Home This Is The Best Free iPhone Unlock Guide You Will Ever Find Online

This Is The Best Free iPhone Unlock Guide You Will Ever Find Online

This Is The Best Free iPhone Unlock Guide You Will Ever Find Online
  • Have you tried another SIM Card but your iPhone doesn't accept it displaying the SIM Not Supported screen?

  • Does your network stubbornly refuse to unlock your phone while your contract has expired?

  • Whatever SIM card you have tried, you don't see the network and signal on the top left but the indication No Service?

  • Are you stuck on the iCloud Activation Lock screen?

  • Is the iPhone blocked from the network due to non-payment?

  • Did you buy a used iPhone but suspect it was stolen and blacklisted?

  • Have you already tried some iPhone Unlock service but it was not what you expected?

  • Thinking of buying a used iPhone but are afraid that its description hides something?

For all this and much much more, here are the answers you were looking for.

Here is the ultimate guide to iPhone Unlock!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1

IMEI
Number

Chapter 2

IMEI
Check

Chapter 3

iPhone
Locks

Chapter 4

iPhone
Unlock

Chapter 5

iPhone
SIM Unlock

Chapter 6

Blacklist
Removal

Chapter 7

iCloud
Unlock

Chapter 8

iPhone Unlock
Costs

Chapter 1

The IMEI number

In any reference to iPhone Unlock, it is easily noticed that the word IMEI is constantly present. I am absolutely sure that I will repeat it countless times in this article. Why?

Because IMEI is simply the key to all iPhone locks.
IMEI is the key to all iPhone locks

What is the IMEI Number?

The full name is International Mobile Equipment Identify and is a 15 digit number for iPhone. To be precise, this number is used to identify all 3GPP, iDEN, and some satellite phones.

But this is a very general and technical term that you will find on Wikipedia along with a vast amount of information.

The IMEI is the identity card of the iPhone. By itself, it contains information only about the origin, model, and the serial number of the iPhone. The real power lies in the registration of the iPhone in two central IMEI databases.

GSX & GSMA IMEI Databases

Without being the only ones, all iPhone IMEIs are registered into two massive IMEI Databases.

GSMA Database

GSMA Database holds all IMEIs worldwide

GSMA stands for “Global System for Mobile Communications” and is an organization that represents the interests of all mobile networks worldwide.

The responsibilities of this organization are unlimited, but what is important to us is that the GSMA databases contain information about the complete status of all IMEI numbers.

  • Are there unpaid bills or installments?
  • Is it a loaner phone?
  • Is it stolen?
  • Has it been blacklisted for any other reason like a fraud?
  • From which network and in which country has it been blacklisted?

The list of IMEI information found in GSMA databases is huge. Basically, through GSMA, mobile networks use the IMEI number to determine if an iPhone is allowed to use their services and of course, block them at will.

Companies offering IMEI Check services must have access to GSMA databases in order to be able to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Apple GSX Database

Apple GSX Database shows if an iPhone is iCloud Locked

Apple Global Service Exchange is a valuable tool. Apple and its affiliates can perform individual services, repairs, and other management settings through GSX.

The GSX Database, in turn, contains information on all Apple IMEI numbers related to repairs, services, and locks and is widely used by companies offering IMEI Check services, as they can instantly detect

  • SIM-Lock
  • Tether (and Next Tether) Policy ID
  • First Activation with Network
  • Contract Status
  • Insurance / Apple Warranty Status
  • iCloud lock
  • Any IMEI / iDevice replacement

and many other IMEI info, absolutely essential for unlocking an iPhone.

How to find the IMEI on an iPhone

There are several ways to locate the IMEI of an iPhone. The easiest and safest is calling *#06# with the phone app.
Call *#06# to get the iPhone IMEI

Chapter 2

IMEI Check

IMEI Check should always be our first move before unlocking an iPhone.

It is no coincidence that buying any unlocking service, without having previously IMEI checked the iPhone, is doomed to fail without you being able to get your money back.
iPhone IMEI Check Service

What is iPhone IMEI Check?

All the information contained in the IMEI of an iPhone can be immediately made available to you using an IMEI Checker.

The companies that offer such services have access to the GSX and GSMA IMEI databases and in a few seconds you can find out the complete history of an iPhone along with all the locking problems that accompany it.

Can I IMEI Check my iPhone for free?

