Apple How to

How to Unlock iPhone – Full Tutorial in Steps

how to unlock iphone
Written by Hassan Abbas

If you purchased your iPhone within the past few years, then it is likely to be unlocked and free to use along with any SIM. If your iPhone is older than that, then it might be locked to a particular network to the provider. But that does not mean you are stuck with that provider forever. In this article, we are going to talk about How to Unlock iPhone – Full Tutorial in Steps. Let’s begin!

You should be able to get your network in order to unlock your iPhone for you. Most of the time the company will do it for free. In fact, you might even be able to unlock your phone yourself as well.

In this article, we show how you can unlock all iPhone models. That includes older models such as the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6s as well. Either with an unlock code from the network itself or through using a third-party service as well.

iPhone unlocking Legal?

how to unlock iphone

It is completely legal to unlock your iPhone if you have finished paying for your contract or also you purchased it outright unsubsidized. But, if you are still in the process of paying for your contract then you do not fully own the iPhone yet. So you are best to check along with your carrier before unlocking it.

iPhone locked?

This is most likely to be a problem if you bought the device second-hand or inherited it from a friend or also a family member. If it is lock, you will find that the iPhone is not working on your mobile network, and that is because it’s tied to a different network as well.

How Can you unlock your iPhone

There are actually four simple steps to take to unlock an iPhone:

  • Contact your provider and request an unlock using the contact details and also online tools listed below.
  • If you have not got the original SIM. Then you will have to reset the phone before it can be unlocked.
  • Power down the phone then replaces the old SIM card along with a SIM from a different network.
  • Also, check that the iPhone is able to connect a phone call over the new network.

That was the shortened version, however, let’s go through those steps in a bit more detail.

You should contact your network provider

Below we will outline separately how you can get your iPhone unlocked from each of the UK’s most popular and famous networks. Scroll down if you want your carrier to find out that company’s specific process.

how to unlock iphone

Unlock an iPhone on EE

If you have had your EE account for at least six months and have paid all of your bills to date, then EE will unlock your iPhone for you. It will cost £8.99 if you are still within the contract, though, and it could take up to seven days, which is not ideal as well.

If you are a Pay As You Go customer and have enough credit to pay the £8.99 admin fee, then EE will unlock your iPhone for you.

But, if you have got an iPhone that’s locked to EE but you are not an EE customer, then you are going to need to do some digging. You will also need to find the original owner’s name and EE phone number, and maybe some additional account information.

It is not always going to be possible in order to find the information you need – if you got it from eBay, such as, this could be tricky. If you can’t, you might have to use a third-party unlocking service as described later in this article.

Unlock an iPhone on Vodafone

Similarly, Vodafone needs you to have an account or know the details of the person who did it. If that is not a problem, then use Vodafone’s online unlocking form.

It will take up to 48 hours for the company to get back to you and more than 10 days to unlock the phone. The process is free as well.

Unlock an iPhone on Three

Three keeps things nice and simple as well. On its website, the carrier says that any iPhone purchased after 1 January 2014 from Three is automatically unlocked as soon as you connect it to Wi-Fi or also iTunes or the Finder (that depends on the version of macOS you are using).

But even if you purchased your iPhone before that, then you simply need to connect the iPhone to iTunes or the Finder and then restore the device to unlock it. You will have to back up first, though, as restoring will erase all the data.

Alternatively, you can also fill out Three’s online form.

Unlock an iPhone on O2

If your iPhone is locked to O2, then you can unlock it using My O2 or the My O2 app. The company says that it will send a text to let you know when the iPhone is unlocked or not. You will have to connect the device to iTunes or the Finder along with the non-O2 SIM, and iTunes will confirm the unlocking.

how to unlock iphone

If you are a Pay Monthly customer then you can unlock your phone at any time. However, you will still have to finish paying for the rest of your contract. Pay As You Go customers can have their device unlock for free also.

Business customers can get their iPhone unlocked through filling in an online form. You will need to pay off the minimum term of your contract as well.

O2 says that, if it accepts your request, the company will then email you within seven days with details on how you can unlock your phone.

Unlock an iPhone on Virgin Mobile

Virgin says that any iPhone purchased from the company within the past few years will unlocked already, however, some older iPhones might not.

The good news is that if your iPhone is running iOS 8 or later (iOS 8 launched in 2014 so it is likely) then your iPhone will be unlocked for you. (Also note that updating iOS will install the most recent version that your device is capable of running.)

If your iPhone is not compatible with a sufficiently recent version of iOS – that is, if it is an iPhone 4 or older. Then you will be able to perform a full restore of your iPhone in order to unlock it. Also do not forget to back up your data first.

Unlock an iPhone on Tesco Mobile

If you have been with Tesco Mobile for 12 months or more then that, or if you have completed your contract. Then you will be able to get an unlock code from Tesco for free through calling 0345 301 4455 and choosing “unlock your mobile”.

Using a third-party to unlock service

An alternative to contacting your carrier and then asking them to unlock the iPhone is to use a mobile phone unlocking service. It is probable that the folks using these unlocking services have acquired the iPhone from someone and that it was not unlocked first.

Retailers in most areas will arrange an unlock code in just a small fee (usually around £25).

You can also find some online services that will unlock your iPhone, but they are not always reputable and we would generally advise against it. If you do decide to use one, then please make sure that you read all the small print before you buy. Because they can actually surprise you with extra bills at the end of the process.

We have tried Doctor SIM, which promises to refund you if the unlock is unsuccessful. So that could be an option if you have tried all of the methods listed above. Doctor SIM successfully unlocked our phone along with no problems and also no hidden fees. So we actually feel confident to recommend you them.

How to unlock your iPhone: Post-Paid Accounts

If your phone was purchase on a post-paid account on one of the top four carriers in the U.S. Then you will need to go via that carrier to have the phone unlocked. Each carrier has its own process and criteria in order to release the phone.


To have your phone unlocked, AT&T makes it really very simple. You can visit their website for device unlocking and input your account or device information. You will also receive a T&C email when you submit the request.

Check your email and follow the steps in order to confirm you’d like to unlock your device. When you do that, then you will receive an email that your device is unlock within 24 to 72 hours.


Visit your T-Mobile online account and also access the phone you’d like to unlock under ‘View Account’ then ‘Lines and Devices’. Submit the request in order to unlock that device and then wait for the confirmation email.


Verizon will automatically unlock a device when it becomes eligible for you. If you have any trouble with this, then you will have to contact the Verizon Customer Support Team to have your iPhone unlocked.


Sprint tends to have the most difficult unlocking policy of the four biggest carriers. Your iPhone will remain on their network unless the company initiates the release. Most of the time this happens automatically when you have completed the terms of your lease (post-2015 iPhones).


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this article and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: Where you can Buy Microsoft Office for Mac

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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