Most people with older iPhone models have a SIM lock on the devices. Older iPhone models come with contract-buying options from network carriers. Soon, anyone with a locked device starts looking for ways to unlock iPhone network.
An iPhone SIM lock does not affect an iPhone permanently, and you can have it removed. You can either wait for your network provider to unlock your iPhone after completing your contract with them or use one of the available IMEI unlock services.
The Legal State of Unlocking iPhones
Some people have mixed feelings about using the services of third-party network unlock providers. You have a right to unlock your iPhone and use it as you want. Even if you still make contract payments for it, you own the iPhone, and you can legally remove its SIM lock.
However, if you do choose to unlock an iPhone still under contract, You might end up voiding some carrier and Apple terms. It means that if for any reason the network unlocking process fails, your Apple warranty will not cover any damage caused to your iPhone. Also, network providers place SIM lock on iPhones for their benefit, and they will not offer much help in such a situation.
Therefore, when you do decide to unlock your iPhone, make sure that the method you choose will not damage your iPhone hardware or software.
Do People Prefer Network Locked iPhones?
While the SIM lock restricts how you use your iPhone, some people do not mind owning a network locked iDevice. Some of the reasons why people prefer SIM locked iPhones include:
- You get your preffered iPhone model at an affordable cost compared to buying it at full-price from an Apple store.
- SIM locked iPhones come with 18 months to two-years contract terms. It gives you time to pay for the iPhone at a comfortable monthly rate.
- You can own any iPhone model you want with the SIM lock option. It opens up your possibilities without restricting you to the older, less expensive iPhones.
- Some network providers offer iPhone trade up plans. It allows you to upgrade to another iPhone model every year.
Why Would you Want a SIM Unlocked iPhone?
It might seem obvious; everyone wants a SIM-free iPhone to use it on any network. However, an unlocked iPhone comes with much more benefits.
- Being able to use any SIM card on an iPhone means that you can use it anywhere in the world on any network.
- You can quickly solve signal issues with an unlocked iPhone. Most of us have two or more SIMs which we can use as needed to receive a stronger cell signal.
- A SIM-free iPhone can also save you money when you travel. You can use local SIM cards in your destination to avoid roaming charges.
- When it is time, you can sell a network unlocked iPhone at a higher price compared to selling a locked iPhone.
How to Unlock iPhone Network from a SIM Lock
Unlocking an iPhone’s network lock works the same way regardless of the carrier that locked it or your location. When searching online, you will come across three ways to unlock an iPhone network lock.
Unlock iPhone Network Using Softwares
They are all over the Internet and software SIM unlock methods have existed as long as people started unlocking iPhones. Too many sites offer them, and some even claim to provide free iPhone SIM unlock services.
If you tried any of them, you must know by now that they do not work. While these methods worked on older iPhone models; the relatively iron-clad iOS upgrades make it difficult use software tools on newer iPhone models.
Using Hardware to Unlock iPhone Network
\You must have read on a few forums that a unique thin SIM can help you unlock your iPhone. These SIM cards go into your iPhone along with a carrier SIM card (from a different carrier). Apparently, it can alter some SIM details that “tricks your iPhone” to work on other networks.
Some people have even used iPhone unlock hardware that involves opening up the device and making some changes to make it work with other SIM cards. The physical approach can damage your iPhone, and it voids your Apple warranty in the process.
Unlock iPhone Network Using IMEI Details
While thousands or even millions of every iPhone models produced exist, each device comes with a unique identifying code. Referred as the IMEI number, the 15 digits function as the iPhone’s lifeline. The IMEI can lock and unlock an iPhone.
When network carriers lock iPhones, they list the IMEI information on the Apple GSX server’s “locked devices list.” The IMEI details enable your iPhone to successfully make/receive calls and texts by communicating with the server. If unlocked, your iPhone can use any SIM, but if locked it will only work on a particular network.
The process happens virtually and in a matter of seconds. Therefore, changing an iPhone’s IMEI placement on the iPhone’s server can unlock it.
\Your carrier uses the same method to remove your iPhone’s SIM lock after completing your contract with them. However, it means waiting out the contract period, and sometimes it does not work as an option for every iPhone user. The solution lies in using the services of a third party IMEI unlock provider.
Problems Unlocking an iPhone’s SIM Lock
You might face challenges if you use the wrong method or if your iPhone has some hidden issues. For instance, if you unlock an iPhone still under contract you must keep making the contract payments. If you fail to do so, the carrier can blacklist your iPhone.
You cannot unlock a SIM lock on a blacklisted iPhone before sorting the blacklist situation. If blacklisted for unpaid contract dues, you can remove the blacklist by finishing contract payments. However, for an iPhone blacklisted because of a stolen/lost report the original owner must intervene for the carrier to unblacklist the phone.
Therefore, you have the upper hand knowing your iPhone’s full status because they will help you figure out how to unlock it. For pre-owned iPhones, you might also find out whether the carrier that locked the iPhone can unlock it.