Unless you buy a smartphone, which is sim free (unlocked) you’re are usually locked in with a specific carrier, but that does not mean that you can’t change that! Most of the time when you want to unlock an iPhone so that you can use any sim card, you have to contact your carrier and request that your handset be unlocked. However, this leaves you at the mercy of the carrier and once completed you will be able to use your iPhone with any carrier you choose!
Consider this as an example, you’re going to travel abroad on holiday and to keep the cost of calling and texting down you want to buy a sim locally rather than pay for an international plan.
How to Unlock an iPhone
I’m now going to tell you how to unlock an iPhone, so make sure you fully understand what I am going to tell you below before attempting to do this.
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1. Your Carrier Should Support Unlocking.
In the USA the four largest carriers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will all support you if you want to unlock an iPhone. Also there are some smaller networks that can help you, they are Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile. Apple includes a full list on its website.
2. Read the Carrier Documentation.
As with everything in life, not everything is the same, and as far as carriers are concerned you should consider this to be the case. Each one may make you jump through different hoops to unlock an iPhone. Most will be obvious like making sure you don’t owe them anything for your handset and you must not have been involved in any suspicious activity.
Other hoops you could have to jump through could include, having to have been live on a carriers network for a certain period of time be fore you can unlock an iPhone. All of the big four Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all have their own specific guidelines.
3. Check you iPhone is Compatible with the Carrier you plan to switch to
If you successfully unlock an iPhone it does not automatically mean it will work on your carrier of choice. Different ones use different technologies, and some iPhones will only work with certain carriers and their wireless technologies. My advice would be to contact your preferred carrier before you unlock an iPhone.
4. Request that Your Carrier unlock your iPhone
On the AT&T website there is a form that you can fill in to submit to unlock an iPhone. As for Sprint and T-Mobile you will have to contact them via phone to start the process. Once you have set the process in motion you will need to wait for an unlock code and instructions on how to use it.
Just to make things a little less clear (not me) Verizon, it say’s on its website that it does not lock the majority of its handsets. However, my adice to you would be to get that clarified before you attempt to unlock an iPhone.
5. Back up your iPhone and Unlock
Now that you have the instructions and the unlock code, you could go ahead and unlock an iPhone, but you should back up your files first. Just like you would with a laptop or tablet, backup all the content on your iPhone that you feel could not be replaced if lost.
If you have an iCloud account, you should be able to backup via that automatically via Wi-Fi, in-fact your handset should do this as soon as it connects to a Wi-Fi network (Only if you have iCloud backup activated).
However, if like me you prefer to be thorough and manually back everything up, from your iPhone navigate to settings> iCloud> Backup> Back up now. Once you are sure everything is backed up you can go ahead and follow your current carriers instruction on how to unlock an iPhone. And once you’re done, insert your new carriers sim card that’s it you’re done!