Why I Bought the T-Mobile iPhone 6s

Apple’s iPhone 6s is available on several U.S. carriers including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. On Saturday, I bought the 64GB Space Gray T-Mobile iPhone 6s to replace my iPhone 6 but not for the reason you might think.

Last week, Apple announced the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The two flagships come with some exciting new features, among them, an upgraded 12MP camera and displays that are outfitted with the company’s 3D Touch technology.

On stage, the company confirmed an iPhone 6s pre-order date for September 11th ahead of an in-store iPhone 6s release date on September 12th. Per usual, Apple and its partners kicked off iPhone 6s pre-orders at midnight.

Like many of you, I spent my Friday evening drinking red wine waiting for iPhone 6s pre-orders to start. And like many of you, I walked away from the pre-order with a brand new iPhone. In my case, the 64GB Space Gray T-Mobile iPhone 6s. Here’s how I decided on that model.

iPhone 6s Color to Buy - 4

I’m on AT&T. My iPhone 6, my daily driver, runs on AT&T’s network. I’m on AT&T because it provides great service in my area of Los Angeles and because I’ve been on AT&T since Cingular existed. I’m currently on a family plan with my Dad and my two brothers and we love it.

I don’t want to leave AT&T and that’s why I pre-ordered the T-Mobile iPhone 6s. Before I get to that, let me explain my storage and color choices.

iPhone 6s colors - Space Gray

Last year, I bought the 64GB iPhone 6. I have about 16GB of free space left on my iPhone. In other words, there’s absolutely no way I could deal with a 16GB iPhone.

Not with my apps and not with the camera features that come on board the iPhone 6s. If I were you, I would avoid the 16GB iPhone 6s. Spend the $100. It’s worth it for the peace of mind alone.

I also chose the space gray iPhone 6s over silver, gold and the new rose gold color option. And that’s because I like having the black front plate instead of the white one.

As my colleagues have noted, the black front plate is the best if you watch a ton of video on your phone. It creates a better looking frame and for me, it’s a lot easier on the eyes.

My Space Gray iPhone 6 has also held up. I don’t have any scratches to speak of and there really isn’t any general wear and tear. It looks pretty close to how it looked a year ago when I bought it. So why did I buy it on T-Mobile and not AT&T?

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6 What's New - A9

I bought the T-Mobile iPhone 6s because it was one of the unlocked options at my disposal on pre-order Saturday.

The only way to get an unlocked iPhone 6s right now is if you buy it for T-Mobile on the Apple Store, buy a Verizon model or if you join Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program. I decided not to get involved with Apple’s program.

By purchasing it this way, I’m missing out on an LTE band that’s only available on the AT&T model but I have more freedom out of bag to switch carriers because I’m unlocked. AT&T will unlock the iPhone 6s but certain parameters must be met. With the T-Mobile model, I don’t have to mess with anything.

(Note: I already have great LTE coverage where I live and in the places I frequent but if I hear really good things about this 2300 Mhz band 30, I might make a move to AT&T’s iPhone 6s model and deal with its convoluted unlock process. We’ll see.)

So now I have a fully unlocked T-Mobile iPhone 6s on the way. While it might not be music to T-Mobile’s ears, I plan to put the SIM card from my iPhone 6 into the iPhone 6s and use Apple’s new flagship as my daily driver on AT&T’s networks.

I wanted my iPhone 6s to be unlocked from the get-go and buying the T-Mobile iPhone 6s from Apple ensures that I will be able to take it to whomever, whenever. (Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up on T-Mobile at some point.) That’s a lot of freedom and like 64GB, it gives me some added peace of mind.

The T-Mobile iPhone 6s, like AT&T’s, comes out on September 25th. Both models are still available for release day delivery through Apple’s website.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6: What’s New

3D Touch Display

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3D Touch Display

The new 3D Touch display on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus makes a plethora of features possible, some of which we will break out into sections.

In short the new iPhone 6s display is the same size and resolution as the iPhone 6 display, but it can now tell the difference between a tap, a press and a deeper press. This allows users to call up secondary actions in many apps and on the home screen as well as in games.

The video above shows the new 3D Touch display on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Even though the iPhone 6s display looks very similar to the iPhone 6 and both phones run iOS 9, you cannot use these new features on the old iPhone because the technology is not there.

3D Touch display actions work on the home screen, in Apple apps and in third-party apps.

