15 Oct 2010
By Kristen Boschma

Telstra removes unlock fee for Apple iPhone for jet-setting Aussies

UPDATE, 2 September, 2013: These instructions are now out of date. Please read our updated post, “How to use your iPhone overseas“.

Pre-Paid iPhone unlocking instructions:

Check and pay your iPhone unlocking fee by either calling our Pre-Paid Unlocking Centre or visiting a Telstra store. Instructions are found online.

You will then be transferred to the iPhone Unlocking Centre who will submit the unlock request for your iPhone, after verifying the unlocking fee has been paid.

To unlock your Post-Paid Apple iPhone from Telstra:

Step 1: Provide your Apple iPhone details to Telstra

A. Before contacting Telstra, write down the IMEI and Serial Number for your iPhone.  To locate these details, tap Settings > General > About

B. Call 13 2200 and say “Unlock” when asked why you’re calling.

C. The Telstra consultant will take your details and pass them to Apple to complete the unlock.  This process can take up to 72 hours.

Step 2: After 72 hours, connect your Apple iPhone to iTunes to finalise the unlock process

  • Ensure you have the latest version of iTunes, you can find this within iTunes underiPhone > Summary tab
  • Insert a non- Telstra SIM in your iPhone handset.  If you do not insert a non-Telstra SIM, the unlock process will not work
  • Back up your iPhone and ensure you check that all your applications and iTunes data are listed in the relevant sections in iTunes
  • After you have backed up all your data, click on restore to factory settings which is also found within iTunes under iPhone > Summary tab
  • On your iPhone download the latest version of iOS by going into Settings > General > Software update
  • On iTunes within devices > iPhone, depending on the carrier you are switching to, you will see a message stating ”Your iPhone has been unlocked” signalling your unlock is complete. Some carriers may not display this message.
  • Reconnect your iPhone and sync with iTunes


Posts: 56


  1. Chewie says:

    Called up Telstra, provided my IMEI number, waited 2 days and presto UNLOCKED! Very easy experience if ya ask me… apart from the fact the lady on the phone had a very heavy accent and it was hard to understand, still quick and “painless” lol

  2. jinpin says:

    remove the network lock restriction

  3. Pat says:

    My son brought an iphone4 from Australia as a present to me in the UK. Could you give me a phone number (including any area codes) i can use to contact Telstra to help me unlock the phone. Or if there is an easier way, to email me any details. Thanks Pat.

  4. raven says:

    contacted telstra, IMEI no. waited 6 days still locked

  5. Tea says:

    My partner and I have attempted to unlock our phones close to a month before we were due to leave Australia. After providing all the required information we were advised to “sync” our phones with iTunes. After arriving in the US we attempted to purchase a sim to continue our business whilst away only to be advised that our phones are still locked. Frustrated I called telstra who gave no assistance other than to advise me to call apple. I called apple who then advised that the process I was instructed to follow was incorrect and “resetting” the phone through iTunes would unlock. Great…. my desk top is sitting under the desk on the other side of the world. No phone, no 3G access and when we return, no more telstra!

  6. Camlyn Jones says:

    Hi Team,

    I called up Telstra, provided my IMEI number 2 days ago and was told 24 hours, I have connected my iPhone 2 or 3 times since then to iTunes and no love.

    I am flying out to the US tomorrow and I am still waiting for the quick and “painless” part. Last time I was overseas and roamed I got hammered with a bil 5 times the size for the cost of 3 phone calls because Webjet stuffed up my flight bookings. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into the same thing….

    • anfo says:

      did you restore your phone? or just sync? you will need to restore if you just did a sync, the telstra consultant i spoke to didnt tell me to restore my phone i was only luckily enough to realise when i read through the posts

  7. Tim says:

    Old news, Telstra has been doing this for months and months…

  8. anfo says:

    great service guys! unbelievable almost!

    i called your customer service in manila/india? at 7pm spoke to a friendly consultant, gave them my imei only…thought it was a bit odd they didnt as for serial but i noticed some other people commenting here also didnt have to give out the serial – was told the usual 5 – 72 hours – i figured its gone to provisioning in australia or something so the task would not even get actioned till tomorrow to my surprise i thought id give it a try n restored my phone at 9pm i didnt get the msg saying my phone was unlocked but i popped in my amaysim and straight off the bat off i went msging, made some calls, browsed the net, couldnt have been easier

  9. Debbie says:

    HELP Please!!!
    After I receive the message “Congratulations your phone is unlocked”, the following iTunes screen appears:

    “Setup your iPhone
    ◘ Setup as a new phone
    ◘ Restore from the backup……”

    I restored from the backup file and would like to know if I messed up, i.e. did I undo the unlock by overwriting it with the backup iTunes created or does the backup file only contain personal settings and purchased applications etc…?

