Well this has gotten way easier. If you have an AT&T iPhone and it is off contract (e.g., two years since you bought it), here is how you get it unlocked so it will work with any carrier (eg T-Mobile or you can use it overseas with a different SIM):

  1. Apply to AT&T. This can be pretty random calling, but now there is an online way to do it at https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/ and enter your information including the IMEI
  2. You should get email in a few days (for me 24 hours) that says you can unlock
  3. You can check that this is true by checking the Apple IMEI database. The way that unlock works is that Apple has a database of phones that should be unlocked. Type your IMEI into http://dev.mk/2012/08/dev-mk-iphone-imei-checker-with-simlock-status-what-happened/ and it should tell you.

Now it is pretty unclear how to make the unlock work as there isn’t any visible way I’ve found to check it, but AT&T recommends that you backup and then restore from backup your phone. This didn’t work.
Apple recommends that you:

  1. Connect to iTunes and backup
  2. then do a restore (that is it wipes everything and forces activation)
  3. then restore from backup.

This makes some sense to me as it forces the activation process again which does the IMEI check.

I’m Rich & Co.

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