Have you bought an iPhone recently? If you happen to purchase your phone from a carrier retail store, there’s a chance that your device is ‘locked’ to that specific carrier. Having a locked iPhone may give you quite some trouble, especially if you’re planning to travel abroad or might want to change to a different network provider.
Although you can’t tell whether your device is unlocked or not by simply looking at it, it’s relatively easy to confirm. You can either check if your settings include a ‘No SIM restrictions’ message under the Carrier Lock option, which shouldn’t appear on locked iPhones, or replace your current SIM with another one that’s from a different carrier service provider.
As per the latter method, for example, try switching from your existing T-Mobile SIM to AT&T, and check if your iPhone would be able to recognize it or you’ll get error messages instead, saying you have ‘No SIM card installed’ or an ‘Invalid Sim.’ You can also try calling another phone using your new SIM, and if it doesn’t go through, then it’s probably because your iPhone is locked.
In the case that you find yourself in any of the mentioned scenarios and might still want to unlock your device in the future, here are four tips that’ll help you unlock your iPhone. Remember, a carrier lock is completely different from a screen lock. So, if you’re having trouble remembering your passcodes, then these tips won’t probably help you.
Contact Your Carrier And Request An Unlock
Naturally, you’ll get a fully unlocked iPhone when you purchase your device directly from an Apple store. Otherwise, you’ll probably get them from a cell phone provider where you’re supposed to pay for your device at a set period of time as part of an agreed contract.
To simply put, if you’re paying for your phone through a network plan offered by a carrier service provider, it’ll stay locked until you’ve fully met your term agreement. Once you’re fully paid, all you have to do is contact your carrier and request for them to unlock your iPhone.
In the United States, there are three major carrier service providers, each of which follows a different set of rules and regulations when it comes to unlocking their locked devices. It’s important that you read your specific network’s requirements to know how to properly unlock your iPhone.
Outlined below are the three major carrier service providers in the US and their unlocking requirements:
T-Mobile iPhone unlocking details
The minimum requirements to unlock your iPhone with T-Mobile include that you’re active for at least 40 days and you’re free of any contractual obligations. If you meet these requirements, you’ll have to access your T-Mobile online account. From there, submit an official request to unlock your device.
Please note that T-Mobile was able to acquire the Sprint network recently, so if your iPhone is locked with Sprint, their unlocking requirements may either remain or change, depending on the network’s policies. However, keep in mind that older models of iPhone, those manufactured before 2015, aren’t capable of SIM unlock under the Sprint carrier.
AT&T iPhone unlocking details
For AT&T network service provider, you’ll have to be active for at least 60 days and, of course, have paid off the rest of your installment agreement. It’s also important that your iPhone isn’t flagged as stolen, lost, or fraudulent.
To contact this carrier and request for an unlock, just head to their website and fill out their unlocking device form with your account and device information. Once you receive a confirmation email, all you have to do is follow the instructions they provided.
Verizon iPhone unlocking details
Verizon’s iPhone unlocking policy has been pretty straightforward. After 60 days of purchasing your device from a Verizon retail store, it’s normal that your iPhone will automatically unlock.
If, in any case, your device wasn’t unlocked automatically, it’s recommended that you contact their customer support team immediately and request for them to unlock your iPhone manually.
Get A Third-Party iPhone Unlocking Service
If you find it difficult to unlock your iPhone by contacting your carrier provider, then it’s possible to opt for a third-party iPhone unlocking service instead. Services such as the MobileUnlocked.com would let you unlock your iPhone by using your IMEI code. This method is actually the most recommended by Apple since it unlocks your iPhone completely on their database and updates your device’s lock status.
Usually, when you’re getting help from a third-party iPhone unlocking service, you’ll have to prepare the following information:
- Your iPhone model
- IMEI number
- Your current carrier service provider
Note that your IMEI number is unique to your device. For older devices, you can see this code printed at the back of your device, otherwise, it’s indicated under the ‘Primary’ subheading on your device’s settings.
A permanent IMEI unlock might also work for devices that are still under contract and you don’t want to void your Apple warranty. This option might be the best for people who want to avoid the hassle of switching from one network provider to another with a locked device.
- Try Using An iOS Unlock Tool Software
For older iPhone models, it’s possible to unlock it using an iOS unlock tool software. This method is also known as ‘jailbreaking’ since it involves hacking your device to get access to the locked OS files on your device, allowing you to unlock it and activate your new carrier.
Any device beyond the iPhone 4 model wouldn’t benefit from this method. So, if you’re looking for a reliable and safe way to permanently unlock your iPhone, it’s recommended to factory unlock it instead through the two methods mentioned earlier.
- Unlock Your iPhone Without A SIM Card
Although it’s not entirely common, it’s still possible to unlock your iPhone without using another carrier. However, note that this method might leave some functionality on your device, which is why not many choose this option.
If you’re fine with limitations such as not being able to send a text or call on your device, then you just have to remember to backup your storage and restore your iPhone to its original factory settings once you’ve successfully removed your existing SIM card.
The Bottom Line
If you determined that your iPhone is locked and wanted to unlock it for various reasons, like traveling abroad or switching to a different network provider to save some bucks, then these four tips should help you decide which method you’ll choose to unlock your device.
You can always have your iPhone unlocked for free once you’ve met your term agreement with your current network provider. Otherwise, you can hire a third-party unlocking service for a fee. Other times, you can unlock your device without a SIM card at the cost of some functionality on your iPhone, but it’s also possible to unlock it with the risk of using an iOS unlock tool software exclusive for older iPhone models.
This article was sponsored by Mobil Unlocked, who is solely responsible for its content.