Canadian iPhones will be unlocked over-the-air on December 1st, according to WOW! Mobile doc [Update]

iPhone 8 rear

Update 02/11/17: Carrier sources tell MobileSyrup that while an over-the-air update was initially planned for unlocking iPhones, that plan is no longer going forward. It’s unclear what exactly the unlocking process will be for locked iPhones, but MobileSyrup will publish an update if we receive more information.

We’ve left the information about the OTA unlocking in the article below as it was first printed, for posterity. The information regarding stickers on locked phones and label indicators for unlocked phones remains applicable.

In order to abide with Canada’s upcoming phone locking ban, Apple will push out an over-the-air update in order to unlock devices.

That’s according to a leaked document obtained by MobileSyrup from WOW! Mobile, a retailer that sells smartphones through partnerships with Rogers and Telus, along with their sub-brands Koodo, Fido, Chatr and Public Mobile.

The document from WOW! states that while it’s still waiting for details from each carrier regarding the process for unlocking a locked phone during activation, it won’t have to worry about that situation with iPhones.

Any older iPhones that are locked will “automatically be unlocked over-the-air effective December 1st,” says WOW! in the document.

As for Android devices, the WOW! document states the following handsets were unlocked from launch:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 Prime
  • LG Q6
  • LG V30

Other Android devices, however, will have to be unlocked at the time of transaction, which WOW! notes will add time to each to transaction. Due to this, WOW! is recommending that its associates attempt to ensure locked phones are sold first.

To identify devices that are locked, WOW! is adding two round red stickers to labels on device boxes from Rogers and its sub-brands, and two round green stickers to labels on devices from Telus and its sub-brands.

Meanwhile, devices that are unlocked will carry indicators on their labels as well, as listed below:

  • Samsung: NU
  • LG: Unlocked / Débloqué
  • Huawei: Unlocked / Débarre
  • ZTE: Unlocked / Débarre
  • Alcatel: Unlocked / Déverrouille

It appears this marking will be provided directly by the manufacturer, so it’s likely these label indicators will remain the same across carriers.

While WOW! doesn’t work with Bell and its sub-brands, it’s also likely that Apple has opted to keep it simple and employ the over-the-air unlocking method for all carrier-locked Canadian iPhones.

Beginning December 1st, 2017, all Canadian carriers are banned from locking mobile devices to their particular network. All devices purchased from any Canadian carrier must be unlocked, and customers that were sold locked phones must be provided with free unlocking upon request.