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How to Unlock iPhone for Use with Another Carrier

By Lois Green, Friday, July 02, 2020

This post has been updated on July 02, 2020

Summary: In this article, we'll show you how to unlock all iPhones, including how to unlock iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6/6s, and the newest iPhone 7/7 Plus.

Some of you might purchase an iPhone that is locked to a single carrier, which means that your iPhone will identify itself to an exclusive carrier, such as AT & T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, EE, and O2. This is typically when you buy your iPhone at a subsidized price and sign a two-year or three-year contract.

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Part 1: Why you Want to Unlock iPhone 7/7 Plus/6s/6/5s/5/4s/4

There are so many reasons you may want to unlock your iPhone to use any SIM Card. Here are some of them:

• You're planning a trip to England and want to use the O2 networks in England, but your iPhone is locked to AT & T.

•Your two-year or three-year contract is finally up, and now you want to save some money by bringing your phone to a carrier with lower monthly costs.

• You just prefer to use AT & T as your cellular provider, instead of T-Mobile, vice versa.

Unfortunately, odds are that your iPhone is carrier-locked. You cannot jump ship and changing your iPhone on another network without unlocking it. Here is our guide on how to unlock an iPhone.

Unlock iPhone to Use Any SIM Card

Part 2: How to Unlock an iPhone

Solution 1: Official Carrier Unlock

Many carriers are willing to unlock your iPhone if you've finished the stipulated contract period or paid the early termination fee (ETF). To know how to get your iPhone officially unlocked, you just contact your carrier's customer supports and ask them if you can get a free or paid unlock for your phone. Normally, the famous carriers like AT & T, T- Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, EE, and O2 all provide the service.

Before calling, please keep the following information about your iPhone handy, as you may be asked for it to place the request.

• Type of subscription/customer. (Postpaid/Prepaid/Previous Customer)

• Your phone number

• IMEI number of your iPhone

• First and last name of the iPhone's account.

• The account holder's Social Security Number (SSN)

• Registered email address.

• A finished contract

You may not be familiar with the IMEI number. Here is how you can check the IMEI number of your iPhone:

  • Go to "Settings" > "General" > "About", and look for your device's IMEI/MEID.

Note: The carrier unlocks method is the best out of all options, as it is permanent, which means that it persists even after factory restore. Also, this method is completely official, which doesn't require a jailbreak or any other hacks.

Solution 2: IMEI Unlocks (Third-party)

An alternative to asking your carrier to unlock the iPhone is to use an IMEI unlock. There are a lot of IMEI unlock providers, who will arrange an unlock code for a fee ranges from $5 to $150. Due to the quality of service varies, it's best to go with a trusted and reputed provider.

The iPhone Wiki has a partial list of sites known to offer fake unlocks and scam people. Ensure that you don't deal with any of these sites.

Part 3: How to Know if the Unlock was Successful

After you submit the request to your carrier, it might take a few days to complete. Contact your carrier for the status of your unlock request. Once your iPhone has been unlocked, you will receive a confirmation from the carrier. Now follow these steps:

• Power down your iPhone

• Remove your SIM card and insert the new SIM card.

• Complete the setup process.

Note: If you don't have a new SIM card, follow these steps to complete the process:

Back up your iPhone with iTunes or iCloud.

• When you have a backup, reset your iPhone to factory settings.

Restore your iPhone from the backup you just made.

Part 4: How to Purchase a SIM-free iPhone 7

All the troubles can be saved if you purchase a SIM-free iPhone 7. Here are some tips that will help you choose the best deal.

  • If you want a SIM-free iPhone 7, you may not want to purchase the phone from your carrier since most installment-plan options, e.g. those of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, often lock your iPhone to those carriers.

  • International roaming deals often get you an unlocked iPhone 7. The International roaming of Sprint and T-Mobile is pretty good (Sprint will also unlock an installment-plan phone for international use after 90 days), while AT&T’s international roaming remains quite expensive.

  • If you want the maximum flexibility, choose a Verizon or Sprint iPhone since the AT&T and T-Mobile models only support GSM 3G service while Sprint and Verizon models work with both CDMA 3G and GSM 3G network.

  • Apple has started selling the SIM-free iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in its online store. Customers can now purchase an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus without a SIM card at full retail price.

  • Besides buying an iPhone 7/7 Plus at full retail price, you may want to give Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program a thought. The program, which is introduced last year, also can get you an unlocked iPhone 7 and let you get a new model next year after 24 monthly payments.

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