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52 Comments

  1. Arun

    09/14/2015 at 2:24 pm

    I’d be curious to hear from you after you get the phone. From reading the comments at http://www.idownloadblog.com/2015/09/10/how-to-preorder-contract-free-iphone-6s-from-apple/#disqus_thread it seems (wierdly) that the phones are carrier locked in the US (T-Mobile included).

    Reply

    • Miguel Agosto

      09/19/2015 at 2:37 pm

      If you buy the phone out right from T-Mobile they will unlock it for you at no cost.

      Reply

  2. Truth

    09/14/2015 at 4:43 pm

    Apple support says that all iphones will be locked this year even T-Mobile. Please double check with them and update us.

    Thanks

    Reply

  3. algomacommunityband

    09/14/2015 at 7:41 pm

    Verizon iPhones will definitely be unlocked. They’re required to sell any LTE phones unlocked due to an agreement which gave them additional spectrum.

    Reply

    • Arun

      09/14/2015 at 8:04 pm

      Even if that’s so, Apple’s site doesn’t allow the Verizon phone to be purchased without selecting a Verizon plan. They force you to that even if you pay in full for the phone. Pretty shady!

      Reply

  4. wut

    09/14/2015 at 10:37 pm

    you will be missing out on AT&T new 30 LTE band

    Reply

  5. Jeff

    09/15/2015 at 2:07 pm

    No need to worry about band 30, not available everywhere and only adds capacity to the areas that need it. Band 30 will only help in dense areas. So no need to worry about it.

    Reply

    • MarG G Meri (@MarG_G_Meri)

      10/26/2015 at 3:45 am

      With crowded area/s (at least one, Manhattan for sure), AT&T isn’t good with anything. I am not sure about band 30 helping any bit as long as most of the Manhattan is concerned. But, a good thing about crowded area is that you will find a free WiFi hotspot in every corner. I am sure, on NYC streets any free hotspot will work better than whatever AT&T has to throw. I am an AT&T customer since, 2009 and I love it. Because on the other side of Hudson, where I live, I get anywhere b/w 25 to 45 Mb/s. During the work hours in NYC, I have to get satisfied with free WiFi.

      Reply

  6. Geo

    09/16/2015 at 8:25 am

    Adam, I did exactly the same thing. Got in and ordered a 128GB 6s Plus; selected as a T-Mobile device. I figured it was the only GSM network where the phone comes unlocked, based on past experience. (AT&T !! What are you waiting for? — Oh ya, you got a big fine to pay now). But that was exactly my question now. I too read that idownloadblog (mentioned above) Chatting (texting) with Apple rep confirmed that lock. As per usual, maybe better to wait for the official unlocked device?

    Reply

  7. Geo

    09/16/2015 at 9:57 am

    Get rid of this guy…please

    Reply

  8. Jeff

    09/16/2015 at 11:21 am

    Lik you, I pre-ordered the TMobile version and plan to activate it on At&T as well. A day after placing my pre-order I contacted Apple to inquire about which model No. of phone 6d would be shipped to me and teh rep confirmed my order is for iPhone 6s (66GB gold) is Model A1633 According to the technical specifications on Apple.com, the Tmobile version does support LTE Band 30

    Reply

  9. Jeff

    09/16/2015 at 11:24 am

    Correction to my earlier post: should read 6s not 6d :)

    Reply

  10. Geo

    09/16/2015 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks Jeff. Did the tech rep you spoke with say if the iPhone 6s would be ‘unlocked’ when it arrived on your doorstep??

    Reply

    • Miguel Agosto

      09/19/2015 at 2:40 pm

      The phone will most likely be locked to T-Mobile BUT once you get the phone just call T-Mobile they will see that that phone is paid off and will unlock it for you at no cost

      Reply

  11. George

    09/16/2015 at 1:19 pm

    Jeff , the t-mobile versions are A1688/ A1687.. The one you mentioned ( A1633 ) is the at&t version.. and that’s the only one which supports the band 30. But as you mentioned earlier, it doesn’t really matter.. I have also ordered a t-mobile version hoping to activate it on cricket. Apple reps say they are going to be locked and I need to get it unlocked through the carrier. The reason I ordered t-mobile is that, that was the only one available without giving details of a current plan with the major carriers or signing up for one. Otherwise I would have chose verizon, since all their LTE devices are un locked right our of the box. In t-mobile’s case, one of the requirements to unlock is that it has to be active on their network for 40 days!! So if mine comes locked to t-mobile, I may have to just return it unless I want to go with t-mobile for couple of months

    Reply

  12. Geo

    09/16/2015 at 1:27 pm

    I just got this in the chat with a rep: “The iPhone you purchased is the T-Mobile model. That iPhone 6s includes the T-Mobile SIM but is unlocked should you also need to use other compatible carrier SIMs.”

