If you are thinking of getting your iPhone unlocked, or you want to buy a second-hand iPhone, there are many things to considered, and many dangers and scams to avoid.
So I prepared a FAQ for you that will answer most of your questions and help you to make the right choice:
1 – What Unlocking an iPhone is?
Most people buy iPhones from a Mobile Network Company, because the price is much cheaper than buying an unlocked iPhone (around $500 difference for the latest iPhone/iPad models). Those iPhones are bound with a 2-year contract, which means that you can only use that Mobile Network, not only for those 2 years, but forever. By Unlocking an iPhone, you are allowing yourself to use ANY Mobile Network you want anywhere in the world.
2 – Why do I need to Unlock my iPhone?
Except from the obvious, which is to switch between Mobile Networks that provide better features, options and price, you need to consider what will happen if you decide to travel or even re-locate abroad. All the Mobile Networks provide roaming services, but with their charges you need to either crazy or millionaire (or both!) to use them. If you have a locked iPhone, you will not be able to get a Local SIM-Card and use it, but if you own an unlocked iPhone you will be able to do so! So, if you want to be free to have the option to choose the Mobile Network YOU want, then you should unlock your iPhone!
3 – How Can I Unlock my iPhone?
Forget everything you read on the internet (Some of them may be correct), because many online companies are trying to scam iPhone users. Depending on your iPhone model, the iOS version and the baseband of your iPhone, a different method can be used to unlock an iPhone, but generally there are three methods:
- Software Unlocking Method
- Hardware Unlocking Method
- Official IMEI Unlocking Method (or Factory IMEI Unlock)
I will explain below how those methods work, so you know which method suits you better!
4 – How the Software Unlocking Method works and will it Unlock my iPhone?
The Software Unlocking Method is basically a software hack, because it is trying to exploit bugs that can be found in the iOS. It requires a Jailbroken iPhone (Jailbreaking allows you to use Cydia App Store, which contains third-party applications that are not allowed in the Apple Store), because it requires to use an unlocking application. This application is called Ultrasn0w, and it can only be found in Cydia. So, the first step is to identify if your iOS version can be jailbroken, and until now, all iOS versions up to iOS 8.1.2 can be jailbroken. The next step is to see what iOS version the Ultrasn0w application supports, and the answer is up to 6.1.6 iOS version (Which means if you already have an iPhone with a higher iOS version, you can forget the Software Unlocking Method). Also, those bugs can only be exploited to A4 chip devices, which are iPhone 2G, 3G, 3Gs and 4 (For iPhone 4, you must have 01.59.00 or older baseband version for the unlock to work). One more thing that I need to make clear, is that this unlock is not permanent, because by changing your iOS version (Restore from iTunes or Back-up Restore) will lock your iPhone again!
So, the conclusion is: IF A COMPANY OFFERS YOU A SOFTWARE UNLOCKING SOLUTION FOR iOS VERSIONS NEWER THAN 6.1.6, THEY ARE TRYING TO SCAM YOU AND YOU NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM THEM!
5 – How the Hardware Unlocking Method works and will it Unlock my iPhone?
Just as the Software method is trying to exploit iOS bugs, the Hardware Unlocking Method is trying to exploit bugs that can be found in the Hardware of an iPhone. Some companies managed to create a specially designed SIM-Card, that can trick your Network, and allow you to use any Mobile Network you want. It sound very good, but let me dig a little deeper to that method.
Except from the fact that you need to SQUEEZE two SIM-Cards to your SIM-Tray (One is the specially designed one, and the other is the SIM-Card you want to use), the user feedback is not encouraging at all. Numerous people reported that they had Low Voice Quality, random drops during phonecalls and many unlocking failures. Also, this method is also not permanent, and it is unclear of what iPhone models it supports.
We highly recommend to stay away from that method, because the results are unpredictable!
6 – How the Official IMEI Method works and will it Unlock my iPhone?
This method has nothing to do with the above two methods. It does not take into account your iOS version or your iPhone model, but lets see from where this method comes from.
