3GS left store without activation. Is it unlocked?


New Member
Aug 4, 2009
Hope someone can help me here.
I went to the Apple store (in UK) to purchase a 3Gs on pay as you go (these are locked to O2 network), with full intension of coming home then Jailbreak & unlock so i can use on Vodafone. O2 has no network coverage in my house.

Now i purchased the phone and Apple store assistants then add £10 of credit while you are in the store, this activates (and locks.?) the phone. Only at this point the O2 activation on line top top up the phone was not working, after 4 failed attempts & and another 40 mins the Apple assistant then said,

"really sorry but i don't know what to do, we have to activate the phone, we can't let you leave the store with an unlocked phone"

He went off to talk with others and call O2. Upon his return he confirmed o2 were having problems and said it was not in Apple Stores interest to ask me to leave with no phone.. He said i could go up the street and O2 would activate the phone or i could do it myself at home.

Now my question is does this mean the phone is now not locked.?
I read that they are all unlocked until it is activated with O2 or what ever the carrier. Also from what the Apple assistant said i am thinking that i have actually left the store with an unlocked iPhone.
Which would be great as i need it on Vodafone.

When i turn it on it asks me to insert a sim card without pin lock & shows the USB cable & iTunes icon.

I tried a Vodafone sim but it says emergency calls only.

It has never had an O2 sim in it.

Is it locked or unlocked.?
Where do i go from here.?

Thanks for any advice.


Jun 28, 2009
Newcastle, UK
Nope it is still locked to accept only O2 sim card

If you plug it into the computer with a vodaphone sim card iTunes will give you a message saying that it can't access the iPhone as a the sim card that is inserted in the phone is not recognized


Oct 23, 2007
Louisville, KY
I think what the store meant is they couldn't let you leave without signing you up for the service with O2. That's how they get their money. Either that or you buy the phone full price to cover what they'd otherwise get from the carrier.