When looking for IMEI Check, many companies offer their services for free. Using any of these free tools leads to certain failure because they simply don’t have access to the databases. Some of them use private ones but most of them just show random results.

In any case, they always succeed in the iPhone model and in the state of Apple Warranty because this information is really free and available to anyone through Apple’s CheckCoverage page. GSMA & GSX access is a paid service, so whoever provides real IMEI Checking always charges for the delivery of the IMEI report.

What should be included in a complete IMEI Report?

Really everything. The IMEI info won’t have any value unless it’s 100% accurate and up-to-date.

General IMEI info

  • Model (Αs well as storage and color)
  • IMEI2 (Αvailable on iPhone XS and beyond for eSIM)
  • Serial Number
  • Activation Status (Activated/Not Activated)
  • AppleCare Eligibility (Yes/No)
  • Warranty Status (Under/Out Of Warranty)
  • Telephone Technical Support (Active/Expired)
  • Repairs and Service Coverage (Active/Expired)

Contract IMEI info

  • Contract Status  (Active/Expired)
  • Valid Purchase Date

Replacement info

  • Registered (Yes/No)
  • Replaced Device (Yes/No)
  • Replaced IMEI (Yes/No)
  • Replaced Serial (Yes/No)
  • Loaner (Yes/No)

SIM Lock IMEI info

  • SIM Lock Status (Locked/Unlocked)
  • SIM Lock Carrier (Ιn case it’s SIM Locked)
  • Tether / Next Tether Policy ID

Financial IMEI info

  • Outstanding Financial Balance (Unpaid Bills/Pending Installment Plan)

Blacklist IMEI info

  • Blacklist Status (CLEAN/Blacklisted/Blocked)
  • Blacklisted as (Stolen/Lost/Replaced/Lost)
  • Blacklisted by (Carrier in case it’s Blacklisted)
  • Blacklisted in (Country in case it’s Blacklisted)
  • Blacklisted Date

iCloud Lock IMEI info

  • iCloud Lock Status: ON/OFF
  • iCloud Status: CLEAN/LOST/ERASED
And why do we need all this information???

  1. First of all, the iPhone can be locked in more ways than you suspect
  2. There is a specific order of priority as to what needs to be unlocked first
  3. Especially in the case of a used iPhone, the information you have from the seller is probably completely wrong
  4. Every unlock service has strict requirements and is much more than the model and network that has locked the iPhone
Of course, the IMEI Check is extremely useful before buying a used iPhone as you can avoid all the suffering before it even starts. But let’s see how many types of iPhone locks you have to deal with and how exactly you will overcome them with the valuable help of a complete IMEI Check.

Chapter 3

iPhone Locks

It is very easy for someone to describe an iPhone as locked, but what does it really mean?

There are many types of locks that require different services and should be dealt with in the proper order since most of the time an iPhone is locked with two or more locks.
All iPhone Locks explained

The SIM Lock

It is true that most people think that an iPhone is locked when they can use SIM Cards from a single network. The SIM Not Supported screen will appear when any other card is inserted.
When an iPhone is SIM Locked you will get the SIM Not Supported screen
Depending on the iOS version installed on the device, it may also appear as SIM Not Valid. However, these messages don’t necessarily mean that the iPhone is SIM locked.

The SIM lock was the first to be created. Mobile phones became a must shortly before the end of 2000 but networks were having the following problem. In order to acquire as many subscribers as possible, they offered mobiles by signing the contract. But nothing stopped the subscriber from breaking the agreement, even getting the mobile for free and using other SIM Cards from cheaper networks.

The SIM lock put an end to this situation. Today most people prefer to get the latest iPhone model, like the iPhone 12 which is released in a few weeks, through a network in installments. The contract in this case lasts at least two years and the network will not unlock the iPhone until it expires. The problem, however, gets even bigger as networks often refuse to unlock the device even when the contract has expired.

The Blacklist

The second problem that had to be addressed was the theft of mobile phones. Initially, nothing stopped the thief from continuing to use the phone or sell it without the buyer realizing anything.

This is how the concept of the blacklist was created. Since each phone has a unique IMEI, when the theft or loss is reported by the original owner on the network, the phone is recorded as blacklisted in the databases. Although it started as an anti-theft measure, the blacklist was also used to address other issues.

