Does Target Sell Unlocked iPhones? (Yes But Read This First)

Does Target Sell Unlocked iPhones

Have you ever asked yourself if Target sells Unlocked iPhones? Well, you are in the right place, read on.

An unlocked iPhone, when it comes to any resale retailers outside of Apple, comes with an infrequently mentioned caveat. Taken at face value, all kids of retailers sell Apple iPhones that are “unlocked,” and that includes Target and all of Target’s competitors. 

So, does Target sell unlocked iPhones? Yes, The reality is, while Target does indeed sell “unlocked” iPhones, the moment you put a SIM card in it from most carriers (aka Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Boost, etc.) you are immediately locked to that carrier until the lock is released by that same carrier. 

So technically, Target sells universal iPhones rather than unlocked iPhones. Universal because they will work with any carrier, just like you would expect from an “unlocked” iPhone, but not technically unlocked, because it’s no longer your the moment you activate a SIM card inside of it. 

How to Get a Target iPhone Unlocked Again

Only your carrier can unlock an iPhone that has been locked to that carrier. Once you put a SIM card in your iPhone, it’s completely outside of Target’s hands, unless you return the iPhone to them for your money back. 

Unfortunately, each carrier has its own stipulations regarding whether or not your iPhone meets the requirements for unlocking it. You have to apply to your specific carrier to unlock the iPhone and you can usually do so online, although every carrier is a little different. 

Read also: Target Return Policy Opened Electronics (Secrets Revealed!)

AT&T Unlocking Requirements

If you are an AT&T customer who purchased an iPhone through Target, your iPhone will be locked to AT&T when you place the SIM card in there and activate it. AT&T has a few requirements first and it’s entirely possible that they may waive them but it’s highly unlikely.

  • Your iPhone must be a part of the AT&T network
  • It cannot have been reported as stolen as part of the iPhone’s history
  • Your account must be caught up and in good standing
  • Your iPhone needs to be a part of your AT&T account

Assuming that your iPhone meets those requirements (and it should since you paid for it outright from Target in this scenario), then you can apply for your iPhone to be immediately unlocked.

  • Visit the AT&T website and navigate to the AT&T Unlock Page
  • Enter your iPhone number
  • Complete the form 
  • Get your confirmation email
  • Open your email and confirm that it is you
  • If your iPhone qualifies, it will be unlocked in less than 48 hours

Verizon Wireless Unlocking Requirements

If you slipped a Verizon Wireless SIM card into your newly purchased iPhone from Target, be prepared for some frustration. 

  • Your iPhone will be locked for 60 days, regardless of what you do or where you purchased it from
  • Your iPhone should not be reported stolen or lost
  • Your iPhone has to be connected to Verizon
  • Your iPhone has to be in an account that is under your name

The 60-day waiting period is garbage and while it should apply to a very specific set of consumers, it should not apply to someone who purchased their iPhone outright and slipped a Verizon card into the SIM slot. 

However, that is the way it is. The moment that your iPhone activates with the new SIM card, it is locked to the Verizon network for the next two months and you will have to wait until that time period passes before applying for an unlock. That includes iPhones purchased from Target, even though Target is a Verizon partner.

On the bright side, you don’t have to do anything to unlock your iPhone once the 30-days have elapsed. The process is automatic. Once the 60-days pass, your iPhone should be automatically unlocked without you having to raise a finger. 

Read Also: Target Return Policy after 90 Days? 

If there is an issue, you will have to contact Verizon Customer Support and they should be able to get it unlocked immediately for you. Verizon is fond of contracts but they don’t put you under any contracts with paid-for iPhones. They simply lock it for two months. 

T-Mobile Unlocking Requirements

T-Mobile’s requirements page can be a little intimidating, as the first requirement that you read will indicate that you can never unlock your iPhone since it wasn’t purchased directly through T-Mobile. However, you can unlock it and T-Mobile should do a better job of being more clear and concise. 

You could fall into one of two categories here, as a prepaid customer on T-Mobile’s network or as a “Postpaid” customer on T-Mobile’s network.

  • For postpaid, the iPhone must be on the T-Mobile network for a minimum of 40 days
  • Have proof of purchase ready in the event that T-Mobile asks for it
  • For prepaid plans, a full year must pass before you can request an unlock
  • If less than 365 days, you must use more than $100 worth of refills before T-Mobile will unlock it
  • You cannot unlock more than 2 devices per line
  • T-Mobile may request proof of purchase for prepaid customers as well

If you are in the military, T-Mobile will unlock your iPhone immediately upon procurement of your deployment papers. Outside of that, you won’t be able to unlock your iPhone. But, since you purchased it at Target, regardless of if you choose to prepay or you get a full-fledged plan, you will have to wait.

Why is Target Marketing Unlocked iPhones?

It’s a deceptive business practice, however, if you ask a Target employee in the electronics department, they should be honest about it or you will have a legitimate complaint. A quick glance through Reddit and Quora will reveal just how many people are fooled by this practice every day. 

Most people don’t appreciate being fooled into thinking that they are buying an unlocked iPhone, especially considering how expensive iPhones are. If you want a truly unlocked iPhone, the only retailer you can buy it from is Apple. 

Final Thought

Target technically sells unlocked iPhones, and they’re not the only reseller that sells iPhones marketed under that premise, so it’s not all on Target. Once you choose a carrier and insert that SIM card, you’re locked to that carrier until you can get the lock removed. 

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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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