Shortly after the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 were announced, it was revealed that the Wi-Fi + Cellular models come with an Apple SIM that allows users to select AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile plans without swapping SIMs. However, now it’s been revealed that there’s a bit of a caveat with the Apple SIM.
An Apple support document has confirmed that if you select an AT&T plan with the Apple SIM, AT&T locks the SIM to its network. If you select Sprint or T-Mobile, you’ll be able to swap networks necessary.
AT&T confirmed the news to Re/code but didn’t explain why it made that decision, saying only that “it’s just simply the way we’ve chosen to do it.” AT&T added that users can still change carriers any time they’d like by switching out the SIM itself. Apple says that if your Apple SIM becomes locked to a specific carrier, you can go to an Apple store and get a new one.
The Apple SIM seemed like a pretty nice feature of the new iPad models at first, even though Verizon isn’t participating for some reason. With this news about AT&T locking down the Apple SIM, the thing becomes slightly less awesome, but at least you can still easily pop in another SIM without having to fiddle with unlocking or anything like that.