How To Unlock an AT&T Phone Yourself for Free Without Paying It Off

Having your phone unlocked by a technician can be pricey. Luckily, there are numerous viable ways you can use to unlock your phone. They are easy, affordable, and mostly safe.

AT&T is the largest cellular mobile phone provider, and people using this enjoyed the privilege that came with the service. However, there are instances or circumstances when you need to use a different provider.

If you’re thinking of how to unlock an att phone yourself for free, here’s how!

You can unlock your phone in several ways, but you have to be prepared and understand that you must only do these at your own risk!

Part 1. Why Unlock an AT&T Phone?

There is no need to say why being tied to a service provider is excellent.

However, it isn’t always like that. You may need to change providers, such as getting relocated or just because you got tired of your provider.

The benefits of an unlocked phone are so many that you’d even start to ask whether you’d settle for your current service provider or you can enjoy others’ services by having your phone opened.

But whatever your reasons are, the bottom line is, unlocking your phone is essential.

Here are some of the reasons why an open-lined phone is greater than a tied one!

1.1 Great For Travelers

Having a phone tied to one network could be limiting for a traveler. You can’t just go around the world-changing phones all the time just because your cellular provider doesn’t work in other areas.

Aside from being time-consuming, changing phones is a lot more expensive than changing service providers. You don’t want that!

You’re traveling because you enjoy the feeling of freedom and convenience. But, if you have to change your phone constantly, that might spoil the sense of excitement of traveling.

1.2 Economical

Being tied to one service provider can have its downside. For one, you are subjected to charges imposed by your provider. So, if there is an increase in plan payments, you have no choice but to accept.

If your phone is unlocked, you can change to different providers whenever you want, depending on which service provider offers cheaper plans.

1.3 Secured

A lot of people have this slight misconception that when a phone is unlocked, it becomes less secured or more prone to malware, viruses, hackings, and so on.

The truth is, it doesn’t really have a negative impact on the security of the phone. If there is anything, it only gives more benefits.

People mistake unlocking from jailbreaking, two completely different things.

Part 2. How To Unlock an AT&T Phone Yourself for Free

You can unlock your AT&T phone yourself free of charge by sending an unlock request to AT&T.

However, there are a few essential requirements you need to meet before unlocking your phone.

AT&T doesn’t allow just anyone to unlock their phones without meeting these requirements. And if there are exceptions, those are for military personnel.

2.1 AT&T Device Unlock Eligibility

att unlock requirements

Cleared Payments

If your device is under a plan or a monthly-basis payment or isn’t fully paid, you can’t unlock it just yet.

You have to finish or fulfill the payments first before AT&T allows you to unlock your phone.

No Outstanding Balances

You have to ensure or check that you don’t owe the company any money otherwise they won’t release your device. All your payments or remaining balances should be cleared first.

Not Blacklisted

The device you want to unlock should not being blacklisted (reported as lost, stolen, or involved with fraud).

This is the AT&T’s way of making sure that you really own that device, and not taken from someone else or that it wasn’t stolen from you or lost.

The only way to check if your phone is blacklisted is via a trustworthy IMEI Checker – WipeLock IMEI checker. You need to submit your phone’s IMEI number, which can be found by dialing *#06#. Then the WipeLock will check your IMEI number manually and generate an IMEI report with the blacklist status included as following.

samsung att imei check

If the blacklist status is Clean, read on to learn how to get an AT&T unlock code for free. If not, you’ll have to remove your device from the blacklist first before going through the following steps.

2.2 Steps to Unlock an AT&T Phone Yourself for Free

Once you’ve finally settled all the prerequisites for AT&T phone unlocking, you can proceed to the actual process of getting an AT&T 16-digit network unlock code for free.

To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to AT&T Online Unlocking Portal. There you will see an option to ‘Unlock Your Device‘. Click on it.

att unlock your device

Step 2. You will be asked if you own an AT&T mobile number. Choose YES.

