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Thread: 4 more months before my iPhone is eligible for unlocking. What if AppleCare is replacing the phone?

  1. #1
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    4 more months before my iPhone is eligible for unlocking. What if AppleCare is replacing the phone?

    My iPhone was originally purchased new from Tracfone. A few days after I started using it, I signed up for AppleCare on the phone.(monthly fee paid directly to Apple each month.

    The phone has been on Tracfone service and will be eligible for unlocking in 4 months.(meaning I should be able to call Tracfone and request the unlock code from them?)

    However.... The phone just got dropped and suffered severed damage to the screen glass. The upper left corner also got dented badly. The volume bottom only works if I squeeze the screen a certain way.

    Apple told me that they only thing they could do was to ship me a refurbished identical iPhone. I'm fine with paying a deductible and getting a refurbished phone.

    Is the phone that they ship me still going to be Tracfone-locked? If so, will Tracfone be able to give me the unlocking code in 4 months? Or will I end up having to wait another 12 months?(since it's now a different phone)

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    "My" guess would be that the new one would be unlocked If it's coming from Apple.

    Unless I heard otherwise I would treat it that way and I personally would get a new BYOP kit and transfer the service from the old one to the new phone.

    And not get TF involved if possible.

    Just my 2cents worth.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacoDan View Post
    "My" guess would be that the new one would be unlocked If it's coming from Apple.

    Unless I heard otherwise I would treat it that way and I personally would get a new BYOP kit and transfer the service from the old one to the new phone.

    And not get TF involved if possible.

    Just my 2cents worth.
    You would be able to verify that after you got it in settings.
    iPhone 12 Pro is my current primary phone. And also have a Galaxy a10e as a backup travel phone.

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    You shouldn't assume it will or won't be unlocked after getting a replacement. You should contact Apple warranty service or Tracfone customer service. It would be entirely possible that the phone will be locked and you would go through the same unlocking process in 4 months when you normally would be eligible. Your upgrade clock shouldn't change because Apple is sending a replacement phone, even if it is a different model.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    I think that you can count on receiving an unlocked iphone from Apple. It's highly doubtful that Apple maintains an inventory of Tracfone locked iphones for warranty replacement.. Please update this thread when you find out what happens.

    I also agree with TacoDan that it's best not to involve Tracfone in this matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lg800g user View Post
    I think that you can count on receiving an unlocked iphone from Apple. It's highly doubtful that Apple maintains an inventory of Tracfone locked iphones for warranty replacement.. Please update this thread when you find out what happens.

    I also agree with TacoDan that it's best not to involve Tracfone in this matter.
    According to at least two Apple reps, the phone will be locked.(if it was locked to begin with)

    They both said that when AppleCare processes the replacement, the old IMEI number will be linked to the replacement phone's IMEI number. Once I receive the phone and activate it, the server will keep the phone in locked status if the old broken phone's IMEI shows that it was in locked status. They said that it will be up to Tracfone to determine unlocking eligibility once I fulfill Tracphone's phone unlocking policy.

    The scary thing is that i searched Apple forums and that is apparently the case. A bunch of threads talk about how AT&T and/or T-Mobile customers getting replacement phones from AppleCare, but ended up with locked phones.(despite the fact that their phones were already unlocked prior to getting broken or damaged) Apple advised them to contact the carriers to unlocked them again. Unfortunately, some people were no longer AT&T or T-Mobile customers, so they got no help. Some lucky one got help from Apple... as a goodwill gesture, Apple replaced the phones with unlocked one. The unlucky ones got stuck....

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    I can see this nightmare with Tracfone already as their system likely tracks the original IMEI and the new IMEI is something they wouldn't know about.

    I too would be nervous about the swap but don't think there is anything you can do and either hope it comes unlocked (unlikely) or miraculously it just works as described. I feel like you will be spending some quality time with Tracfone escalation in four months and hopefully you get someone who can confirm the Apple magical 'link' (because at least it's their typical policy)

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    I would think that if you do not straighten this out with Tracfone when you receive the replacement phone and are ready to transfer service, that in four months the broken phone will be the only one Tracfone will unlock. I can imagine the pain you will go through making Tracfone understand a warranty replacement that Tracfone had nothing to do with other than the transfer of service from the broken Tracfone to the nonTracfone replacement.
    You`re going to need a really specially gifted CSR.

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    First suggestion: when you send the phone to Apple, remove the Tracfone SIM card.
    When you get the new phone, talk/chat with Tracfone CSR to pair that SIM card to the replacment iPhone IMEI.
    And consider starting that process by calling in to Tracfone's Unlocking Department at 1-888-442-5102. (That number from the bottom of the unlocking policy page.)

