Cell Phones

SOLVED! Help with Virgin iPhone Showing Sim Locked

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 7th, 2021 5:30 pm
[OP]
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Jan 21, 2008
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SOLVED! Help with Virgin iPhone Showing Sim Locked

My brother got a iPhone 11 Pro Max from Virgin, sealed. Sold to someone, who later says the phone is showing sim locked (person did not test out phone before buying, said it was a gift for his sister so wanted to keep it sealed). Confirmed it is not blacklisted in any way. Called Virgin, said their system does show the phone is unlocked, said need to put in a Virgin or Bell sim into the phone first, then later remove & put a different carrier sim into the phone.

Person says they did this, though they didn't have a "active" Virgin sim, meaning they bought a Virgin sim from Dollarama that didn't have a phone number or account associated with it. They tried to put that in first, then remove & put different carrier. I'm guessing my brother will need to use his active Virgin sim for the iPhone, then remove it & put in a different carrier sim after? This has kind of turned out to be a big hassle. Thought since phone is sold unlocked that none of this would be necessary. Does anyone have any input? Is my thought correct about having active Virgin or Bell sim? Thanks for the help
Last edited by HP_John on Feb 6th, 2021 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
14 replies
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Jun 20, 2020
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HP_John wrote: Thought since phone is sold unlocked that none of this would be necessary. Does anyone have any input? Is my thought correct about having active Virgin or Bell sim? Thanks for the help
Virgin Mobile (subsidiary of Bell) unlock the phone after they are sold

PSA: Bell is now locking retail store phones.

Yes, need an active sim Virgin Mobile SIM to unlock the phone
Deal Expert
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Feb 24, 2003
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To network unlock an iPhone, an active or inactive SIM is not required. I have unlocked lots of iPhones and a SIM was never required to do this. It is the carrier that adds the iPhone's IMEI to Apple's whitelist database of unlocked phones.

I don't understand how the phone can be network locked since phones have not been sold with carrier locks for years.

Sounds fishy to me. Last phone I bought was an iPhone XR from Koodo, had it sitting in on the shelf for a couple of months, gave it to my friend who is on Fido, popped in his Fido sim, and everything worked perfectly.

An active SIM is not required to activate an iPhone on Apple's server.
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Aug 27, 2004
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audit13 wrote: I don't understand how the phone can be network locked since phones have not been sold with carrier locks for years.
That is not technically true - phones continue to be sold with carrier locks in 3-year-corporate land. I have a lovely locked-to-Bell iPhone 11 Pro Max that proves it...
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VivienM wrote: That is not technically true - phones continue to be sold with carrier locks in 3-year-corporate land. I have a lovely locked-to-Bell iPhone 11 Pro Max that proves it...
I didn't mention corporate plans since the OP was referring to Virgin and I don't think Virgin offers 3 year Corp plans.

Your post is a good reminder that carrier locks are still around.
[OP]
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Jan 21, 2008
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audit13 wrote: It is the carrier that adds the iPhone's IMEI to Apple's whitelist database of unlocked phones.
According to Virgin mobile, this was done. Anyways, brother will meet with him later today & try to help him out with this. Fingers crossed
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Thx for sharing OP, I'm keeping my eye on this thread.....I find this interesting as I thought all retail consumer smartphones are sold unlock.

FS: Nothing at the moment
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[OP]
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Jan 21, 2008
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As it turns out, once my brother's sim was put in, the phone worked right away. Took the virgin sim out, put a different carrier sim & it worked without having to restart the phone or anything. Read on another forum that its not just an active sim that is required, but specifically the sim that is tied to the account that the phone was purchased from. So if you ever have a brand new sealed Bell/Virgin iphone, might wanna insist the buyer to open up the phone & use your SIM first. Would've saved a big hassle. Bell & their archaic policies
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Feb 18, 2011
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FYI I had this same issue buying a Bell iPhone as a gift (so unopened) from a very reputable seller on RFD. Was able to resolve it by getting a virgin prepaid sim from dollarama, activating it (but not topping up) and then putting it in the phone once. Apparently the phone has to register on their network once before its actually unlocked.

Annoying stuff from Bell/Virgin and very unexpected.
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Good to hear OP!

I found out from a reliable source that Bell and Virgin iPhones are locked until an active Bell or Virgin physical sim is put into the device.

The sim doesn’t have to match the one on the account. Bell will not override this nor can their unlocking team override either.

This isn't good for folks looking to resell BNIB Bell / VM iphones!

FS: Nothing at the moment
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ji2o0k wrote: This isn't good for folks looking to resell BNIB Bell / VM iphones!
I think that's the entire point - they were worried about phones being stolen, etc in an unlocked state and being usable by the thieves.

I also wonder all of a sudden if this is how they deal with the corporate 3-year-land phones being locked, i.e. maybe they're not actually different except that if you put a SIM tied to a 3-year corporate line, the phone doesn't unlock itself?
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VivienM wrote: I think that's the entire point - they were worried about phones being stolen, etc in an unlocked state and being usable by the thieves.

I also wonder all of a sudden if this is how they deal with the corporate 3-year-land phones being locked, i.e. maybe they're not actually different except that if you put a SIM tied to a 3-year corporate line, the phone doesn't unlock itself?
I just asked and the same procedure applies to these corp phones.

There was a brief period of time where Corp phones were sold locked but this stopped over a year ago, and any recently purchased Corp iPhone would unlock the same as any consumer iPhone would (i.e. active Bell sim required).

FS: Nothing at the moment
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ji2o0k wrote: This isn't good for folks looking to resell BNIB Bell / VM iphones!
I think the solution is to include an activated prepaid VM sim with the transaction :)
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ji2o0k wrote: I just asked and the same procedure applies to these corp phones.

There was a brief period of time where Corp phones were sold locked but this stopped over a year ago, and any recently purchased Corp iPhone would unlock the same as any consumer iPhone would (i.e. active Bell sim required).
That's interesting - so you think my Pro Max from fall 2019 would have fallen into that brief period? I guess I can ask people who got phones more recently if they still show up as locked...
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hackoder wrote: I think the solution is to include an activated prepaid VM sim with the transaction :)
... and charge $50 extra for a 416 number? :)

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