Step 3. Enter your ten-digit mobile number. Make sure that it’s the correct mobile number. Double-check if you have to.

att unlock step1

Step 4. The website will verify that you’re not a robot. Answer the captchacorrectly and proceed to the next step.

Step 5. Fulfill all the needed information and wait for the verification to be sent to your email address.

It contains a link that you need to visit to process your unlock request. You have to make sure that you visit the link within 24 hours otherwise you’d have to go over the process again.

att unlock request comfirm

AT&T will let you know the unlock request status within 2 business days, depending on whether the request is approved or denied.

2.3 Unlock Request Approved

If you’re eligible to unlock your device, your unlock request will be approved by AT&T.

AT&T will send you an AT&T 16-digit network unlock code for free along with the unlock instructions via email.

About the unlock instructions, it’s a guide about how to enter the AT&T unlock code and switch to another network provider.

For Samsung Phones

  • Power off your phone, insert a non-AT&T SIM card into it
  • Power on, it will ask for an unlock code
  • Enter the AT&T network unlock code and tap “Unlock”

sim network unlock pin unlock dimiss

For LG Phones

  • Turn off your LG phone and remove the AT&T SIM card
  • Insert a non-At&T SIM card and turn on your phone
  • Tap “Unlock”, you’ll see a message “SIM Unlock Process. Continue?” then select “Yes”
  • Enter the AT&T 16-digit network unlock code and tap “OK”

Most LG phones use a 16-digit unlock code, while a few models use an 8-digit code.

AT&T iPhone Unlock Instructions

  • Insert a non-AT&T SIM card into your iPhone to activate it. Or
  • Connect your iPhone to computer via USB > launch iTunes > make a backup > restore your iPhone > restore the backup.

For more brands, just check the AT&T unlock instructions.

2.4 Unlock Request Rejected

Rather than sending an unlock code to you, AT&T will let you know the reason why your phone is rejected to unlock.

You can deal with the issue accordingly, for example, if it’s not been paid off, you need to fully pay for your phone to get it unlocked.

However, there are some other ways you can not deal with it yourself, don’t worry, here are several alternative ways that will work for you.

Part 3. How to Unlock an AT&T Phone Yourself Even Under Contract

Can’t meet all the requirements AT&T asked? Or unlock request denied?

Don’t worry, here are some ways that will work for you!

3.1 Using an AT&T Unlock Service

If the above method doesn’t work, there are other options. One of these is using DirectUnlocks AT&T unlock service. It allows you to:

  • Unlock old & new AT&T phone without SIM card
  • Unlock AT&T phone that is under contract
  • Unlock AT&T phone without phone number
  • Unlock AT&T phone without paying it off
  • Unlock AT&T phone fast (Android: within 6 hours, iPhone: within 24 hours)

Here is how we unlock our Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus (IMEI number: 354144111174122) with DirectUnlocks:

Step 0. Check the blacklist status with WipeLock IMEI checker. An IMEI report will be sent to you as following:

samsung att imei check

From the IMEI report, the Blacklist Status is Clean, which means this phone can be unlocked (a blacklisted device can’t be unlocked, so we need to check the blacklist status first).

Step 1. Visit the DirectUnlocks AT&T unlock service website.

Step 2. Enter your phone’s IMEI number and proceed to the next step.

Step 3. Complete the payment. Other processes will be handled by the website directly.

DirectUnlocks will send you an AT&T network unlock code to you within 6 hours so that you can use it on your Android phones.

imeidoctor att unlock success

If it’s an iPhone, the process will be longer- within 24 hours. But you need to nothing but wait, DirectUnlocks will get everything done for you.

3.2 Using AT&T Unlock Software (Not Recommended)

There is another way you can unlock an AT&T phone yourself. However, it’s not encouraged because it will jailbreak your phone, which is illegal.

Using the software is OK but there are some cons to it like:

  • Only works for iPhone 5s – iPhone X
  • Only works for iPhone running on iOS 14.7 or below
  • It will jailbreak your iPhone, means the warranty will be invalid
  • Find My iPhone must be turned off before unlocking

Before trying this way, you have to think again and understand that you’re doing this at your own risk.

