the case of the locked iphone

Recently while in the UK, I purchased an O2 prepaid sim card (500 MB of data and 300 messages free with £10 for a month). I was quite excited about this - so much easier than getting a phone account in Australia! But then I discovered that my iPhone, which was part of a Telstra contract, was still unfortunately locked to Telstra and so the O2 sim card registered as "Invalid sim" with the prompt "Sim Failure" when I inserted it. I did a bit of Googling, dreading the prospect of having to go down the jail-breaking path, but luckily came across this Telstra update explaining that Telstra no longer charges for unlocking, although you do have to go through the process with them.

Hurrah! But it wasn't quite that simple. In order to make things easy for someone trying to do the same, I thought I'd outline the exact steps I took so that you too can hopefully have an unlocked iPhone :)

1. Call Telstra on 1800 iPhone (1800 474 663)

I spoke to a lady who happily set it in motion and told me to sync my iPhone with iTunes to unlock it, and that the process would be complete in 5 hours. She was wrong. I ended up having to call back, and get the process started again. Follow the steps here, as the consultants don't necessarily know the most up-to-date procedures.

2. Wait 72 hours without syncing iPhone

The second Telstra consultant I talked to told me that new policy with Apple meant that you must wait 72 hours before doing anything. This means essentially do not let your iPhone near your computer for 72 hours, since this is the time it takes for Telstra to talk to Apple and okay the unlocking.

3. After 72 hours, sync your iPhone with iTunes

From memory, I think I had to do it twice. Not sure why, but if it doesn't work the first time, try again. If the unlocking process has been successful, you will see something like this screen in iTunes:

4. Restore your iPhone

I know, this is stupid. But even after iTunes declared my phone unlocked, the O2 sim card still said "Invalid sim". For some reason, my iPhone needed to be restored to factory settings before the O2 sim card would work. But luckily, you've already synced it once or twice, so it's just a matter of waiting around for it to be restored and then for the saved back-up of all your data to be put back on your phone. This process took quite a while for me due to all my apps, maybe 1-2 hours. Be patient!

5. Enjoy your unlocked iPhone!

Hopefully all went well and you will now have an unlocked iPhone :) Let me know via email if it didn't work for you, so I can update this. Good luck unlocking!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License