  • Block phone usage in case of Unpaid bills or installments
  • Replacing the device with a new one
  • Illegal IMEI change by replacing the logical board
  • Fraud
  • Involvement of the phone in criminal activity
No service might mean the the iPhone is blacklisted
No service when there are no hardware issues usually means that the iPhone is blacklisted
No service might mean the the iPhone is blacklisted
No Service when there is no hardware issue usually means that the iPhone is blacklisted
No Service when there is no hardware issue usually means that the iPhone is blacklisted

What does it mean that an iPhone is blacklisted?

The blacklist, although initially, it seems to be one and the same with SIM Lock, have absolutely nothing to do with the effects but affect each other in terms of unlocking.

The blacklist is valid nationally. A blacklisted iPhone will not work with any network in the Carrier country that blocked it regardless of whether it is SIM Locked or Unlocked.

  1. If it is SIM Locked it will not work anywhere in the world
  2. If SIM Unlocked it will work everywhere except this country
This is the inviolable rule with one exception. The United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico share their blacklists (according to reliable sources, Colombia has also been added to this group). That is, what applies to the blacklist for an iPhone in one of them applies to all. Let’s say we are dealing with a US T-mobile blacklisted iPhone.

  1. It will not work anywhere if it is SIM Locked at the same time
  2. It will work everywhere except these countries if SIM unlocked

The iCloud Lock

Definitely the worst form of iPhone lock since the phone is completely useless, not even being able to use it as a Wi-Fi entertainment iDevice.

Apple, in turn, wanting to help fight theft of its devices developed the iCloud lock. The owner of any iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, Mac), creates an Apple ID and password which are directly linked to the device.

On each restart, update or reset, iPhone displays the Activation Lock screen.
iCloud Activation Lock Screen on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
When the iPhone is stolen or lost, the original owner can find it through Find My iPhone and activate Lost Mode by recording the theft in the GSX database. Anyone who finds it can do absolutely nothing without the correct Apple ID and password.

Chapter 4

iPhone Unlock

Before we see how we can unlock an iPhone depending on the lock, there are some things that don’t change when our goal is a safe and secure unlock.

The problem with used locked iPhones and online markets

As amazing as iCloud Lock may seem, just like the blacklist, it has not been able to stop robbers from selling such iPhones to unsuspecting buyers mainly through online markets. Unlike buying a new or refurbished iPhone through Apple and its official retailers, used ones do not provide any kind of guarantee for their locking status.

Based only on the seller’s description you always risk buying a SIM Locked, iCloud Locked, or Blacklisted iPhone. And it is not uncommon for the iPhone to be locked in all ways at once.

Three steps to unlock your iPhone

It’s been a long time since I thought about creating an absolute guide that contains every last detail about the iPhone Unlock. Although you will find countless iPhone Unlock articles on UltraSnow Blog, each one focuses on one problem at a time and how to fix it.

However, the methodology you need to follow to successfully unlock an iPhone, regardless of the type of lock, is always the same:

  • iPhone lock problem identification
  • Find the appropriate unlock service
  • Check device compatibility with existing unlock services
As you will discover very soon, following this guide faithfully will maximize the chances of unlocking but will also ensure that you get your money back in case anything goes wrong. And believe me, there are so many things that can go sideways.

How do all iPhone Unlock services work?

As I said, you will see the word IMEI written somewhere on any type of iPhone Unlock service. With IMEI the service provider is able to locate the iPhone within the GSX and GSMA databases and change the Lock status of the device from Locked to Unlocked.

  1. SIM Locked > Unlocked
  2. Blacklisted > CLEAN
  3. iCloud Lock ON > OFF
Of course, there is no IMEI Unlock service that can do all three at once. For each of them, you need a different one. However, searching for iPhone Unlock regardless of the type, you will find that most companies charge $20 to $30, claiming that the service works no matter what. But things are way different.

In order for the Locked status to be changed to Unlocked in the IMEI databases, all those elements that I showed in what a complete IMEI Check must include must have specific values. Even if one is not what it should be, unlocking the iPhone will fail. That is, the overall IMEI status of an iPhone makes it eligible or not for unlock.

At the same time, there are no IMEI Unlock services for all iPhones. Networks don’t want their phones to get unlocked by third-party sources, so they are constantly searching for and repairing loopholes used by IMEI Unlock vendors. Despite the permanent results of IMEI Unlock, the service itself is not always available and not necessarily under the same conditions when it comes back online.

