Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: What are people's experiences unlocking iPhones on Tracfone?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    133
    Feedback Score
    0

    What are people's experiences unlocking iPhones on Tracfone?

    I'm thinking about going to my local Target and picking up one of the Tracfone iPhone deals. This isn't a refurb+BYOP SIM, but the official sold-by-Tracfone bundle. I'd like to be able to unlock the phone at some point, and I know Tracfone has historically been bad about that, so want to make sure I know what I'm getting into before I bite.

    Assuming you've met the standard criteria already for having had a year's service and not being reported stolen and all that jazz, how easy is it to unlock a Tracfone-locked iPhone? Do they ACTUALLY let you unlock it, or do they just mail you a check for "fair market value" (the FCC ruling seems to say they're allowed to do either). Does it matter if it was locked to AT&T vs Verizon vs T-Mobile? Does Tracfone let you do it with no hassle or do they give you the runaround?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    12,687
    Device(s)
    LG Phoenix 2
    Carrier(s)
    FreedomPop
    Feedback Score
    0
    Based on how it works right now, unless something changes between now and 1 year from now, with 1 year continuous TF usage, the new TF iPhone will be SIM slot unlocked after 1 year of continuous use with the SIM card that comes in it. There's no getting around the 1 year continuous TF usage. The SIM slot unlock will be automatic after 1 year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    6,917
    Device(s)
    LG Q6, Moto E5, LG G6
    Carrier(s)
    TF/AT&T, TF/Verizon, FreeUp
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by centum_calicate View Post
    I'd like to be able to unlock the phone at some point, and I know Tracfone has historically been bad about that, so want to make sure I know what I'm getting into before I bite.

    Assuming you've met the standard criteria already for having had a year's service and not being reported stolen and all that jazz, how easy is it to unlock a Tracfone-locked iPhone? Do they ACTUALLY let you unlock it, or do they just mail you a check for "fair market value" (the FCC ruling seems to say they're allowed to do either).
    TF has gotten better with unlocking phones after 12 months of service. Some people in this forum and/or Turk Forums had successfully got their phones unlocked. I don't think they were iPhones, but that shouldn't make a difference.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,123
    Feedback Score
    0
    There is no telling what Tracfone could change up in a year's time. You could wait a whole year for nothing.

    Do you want to worry about this for a whole year?

    Just get an unlocked phone and save your sanity.

    Get what works and move on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    381
    Feedback Score
    0
    I bought the iPhone SE from the Tracfone website in 2017 and had it unlocked in 2018.
    It ran on Verizon.

    You enter your information on the website to unlock it and they do whatever it is they do.
    Unlike the Android unlock procedure, there is no code to enter.

    I checked a few hours after the request and it was unlocked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    12,687
    Device(s)
    LG Phoenix 2
    Carrier(s)
    FreedomPop
    Feedback Score
    0
    Apple iPhone SE Unlocked
    New, 64GB, $255
    https://swappa.com/mobile/buy/apple-...?condition=new

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    133
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by LadyLC View Post
    I bought the iPhone SE from the Tracfone website in 2017 and had it unlocked in 2018.
    It ran on Verizon.
    OK, thanks. The phone I'm looking at is also an iPhone SE so that's promising. (The store still has a few kicking around in stock).

    It sounds like it 'just worked' when you tried the unlock, was there any hassle involved at all? I'm still unclear on some of their rules, how many airtime cards had you bought for the phone over its life and how long had it been since the last card before you asked for an unlock?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    Just get an unlocked phone and save your sanity.
    The problem is a combination of price and features. I really want something small with a headphone jack, which eliminates like 99% of smartphones these days. Factory unlocked SEs on eBay/Craigslist/etc aren't worth the money, and I'm very leery of buying a phone secondhand anyway because I've been burned many times before.

    Unfortunately that's exactly what I'm talking about. One of them is only carrier unlocked not factory unlocked (won't work on Verizon) and the other is $255 which is over twice what I can get the tf-locked version for.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    381
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by centum_calicate View Post
    OK, thanks. The phone I'm looking at is also an iPhone SE so that's promising. (The store still has a few kicking around in stock).
    It sounds like it 'just worked' when you tried the unlock, was there any hassle involved at all? I'm still unclear on some of their rules, how many airtime cards had you bought for the phone over its life and how long had it been since the last card before you asked for an unlock?
    There was no hassle at all with the unlock. No customer rep involvement at all.

    I bought it initially with the 30 day plan.
    Then added to it with the basic cards every 90 days. It also has TMFL.
    I waited about about 2 weeks, after the 12 months mark of the 2017 activation date to unlock it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    133
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by LadyLC View Post
    Then added to it with the basic cards every 90 days
    Thanks. What I meant though was, what was the time gap between the last card you put on the phone and when you went to unlock it? I've heard some mixed reports that TracFone has hidden limits on this. Like, they supposedly won't unlock a phone that otherwise meets the requirement if you haven't bought a card in the past XYZ days even if you've had service the whole time, or if you just recently bought a card, or whatever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    6,917
    Device(s)
    LG Q6, Moto E5, LG G6
    Carrier(s)
    TF/AT&T, TF/Verizon, FreeUp
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by centum_calicate View Post
    I've heard some mixed reports that TracFone has hidden limits on this. Like, they supposedly won't unlock a phone that otherwise meets the requirement if you haven't bought a card in the past XYZ days even if you've had service the whole time, or if you just recently bought a card, or whatever.
    Have you read Tracfone Unlocking Policy ? It says "Customers must request this interim unlocking solution while their service is active or within 60 days after their active service days expire. This 60-day grace period applies even if the customer's telephone number was recycled or ported".

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    133
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Yeah, but it doesn't answer any of my questions. It implies they that instead of unlocking they can just give you a $5 "credit toward a new handset" or whatever, and it obviously doesn't explain any hidden rules they might have that I'd heard rumors of.

    In particular I'm trying to figure out the "redeemed air time cards in no fewer than 12 months" thing. What does "fewer" mean in this context? "Fewer" is usually synonymous with "less", so read literally it implies that you have to wait 12 months after your last card before you can unlock, which effectively means your last card on the phone must be a yearly renewal.

    I don't really care what Tracfone says because no two people who work there ever say the same thing about anything. I'm trying to figure out what they actually do in practice, so I'm hoping people can share their real-world experience.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,263
    Feedback Score
    0
    On my TotalWireless I had the same policy. After 22 months of payment I requested the unlock of the iPhone and they have asked Apple to unlock it for other SIMs. Then, at the swapping of the SIM, something happened over the air and the new SIM was activated.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 24
    Last Post: 02-08-2008, 01:14 AM
  2. People with unlocked iPhones on AT&T
    By JBoogie in forum Apple
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-29-2007, 02:24 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-11-2007, 06:30 AM
  4. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-13-2007, 09:34 PM
  5. What are people talking about? You can play SNES games on a i930?
    By Guest403 in forum General Nextel Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-07-2005, 01:08 AM

Bookmarks