One of the common questions among many iPhone users is how to unlock a carrier locked iPhone.
Basically, the primary solution to this problem is going to your operator for assistance but sometimes even they might not be able to help you.
So, today in this article we are going to discuss various ways in which you can unlock your carrier locked iPhone.
- Part 1. What Does Carrier Locked Mean on iPhone?
- Part 2. How to Tell if an iPhone is Carrier Locked?
- Part 3. How to Know Which Carrier My iPhone is Locked to for Free?
- Part 4. How to Unlock a Carrier Locked iPhone for Free?
- Part 5. Paid Ways to Unlock a Carrier Locked iPhone (Faster)
- Part 6. Comparison: Which Method is the Best One?
- Part 7. Can You Trade in a Carrier Locked iPhone
Part 1. What Does Carrier Locked Mean on iPhone?
Operators try to prevent the users from moving to other operators by locking their iPhones. When one buys an iPhone from a carrier, the carrier configures the iPhone so that the phone only accepts the sim cards from that carrier to be used. This method also prevents users from using the iPhone outside of their country.
A carrier-locked iPhone means you can only use your iPhone with a specific SIM card from a carrier that locked your iPhone or in a particular country. To switch to other carriers or use it in another country, you’ll have to unlock your iPhone carrier.
Selling a locked iPhone would even fetch less amount than an unlocked iPhone. All this creates a series of problems for the user.
Part 2. How to Tell if an iPhone is Carrier Locked?
How does one even get to know whether their iPhone is locked or not? We are going to discuss three ways here.
1. From the Settings App
Step 1. Opening the Settings app on your iPhone
Step 2. Go to General > About
Step 4. At the bottom, you would find the Carrier Lock option.
- If “No SIM restrictions” is shown then your iPhone is unlocked.
- If it’s “SIM locked”, then your iPhone is locked.
2. Using a SIM Card That from Another Carrier
Step 1. Switch off the iPhone
Step 2. Open the SIM Card tray to remove the present SIM Card.
Step 3. Replace it with a new SIM Card, and power on your iPhone.
If the SIM card works normally (you can send messages, make phone calls, or use cellular data), your iPhone is unlocked.
3. Using an IMEI Checker
Step 1. Find the IMEI number of your iPhone by dialing *#06#
Step 2. Submit the IMEI number on an IMEI checker website to check the carrier lock status.
Part 3. How to Know Which Carrier My iPhone is Locked to for Free?
After finding out whether your iPhone is locked or not, you might have another question: which carrier your iPhone is locked to. You might even search for free websites online to check this.
But unfortunately, there is no freeway to check which carrier your iPhone is locked to.
The only way to find out is through an IMEI checker. WipeLock IMEI Checker is one of the best IMEI checkers on the market with its low fees & fast service.
Most online IMEI checkers generate the IMEI reports automatically from an outdated database. The accuracy is far low compared with WipeLock IMEI Checker because WipeLock will always check the IMEI manually to ensure 100% accuracy.
Part 4. How to Unlock a Carrier Locked iPhone for Free?
Unlocking your iPhone from the carrier can be done in many ways, online or offline. But the only free way is to contact your carrier.
1. Things to Know Before Unlocking
- You have to clear up all your bills that your iPhone conjures up. Many carriers refuse to unlock your iPhone if you still have a payment plan to complete, according to the FCC.
- You should be mindful to read through your carrier’s “unlocking policy”.
- Some carriers might not have the option of “unlocking”, so you need to take steps accordingly.
2. Steps to Unlock a Carrier Locked iPhone for Free
Step 1. Visit Apple Support page to find whether your carrier offers an unlock service.
Step 2. If there is an option of “Unlocking”, then your carrier can help you unlock your iPhone for free.
Step 3. After following through with the above steps, the only thing left to do is to contact your carrier. And offer the information they required.
You can do this by calling customer care, or if your operator provides the service of unlocking online, you can go through their portal to avail of the service.
|Consumer Cellular||Free||(888) 345-5509|
Step 4. Wait for them to unlock your phone with IMEI number for free, this will take up to 15 working days.
3. Steps to Activate Your iPhone
Unlike Android phones, which require an unlock PIN to activate, iPhone doesn’t require it. Once your carrier has unlocked your iPhone, you need to activate it before it can work.
Here are two ways:
With a SIM Card from Another Carrier
Note that this way only work when you have a SIM card from another carrier!
Step 1. Remove your original SIM card from your iPhone.
Step 2. Insert a new SIM card from another carrier. Then your iPhone will be activated and work normally on the new carrier.
Erase with iTunes
If you don’t have a new SIM card from a carrier other than your current carrier, you’ll have to erase your iPhone. Don’t worry, you can make a backup first to avoid data loss.
Step 1. Connect your iPhone to computer.
Step 2. Launch iTunes and select your iPhone.
Step 3. Click on Back Up Now.
Step 4. After the backup process complete, click on Restore iPhone.
Step 5. Finally, restore the backup made in the step 1 by clicking on Restore Backup.
Besides using iTunes, you can also back up your iPhone to iCloud and erase it from Settings.
- Some carriers will take up to 15 business days to unlock your iPhone which could be very time-consuming for you.