Most companies just tell you that you are responsible for whether the iPhone meets all the unlocking requirements without warning you of the consequences. Of course, the service will not work but you will not receive any compensation. Basically, with the few dollars they ask for, they check the iPhone.

  • If it is eligible you will be asked for extra money as the cheapest iPhone Unlock service costs $50
  • If not, they will just keep the money you originally gave
This is why only a Full IMEI Check offers complete disclosure of all Lock issues, the existence of immediately available unlock services and whether the iPhone meets all the requirements.

Chapter 5

iPhone SIM Unlock

We all want to use any SIM Card we want without any restrictions.

Only then is our iPhone completely unlocked.
iPhone SIM Unlock

Mobile Networks' SIM Unlock Policy

Most iPhones are SIM locked to a network as it is advantageous to buy the device from it in installments in exchange for a two-year contract. This means that we are obliged to use SIM Cards from this network only. However, we can make a SIM Unlock request under certain conditions.

Each network has its own SIM Unlock policy and the iPhone must meet all the requirements to unlock it through the network. But some conditions are common to all.

  • iPhone must be locked from the network we are requesting SIM Unlock
  • We need to be network subscribers with the iPhone we want to unlock
  • There can’t be any unpaid bills or outstanding installments
  • It can’t be blacklisted
  • The contract must have expired or there must be a minimum amount of time that iPhone is enabled with network services, usually at least 6 months

How to apply for SIM Unlock on the carrier?

All mobile networks are required by law to offer SIM unlocking services free of charge. Taking a look at the most common SIM unlock conditions that networks oppose, you realize that this service is available to a few people.

Primarily, you must be the original owner, the person who signed the contract. However, the vast majority are people who bought a used iPhone and got stuck on the SIM Not Supported screen.

There is no way to request SIM unlock if you want to unlock a used iPhone. The only exception is AT&T in the US.

Factory Unlock

Either you are the original owner but your network refused to unlock your iPhone or you have a used phone in your hands there are third party services.

In the past you would have had alternatives through various methods but in recent years only the iPhone IMEI Unlock has remained.

Also known as Factory Unlock, it is directly related to and dependent on the iPhone IMEI. The process is completely wireless and usually takes a couple of weeks. In the end, all you have to do is a simple restore in iTunes and now you have got rid of the SIM lock once and for all.

Factory Unlock Services

There are many things to look for before purchasing a Factory Unlock service. In the first place, there should be a service available for the network you want to unlock and the iPhone model. But this is only the beginning.

The network SIM unlock policy and other elements of the overall IMEI status of the iPhone determine exactly what service you need.
For Clean iPhone
An iPhone is considered CLEAN when it meets all the requirements of the Carrier SIM Unlock policy. That is, there are no unpaid bills, they are not blacklisted, the contract has expired or all the needs of the contract have been met.

But there are many more small details depending on the network to make the iPhone compatible with some CLEAN IMEI Unlock service. For example:

I could show infinite similar sub-cases that can be unlocked but with different IMEI Unlock services. But you don’t need to be an expert to understand the complex requirements of IMEI Unlock. A full IMEI Check will show the real situation and in case the iPhone is not CLEAN it will indicate the Factory Unlock service you need.
For Blacklisted iPhone
You can SIM unlock a blacklisted iPhone if it meets the requirements of the respective IMEI Unlock service. Usually, these services are called Premium and of course, once again only an IMEI Check will show if the blacklisted iPhone is compatible with any of them.

However, I should point out a very important detail. SIM Unlocking a blacklisted iPhone does not allow you to use it in the country where it was blacklisted and the reason is that it remains blacklisted. Νow you can use it with any SIM Card you want abroad, extremely useful if you travel often, or sell it as unlocked at its maximum market value as a used iPhone.

But if you want to use it in the country that was blacklisted you will need a Blacklist Removal service.
For Unpaid iPhone
Unpaid iPhones are considered blacklisted by many but I characterize them as blocked.

Unlike blacklisted iPhones, simply SIM unlocking an unpaid iPhone will allow us to use it worldwide with all networks. The only network we will not be able to use is the one to which the debt is still pending.

However, there are separate cases, such as T-Mobile and Verizon, where the iPhone can sometimes not get unlocked unless unblocked first. This procedure is also known as Unbar and is usually the same as the corresponding blacklist removal service.
When the iPhone is active on another account
The contract status plays a very important role in the compatibility of an iPhone with a Factory Unlock service. In many cases, like AT&T, you will need a special service when the iPhone is still active on another account.

