The internet is filled with guides and tutorials on how to unlock your iPhone but not much information can be found on the “How much does it cost to unlock an iPhone” question. There are many factors to take into account in order to determine the actual cost for unlocking an iPhone, which makes it difficult to calculate.
The iPhone model and its status (SIM-Lock, Carrier, Blacklist, Financial, Contract, iCloud, IMEI/Serial replacement, and more) play the most important role in determining the final cost for fully unlocking your iPhone.
We have updated this post with the latest prices of unlocking an iPhone, using data from a large number of carriers and over 2,000 third-party unlocking companies.
In this post, we will cover the following topics, focusing on the costs of unlocking an iPhone:
- Calculating the unlocking costs before buying an iPhone
- Costs buying an iPhone from an official carrier store or Apple
- Costs for buying an iPhone from a non official store
- Costs for verifying an iPhone’s status before buying or unlocking it
- Steps before buying an iPhone from a non-official store (online and offline)
- Steps before unlocking an iPhone
- How much does it cost to Unlock an iPhone through the lock carrier
- Unlocking an AT&T iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Verizon iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Sprint iPhone costs
- Unlocking a T-Mobile iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Boost Mobile iPhone costs
- Unlocking a US Cellular iPhone costs
- Unlocking an EE iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Vodafone iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Three (Hutchison) iPhone costs
- Unlocking an O2 iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Virgin Mobile iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Tesco Mobile iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Giffgaff iPhone costs
- Unlocking a Softbank iPhone costs
- How much does it cost to Unlock an iPhone & phone through third-party services?
- Cost to Unlock a phone using Unlock Codes
- Cost to Unlock an iPhone with IMEI services
- What are the costs for unlocking your iPhone if it is blacklisted or has outstanding financial balances?
- Which IMEI Unlock company to choose from?
- FAQ section on “How much does it cost to unlock an iPhone” – User Questions
- Is the cost for unlocking a newer model higher than unlocking an older one?
- Does the carrier that is locking my iPhone play a role in the cost of unlocking it?
- What is the cost to unlock my iPhone that still has unpaid contract bills?
- I accidentally purchased a blacklisted iPhone. Can I unlock it and what is the cost?
Costs buying an iPhone from an official store or Apple
This is the safest way of buying an iPhone since they are obligated to have full transparency about the status of the iPhone they sell. Even if it is about a used/refurbished iPhone, they should state exactly what the problem is, and its current status.
There are two available options:
- Buying an iPhone for its full price
- This means that it will be fully unlocked and you will be able to use any network you want worldwide without any limitations
- Buying an iPhone with a discount or even for free
- This means that the iPhone will be bound to a contract (12 or 24 months) and it will be locked to the network that you chose until the time you fully pay it off
The cost for buying a fully unlocked iPhone can go as high as $1,399 – For an iPhone 12 Pro Max, SIM-free and 512GB.
The cost for buying an under-contract iPhone can go as high as $46.64/mo for 30 months (the sum is $1,399.2) – For an iPhone 12 Pro Max, AT&T locked and 512GB.
The end cost is the same, but in the second case, you will only be able to use an AT&T SIM-Card, since the iPhone will be AT&T SIM-Locked.
In addition, you need to consider the extra unlocking costs if you want to use a different SIM-Card before the end of the contract, which is around $250.
Costs for buying an iPhone from a non-official store
Non-official stores are online stores, online advertisements, and random stores that are not official iPhone resellers. The reason that many people use them to buy an iPhone is their lower prices and cool offers.
Two of the most popular places to buy used iPhones are Craigslist and eBay.
You can see below (you can also do your own research) that the exact same iPhone model costs $822 on eBay and $1000 on Craigslist.
If you want to save some money, on the eBay offer, you can save over $500, which is great (is it?).
Unfortunately, buying from non-official stores is not always the best solution. At first, saving $500 seems like a no-brainer decision, but are you 100% sure that the seller is honest and transparent like the official stores?