    Reply

  13. mike

    09/16/2015 at 5:09 pm

    Verizon was the better phone, unlocked and if you ever want to switch, you can.

    Reply

  14. Jeff

    09/16/2015 at 7:25 pm

    I stand corrected. Here’s the definitive list of model numbers by carrier from Apple – http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

    Reply

  15. Jeff

    09/17/2015 at 3:02 pm

    FWIW, I cancelled my pre-ordered iPhone 6s T-mobile (full price), and decided it’s proably best to get the 6s that’s optimized to work with the carrier (AT&T) I will likely remain with for the foreseeable future. I’ll request a carrier unlock if/when I should ever decide to switch, but I like the satisfaction in knowing my iPhone is optimized to work with the network I’ll be using it with.

    Reply

  16. Geo

    09/17/2015 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the link Jeff. I understand the reasoning. But do you really think the T-Mobile will come locked? Besides, the real question is…if the federal law says the phone can be unlocked and you purchased it full price. Why would AT&T not unlock it? I’ll wait it out. Worst thing that happens is that I return the T-Mobile version and get an AT&T version. Or just wait until November when the factory unlocked model comes out.

    Reply

  17. Jeff

    09/17/2015 at 7:50 pm

    Geo, It will be interesting to find out if the T-Mobile is locked, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. According to Apple’s specifications a key difference between the iPhone 6 and the 6s is the iPhone 6 from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon are all categorized under the same model number. However, with the iPhone 6s the Verizon, and Tmobile share the same model number, but AT&T is entirely different.

    Reply

  18. Geo

    09/17/2015 at 8:30 pm

    Yes, Jeff, true. The only explanation, based on last year, is that the AT&T is factory locked to their frequencies and the band 30. Therefore, a different model number.
    IWell, let us wait one week more….and see what happens.

    Reply

  19. rumpadunk

    09/18/2015 at 6:12 am

    Maybe someone can sanity check me on my thinking:

    I have Verizon today, I wanted to upgrade to a 128 GB 6S and also was to take advantage of the Apple new upgrade model. Even if I don’t upgrade every year, I am still getting 0% financing and have the option to upgrade, which is obviously where they’ll be making all they’re money, but I’ll only consider upgrading if a new phone comes out between months 12-14 of the contract, after that I’ll wait it out so I can sell my existing phone instead of just handing it over to Apple.

    Given that, you can only set the Apple pricing/contract up in store, and all of the Verizon models are no longer available for reservation.

    I did reserve a T-Mobile version of the phone, thinking it would be unlocked and the same as the Verizon version, just with a different SIM card. My plan was to unbox the phone in the store and swap my Verizon SIM in, which should make it automagically usable on the Verizon network. I have unlimited data and don’t want anyone (especially Apple) trying to activate it on the network because Verizon intentionally removes the options to continue with the existing unlimited data plan from the Apple interface.

    Thoughts? Will I be missing out on anything by choosing the T-Mobile version?

    Reply

    • jstene

      09/18/2015 at 6:24 pm

      T-mobile, sprint, and Verizon all share the same model number of iPhone 6s, so in theory your Verizon sim will work just fine.

      Reply

  20. Mario

    09/18/2015 at 11:32 am

    Quick question, since I just moved to the States temporarily and want to buy an unlocked 6s too: as long as I don’t use the T-Mobile SIM card at all, I don’t have to pay anything to them, is that correct?

    Reply

  21. Geo

    09/18/2015 at 8:51 pm

    No, you buy the iPhone at full price and use whatever SIM you want.
    If you reserved for in store either you are tied to a plan with one of the 4 carriers or you buy it outright. Hopefully T-Mobile model will be unlocked.

    Reply

  22. Lucas

    09/25/2015 at 9:43 am

    its out guys, can anyone confirm the t mobile is unlocked?