3.3 Using UB SIM

If all things fail, you still have another option which is using a UB SIM. UB SIM is a new hardware unlocking solution for network-locked phones.

Of course, the SIM is not for free but if you want to unlock AT&T phone fast, you can try this out:

Step 1. Assuming that you already have a UB sim, open your phone’s sim tray and insert the UB sim along with your sim card. Note that inserting your sim card in your UB sim chip varies from model to model.

Step 2. Wait for a few seconds and the UB sim menu should appear. Choose ICCID Mode and enter the latest ICCID code. You can check for the latest ICCID code here. You should be able to see it instantly, just below the UB sim photo.

Step 3. After submitting the ICCID code, you should be able to see a ‘Setup Completed’ message on the screen. You can click on ACCEPT then CONTINUE.

Part 4. FAQs About Unlocking Phone from AT&T

What is network unlock code for AT&T?

The AT&T network unlock code is usually a 16-digit or 8-digit number used to unlock a phone from the AT&T network. Some brands and models may require a 15-digit or 20-digit network unlock code.

You can acquire the AT&T unlock code for free if you meet all their requirements. If not, you’ll have to pay for an unlock service to get the unlock code.

Read further: How to Get SIM Network Unlock PIN for Free

How to unlock AT&T phone blocked from network use?

There are mainly two reasons that make your AT&T phone blocked from network use, unpaid billings, blacklisted.

  • If your phone is not paid off, you can use an unlocking service to proceed
  • If you phone is blacklisted, you need to contact AT&T to remove it from the blacklist

Can I unlock my prepaid AT&T phone myself?

Yes, you can. You can follow the steps above on how to unlock a prepaid AT&T phone yourself.

However, make sure you fulfill all the prerequisites for unlocking otherwise, you won’t be able to unlock your phone for free.

Can I unlock my AT&T phone under contract free of charge?

It’s impossible to unlock an AT&T phone that is under contract free.

You’ll have to pay it off, then send an unlock request to AT&T. Or you can use some alternative ways mentioned in this article. But all the methods are not free!

How to unlock AT&T phone blocked from network use?

The reason why an AT&T phone gets blocked from network use is as following:

  • Reported as a stolen or lost device by the previous owner or AT&T
  • The AT&T account is involved with fraud

No matter the reason, you won’t be able to unlock it.

How long does it take to unlock my AT&T phone?

It depends on how you will unlock your phone. If you use the official way of unlocking an AT&T phone, it would take 2 business days for the company to either approve or decline your unlock request.

If you use other methods, some only last a few hours or a few minutes like the UB SIM unlocking process.

How do I know if my AT&T phone is unlocked?

To check if your AT&T phone is unlocked, insert a non-AT&T SIM card into your phone. If you can normally send/receive messages, make phone calls, and use cellular data, your AT&T phone is unlocked.

If it asks for an unlock code or shows a message that says SIM not valid, then your phone is locked.

What’s the AT&T unlock phone customer service number?

You can contact AT&T customer service for unlocking by dialing 611 from an AT&T phone or 1-800-331-0500 from other phones.

How do I find my AT&T phone’s IMEI number?

The easiest and safest way to find your IMEI address is by dialing *#06# on your phone. It should only take you a few moments to do so, and there are no risks whatsoever.


In conclusion, this is everything you need to know about how to unlock an AT&T phone yourself. However, having it unlocked by a technician can be pretty pricey which is why many people try to do this themselves.

The methods mentioned above are only some ways you can unlock your phone. All of these steps are viable, but some of them are all come with risks. Choose which method suits you best and enjoy the privileges of an unlocked AT&T phone!

About the Author

Darren is an Apple Certified Independent Technician with a passion for researching all aspects of phone locks, including Activation Lock, carrier lock, screen lock, FRP lock, and more. With years of experience in the mobile phone industry, Darren has become a leading authority in his field and has been a sought-after consultant for individuals and businesses seeking to unlock their devices.

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