The end cost for unlocking a used iPhone from a non-official store depends on its actual status. Is it locked? In which network? Does it have Unpaid Bills? Is it reported as Lost or Stolen? Is it iCloud Locked?
The costs for fixing the above lock issues can start from $30 and go up to $800 (if more than one lock is active). The $500 that you saved, might not look like such a bargain after all, and unfortunately, most of these great offers have something to hide!
Costs for verifying an iPhone’s status before buying or unlocking it
On one hand, we have the official stores with higher iPhone prices and a guarantee of their status, and on the other hand, we have the unofficial stores (online/offline) with lower prices but uncertain iPhone status.
Thankfully, there is a way to verify if an iPhone from an unofficial store has the desired status.
Steps before buying an iPhone from a non-official store (online and offline)
The first thing before buying or unlocking an iPhone from a non-official store is to verify if the product description is accurate. An iPhone’s information can be retrieved with an IMEI Check service.
From the IMEI check report, it is important to find the following information:
- iPhone model + color + model number + capacity
- SIM-Lock status
Carrier identification (if the iPhone is SIM-Locked)
- Blacklist status (Clean, Lost, Stolen, or Fraud)
- Blacklist carrier, country, and reason (if the iPhone is not CLEAN)
- Financial status (Fully paid off or Outstanding financial balances)
- iCloud status (if it is deactivated or activated with an iCloud account)
If the advertisement does not state SIM-Lock, Blacklisted, or iCloud status, the IMEI check report should have the following values:
- SIM-Lock: UNLOCKED
- Blacklist status: CLEAN
- Financial status: CLEAN
- iCloud status: OFF
If for any reason the IMEI check report does not agree with the iPhone description, it means that the seller is trying to scam you.
Steps before unlocking an iPhone from a non-official store (online and offline)
TIP: If you have the option to return the iPhone to its seller, do it immediately. Do not try to unlock it.
In the unfortunate event that you already bought an iPhone from a non-official store and you have issues using it (and you can’t return it), an IMEI check will help you fix it.
Based on the IMEI results, you can figure out what is locking your iPhone and prevents it from operating normally. Then, you can start searching for a solution, specifically for an iPhone with your characteristics.
If you receive the above IMEI report, you can see that this iPhone 12 Pro Max is locked on the Verizon USA network, it is CLEAN and it is not iCloud locked.
By knowing that, it is pretty straightforward that this iPhone needs a Verizon Unlock solution.
How much does it cost to Unlock an iPhone through the lock carrier?
All mobile networks MUST offer a free way to their customers for requesting a SIM Unlock. So, the answer to that question is $0, but there are a few exceptions.
Below you will find how to request a SIM Unlock from the most popular networks worldwide (this list will keep on growing based on your requests).
Unlocking an AT&T iPhone costs
AT&T has the best unlock request method through their Device Unlock form.
It is very easy to use and it doesn’t charge you at all.
Unlocking a Verizon iPhone costs
Verizon USA did not lock their devices for a very long time, however, a couple of years back this has changed.
Not a big deal though, since Verizon updated their unlocking policies stating that for the newly purchased devices, there will be an automatic unlock after 60 days of continuous use.
However, if you are in a hurry, you can contact them at 800-922-0204. The unlock request process is free.
Unlocking a Sprint iPhone costs
Sprint USA merging with T-Mobile did affect neither the unlock request procedure nor the unlocking costs. The process is exactly the same and the cost is $0.
Unlocking a T-Mobile iPhone costs
T-Mobile USA supports a few ways to request an unlock, depending on the device you want to unlock.
You can do it through the My T-Mobile account, through their customer support, or through an app (for Android devices).
Unlocking a Boost Mobile iPhone costs
Boost was part of Sprint, but Sprint was merged with T-Mobile. Now Boost mobile is part of DISH Wireless. This changed Boost’s unlocking requirements a bit.