    • Dave says:

      You’ve probably worked it out by now but you did just fine, its just to restore some of the settings you would have opted to save before the restore!!

  10. Lindsay says:

    Only iPhones? Don’t Sony-Ericsson and HTC users travel? Why chould they pay?

  11. Dave says:

    Im running the current iOS version 4.3.5, and after ringing telstra twice, providing my imei both times, i had no luck simply updating in iTunes, i was just told my OS is up to date! I had to completely restore my phone to factory for it to unlock! Just sync and backup your current apps, calendar, contacts etc. And restore to factory, it was a bit of a pain but got the result in the end! iTunes will also prompt you to save your settings!! You may have to reset your phone again after its finished with the new sim installed to get the phone to recognise it! Hopefully this helps!!

  12. Tim says:

    Thought I’d give this a try this afternoon. Rung the number, gave the lady my IMEI. She said to sync it with iTunes in 5hrs however it could take up to 72 hours. Decided I’d give it a go after the 5 hours and it worked perfectly. Restored my iPhone, chucked another SIM in and made a call. VERY HAPPY. Thank you Telstra.

  13. jason says:

    I purchased an Iphone 4 from the US while living over there at ATT can it be unlocked over here to be used with Telstra?

    • kjb says:

      No it cannot unfortunately. You can try *other* ways of unlocking but they can decrease the stability of the phones software

  14. Josh says:

    I Got an iPhone 4 and it was supposed to be unlocked but it turns out to to be still locked to telstra which i wasnt happy about. Anyway, i rang telstra and they happily unlocked it for me and said to wait 32 hours which i am still doing, thing is that i dont have a telstra sim, will this affect the unlocking process ?

  15. Mark says:

    Does this apply to the current Telstra offer (Sep 2011):

    for iPhone 3GS for $429. As the fine print says there is an unlocking fee.

    Am looking at buying the wife a 3GS so she can use it with an old Freedom pre paid plan ( 5 friends).

  16. Rod says:

    The Telstra business number quoted in the article is no longer active. Contact Telstra Business direct on 13 2000. Took just a few minutes on the phone – will see if it all works in 72 hrs …

  17. Josh says:

    Called Tesltra, took 1 minute to speak to some then got the iphone 3g unlcoked, put my sim in it and BAM! it worked! easy took 5 minutes thank you

  18. michelle says:

    hi i just rang telstra to get my iphone 4s unlocked and they said it will take 3 days :( i need to use my phone now as i have started to port my existing number from Vodafone to a micro sim and as i person who relies on my mobile, is there any way this can be done asap? or in the next 2 hours?

  19. Alex says:

    Hi do you have a number I can call on from New Zealand? Thanks Alex

  20. Jason Webb says:

    Does anyone know if this works with the iPhone 4S?

    • Jason Webb says:

      Yes it does work with the iPhone 4S.

      I called them today, and within 5 minutes it was done. They said to sync to to iTunes after 5 hours. I tried after 1 hour and it worked :)

  21. Rod says:

    I have a 4S on order under a 24 month contract and was told I could unlock it from day 1.

    • Wayne says:

      Rod, I have just got of the phone from Telestra concerned after reading that i may have to wait days to have the phone unlocked.
      I have 2 x Iphone 4s on plans that are sitting at the post office near home for me to collect when I fly home Wednesday and I then fly Thailand Friday am.Hence why i wanted them unlocked.
      The lady was extremely helpful and both have been unlocked and she gave me a reference number and also advised that there is no need to do anything with Itunes to complete the unlocking.
      The call total time was 4min and 17 seconds

  22. Nathan says:

    What is the process in unlocking the iPhone so I can use it overseas with a pre paid sim card I rang Telstra but could not understand the women on the phone I wading a rush to go out I didn’t understand or get the full process instructions I’ve waited over 5 hours do i connect to iTunes and update it ???

  23. Rod says:

    The advice I was given by Telstra was that it could take up to 3 days, but it often happens much quicker than that. They also suggested that connecting to iTunes was required to finalise it.
    Clearly some are saying it happens much quicker than the 3 days :)

  24. Garry says:

    The unlock process is very painless now on iOS5. When you put a non Telstra sim in the iPhone will go to a registration screen requesting access to wifi network (to connect to the itunes servers). After contacting the itunes server your iPhone will be unlocked (providing Apple has processed Telstra’s request to unlock the device). No more backup/restore process!

