We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,639 News Articles

Apple begins offering unlocked iPhone 5 in U.S.

If you love new iPhones but abhor contracts, you're in luck. As of Friday, Apple has begun to offer a carrier-unlocked version of the iPhone 5.

Unsurprisingly, these factory-unlocked iPhones cost more than their contract-requiring brethren; when you purchase an iPhone for AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, a substantial portion of the phone's cost is subsidized by the carrier, which they reclaim by locking you into a monthly contract. So while the upfront price for a contract-subsidized iPhone is either $199, $299, or $399 (for 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB respectively), an unlocked iPhone 5 will set you back $649, $749, or $849 for those same capacities.

The extra $450 means that you can use your iPhone without any contract requirements--so long as you are willing to use a GSM network. In the U.S., such networks include AT&T, T-Mobile, and a variety of smaller providers like Straight Talk.

The Verizon iPhone 5, in fact, is already theoretically unlocked, in that it can freely be used with GSM networks as well. But you can't pick up a Verizon iPhone 5 without a two-year contract, so that "solution" would end up over time costing you far more than an official unlocked phone direct from Apple.


IDG UK Sites

Nokia replaces budget Lumia 520 with 530: Release date, price and specs

IDG UK Sites

Everything you need to know about Apple's iPhone Camera in iOS 8

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't trust password managers

IDG UK Sites

How to make an 'Apple iWatch' using an iPod nano and a 3D printer