AT&T’s iPhone unlock process detailed: Up to 5 devices, Apple does the unlocking, requires IMEI only

If you’re looking to have your iPhone unlocked from ATT’s service, you can do so over the company’s online chat and Apple is the one actually doing the unlocking. These new details come courtesy of iPhone hacker and developer Grant Paul, and have been verified by The Next Web in a chat with ATT.

We reported Friday that ATT was beginning to unlock out-of-contract iPhones as of April 8th, today. Now a few more details of the process are available.

First, you can do this in-store, but you can also do it in an online chat at ATT’s website. The process is painless and only takes a few minutes in the chat. The only piece of information required by ATT is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which can be found under SettingsGeneralAbout on your device.

Once you’ve completed the procedure, Apple pushes the unlock code during the next 72 hours to your email address, so the code comes from the mothership, not from ATT. Once Apple completes the unlock request, a customer has to back-up and restore and tether the device to iTunes to complete the unlock process. This process is detailed in an Apple support document that was referenced by the ATT representative we talked to.

Some users, like Juan Tarrío, have been told that a case would need to be opened and that it would be resolved by April 16th, rather than a code being delivered by email within 72 hours. The iMore forums also has a variety of different experiences with the unlock here, so that’s a good resource if you’re having issues.

Multiple device unlocks must be submitted through ATT customer care and the maximum unlock codes that can be given for any account in a year is 5. For used devices, ATT will check the account history of the original owner to make sure that the contract has been completed.

Remember that this is a service that ATT will only perform if you have completed your original contract for the device.

This should allow for users to easily unlock older ATT iPhones for use with international roaming or pay-as-you-go plans. iPhones will now operate on a handful of other carriers in the US like U.S. Cellular and, in a limited 2G-only fashion, T-Mobile.