You can unlock your phone to use it with a different carrier. You may want to switch carriers because of a better deal or coverage in your area. Or, you may want to use a foreign SIM card for international travel. When you unlock your phone, it will work on other networks as long as they support the same frequency bands and radio standards (GSM vs CDMA).
Unlocking a phone allows you to use it on any carrier.
This means that if you buy an unlocked phone, you can switch between carriers and keep your number without the hassle of paying expensive early termination fees. It’s also easier to travel internationally with an unlocked device because you don’t have to worry about getting a new SIM card every time you cross a border or enter another country.
The FCC has made it illegal for carriers to lock phones for the first 60 days of service.
This is to protect consumers from being locked into a service they don’t want, and applies to all phones, not just iPhones.
You can usually find out if your device is locked by entering the SIM card into another device (like an old phone or computer) and seeing if you’re able to make calls or text messages without getting a “SIM card blocked” message. If it works on another device, then you know your phone isn’t locked.
You can unlock your phone yourself by inputting a PIN or code.
To unlock a phone with a code:
- Call the carrier that originally sold you the phone and ask for an unlocking code. If you’re not sure which carrier sold you your phone, contact each until one provides you with a code.
- Enter said code into your device’s keypad. This will be different from any other PIN or password because it’s specific to this particular handset. If all goes well, it should prompt you to enter in another four-digit combination which removes the lock screen entirely!
Phones purchased from Verizon are unlocked out of the box, but Sprint phones require you to request a new SIM card.
If you’ve purchased a phone from Verizon, it’s likely that the phone is unlocked out of the box. However, if you bought your phone from Sprint and want to use it with another carrier, you’ll need to request a new SIM card. This can be done in person at any Sprint store or by calling customer service at 1-888-211-4727 (Sprint).
The process for requesting an unlock code will differ depending on whether your device is currently active on Sprint’s network or not. Once your device has been active for 60 days without any payments having been made against it (30 days in California), then you can request an unlock code from Sprint Customer Care or visit one of their retail locations if necessary.
Some carriers won’t let you unlock newer phones that they have sold at subsidized rates.
If you bought a phone from your carrier at full price and it has been at least six months since the purchase, then you may be eligible for an unlock code. The phone must also still be in good standing with your carrier; this means that it isn’t past due on any payments or fees owed to them.
Unlocking your phone will allow you to use it on any network.
That means you can switch carriers without buying a new phone, take your phone overseas and use it, or use your phone with a local SIM card. You’ll also be able to use your phone with prepaid carriers like Boost Mobile or Cricket Wireless.
The process varies depending on the service provider and device model, so check out our step-by-step guide below if you’d like help unlocking your device:
As you can see, there are many different ways to unlock phones. The best way is to find out if your phone is eligible for unlocking before buying it, or otherwise research how much it will cost and how long it will take. If you’re willing to put in some work yourself and know how to use some basic computer programs like MS Word, then unlocking shouldn’t be too difficult!