier AT&T that I want to unlock from someone i don’t have contact with anymore. If my sister who has AT&T calls the company and tells them she bought it, will they unlock it for her? Seeing as she did not buy it directly for the company? It is not reported stolen.
Lisa, Yes you should be able to do this. As long as the phone you’re not trying to unlock is not on AT&T’s lost or stolen list. Have your sister call AT&T and ask them to have this phone unlocked for you.
If you search my username on ebay: rokstar4life you will see my listing for unlocking iPhones. Although it is pricey, $125 (due to ebay + paypal fees), it is secure through eBay and if anything happens, I will refund your money. Check it out!
Great updates, thanks so much admin. I will be watching carefully.
Awesome updates. Thanks for the info
James Smith says
I can unlocked all AT&T iPhones except iPhone 5(S+C). This means Unlocking is being done up to iphone 4S for AT&T.
Price: $120 (Have done over 50 unlocks successfully so far)
Also unlocking T-mobile & Verizon iPhones and pretty much any other carrier of the world, any phone dirt cheap
email email@example.com with your inquiries
Do you have a website?
Most of us are tired of going through a guy who has a guy who has a guy. Many visitors here need 50 a day and want to know who you are and your company before posting over $5,000 and crossing our fingers.
Its almost 2month now since i got my iphone 5c and still cant get it unlocked it seems like there is no Hope or reliable source even coming anytime soon not even with Jailbreak.
iPhone 5c and 5s will be very hard to unlock, if ever. Because previously the law states that any device manufauctured after early 2013 could not be unlocked. This left many 4, 4s and 5’s in a “questionable” grey area and could still be submitted successfully.
iPhone 5s and 5c, 100% of devices are manufactured after this date and thus AT&T and Apple both are fully aware that neither should be unlocked.
Previous to things really jamming up, iphone 5c and 5s were more difficult to unlock that others.
My advice would be not to wait to be able to unlock your iPhone 5c via paid IMEI submission if that’s what you’re doing. Get a friend who has AT&T to help you unlock or sell the device before the price drops.
The web site that you suggested idevice guys, they claim they can unlock any 5s or 5c from ATT for $99, also if I`m ATT customer what that means, I still can’t unlock Iphone 5s.
If you use them please let me know if it works out. Yes you’re right. Even if Att customer only way to get iPhone unlocked for 5c or 5s is not you bought it right out.
Otherwise after 6 months people have success by calling up and telling ATT your going out of the country and need it unlocked.
Even if it takes 10 days to unlock iphone 5s/5c’s, do you know of any one that can serve wholesale?or does anyone know?
Right now I stand by my last updates comments stating that I know of no company who can process iPhone unlocks reliably and consistently at any price. The best is to try a small order from someone you trust that will try and if not successful will refund your money.
One of the biggest issues now is the backlog of customers who have submitted in between time periods where the iphone imei unlocking servers have gone down and/or price has gone up after submitted but before cleared.
Hi everybody, I am frustrated of paying 100 usd for unlocking I have to wait but till when? pls someone gives idea what to do?
I would sell it on eBay or craigslist for as much as you can get, or find a friend or college who has AT&T to submit for you.
Also, you could get a ATT gophone plan at the minimum ($2/day and only use 1-2 times a month) …and wait 6 months and then they would unlock a device for you.
Any where to unlock iPhone now? I can’t affort $115 to unlock iphone at unlockfusion.com or other sites. It’s outrageous price.
I wouldn’t pay anyone even $50 now. Promising or Guaranteeing successful unlock at any price by any vendor at this current moment is only wishful thinking on the providers behalf.
Lord John Whorfin says
Great sleuthing! Damn those AT&T douchebags. Blowfish doesn’t unlock AT&T iPhones anymore, and iDeviceGuys charges $99. Anybody with a good unlocking tip?
I have been google more than 2 weeks to get iPhone 5s unlock but anywhere else price from $99 up to $130 ouch !!!,,!, but have to wait more than I week to get an unlock. Check on fleabay is the same if someone to which site range around $70
My direct Source is working fine but the average time is bananas, 3-7-14-18 Days and sometimes i get a refund it went from $0.99c to $45 credits. my customer still whiling to pay even up to $120 but i just need a direct source with maybe an average time of 3days at the most. email me if you hva e good source. firstname.lastname@example.org
Are the servers down again ? 27 Oct 2013 ? I have an iPhone 5 locked on AT&T and need it unlocked
I have an AT&T i phone, which i have been trying to unlock.
I tried $40 option and it was refunded to me.
Now there’s one contact who is ready to do it for $50.
Do you think, I should try this option?
Also, Let me know if there will be any chance of prices going down again?
As of now, you could try someone but make sure you pay with paypal and fund the transaction with the credit card on file for additional protection. Only submit if you’re willing to pay alot and potentially wait for days or weeks and have no success and hopefully a refund (and are willing to dispute with paypal and/or credit card company.
Great work here guys.
Apple Repair New Orleans says
Add me to the list of unsatisfied customers. I logged on to my wholesale account at Apple N Berry and they wanted $39, which is more than I charge my customers!!!
I tried calling them for answers but it went strait to voicemail. If anyone knows a good source, it would be appreciated, but I won’t spend more than $20.
Applenberry is just trying to react as fast as this whole thing is changing. Like Blowfish, when it’s become really sticky and bad situation with the unlock change, at least they remove the product from their website. I’ve checked their site many times the last week and they’ve had the offering removed (or out of stock).
Blowfish has spiked to $39 and speaks of delays 48hrs.
Our current provider jumped from 9.99 to 19 to 21.99 but unlocks have been coming back rejected after as much as 120hrs.
The carriers really need to be put in check. If people want thier out of contract devices unlocked it needs to be out of the carriers hands and available at reasonable costs or no costs. That’s a logical trade off, they get more control for devices in contract and no control for devices out of contract.
I previously used Blowfish, but you’re right, they are not working now. Kudos to Blowfish though for not over promising and continuing to take clients money and crossing their fingers that they can get the IMEI’s for iPhones unlocked.
Any new updates this week??
As of 10/16, most suppliers came back online offering unlocks but refunded after their direct contacts price spiked. I’ve had it happen twice to me last week with same results from companies I’ve done business with and trust.
Submitted for $18, 3 days later rejected and said price went up to $25. Submitted for $25, 3 days later was told price increased to $40.
Don’t think their trying to squeeze anyone and hold the initial money hostage because their not asking to pay the balance of the increase. Their simply refunding and saying sorry.
Don’t think it’s settled down yet. I’ll consider “settled down” when I can actually submit an unlock at offer price and get it back within the time frame of 1-2 days without issue.
Yes check most recent. Seems now no one can get their phone unlocked (consistently) at any price from any company or individual who had previous access.
will strafacg says
I can still get these through. No problems at all.
do you have a website or a link i can go to?
Where to get your iphone unlocked? Blowfish is no longer working. any ideals where?
Dustin Jones says
No one as of now. In the “$50” range is consistant and might refund you or take additional processing time beyond the expected time.
Several clients have called to ask us and frankly, I tell them I can’t recommend anyone that can provide better service than their previous unlocker.
Will, can you still do the unlocking for iphones?