Chapter 6

iPhone Blacklist Removal

The only way to use an iPhone in the blacklisted country is to remove it from the blacklist.
IMEI Blacklist Removal for iPhone

How to clean a blacklisted iPhone

Blacklist removal is also known as Unblacklist or Unbar (this term is used when the iPhone is blacklisted for non-payment) will enable us to activate and use the iPhone where it was blacklisted.

This is an IMEI service that is subject to the same conditions and features that I mentioned for Factory Unlock (However many blacklist removal services apply to both iPhone and Android phones) but with a different mission. With IMEI Blacklist Removal, the iPhone is located in the databases but this time it cleans the blacklist status.

The reason and the network that put the iPhone on the blacklist play a dominant role since many times they are not stolen but something else has happened. There are even more extreme cases where the iPhone is SIM Locked on a network but blacklisted by a different one.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, I highly recommend an iPhone Blacklist Removal IMEI Check. This way you will know exactly what happened, if you can unblacklist it, if the service is available, and of course how much it costs.

Beware of Chimaera Device Policy

There is a very special case where the iPhone is blacklisted by Apple itself.

This happens when the device is stolen from a store, warehouse, or during transport. Apple also uses these iPhones as samples in its physical stores and official retailers.

Doing a Blacklist Check, you see nothing but the term Chimaera Device Policy everywhere. You should be absolutely sure that you haven’t got a Chimaera iPhone since at the moment there is no way to unlock it or clean it.

Chapter 7

iCloud Unlock

IMEI iCloud Unlock is the only real iCloud removal service.
iPhone iCloud Check
We could easily avoid buying an iCloud Locked used iPhone with an IMEI Check but we will figure it out without any doubt as soon as we turn it on since we are limited to the Activation Lock Screen.
iCloud Status locked iPhone screen
Unfortunately, the fact that we can not use any SIM card is the least bad since we have virtually no access to any function of the iPhone without the required Apple ID and password. Usually, iCloud Locked iPhones are also SIM locked or blacklisted or all that together. But there is no point in doing anything else unless you remove the iCloud lock first.

How to iCloud Unlock an iPhone

iCloud Lock is the most common and frustrating problem when buying a second hand iPhone and too many fraudsters try to deceive the unlucky buyers further with fake iCloud Unlock services.

These tools are mostly free and are supposed to hack the iCloud lock. What they are really doing is nothing more than imposing hidden charges through fake contests while others are even more dangerous as they try to steal your personal information (especially your credit or debit card code).
The only real iCloud Unlock service is again based entirely on IMEI unlock. But this time the providers locate the iPhone in Apple’s GSX database and change the iCloud status from ON to OFF.

But what they can not change is the activation of Lost Mode through Find My iPhone. In this case the iPhone is registered in the iCloud database as lost and at least until today no one has been able to change it.

IMEI iCloud Unlock has more prerequisites but certainly cannot be applied to lost iDevices. And I say iDevices because you can also unlock iCloud Locked iPads and Apple Watches as long as they meet the requirements and there is a service immediately available.

All you have to do is to make sure if your iCloud Locked device can be unlocked.

Chapter 8

iPhone Unlock Costs

Since there is no free IMEI Unlock or Free IMEI Check let’s see what is the safest and most cost-effective way to unlock an iPhone.
iPhone Unlock Costs

How much will it cost us to unlock an iPhone?

Definitely not $10 or $20 since that will only get us a Full IMEI Check.

Although prices vary from IMEI unlock vendor to another, there is a general idea.

  • The cheapest Factory Unlock service costs about $50 and is most often intended for Clean iPhones.
  • Blacklist Removal services usually start at $80
  • iCloud Unlock services are usually expensive but many start at $140

The secret of iPhone Unlock success lies in the initial investment:
An accurate & complete IMEI Check

By selecting the appropriate IMEI Checker you can have within seconds:

  • Full knowledge of the iPhone IMEI status
  • Which services are appropriate for the situation
  • If the iPhone is eligible for them
  • The most economical services from IMEI Unlock vendors with the highest success rates
  • Money-back guarantee for all iPhone Unlock services
  • Ongoing support from IMEI Unlock experts

This way you have both peace of mind and the confidence that you are not wasting your money on services that you don’t need or aren’t suitable for your iPhone.
Accurate IMEI Check

Guaranteed iPhone Unlock