Apple begins selling unlocked & SIM-free iPhone X in the U.S.

SIM-free means, in part, that you won’t get a carrier SIM card. You’ll still need to get one. Keep that (to me, a tiny bit of a hassle) in mind.

UPDATE: From the comments:

You can get a SIM card for free from T-Mobile, and it takes seconds to install.

Meanwhile, that SIM-free iPhone—unlike the GSM models— is fully compatible with all networks including CDMA. More importantly, it has the Qualcomm chip, which means it will provide about 30% better wireless performance than Intel-equipped models in terms of data speeds, signal reception, voice quality, and battery life. And due to all of the above advantages, the SIM-free model will also provide a significantly higher resale value.

This is the iPhone variant everyone should buy.

UPDATE 2: Also from the comments:

Dave: it may also be worth mentioning that this is a great option if you already have a nano SIM card in your existing iPhone.

Duly noted.



  • freediverx

    You can get a SIM card for free from T-Mobile, and it takes seconds to install.

    Meanwhile, that SIM-free iPhone—unlike the GSM models— is fully compatible with all networks including CDMA. More importantly, it has the Qualcomm chip, which means it will provide about 30% better wireless performance than Intel-equipped models in terms of data speeds, signal reception, voice quality, and battery life. And due to all of the above advantages, the SIM-free model will also provide a significantly higher resale value.

    This is the iPhone variant everyone should buy.

    • Dave Mark

      Excellent point. Comment elevated to the main post. Nicely stated. Thanks…

      — Dave

    • GlennC777

      Why does Apple not make this the default? My son bought an “X” on launch day and was limited to a carrier version.

      • Mo

        It seems to me like a remainder of the awful days when carriers were empowered to decide what a phone’s capabilities should be. I wouldn’t be surprised if carrier-agnostic iPhones become the default relatively soon. Perhaps there are standing contracts that have yet to expire.

        • GlennC777

          Agree, probably something along those lines, i.e. Apple still hasn’t completely shed itself of carrier influence. One of the best things about the history of the iPhone is how it rationalized this relationship to what it should be, but perhaps not completely so, yet.

          • Mo

            For this purpose, there are bigger obstacles to overcome here than there are in Europe.

      • freediverx

        For one thing, by delaying availability of the SIM-free model, Apple can curtail scalping when a new model is released, which would otherwise limit availability for actual customers.

        Also, most people buy iPhones on some sort of carrier payment plan, and those plans require the phone to be locked.

  • LOLametro

    This is the standard in Europe. And I’m happy about it, as you can freely switch your carrier, use prepaid cards because the device is not locked to a specific carrier or country.

  • CapnVan

    For those of us who live overseas but buy our electronics in the US, it’s a necessity.

    You can save 30-40% vs. local offerings.

  • T_Will

    I understand why Apple holds back the SIM-free version for a few weeks after launch (to keep the scalpers at bay), but I would love to buy one on day one since they contain better hardware and I’m paying out of pocket anyway.

  • Janak Parekh

    Dave: it may also be worth mentioning that this is a great option if you already have a nano SIM card in your existing iPhone.

    I’ve been waiting for this. I guess it’s time to pay Apple $1,000. 🙁

    • Dave Mark

      Great point. Added to the main post. Thanks, Janak!

      — Dave

      • f1rehead

        Also, every iPhone since the 5 uses a nano SIM

  • Mo

    We’ve used MNVOs in this house for years. Damn right we buy “SIM-free.”

  • When the unlocked SIM-free phones started, I seem to remember some carriers (like AT&T) would lock the phone down once you inserted their SIM and activated. Do I have that mucked up, and, if not, is this still the case?

    I currently have a Verizon 6S which is unlocked for CDMA and GSM use, but I think starting with the 7 they went back to having specific CDMA only phones if you got a carrier-based one, like a Verizon model?

    It’s all very confusing. I wish we would just get to what Europe has (to my understanding): all unlocked phones.