unlock iphone | GadgetGone

 

Most people don’t really even know what the term “carrier unlocked” means, let alone how to actually go about carrier unlocking their iPhone. We’ve made this comprehensive guide to answer all your questions. Keep in mind that this guide was made exclusively for people who want information about carrier unlocking Apple iPhones. If you’re looking for unlock information about any other kind of smartphone, you’ll want to look elsewhere for that information.

 

So What Does Carrier Unlocking Do?

Most carriers place a lock on their iPhones to prevent you from switching to a competitors network before you’ve paid off your iPhone or fulfilled your contract. Carrier unlocking refers to removing this restrictive carrier lock so you can use your iPhone with a network other than the company from which the iPhone was originally purchased.

 

Here’s Why You Should Unlock Your iPhone

 

1: So you can use your iPhone with any carrier

Unlocking gives you the freedom to use your iPhone with the carrier of your choice, whenever and wherever you want (with a few exceptions detailed later). For example, if you are currently using T-Mobile but are moving to a new area of the country with poor T-Mobile coverage, you can switch to AT&T on a dime. Unlocking also gives you the ability to take your iPhone to foreign countries and use local carriers in those countries. If you travel between countries frequently you can switch between your foreign and domestic carrier SIM’s effortlessly. Unlocking makes it as simple as popping in and out a SIM card to switch between these networks.

 

2: It increases the value

Even if you don’t plan on switching carriers any time soon unlocking your iPhone is still a good idea. If you ever plan on selling your old iPhone you’ll almost always get more money for it if the iPhone is already carrier unlocked. Carrier unlocked iPhones are in high demand and have a higher resale value than locked iPhones.

 

Yep, It’s Legal

Thanks to the 2014 Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, all USA cellular carriers must allow customers to unlock their iPhones. BUT under what circumstances they’ll unlock your iPhone varies widely from carrier to carrier. As a general rule, most carriers require you to complete your contract or pay off your financial obligations with them before they’ll allow you to unlock your iPhone.

 

Carrier Eligibility Requirements

AT&T iPhone Unlock Requirements

T-Mobile iPhone Unlock Requirements

Sprint iPhone Unlock Requirements

Verizon iPhone Unlock Requirements

 

How To Unlock An iPhone From Your Carrier (For Free!)

If your iPhone meets the eligibility requirements for your carrier the next step is to request that the iPhone be unlocked from their network. As with the eligibility requirements, this process varies from company to company and is outlined for each one below.

IMPORTANT: Provided you’ve met the unlock requirements, requesting your iPhone be unlocked is completely free. If you go through a 3rd party you will be unnecessarily charged. It’s best to stick with unlocking directly through your carrier using the below directions.

 

AT&T

AT&T makes unlocking your iPhone incredibly easy with their unlock portal. Even better, you don’t even have to be the original owner of the iPhone to submit an AT&T iPhone unlock request. As long as the previous owner met the unlock requirements, the iPhone can be unlocked by a non-AT&T customer. Simply go to this link, fill out the form and submit it. You’ll then receive a confirmation email. Just open the email and click on the confirmation link. That’s it! AT&T will unlock your iPhone within 2 business days.

 

T-Mobile

While T-Mobile does have a device unlock app, it, unfortunately, does not work with iPhones. To unlock a T-Mobile iPhone you’ll need to contact T-Mobile customer service directly. To get in touch you can dial 611 from your T-Mobile iPhone or go here for other contact options like instant chat.

 

Sprint

If you purchased a new iPhone from Sprint after February 2016, Sprint will automatically unlock your iPhone once it meets their eligibility requirements. So… you really don’t have to do anything at all. Sprint specifies that this only applies to iPhones being actively used on their network. If you have an inactive iPhone (one that’s been sitting in a drawer for years) or have a Sprint iPhone that was launched before February 2016, you’ll need to contact Sprint customer service by dialing *2 on your Sprint phone or dialing 888-211-4727 to manually request an unlock. There have been reports from some Sprint customers that the auto-unlock program does not always work as it should so it’s definitely a good idea to verify that your iPhone has been unlocked before attempting to switch to another carrier or advertising your iPhone as unlocked for resale. Directions for verifying that your iPhone has been unlocked are outlined later in this article.

 

Verizon

Verizon is by far the best carrier to work with for unlocking an iPhone. Verizon will unlock your iPhone automatically after the first 60 days following purchase. There are no catches. You don’t have to pay off your iPhone, fulfill any special requirements or even contact them to unlock an iPhone from their network. As long as your phone hasn’t been reported lost or stolen just wait 60 days after the original purchase date and your phone will be unlocked.

 

Do I Need To Enter A Code Or Restore My iPhone To Complete The Unlock?

In the old days you’d have to hook an iPhone up to iTunes and do a software restore to complete the unlock process. Today it’s much simpler. All you have to do is insert a new SIM card from another carrier and your iPhone will do the rest automatically. Your iPhone will boot to a white screen to check with your carrier that it’s been unlocked. Once Apple verifies that your iPhone has been unlocked it will go back to the home screen and service bars should appear from your new carrier. This verification check generally takes less than a minute to complete once the SIM has been inserted and just requires a WIFI connection.

 

Unlocked Approved! But… Did it work?

It’s never a bad idea to make sure your iPhone has truly been unlocked before switching carriers or selling your iPhone as “unlocked”. Better safe than sorry right? To verify that your iPhone has been unlocked simply insert a SIM card from another carrier and wait for the automatic unlock check mentioned above to complete. If your iPhone returns to the home screen after the SIM has been inserted, it’s unlocked. If you see a white screen that says “SIM Not Supported”, your iPhone has not been unlocked. If you don’t have access to a SIM card from another carrier, you can still verify that your iPhone has been unlocked using an iTunes software restore. Just hook your iPhone up to a computer running iTunes and hit the “restore” option. Once the restore process has completed, you should see a message that says “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”

 

What Carriers Can I Use After Unlocking?

This depends on the model of your iPhone and the original carrier it was locked to. We’ve made a list of what carriers you can use below based on these factors.

 

AT&T

Original iPhone, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X: Will only work with other GSM networks after being unlocked such as T-Mobile in the USA or any international GSM network. Will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon or Sprint.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max: Will work with any carrier in the world.

 

T-Mobile

Original iPhone, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X: Will only work with other GSM networks after being unlocked such as T-Mobile in the USA or any international GSM network. Will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon or Sprint.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max: Will work with any carrier in the world.

 

Sprint

iPhone 4S and iPhone 5: These models can only be unlocked for international use. You won’t be able to unlock them for domestic use with any carrier other than Sprint in the USA.

iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max: Will work with any carrier in the world.

 

Verizon

iPhone 4S and iPhone 5: These models are compatible with any carrier in the world but may have internet limitations on GSM networks depending upon your carrier. For example, if you use the iPhone 5 with a GSM network like AT&T it will only operate on 4G signal rather than the LTE data speeds it’s capable of on the Verizon network.

iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max: Will work with any carrier in the world.

 

Is The Unlock Permanent?

Yes, once your iPhone has been carrier unlocked it will remain that way for the life of the device. You can freely restore your iPhone or update to new software without worrying about your unlock disappearing afterward.

 

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