Tim Cook Helps Unlock AT&T Customer’s iPhone to Use in Canada


Just when you thought Tim Cook only replied to my emails, think again. 9to5Mac reports on a story of how one AT&T customer had just been relocated to Canada for work and wanted to use his iPhone 3GS here on PAYG plans.

However, his phone was locked to AT&T and he was told to contact Apple for the unlock. Apple in return, told him to contact AT&T. Frustrated, he ended up firing off an email to Tim Cook for help–here’s a snippet:

My company recently moved me to Canada for a work assignment for a few years. My wife’s iPhone 3GS had finished its contract with AT&T so I bought her an iPhone 4 the day we moved to Canada. I took her iPhone 3GS and I contacted AT&T to see if I could have it unlocked so that I could use the phone with a Canadian carrier with a “pay as you go” plan for casual use (I’m forced to use a Blackberry for work, but I hate it so I’d like to use the iPhone for phone calls). This is where my problems began.

Basically AT&T told me that they couldn’t unlock it, only Apple could. I called Apple (but was routed through Apple Canada) and they told me “ask to talk to a supervisor at AT&T because the customer service rep won’t know the process, but AT&T definitely can unlock it”. So I called them back and the supervisor was adamant that they couldn’t help me. “Just jailbreak your phone” was their advice.

I didn’t want to jailbreak my phone, I like Apple’s curated experience and I don’t want to stray from that. However after several more calls to both AT&T and Apple, I made no progress. So I’m turning to you for a final plea.

So, what happened after an email was sent to Tim Cook? AT&T called to say they received an email from Cook to unlock his iPhone. Even the Apple CEO’s assistant called to ensure his device was unlocked.

AT&T must have made an exception to their policy because this Apple support document only lists Rogers and Fido as North American carriers to offer authorized unlocks. To do so, users need to have paid back all hardware subsidies, have an account in good standing, and pay a $50 unlocking fee.

Nonetheless, if you need your iPhone unlocked–maybe email Tim Cook as a last resort if you run into road blocks?


  • He has just opened the flood gates. Poor man is going to get a ton of emails from everyone looking to unlock their phone.

  • Also mention you hate your work Blackberry.

  • Or Samsung Galaxy S II Lighting Bolt LTE 4G Curve

  • Ex

    But you just bought the All New Motorola Capture X-1-Zero 4G LTE Quad-Core Retina SuperPhone. Surely you don’t hate it already?

  • The battery life is horrible :/

  • Networx

    I moved from one office in Hamilton to another. I want my iPhone unlocked too!!!!  C’mon Tim, show me some love!

  • Networx

    If someone buys the Samsung Galaxy Note will Tim give them an iPhone out of pity for being so stupid?  If I were Apple I would.  What a great promotion that would be.  “Come back to Apple and get a free phone”  I like it!

  • I couldn’t disagree with you.

  • 0mni

    My first thought as well when I read this, really nice of him to do this, but really poor decision to do this personally …

  • Ben

    I called rogers and asked for an unlock, I wanted to cancel my contract before the end…. they told that the contract must be on term ( which mean going through the 36 months) even if I paid the hardware subsitize +50$….

    Any tips?

    Should I cancel then ask for unlock or both must be done at the sane time?

  • DjDATZ

    Bravo! Awesome to hear!