    • Wayne says:

      So true Garry,

      I picked up 2 from the post office this morning which i ordered from telstra as unlocked and all i did was go through the setting
      up of the phone with a virgin sim in it for $2 and they came up
      on the screen as unlocked, Was really so easy

  25. Bob says:

    I phoned Telstra 4 days ago to unlock 2 x iPhone 4. They said sync to iTunes 3 days later and all will be good. I have sync to iTunes today and nothing shows up that they are unlocked. They said all i needed to do was connect the phone to iTunes, no mention of restoring or anything else. Can someone please explain the correct process step by step. I don’t have another sim to check if they are unlocked I just have to hope they are when we are overseas.

    • Rod says:

      Bob, after contacting Telstra and advising IMEI number for handset (and waiting anywhere from 5 – 72 hours) you need to do this:

      Connect to iTunes to a computer linked to internet and with Telstra SIM in phone
      Check for update
      Backup phone
      Restore phone
      Message will come up in itunes that your phone has been unlocked
      Sync phone and restore your backup
      Switch phone off for 3 minutes
      Change SIM

      The easiest way to confirm your phone is unlocked is to buy a $2 prepaid SIM from the servo or supermarket, etc – activate the SIM and see if you can receive a call. You don’t need to load the SIM with any credit to do that.

      First time I tried I was not told to RESTORE the phone, just to sync it and that didn’t work for me – so that appears to be an important step in the unlock process

      I would definitely check it before I left the country.


  26. Rod says:

    Mine was iOS5 too, so not sure why it didn’t work the simple way. The whole backup/restore process is quite time consuming :(

    Not sure why the difference in process but I guess as long as it works we’re happy.

  27. Bob says:

    Hi Rod I have not done a restore because it says all my media data including my contacts will be deleted. I can’t afford contacts to be deleted and I know people will say back them up on my mac but my mac address book has different contacts that my phone because my phone is used for business so now don’t know what to do as I don’t want to lose contacts in my phone.

  28. Rod says:

    From what I was told I had to do a restore to get it work and that was quite apparent with my situation as it didn’t work until I had done so. Others seem to not have had to worry about that – but it didn’t work like that for me.

    Backing up your iphone should be a different process to syncing your iphone with your address book, etc.
    You can choose to backup your iphone rather than sync it by right-clicking (or control clicking) the device in itunes window and selecting backup. This will save your data.

    You can then restore it from that backup and not lose anything.

    The other alternative you have is to backup your data to icloud – you have a 5gb free storage. just make sure you go into the icloud settings and say what data you want backed up. You also need to go to SETTING/ICLOUD/STORAGE & BACKUP and turn icloud backup ON. This will work as long as you are not using icloud on your mac to sync your data.
    Hope that helps :)

  29. Bob says:

    Thanks Rod you are being very helpful. I have right clicked and saved a back up so hope this keeps my contacts but isn’t this the same as the backup it does when you connect to iTunes. Regards iCloud when I open it I can’t find how to save a backup in there, in fact I can’t find where back up’s are stored. Had an idea that I might try my wife’s phone fist as she doesn’t have lots of contacts so it will be a good way to test and see if she loses them.

  30. Bob says:

    Rod just worked out how to back up to iCloud so have now done it and switched it off again so will only use it if my phone does not restore my contacts. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks Bob

  31. Rod says:

    The right-click backup doesn’t sync, and that is what you are concerned about with your contacts.

    Regarding iCloud on your iphone, the data is stored in the ‘cloud’, so you don’t have to worry about where it is being stored other than Apple is handling it somewhere on their dataservers. You turn this feature on by choosing SETTINGS, iCLOUD, STORAGE & BACKUP, then sliding the iCLOUD BACKUP switch to ON.

    Once you turn it on, you can select the BACKUP NOW button to start the iCloud backup.

    Here’s one link which explains how to restore you iphone with your icloud backup:

  32. Bob says:

    Hi Rod

    Well it all went wrong, I backed up both phone to iCloud and when I checked mine I had all my wife’s contacts that were on her phone now on mine and all mine were gone. All I did was plug each phone into the Mac and switched on iCloud and did a back up NOT A RESTORE so don’t have a clue why it wiped my contacts. I did my wife’s phone first. So I now have to resign myself to putting all my contacts in my address book on my Mac, something i didn’t want to do, Spent 3 hours last night and will have another couple of house tonight to finish all phone numbers and emails. Had to delete iCloud off my phone and switch it off on the Mac because every time I sync the new contacts to test it was working ok it duplicated them. After all this iTunes still didn’t come up with that our phones were unlocked so we phoned Telstra last night and they said they both were unlocked so we will have to test them with another sim. Complete waste of time and useless exercise if they are right but at least by the end of the night I will have all contacts in my phone that are now also in my address book on my Mac. Oh what fun Bob

  33. Rod says:

    Sorry to hear that Bob – no one needs that sort of typing practice.

