Don’t Get Locked In

Here’s a Public Service Announcement for those of you who wish to buy an iPhone and might want to use it for a different carrier than the one the phone is locked with.

You can’t.*

If you buy an At&t iPhone, Apple says Thou Shalt Only Use Thy iPhone with At&t, and makes it very difficult to use the phone with, say, T-Mobile. You’ll get to use the phone, but At&t and Apple really still own part of it, the part that says how the phone can be used.

Strange, isn’t it? It’s like you bought a roll of duct tape, but it only works on ducts.

Other ideas:

  1. buy an unlocked iPhone instead. iPhones hold their value well, especially unlocked ones. They cost a lot more so the upfront cash required is high, but an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to change carriers anytime for any reason. When you figure out the price of the phone, don’t just look at the initial price, look at the cost of the contract over the life of the contract and check prices on similar used unlocked phones on eBay.
  2. don’t buy an iPhone. By purchasing an iPhone you’re telling Apple that you’re willing to pay the price of your freedom. Apple pushes hard on its customers, saying what they can and can’t do. They sure do make awesome technology, but at the cost of personal freedom.

Learn more about freedom at

* If you are brave, patient, lucky, and desperate, you may be able to bypass the electronic measures in place which lock the phone to At&t.

Eben Moglen on Technology and Freedom

I’ve been enjoying strolling through the FLOSS Weekly archives; a collection of one-on-one interviews with key players in FLOSS. Here’s a quote that really speaks to why FLOSS is something to pay attention to:

“Free as in Freedom” is a really important concept. That is, technology really as to be free in some important ways if people are to have political freedom.

– Eben Moglen, speaking on the GPL version 3 during FLOSS Weekly interview.