- If you are still on a payment plan for your iPhone, then you can’t unlock your device until you have completely paid for it.
- Some carriers require you to use your iPhone on their network for at least 6 months before unlocking which is very inconvenient as you might have to face bad connectivity for that period of time.
Part 5. Paid Ways to Unlock a Carrier Locked iPhone (Faster)
If you don’t care much about the monetary aspect & want a hassle-free fast unlocking for your iPhone, you can easily look into some paid options.
The paid ways of unlocking a carrier locked iPhone outperform the free options. These options are much faster, more efficient & convenient to follow through.
The following ways can bypass the limits of the freeway:
DirectUnlocks is one of the best online tools that offer iPhone unlocking services. They have the edge over their competitors as they have direct links with manufacturer’s databases, which allow DirectUnlocks to find out the model & make of your device with just the IMEI number.
DirectUnlocks helps in securely unlocking your carrier locked iPhone permanently without any damage. Since they are recognized & authorized by the manufacturers, it means they’re 100% legit & legal.
Step 1. Visit the official website of DirectUnlocks iPhone unlock.
Step 2. You have to choose the network of your device that you want to unlock.
Step 3. Provide the IMEI number of your iPhone.
Step 4. Complete the payment.
You could track your order on their website & wait for the unlock complete confirmation mail.
- Bypass all the limitations of the above free way
- Permanently unlock: your iPhone won’t be locked again
- Fast unlock: the unlock process will take no more than 24 hours
- Remotely unlock: you just need to offer the IMEI number, the team of experts will help you unlock
- 100% success rate
2. UB SIM
UB SIM is one of the new innovations in the tech industry that helps with the problem of unlocking. With the help of this hardware, you can unlock an iPhone very easily without any hassle.
UB SIM is 100% reliable, has strong signals & is very stable. You can enjoy 4G, 5G, or LTE with the help of this. It provides an ICCID Mode, making configuring your device with other SIMs very easy.
The configuration of the sim card takes less than 5 minutes with the help of the intelligent menu. It is the quickest solution for your unlocking problem.
If you end up buying the product, then here is the guide for using it:
Step 1. Insert the UB SIM into your device along with your SIM card.
Step 2. The UB SIM menu will appear after about 5 seconds. You have to select the ICCID Mode & also enter the ICCID code.
Step 3. You have to accept after the Setup OK message appears. This process could be followed over a Wi-Fi network.
- Bypass all the limits of the above free way
- Fastest unlock: the unlock process will take only a few minutes
- Supports all carriers in the USA
- You should be careful to update the iOS version, which may cause the UB SIM doesn’t work.
3. Jailbreak Carrier Locked iPhone
Recently, more and more software enables users to unlock a carrier locked iPhone by jailbreak. The unlocking process might seem complicated to a non-tech person.
The mechanism goes like this- the software jailbreaks your iPhone to unlock it with the help of in-built Checkra1n.
Steps to Jailbreak Carrier Locked iPhone
Step 1. Download the software on your laptop or desktop.
Step 2. Your iPhone should be connected to the desktop or laptop.
Step 3. You need to jailbreak your device, the Checkra1n tool that is built into the software would help you to perform the task.
Step 4. After jailbreaking your device, the software will check if your device is eligible for further procedure. Your device’s information will be displayed on the screen.
Step 5. Before you disconnect the SIM, you should disconnect & then again connect the device to your computer or laptop. Then, you have to click on the unlock button to get rid of the SIM lock.
- The software will jailbreak your device to unlock it from the carrier which might raise privacy concerns. Learn how jailbreaking ruin your iPhone.
- This kind of software only supports iPhone 5s – iPhone X for the operation which means you are not provided a good solution for unlocking for other models.
- Only iOS 14.8 and below are eligible for using this software, which is a very inefficient feature of this software.
Part 6. Comparison: Which Method is the Best One?
To help you make your best choice, we compared the above methods for you.
|Compatibility||Time to Unlock||Price||Our Ratings|
|Contact Carrier||All iPhone models & iOS versions||Up to 15 working days||Free||4.5/5|
|DirectUnlocks||All iPhone models & iOS versions||Within 24 hours||$28||4.8/5|
|UB SIM||All iPhone models
may not support the latest iOS version
|Jailbreak Software||iPhone 5s – iPhone X
iOS 14.8 and below
Part 7. Can You Trade in a Carrier Locked iPhone
Yes you can! All you need to do is find a recycling company that accepts carrier-locked iPhones and then ships them there with shipping materials included.
One thing to note is that selling a locked iPhone would even fetch less amount than an unlocked iPhone. All this creates a series of problems for the user.
All in all, a person might have many reasons for which they would want to unlock their carrier locked iPhone. It might be for reselling, not wanting to pay for roaming charges, for better connectivity provided by other operators & many more. The operators will always try to keep their client base with them by making it very hard for the users to switch over.
But fortunately, nowadays, we have many options to counter the tactics of these firms. You can follow any of the above-mentioned methods to do just that!
I used Directunlocks to unlock an Apple XS phone that is carrier locked to Sprint USA. It took about 13 hours to complete the unlocking. Thanks for the helpful guide!
Very helpful in making a decision about unlocking my iPhone xr