    Reply

    • Rumpadunk

      09/25/2015 at 10:07 am

      Hey Lucas – see my post above for my specific scenario. Now as for what went down today.

      Arrived at the Apple store, apparently in their training they were supposed to be able to do SIM swaps on Apple iPhone Upgrade Program purchases. When they attempted it, it would not work and the Apple system was requiring the iPhone to be activated, which wasn’t an option for me because it would automagically remove my unlimited data, which I’m not willing to part with. So instead, I bought the T-Mobile version outright. I confirmed with the Apple employee that I could swap a SIM and went on my way.

      Took the unit out, popped the T-Mobile SIM card out, put in my Verizon SIM, booted it, everything worked like a charm. So yes it works, but no you cannot do the iPhone Upgrade Program by reserving a different carrier iPhone at this time, although they may fix that so you can do a SIM swap and it will satisfy Apples “you must activate the device” requirement in the future.

      Reply

      • Lucas

        09/25/2015 at 11:14 am

        Great! So that means that the T-Mobile iPhone will work internationally also? I don’t live in the USA so I need the iPhone unlocked.

        Reply

        • Rumpadunk

          09/25/2015 at 1:07 pm

          Unfortunately, can’t comment on the international portion. I would assume that if the model itself is compatible with the SIM/carrier, you should be good, but have no way to validate or test that for you.

          Reply

        • Javier

          09/25/2015 at 2:48 pm

          I’m from Spain and I have used my sim card from Movistar (Spanish Company) and it works but I don’t know what will happen when I go back to Spain.

          Reply

  23. CT

    09/25/2015 at 3:00 pm

    For anyone still following this, I bought an iPhone 6s+ AT&T model (A1634) to use with my T-Mobile SIM. Popped in SIM and activated on T-Mobile no problems. As mentioned, I could not do the iPhone Upgrade Program at the store without activating at the on the specific carrier. I bought the AT&T version outright.

    Reply

    • Mela

      09/25/2015 at 5:18 pm

      So, you did it yourself, no problem? Mine is not here yet, but they told me I would have to go to ATT and make sure I DO NOT START the phone before installing ATT sim. And I got one for my dad too and his bday is Sunday , I want to make sure its ready for him. It is already here. If I hypothetically installed my own ATT sim in his to test it out, do you think that would be ok? Or if as soon as I give it to him I can put his current 5s sim in ti with no issues?

      I am mad about this whole thing – The only reason they are not offering unlocked is because they upped the prices on international phones, so they know if you are not in US, you’d just buy an unlocked to save. Soooo, I DO NOT see them release an unlocked now anymore for the future of iphones. I hate this because I wanted t travel to Japan next year is why i always buy unlocked and the fact that if you dont mess with your plan its always cheaper in the long run

      Reply

      • CT

        09/25/2015 at 9:09 pm

        I was told at the Apple store that all phones sold there were internationally unlocked. I got told some different things by different people though so really I don’t know. One girl said they were all internationally unlocked, but domestically locked. But obviously I’m using T-Mobile on an ATT version. I don’t know if it has anything to do with what SIM you put in first. I powered on with the ATT SIM in and it just said No Service. I bought two other 6s to give to someone’s parents to take overseas, so I hope they work over there. Whole thing was a little bit of a cluster really even after all these years of releases. I got told 20 different things, basically made my own stuff up and went with that. Also I ended up getting 4 reservations somehow instead of the limit of 2. I wasn’t complaining though.

        Reply

    • Geo

      09/26/2015 at 7:44 pm

      Hey CT, you bought an AT&T outright and it’s unlocked? You used your TMobile SIM in it?

      Reply

  24. Mela

    09/25/2015 at 5:10 pm

    Yeah I have been disappointed with everything about the new apple rules on the s6 plus their tech suppport knew NOTHING!! Till finally I called and a rep told me I could buy a tmoblie as long as i dont start it up with the tmobile sim. For me to get the rose gold 164gb plus that i wanted I could not go ATT because even paying outright, I could not buy from Apple because we have a biz plan , so only way was to go thru ATT and it would make my phone bill go up $100 a month, even paying out right because their dumb next program rules. I bought the 6 unlocked it was a dream! No issues at all!

    Now I want to verify if this does in fact work? They told me I would have to go to Apple let them start it up. But CT, you say u did it yourself?

