What is Locked vs. Unlocked iPhone?

When you purchase an iPhone from a specific carrier, your phone is “locked” to that carrier. That means you can only use your phone with that network. 

If you wish to change providers or switch to other networks, you must unlock your phone. (Careful to not confuse this with locking your iPhone itself with a password or biometrics.) 

The Pros and Cons of an Unlocked iPhone

An unlocked iPhone is more versatile as it is compatible with any network.

It is possible that your unlocked phone may not work with some networks due to incompatibilities, yet, iPhones are compatible with most carriers. 

If you purchased a locked phone from a network carrier, it is still possible for you to use other networks, if you unlock your phone. 

So how do you unlock your locked phone? We will cover the options below.

How to Unlock an iPhone if you have a SIM card that is not your current carrier’s?

  1. Turn off your iPhone.
  2. On the right side of your iPhone is a SIM tray. Remove the SIM tray by inserting a clip or eject tool. 
  3. Place your new SIM card in the SIM card holder and place the SIM card holder back into the tray.
  4. Turn on your iPhone.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to update your carrier service.

How to unlock an iPhone through your carrier?

How to unlock your phone through the AT&T network:

To do this, your phone must be active for at least 60 days, have a completed contract, and no unpaid balances.

  1. Open the Device Unlock page using your browser and choose the option “unlock your device”
  2. Choose whether your iPhone has an active AT&T number or not.
    1. If yes, enter your number and click submit.
    2. If not, enter your IMEI number. Ensure that the Make and Model are correct and click submit.
  3. Once you finish step 2, AT&T will send a link to confirm your request.
  4. Confirm the email by following the instructions.
  5. Wait for AT&T’s follow up email and follow their instructions.

How to unlock your phone through the Verizon network:

Transferring from Verizon to another carrier will depend if your network is CDMA or GSM. If you are currently using CDMA, you can move to Verizon and Sprint. On the other hand, if you are using GSM, you can transfer to AT&T and T-mobile. 

  1. Open the process menu provided in your phone’s user guide
  2. Try to use one of the codes below to unlock your iPhone
    1. 000000
    2. 123456
  3. After completing step 2, follow the instructions provided to you

How to unlock your phone through the T-Mobile network:

T-Mobile usually only unlocks iPhones that use T-Mobile networks. If you are using another network, contact your carrier. Your iPhone needs to be fully paid as well, active for at least a year, and do not have unpaid or past balances. 

  1. Contact *#06# using your iPhone to know your IMEI number
  2. Open your T-Mobile Device Unlock application
  3. Request an unlock from T-Mobile 
  4. Once they approve, follow the instructions provided to you

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