Does Amazon Sell Unlocked iPhones? (Read This Before…)

Does Amazon Sell Unlocked iPhones

Have you ever asked yourself if Amazon sells unlocked iPhones? You are in the right place.

Amazon is a strangely unique ecosystem of brilliant design mechanics (in terms of customer service), innovative products, streaming services, audiobooks, and more. Amazon is also the place to go to find the latest and greatest smartphones. However, their relationship with Apple is somewhat, um, unique. 

So, does Amazon sell unlocked iPhones? No, Amazon doesn’t technically sell much of anything and they don’t even sell the latest Apple iPhones. If you purchase an iPhone on Amazon, you are buying it from a third-party reseller and it is never going to be truly unlocked, even if the fine print says it is. 

The only way that you are ever going to purchase a truly unlocked iPhone is if you make your purchase through Apple.

Apple sells iPhones that are truly unlocked and when you receive them, you can interchange your SIM cards and carriers as fast as an expert juggler can juggle bouncy balls. 

What are You getting From Amazon?

You’re getting a “technically” unlocked iPhone. When we say “technically,” we mean that you can go with whatever carrier that you choose, whether it’s AT& T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or one of the scores of other, smaller carriers available. 

However, the moment that you slide that SIM card, that you just got from your new carrier, into the SIM card tray in your iPhone and fire it up, you’re doomed. You will now be carrier locked to whatever carrier you just decided to go with for the time being. 

Fortunately, some of them have reasonable unlock request procedures. Others, not so much. Verizon is relatively confusing but probably the laxest when it comes to getting out from underneath the lock since you won’t have to file an unlock request from them. 

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When it comes to T-Mobile and AT&T, however, you will have to file an unlock request, meet all of their respective requirements for unlocking your Apple iPhone, and then wait for them to send you a code that you can then use to unlock your iPhone. 

All of that is beside the point, as you’re technically not buying your iPhone from Amazon, regardless of what the unlocked or locked status is claimed to be.

Amazon is essentially a massive conglomeration of third-party retailers that sell their items through Amazon. 

Amazon sells its own stuff, which includes Fire TVs, Echo devices, Kindle tablets, Fire tablets, ecobee thermostats, and a host of other smart home devices. Outside of that, it’s anyone’s game and you will have to go back into your Amazon account to find who sold you the iPhone.

  • Open your Amazon Account
  • Click on Returns and Orders at the top, right-hand corner of the screen
  • Select the iPhone you purchased 
  • Underneath the title of your iPhone, you will see the reseller that you purchased it from, in teal blue type

You’ll notice that Amazon doesn’t sell any of them and the newest Apple iPhone models are sold by Apple rather than a reseller or Amazon. 

How Do You Unlock an iPhone?

Once you’ve purchased your technically unlocked iPhone, your best bet is to choose a carrier that makes it really easy to get your iPhone unlocked, because the moment you choose a carrier, it is going to be locked to that carrier. 

One of the easiest ones is Verizon. They don’t send you a code. You don’t have to depend on anyone doing anything. You don’t have to call customer service a thousand times, spend hours on hold, send an email, or leave your contact information. 

When you activate your iPhone with Verizon, it will become carrier-locked for 60 days. At the end of those 60 days, it will automatically unlock, no questions asked. You won’t need a code and you won’t need to file a request. 

T-Mobile and AT&T are a little more convoluted. You can get your iPhone unlocked quicker with both, but you will have to meet their conditions for unlocking it and they can decide not to give you an unlock code any time that they want, even if you go about meeting all of their requirements. 

Sound shady? That’s because it is. For the most part, you will probably not have an issue getting your unlock code. But you should at least know that the possibility exists that you’ll never get one.

Given the fact that Verizon just asks that you wait 60 days, it’s probably the safest option available out of all of them. 

Are Refurbished and Used iPhones Unlocked?

This is a toss-up. You will come across used and refurbished iPhone deals as your browse Amazon’s selection of iPhones. Some of them will claim that the iPhone is “fully” unlocked, meaning that it won’t lock you to a carrier the moment that you use that carrier’s SIM card.

It’s one of those cases where we can only say, “Use your best judgment.”  There are so many resellers and retailers on Amazon that it would be difficult to narrow down the focus to individual resellers and state, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will get fully unlocked iPhones from them. 

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There are far too many retailers on Amazon to give you a definitive answer and when it comes to refurbished and used iPhones, the industry is so packed with good deals that are thoroughly mixed with outright frauds that it’s difficult to say what you will really get out of your transactions. 

Fortunately, if you’re item isn’t what it’s supposed to be and doesn’t represent what the seller claimed it does, you can return the item for a full refund through Amazon’s return policy. Almost everything sold on Amazon can be returned for a full refund within a thirty-day period. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for an iPhone, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Amazon. If you’re in the market for a fully unlocked Apple iPhone, then the only, truly safe place to purchase one is through Apple.

Apple is known for being the one retailer that sells iPhones that are fully unlocked. So, if you have any questions or uncertainties, you know where to go. 

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Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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