The Pixel 3 Suddenly Has a Big Catch

Senior Editor
Updated

The excellent Google Pixel 3 just hit stores this week, and we don't blame you if you're clamoring to grab one.

But if you're picking up Google's latest flagship through Verizon or Best Buy in hopes of easily activating it on a different carrier, we've got a bit of bad news.

According to The Verge, any Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL devices purchased through Verizon (the Pixel's exclusive U.S. carrier) will not work with SIM cards from other carriers, unless you activate them on a Verizon network first.

Verizon says that it will unlock your Pixel 3 overnight on the same day you activate it, but it's still an annoying extra hurdle for folks hoping to pick up Google's latest phone at their local retailer in hopes of immediately using it with their SIM card of choice. This policy is part of an anti-theft initiative that Verizon rolled out earlier this year to discourage folks from stealing from its retail stores.

MORE: Pixel 3 XL Review: The New Camera Phone King Has Arrived

If you want to avoid this issue completely, you can simply buy an unlocked Pixel 3 directly from Google starting at $799. It's not as instant as going to your local Best Buy or Verizon store (orders are expected to ship by Oct. 23 as of this writing), but you'll have the freedom to use your SIM card of choice without any pesky workarounds.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are two of our favorite Android phones yet, each offering zippy performance, neat AI features and the best cameras you can find in a smartphone. If you're looking to pick one up, be sure to check out our guide to using the Pixel 3 on any carrier.