Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 9.51.53 AMApple today released an unlocked GSM version of the iPhone 5s on its online store for the United States. This version of the iPhone 5s includes the same exact capabilities of the non-unlocked models, but does not include a SIM card. Users who buy this version of the iPhone will need to supply their own SIM card. The central benefit of an unlocked iPhone is that it can work on many GSM networks across the globe with no contract. For frequent world travelers, this option is worth looking into…

This unlocked model works on AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States, and also means that you will not need a contract with those carriers if you buy this specific model. The SIM-free iPhone 5s comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities for $649, $749, and $849, and it comes in the same space gray, silver, and gold color options as the carrier-tied versions. The models ship in 1-2 weeks from Apple’s online store, and should become available in Apple retail stores in the coming weeks.

Since launch, Apple has sold an unlocked variant of the iPhone 5s for T-Mobile. However, that model includes a T-Mobile SIM card and could potentially be tied to a T-Mobile account. Today’s release includes no SIM card. This is also different than an AT&T/GSM model because that device is tied to an AT&T contract even at full price. A customer would need to manually unlock that device to get the same effect as today’s new offering. In essence, today’s SIM-free model works the same way as other unlocked iPhone 5s units, but it comes with no SIM card and is completely unlocked the moment you turn it on.

A SIM-free version of the iPhone 5c has been available since its launch in September. Many international countries have had availability of the fully unlocked iPhone 5s for several weeks.

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22 Responses to “Apple starts selling unlocked, SIM-free iPhone 5s in the U.S.”

  1. Stuart Nolan says:

    Wasn’t the T-Mobile one unlocked? What is the difference?

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    • tallestskil says:

      This one has no SIM card and, you know, isn’t tied to a T-Mobile account at purchase.

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      • Tim Jr. says:

        Correct, the T-Mobile iPhone directly from Apple is Unlocked. I just helped my mom purchase the t-mobile one and immediately put in an ATT card. worked fine.. Didn’t have to unlock it. It’s unlocked.. No ties to T-mobile.. you just get the t-mobile sim card.

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    • Yes, The T-Mobile version is unlocked. Since Apple doesn’t sell T-Mobile contracts they sell an unlocked iPhone 5s with a T-Mobile SIM card inside.

      Even after activating the T-Mobile SIM, the iPhone still is unlocked.

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    • T-Mobile is locked. And they will lie to you about the unlock. I bought mine for full price because sales rep promised me an unlock after “7 days of use”. After 7 days, I called them and requested the unlock. Now it turned out, I have to wait 40 days AND 7 days after that to unlock it.

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  2. Is it really true that Apple warranty is not Global? In case I buy one iPhone 5S model different the one available in my country (Brazil, in this case) I should have no warranty at all?

    iPhone 5S went on sale yesterday for USD 1.222,27!

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    • As i understand it, computers, being iMac Mac Pros are covered in country of purchase, all mobile devices are covered by Apple Worldwide. However, there are some differences in warranty, so in the EU you get a 2 year warranty, but that may not be honoured in the USA if it needed repair or replace… Not so sure on how that would work…

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  3. Scott Nagle says:

    Is it the same as the T-Mob version, without the SIM?

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  4. olvepeersen says:

    It seems to me that on purely technical ground, the CDMA version may the best options for a “universal” phone in that it includes all the GSM bands of the GSM version, but then adds the CDMA radio for voice on Verizon/Sprint. Though that CDMA capability may not matter much for international use, it might be worth having if you find yourself moving and needing to change carrier within the US. I don’t think you have to sign a contract with Verizon if you buy the phone outright and its at the same price at from Apple. So why not take that option instead? Am I missing something in the way of a CDMA version limitation for GSM use?

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  5. SailingSwede says:

    Will it work in Europe?

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  6. GSM means it would be usable on Straight Talk or services like that, correct?

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  7. Bob Black says:

    amazing, what a great value.. oh isn’t there windows and android similar phones for $200 and LESS… but then you can’t get into the Starbucks $7 a cup of coffee section … oh well

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  8. Haven’t they been doing this from day one? I’ve always seen that option. Also, I was under the impression the option that comes with a T-Mobile SIM was unlocked and contract free as well (as it has always been listed as so right next to the SIM-Free version). If it wasn’t, why the heck would I be paying full price for it?

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    • Tim Jr. says:

      Yup, my mom uses Straight Talk (ATT network).. worked out of the box.. Just popped out the t-mo sim and put in the cut Straight Talk ATT Sim.. worked right away.

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  9. kaushalnew says:

    What is the difference b/w T-Mobile & iphone 5s?

    via codingbrains.com

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  10. Both of my AT&T iPhone 5S is unlocked out of the box.

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  11. loldoge says:

    I bought a att iphone at full price and it isnt locked, i am currently on metropcs and have verefied it works on other carriers

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  12. I am confused now , i just bought one iPhone 5S ,16GB from Apple.com ,paying $707.41 of course with the Tmobile Sim Option as it says 3 to 5 days shipping and its already shipped from China as well . My Confusion is , can i use this phone out of US .

    is it truly Unlocked means i can use it anywhere in the world ?

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    • Hey Ashutosh! please let us know if the T-MO iPhone 5S worked with your local carrier. Im seriously confused about all this locked / unlocked thing with this version of the iPhone. And for what Ive read not even in the Apple Stores are sure if it is truly unlocked.

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