Certain things in life should be simple, like figuring out how to unlock your iPhone. In an ideal world, once you’ve bought a phone, it should be yours to do whatever you want, even if it means taking it to another. wireless service provider.
However, you generally need to contact your current wireless service provider to unlock your iPhone (or to unlock any smartphone, for that matter). That said, assuming your account is in good standing and your phone is paid for, wireless service providers should be willing to unlock your phone when you ask.
Have a unlocked phone means more flexibility. You can take an unlocked phone to any carrier, making it easy to switch your wireless service. It is also easier to travel internationally with an unlocked phone, as you can change any local SIM card to get the service, usually at rates that are more attractive than some of the international plans offered by your wireless service provider.
So, here is everything you need to know about how to unlock your iPhone. (And again, many of these tips can be applied to any other type of smartphone.)
What do you need to unlock your iPhone?
To unlock your phone, you will need to have the IMEI number of your device. That is the set of digits that is unique to every phone around the world.
To find your IMEI on your iPhone, just launch the Settings application and select General> About.
The iPhone 6s and later models also have the IMEI number etched on the SIM tray, although you will need superhero vision to spot those digits without a magnifying glass.
Some carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, also allow you to dial * # 06 # in the Phone application to display the IMEI digits on the screen. Alternatively, your iPhone’s IMEI should be printed on its box, if you still have it on hand.
Regardless of how you track it, IMEI is vital to unlocking your iPhone. That is the number that your operator will ask you to perform the task.
How to unlock your iPhone
Each wireless service provider has different criteria for who can and cannot unlock your phone (however, the conditions are quite similar from one provider to another). Once you’ve determined that your iPhone is eligible to be unlocked, it’s simply a matter of following your carrier’s specific procedure for requesting an unlock and providing your IMEI number.
Here’s a carrier-by-carrier guide on which devices are eligible and how to unlock your iPhone.
You can check if your phone is unlocked at AT&T website. (You will need your IMEI number to verify). AT&T allows you to unlock your iPhone if it meets these criteria.
- Your iPhone has been active for at least 60 days. (If it’s an AT&T prepaid device, it must be active for at least 6 months.)
- Your account cannot have an overdue balance.
- You paid for your phone.
- Your device is not reported as lost or stolen.
How to unlock your iPhone on AT&T: Visit AT&T Device Unlock Page to request an unlock. (In addition to your IMEI, you’ll need your phone number and AT&T account information. Once you’ve submitted your request and it’s approved, you’ll receive an email with personalized instructions. That would normally include an unlock code, but AT&T says that said code is not necessary to unlock iPhones.
Sprint says you can request an unlock on a postpaid phone if you meet these criteria.
- Your iPhone supports SIM unlocking
- Your iPhone has been active on the Sprint network for at least 50 days.
- You paid for your phone. If you’ve been renting your iPhone on a Sprint Flex lease, that means exercising the option to purchase at the end of the lease.
- Your account is up to date.
- Your iPhone has not been reported as lost or stolen.
The criteria are different if you are a prepaid customer. Your iPhone must be active for at least 12 months and cannot be reported as lost or stolen. If your device is inactive, you should contact Sprint Customer Service, who can guide you through a few steps to update your phone so that you can unlock it.
How to unlock your iPhone on Sprint: If you have a SIM unlock-capable phone (which Sprint says should include any mobile device released after February 2015) Sprint automatically unlocks those phones for postpaid devices when they become eligible. Therefore, you may not need to do anything.
Otherwise, you will need to contact Sprint Customer Service at 888-211-4727; prepaid customers should call 855-639-4644.
T-Mobile’s unlocking criteria depend on how you purchased your iPhone.
- Your iPhone must be a T-Mobile device.
- Your iPhone cannot be reported as lost, stolen, or locked to T-Mobile.
- Your T-Mobile account associated with the iPhone must be in good standing.
- You can only request two mobile device unlock codes per line of service each year.
Phones must be active on the T-Mobile network for 40 days. If you bought the iPhone on an installment plan, you must have paid for the device. And if your iPhone has a contracted account, you must have made 18 consecutive payments. On a prepaid account? So your iPhone must have been active for a year on the T-Mobile network or it must have paid more than $ 100 in service refills.
How to unlock your iPhone on T-Mobile: All you need to do is contact T-Mobile customer service to request an unlock code; You will also receive the steps to unlock your iPhone.
Verizon may have the easiest way to unlock your iPhone. As of July 2019, any device purchased from Verizon is locked for 60 days; once that period ends, Verizon automatically unlocks your phone. That’s true for both postpaid and prepaid customers.