How to legally unlock your AT&T iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, 5c

This article will explain how to legally unlock your AT&T iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, and 5c. It is actually quite easy to do and once your device is legally unlocked, it will remain unlocked from that point on. You will then be able to use your iPhone on another GSM network in the US – such as a carrier like T-Mobile – or on any international GSM network around the world. This unlock will turn your iPhone into an international phone that can be used around the world with local sim cards.

There are a few requirements that must be fulfilled in order for AT&T to factory unlock your iPhone. Here they are:

  • Person requesting the unlock must be a current AT&T customer or a former AT&T customer who still knows the former AT&T phone number associated with the iPhone.
  • iPhone must be paid for in full (2 year contract completed or upgrade option exercised by customer or early termination fee paid)
  • The iPhone has not been reported as lost or stolen

So, how does someone legally unlock an AT&T iPhone? Here is how:

1. Navigate to the “Customer Device Unlock – Request” page on AT&T’s website. Here is the direct link:

2. Agree to the terms at the bottom of the page by checking the box and clicking “Agree”

3. Next, fill out the form as either a current AT&T customer or a former AT&T customer. This is the info you will need:

  • Wireless Number
  • IMEI Number (this can be found in the Settings App on your iPhone: Settings –> General –> About –> IMEI – it will be 15 numbers long)
  • First and Last Name of AT&T Customer
  • Email Address
  • Last 4 digits of SSN on AT&T account
  • AT&T Passcode (Required if created)

4. Now click “Submit” and you should get a confirmation page that AT&T has received your request. In addition, you will receive a confirmation email with your request number. Keep this email handy so you can check on the status of your unlock. AT&T says that they will get back to you typically within 48 hours but that it might take up to 5 business days. To check the status of an unlock request, find your Request Number and then go to this AT&T Page:

5. Once you receive confirmation that AT&T has approved your unlock, then follow these 3 steps to complete the unlock process:

  1. Backup your iPhone to iTunes (plug it in to your computer and do a full backup – this typically happens any time you sync your device but click on the Back Up Now button on the Summary tab of your device just to be sure).
  2. Once the Backup has completed, click on the Restore iPhone button (not the Restore Backup button). This will completely erase your iPhone and return it to factory settings.
  3. When the Restore is completed, you will be given a message saying that your device is now factory unlocked. Click on the Restore Backup button to add all your settings, apps, photos, and other data back on to the iPhone.

How to legally unlock your AT&T iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, 5c

That’s it. Now you have a fully and legally unlocked iPhone that you can use on any GSM carrier in the US (such as T-Mobile) or other GSM networks around the world. Here is the link again to AT&T’s Customer Device Unlock – Request page:


5 thoughts on “How to legally unlock your AT&T iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, 5c

  1. Hi Doug:
    Thanks for the detailed, step by step unlock information.
    Very helpful.

    My husband followed all the steps above, but did not receive the “Congratulations, your iPhone is unlocked” message.

    Is it safe to assume he hasn’t been unlocked? What should he do now?

    Any guidance is helpful.

    • I have heard of this happening before. Here are a couple of things to try. First, try to do a complete restore again. Sometimes it will work the second time. If that still doesn’t work, call AT&T and ask them to verify that your device has been cleared for unlock. They will want your serial number and IMEI number to look it up. If AT&T verifies that your are cleared to unlock, then the next step is to just try and put a T-mobile sim card in the phone and see if you get a T-mobile signal. You can also check the unlock status of your iPhone by going to You will need to sign up for a free account but once you do, you will be able to verify whether the device is unlocked or not. Hope this helps.

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