    I think the problem you had is that you used the same iCloud address for both you and your wifes phone – you should both use different iCloud addresses. Note this is not the same as your itunes account – that can be the same. iCloud is different, and unless you want the same info on both phones you should definitely use different iCloud accounts – they are free.

  34. mizan says:

    doest it require the sim details(no. ,serial etc.) which was came with plan??? or just imie no. and seraila no. of phone??

  35. Bob says:

    All I gave Telstra was the IMIE number. All I need to do now is get a sim to test, it seems everyone I know with an iPhone is on Telstra so i can’t test if it is unlocked. Where do you get that $2 sim you mentioned as I can’t seem to find one that cheap.

  36. Rod says:

    Yes all you need is IMEI number.
    The $2 sim I got was from a Caltex servo, but you can get them also from the supermarket I think.

  37. Bob says:

    Thanks Rod I will try my Caltex

  38. Bob says:

    Hi Rod one last question, I got a sim card but don’t want to register it and give may credit card details for a sim I won’t use again. The guy in the shop said just put it in and if my phone is unlocked I won’t get a message saying phone is locked. Well I put the sim in and it all fired up ok but does say only SOS calls allowed. Do you think this means that it is unlocked.

  39. Rod says:

    I don’t understand your question.
    The $2 sim was for Optus prepaid. It allows you to receive calls but not send (unless you recharge with credit). But that’s all you need to test the phone will connect with another provider.
    When you unlock the phone, you can use it on any other compatible service providers network.

  40. Rod says:

    I don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t work in the industry. However my understanding is that you do need to register the sim card for it to be activated (which makes sense) and that’s when you receive your new mobile number from Optus or whoever. I wouldn’t be convinced that all was fine until I had done that and seen the OPTUS network come up on the display. You shouldn’t be charged for anything unless you actually add credit to the sim card.

  41. Bob says:

    Thanks Rod for all your help. I decided to phone Apple today and they took the serial numbers and assured me that my phones were unlocked and confirmed that iTunes now doesn’t say they are unlocked when you restore your phone for the first time so all good and I am happy. Thanks once again. Bob

  42. Wayne says:

    Wow some people are having big issue’s.
    Mine could not have been easier.
    2 X Iphone 4s on contract, when ordered asked to have them unlocked.
    Phoned telestra again before i got them and requested they be sure they was going to be unlocked, they said yes and gave me a reference number.
    The 2 phones arrived and i ran the setup on my laptop using the same apple id account which recognised the 2 different imes
    and then go a $2 sim and bingo worked, 2 days latter and still in thailand and both working fine with thai sims

  43. jordan says:

    i just wondering, i got a new iphone 3 off my mate and he lost his sim card and it is locked. if i buy a new $2sim card can i ring telstra an ask them to unlock it with the new number? :)

  44. mizan says:

    have called to telstra on friday(11th nov.) they said will confirm me by calling back.May any body suggest that can i test it by restoring not waiting their call?

  45. M-star says:

    If your having any troubles which I did – while your iphone is plugged in to itunes and has been recognised (e.g. you can see the little phone symbol) hold down the ‘home’ button and the turn off button on your iphone until it switches off and then back on again and you see the apple sign – then and only then let go of the 2 buttons – BINGO it should then be unlocked or at least allow you to now click on ‘restore’ – this especially helps if you were getting a SIM error message – cheers

  46. marsh says:

    hello, I’m from Malaysia

    my dad recently bought me an iphone 4s during his work trip in aussie, it is locked..I wanna ask can i call from malaysia and have it unlocked from here…can you give me the details and numbers to call in order to unlock…

  47. Jye says:

    Hey guys, Works after 5 hours, Just backup, sync, restore and then it will all unlock :)

    many thanks!

  48. Deb says:

    We have spoken to 5 yes 5 telstra representatives & have had a different storey from every one of them.. To be honest im over it & Telstra.. You guys need to get on the same page cause its not good for business & I have heard alot of people saying lately “your crazy going with Telstra” Tad peeved to be honest..

  49. Darren says:

    Rang telstra on 1800 iphone Monday mid afternoon. After a few minutes was advised the phone was unlocked and that it would take 5-72 hours to activate on my phone. Was advised I just needed to sync with itunes and then it would be unlocked.

    On the Monday evening I synced my iPhone, however received no message that phone unlocked.

    At work on Tuesday I borrowed a mates vodafone sim. Turned my phone off, inserted the sim and powered it up again. It went through the activation screen and within 1 minute it recognised the sim and I was able to make a test call. Re-inserted my Telstra sim and all OK.

    Hope this helps others.

  50. Erin says:

    I am going to be borrowing an old iPhone 3g off a friend when I travel overseas but she no longer has her Telstra sim… Do you know if I can still unlock it without a telstra simcard???

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