The Official IMEI Method is the only method that is approved by Apple and all Mobile Network Companies, so this is a strong sign that it is a guaranteed and safe option. As I told you above, Apple and Mobile Networks, mark the iPhone they sell with a contract, as Locked. This procedure is able to mark your iPhone in Apple’s and all Mobile Network companies’ databases as unlocked. This provides you a permanent unlock, and also allows you to upgrade your iPhone to any future iOS version and keep it unlocked.
So, the conclusion is: OFFICIAL IMEI UNLOCK METHOD CAN UNLOCK ALL iPHONE MODELS AND ALL iOS VERSIONS PERMANENTLY
7 – How to apply a Software or Hardware Unlock to my iPhone?
Assuming that you already read which iPhone models and iOS versions are supported, you can find below some links that will help you unlocking your iPhone with the Software Unlocking Method:
Software Unlocking Method: Full tutorial of how to Jailbreak your iPhone and then install the Ultrasn0w application through Cydia.
Hardware Unlocking Method: We have no experience and TRUST on that unlocking method, so we cannot propose you any solutions for that method.
8 – How to get an Official IMEI Unlocking Method for my iPhone?
Before ordering an Official IMEI Unlock, you need to know the following for your iPhone:
- IMEI Number (Here are 5 methods to Find your IMEI number).
- The Mobile Network that locked your iPhone.
- The Blacklist Status of your iPhone (If it is reported as Lost or Stolen or its previous owner did not paid the bills).
After finding all the above (I will explain you how to find them), you will have to find an online company that provides Official IMEI Unlocks. This is the hard part, because many companies are not always provide what they claim to offer, so you need to be extra careful.
9 – Why it is important to know the IMEI number and the Network and Blacklist Status of my iPhone?
The Official IMEI Method is a paid service, and in order to work it requires all those three information. Failing to provide those information to the company that will unlock your iPhone, will result to a failure of the unlock. This means that you will lose your money and you will not be able to request a refund of your money (Most companies provide a full refund if they fail to unlock your iPhone). So, you need to me 100% sure of those three things, IMEI NUMBER, NETWORK OF YOUR iPHONE and the BLACKLIST STATUS.
10 – How to find the IMEI Number of my iPhone?
There are many methods to find your IMEI number, but from the following link you can see the 5 most popular and easy methods to do it (How to Find my IMEI Number).
11 – How to find what Mobile Network (Carrier) locked my iPhone?
There are a few websites that provide such information for free, but it turns out that their information are not accurate (almost never) and they provide only general information about your iPhone (model, purchase date, warranty status, serial number and a few more).
Your safest option is to find a paid service for that, a company that specializes in the IMEI Check services. Our suggestion is the IMEI-Index.com, because they have a 5 minute response time and they only charge $2.95 per check.
12 – How to find the Blacklist Status of my iPhone?
If you are the owner of the iPhone, then you only have to make a phonecall to the Mobile Network you have the contract with, and just ask them! Now, if you are planning to buy a second-hand iPhone, there is no way to verify that, unless you can trust the seller. There are some free services that can check the Blacklist Status of an iPhone, but their lists are not updated. Which means that an iPhone can be recently Blacklisted, and those services will still have it as CLEAN.
Again, your safest option is to find a paid service for that, a company that specializes in the IMEI Check services. Our suggestion is the IMEI-Index.com, because they have a 5 minute response time and they only charge $4.95 per check (An average cost of that service is about $10 per check).
13 – So, I know my IMEI number, the Network and the Blacklist Status of my iPhone. What is Next?
Now, most online companies that provide Official IMEI Unlocks follow the procedure below:
- Go to the Official IMEI Unlock company
- Type your IMEI number (Double Check it!)
- Choose the iPhone model you want to unlock
- Choose the Network you want to unlock
- Proceed with the Payment
There are plenty of online companies that provide such IMEI Unlocks, but it is very difficult to determine which of them are trusted and legitimate.
You can check from the following link the Mobile Networks that are supported. Their success rate until now is flawless, so check their prices and unlocking times!