    Reply

    • CT

      09/25/2015 at 9:05 pm

      Yeah I actually even started up my phone with the ATT SIM in it. It said No Service though so I don’t know what was going on with it. When I put the T-Mobile SIM it it immediately saw the T-Mobile network.

      Reply

  25. Rumpadunk

    09/25/2015 at 5:13 pm

    I did the swap myself when I got home, did it prior to boot up like the rep said and it worked fine.

    Reply

    • Mela

      09/25/2015 at 5:20 pm

      Awesome!

      Reply

  26. Mela

    09/26/2015 at 4:23 pm

    CONFIRMATION!!!! IT WORKS!! JUST BOOTED THE TMOBILE PHONE UP WITH MY ATT SIM !!!! WORKS PERFECTLY FINE!!! i went to ATT they tried to convince me that it would not work right and i got scared and almost bought one through them, but knowing apples return policy i thought i would test it with my sim if it did not work , I would return it to apple and buy one at the ATT store- they said messaging may not work! IT WORKS JUST FINE!!! Although I may say I am not impressed with the 6s very much…. Pic quality to me and i take a lot of pics looks the same. But the politics around this phone are pissing me off – Just sell an unlocked an dcharge extra for it like they always have done! Best Buy mobile had ATT 128 gb rose in stock and WOULD NOT sell me one outright -They said they can only sell with a plan – Places do not want to take a G from someone willing to spend it outright its ridic!!!!

    Reply

    • Geo

      09/26/2015 at 7:51 pm

      Yeah, there is a way for BB to make a few bucks by selling with a carrier. Just selling iPhones. there is no money in it for them.

      You guys are making me a happy customer. Bought a 6s and 6sPlus outright (TMobile) Thanks Mela for sharing and all the rest. CT…awesome that the AT&T version is unlocked too. Would have preferred that with that extra #30 band, but no problem.
      Let me open that 6sPlus up and start it.

      Reply

  27. Eyal

    09/26/2015 at 10:10 pm

    Can someone confirm that he or she ordered from Aplle online a full price 6S/6S Plus T-Mobile, went outside the country, swap the sim with a local one and all is fine? I’m abroad now, new iphone 6s is waiting for me inside its box, with a friend, to understand whether to transfer it to me or to make a return to Apple. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Geo

      09/27/2015 at 6:02 pm

      There should be no problem, since the phone is unlocked. Just remove the TMobile SIM card before activating the phone.

      Reply

  28. Erics

    10/04/2015 at 3:11 pm

    Hello eyal, did it work for you overseas? If yes, which iphone 6s model was it? Thanks

    Reply

    • Eyal

      10/09/2015 at 2:10 pm

      following my question above: I took out the T-mobile sim. Brought my 6s to Israel, inserted my israeli sim and voila! everything is working good!

      Reply

    • Eyal

      10/09/2015 at 2:25 pm

      It is a 6s 16G bought in pre-order from Apple as T-mobile.

      Reply

  29. Carlos

    10/04/2015 at 4:48 pm

    I can confirm that the T-Mobile iPhone 6s works perfectly fine using an AT&T SIM card. I bought the phone at an Apple store, popped out the T-Mobile SIM card before booting the phone and replaced it with an AT&T card. Activation was flawless. Going to Europe in 4 days, will report back on usage of foreign SIM cards.

    Reply

    • Eric

      10/04/2015 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks carlos, will wait for a confirmation

      Reply

  30. Laura

    10/05/2015 at 2:29 pm

    I read at another blog that if you buy the phone, as soon as you get it, remove the SIM card it comes with and then insert your local SIM. Plug the iPhone to the computer (iTunes) and that it will unlock your phone. I am not sure if this works, I want to buy my iPhone (I’m abroad) but I am not sure I want to risk it. I also read at another blog that the unlocked iPhone will be released by November .. hope it’s true.

    Reply

  31. Ali

    10/06/2015 at 2:12 am

    does iphones from T-Mobile store are unlocked?

    Reply

  32. Ali

    10/18/2015 at 11:44 am

    Update: iphone 6s from T mobile store is locked for other carriers

    Reply

  33. Dr Cheema

    10/20/2015 at 1:01 am

    i want to use 6s plus outside usa t mobile version , will it work, because i have used 5s and 6 plus T mobile version they all worked well in india. but worried about 6s plus. my friend called apple they told that t mobile is locked to carrier even if it is at full price. kindly help

    Reply

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