I had a client do a iPhone Fido Carrier swap for a iPhone 4 Virgin that later contacted me and let me know that Fido had just advised him they unlocked the phone.
I checked the Fido iPhone to see if it would take other Carrier SIMs and found out that it would show no bars and no Carrier when I put in any SIM other than the original SIM the phone was locked to. Also when I put in the Rogers SIM it would put the phone into non-activated mode.
Things started to click as I remember that happening before and wondering why that was. The iPhone I am currenty using had done that when I was testing it during the purchase. So I tested that phone with different SIMs and it when no bars and no Carrier.
I restored 4.3.4 with out a SIM and at the activation screen on the phone I put in a non-Rogers SIM and iTunes gave me the message “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.” Talk about getting excited — you know the way non-Geeks get excited over non-techiqual stuff like a spectacular sunset or a new born baby.
Then I when through all my iPhone 4’s. I remember my only Telus iPHone acting the same way so I tried it with different SIM and it got the same thing — no bars and no Carrier. I may do a video on this later so I didn’t unlock the phone.
Here is the process that you use when checking to see if an iPhone 4 is Hardware Unlocked.
1. Install Different SIM — Put any SIM other than the original Carrier SIM in the iPhone. If can find the original Carrier by viewing Carrier on the Settings–>General page on your iPhone.
2. Airplane It — If you get a “No Service” in the top left cornor of your iPhone screen turn Airplane Mode on then off (Settings–>Airplane Mode). If it goes back to No Service the phone is not Hardware unlocked (also called Factory Unlock, Carrier unlocked, IMEI unlock, or Permanent unlock).
3. No Bars Good — If it shows no bars and no Carrier name in the top right corner of the phone then your iPhone may be hardware unlocked.
4. Updated iOS — Check your Settings–>About screen on the iPhone and note what the Carrier name is. Remove the SIM from the phone and either Restore or Update the iOS via iTunes.
Note: If your phone is Jailbroken you should make sure there is a Jailbrake for for the version of iOS you are going to restore or updated to. The current 4.3.5 doesn’t offer an unteathered Jailbreak.
5. Activation — After you Restore or Update you will need to Activate your iPHone from iTunes. Put a SIM from a Carrier other then the Settings–>About Carrier into the iPhone SIM slot. If the iPHone is Hardware Unlocked you will see a message “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”
6. Try Your SIMs — Now try a number of different SIMs. If they come up No Service then turn Airplane Mode on then off. After you turn Airplane Mode off the carrier will show up.