    Much better to address this immediately instead of 4 months later.

    Pretty much the reverse of your situation, but... I had to replace the SIM card in a Tracfone branded phone-- customer service sent me a replacement. I was worried, because reports make it sound like the SIM card is the primary identifier number for tracking unlocking requirements. I asked the agent if it would be a problem, and they assured me it would not be. The phone did unlock successfully a few months later. So Tracfone can track across 'known' SIM changes, and can probably track across known IMEI change.

    Keep any records of the exchange so you'll have them if it doesn't unlock when it should.
    My Tello referral code is P3BSR5HV, and gets both of us 10 Tello Dollars to pay for a plan.
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    The 'activation policy' of the old phone is supposed to transfer. If it was locked before, it'll be locked after. If it was unlocked before, it'll be unlocked after. I've been using an iPhone regularly since the 4S and have replaced several throughout the years including this year when an SE2 mic crapped out. The trouble will be with TracFone doing an override since the IMEI will not show 12 months of usage.

    I would pay the 99 cents or whatever to get a GSX report on eBay to see what the activation policy is on the replacement device. Just to be sure. And, Apple will provide you with a work order of the old and new IMEIs so at least there's a record.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenhandle View Post
    First suggestion: when you send the phone to Apple, remove the Tracfone SIM card.
    When you get the new phone, talk/chat with Tracfone CSR to pair that SIM card to the replacment iPhone IMEI.
    And consider starting that process by calling in to Tracfone's Unlocking Department at 1-888-442-5102. (That number from the bottom of the unlocking policy page.)

    Much better to address this immediately instead of 4 months later.

    Pretty much the reverse of your situation, but... I had to replace the SIM card in a Tracfone branded phone-- customer service sent me a replacement. I was worried, because reports make it sound like the SIM card is the primary identifier number for tracking unlocking requirements. I asked the agent if it would be a problem, and they assured me it would not be. The phone did unlock successfully a few months later. So Tracfone can track across 'known' SIM changes, and can probably track across known IMEI change.

    Keep any records of the exchange so you'll have them if it doesn't unlock when it should.

    I spoke with a Tracfone rep and I got the best answer ever. (although I'm now worried about the guy getting fired over it?) He was apparently quite knowledgeable of the problem with having Apple replacing a phone that was still locked to Tracfone... He told me to immediately call Tracfone when the replacement phone from Apple was delivered so they could enter the IMEI to reflect that it was a replacement phone directly from Apple.

    He said: "that's why I would never buy a locked phone from Tracfone or anybody else. It is always best to stick with buying totally unlocked phone and use a real carrier's SIM"

    I sincerely hope he meant that Tracfone was a "real" carrier.... and also, since all the phones sold by Tracfone are locke, was he suggesting never buying phones directly from Tracfone? Hope not... otherwise, I'm worried about his keeping his job if a supervisor happened to be monitoring that call.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmandaCL View Post
    He said: "that's why I would never buy a locked phone from Tracfone or anybody else.

    I sincerely hope he meant that Tracfone was a "real" carrier.... and also, since all the phones sold by Tracfone are locke, was he suggesting never buying phones directly from Tracfone? Hope not...
    Whether or not he meant that Tracfone was a real carrier, what he said was "incriminating" enough to get him in troubles with the boss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Whether or not he meant that Tracfone was a real carrier, what he said was "incriminating" enough to get him in troubles with the boss.
    reminded me of another post I made on another forum about my summer job from 40 years ago: (below is copy & paste from that post)

    in late 1980s, I worked one summer as a waiter at a nice restaurant. I was familiar with almost everything at the restaurant because my family had been dining there since I was a kid. It meant that I knew what was good and what was not so good. When customers asked, I always gave them the 100% honest answer about what certain dishes tasted like. If it was no good, I just told them not to order it. The owner always looked annoyed when she heard me telling "the truth" about her food. The only reason that I probably didn't get fired was that it was only a summer job and the fact that my family(and extended family) were still frequent customers. The chef in the kitchen also knew what I though of his food... I was young and dumb... the chef had so many knives and I was stupid to p*ss him off like that all the time. (the restaurant is still in business as of today... so they' been in business for almost 50 years)

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    That agent was very honest with you: I agree that factory-unlocked phones are always best. If locked phones were always the same price as the factory-unlocked version, I'd never buy locked. But they're not. Buying the Tracfone-locked iPhone probably reduced your cost by 50%. Sometimes, that trade-off makes sense. Especially if you're going to stay with Tracfone for at least a year anyway. And especially because for iPhones, the phone will end up exactly the same either route.

    Sounds like good advice on contacting Tracfone to register the IMEI!

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