We have written this guide on how to unlock an iPhone (don’t worry – the information can also be applied to other makes and models).
Why unlock your phone?
An unlocked phone gives you the freedom to use it on any network in the world, so you are not tied to one single mobile network operator. Want to avoid excessive roaming charges on holiday? No problem – just pop in a local SIM!
How to unlock an iPhone
The mobile phone unlocking process is quite straightforward, but should not be confused with mobile phone unblocking (using a PUK code to remove a temporary block placed on your SIM card – often caused by entering your SIM card PIN incorrectly 3 times).
There are three ways to unlock your iPhone: official carrier unlocking; unofficial carrier unlocking; and jailbreak unlocking. Each method has pros and cons.
Official carrier unlocking is the ‘official’ way to permanently unlock your iPhone. It involves contacting your carrier and asking them to unlock your iPhone. The cost of unlocking your mobile, the time it takes to complete and any other requirements varies from carrier to carrier. For example, if you are with EE, Orange, T-Mobile or Virgin you must have had your handset registered with them for at least 6 months and it will take them up to 20 days to unlock your phone.
Note that there are a few caveats which will apply to most – if not all – network providers. Your IMEI number must not be blacklisted and you must not owe your network provider any money. An official iPhone unlock with EE cost around £20 at the time of writing.
Unofficial carrier unlocking involves paying a third party to arrange the unlocking of your phone. This method is often faster than going direct to the network and is permanent, but can be more costly than official carrier unlocking.
If you are considering using an unofficial unlock service it is important to make sure they are offering a reliable and legitimate service – otherwise you run the risk of them disappearing with your money or providing a poor service. Try to find unlocking service reviews by verified purchasers on trustworthy third party review websites such as TrustPilot. This is a great way of checking you are dealing with a credible company.
The third and final method – jailbreaking – is a temporary software-based means of unlocking your iPhone. It can be quite technical as it involves unofficially modifying the operating system on your iPhone using software downloaded from the internet. And if you update your operating system in the future it could reverse the unlock. However, this method is free (and fast if you know what you’re doing). If you understand the risks, and don’t mind a temporary solution, jailbreaking is probably the only way you’re going to be able to unlock your iPhone for free.
Use the table below to find the best way to unlock your iPhone.
Interesting article? Make sure you check out sell my mobile for cash comparison.