If you’ve been thinking about buying a new Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL from Verizon to use on a different carrier, you may want to rethink that decision.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones purchased from Verizon must be activated on Verizon before they can be used on another carrier. This includes Verizon Pixel 3 phones purchased from Best Buy. Verizon confirmed the news to The Verge, saying that once a Pixel 3 has been activated on Verizon, it’ll automatically unlock “overnight” that same day.
This is different than past Pixel devices, which were sold unlocked even from Verizon. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are affected by Verizon’s new policy that we learned about earlier this year, which the big red carrier has explained by saying that its unlocked phones have become attractive to thieves who steal them and then resell them. Requiring that a phone be activated on Verizon before it’s unlocked is an attempt to deter those thieves.
This news complicates things for folks who were hoping to buy a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL from Verizon for use on another carrier rather than waiting for an order from Google. Because Pixel 3 phones bought from Verizon require an activation on Verizon, though, you’re probably better off buying from Google if you’re on a carrier other than VZW. The good news is that it looks like you won’t have to wait long for your new phone if you do buy from the Google Store, with most models ready to ship in around a week.