If you have a device that was made before 2015, then it is not possible to unlock it.
One very important thing to remember is that Boost will not inform you when your iPhone is eligible for an unlock, so you will have to do the “heavy lifting”. This means that you need to call their customer care line (888-402-7366) and request for an unlock (They will inform you if your iPhone is eligible).
Unlocking a US Cellular iPhone costs
The devices that are sold after 2016 by US Cellular, were sold as unlocked. Those devices that for some reason are still locked, can get unlocked by calling their customer service line (611 from a US Cellular phone or 888-944-9400 on another device).
However, for the first 120 days, the iPhone will remain locked, in order to prevent theft and fraud.
Unlocking an EE iPhone costs
The EE UK network also uses an online form to make the whole process easier and quicker. However, it will charge you around $12-$13 (8.99 pounds).
If your iPhone is fully paid off and you do not want to wait for 18 months until they automatically unlock it, you can use this method.
If you are not an EE customer and you end up with an EE UK locked iPhone, you can use the same approach but you will have to present them with the name of the original owner, the EE phone number, and other details from that account.
Unlocking a Vodafone iPhone costs
Vodafone UK does not have any unlocking fees and does not care if you are the person behind that iPhone. However, you should provide them with a few details of the owner if you want the process to go faster.
If you are not the owner, you can fill their unlock request online form, and wait for up to 10 business days to get a response.
Unlocking a Three (Hutchison) iPhone costs
If you own an iPhone that was purchased after 2014 it will get automatically unlocked after activating it over WiFi or restoring it through iTunes (do a backup first!).
For older iPhones, you can simply fill out their unlock request form. No extra costs are involved, the whole process is free.
Unlocking a Virgin Mobile iPhone costs
Almost all Virgin Mobile iPhones should be unlocked. In the rare case that your iPhone is locked, you should either update your iPhone to the latest iOS version or restore it through iTunes.
If your Virgin Mobile iPhone is still locked then you should get in touch with their support by calling 150.
Unlocking a Tesco Mobile iPhone costs
If your Tesco iPhone is activated more than 12 months with them, you can send them an unlocking request for free.
If your device is activated for less than 12 months, then the unlocking process will cost you around $14 (10 pounds).
To request an unlock you will have to:
- Add $14 (10 pounds) to the Tesco Mobile number
- Use the same unlocking request form
Within the next 7 days, Tesco should fully unlock your iPhone.
Unlocking a Giffgaff iPhone costs
All Giffgaff iPhones are SIM Unlocked and without any contract.
Unlocking a Softbank iPhone costs
Softbank Japan network supports two ways for requesting a SIM Unlock:
- By logging into My Softbank account (free)
- By visiting a Softbank shop (around $30)
How much does it cost to Unlock an iPhone & phone through third-party services?
Before breaking down the costs of unlocking your iPhone through a third-party service, it is important to understand why you should choose this method.
Even though all mobile networks offer a way to request an unlock (free or for a very small fee), it is not guaranteed that they will accept it.
If your iPhone does not meet the carrier’s unlocking requirements, your request will be rejected. This means that unlocking your iPhone through the carrier will not be possible, at least until your iPhone meets their unlocking policies.
Some very common cases of an unlock request rejection are the following.
When your iPhone:
- Is not fully paid off
- Is active on another account
- Is still under contract
- Is reported as Lost or Stolen
- Is not activated for the required period (depending on the network’s unlock policy)
In such cases, the only available option for unlocking your iPhone is an IMEI Unlock service from a third-party unlocking company.
Depending on the device you have, iPhone or Android device, a different unlocking service will be needed. For Androids, the service is called Unlock Codes and for iPhones, the service is called IMEI Unlock.
Cost to Unlock a phone using Unlock Codes
There are hundreds of third-party unlocking companies that offer Android unlocking with the Unlock code service. This means that they have different prices and they do not all support the same Android phones.
However, we created a list with the most popular brands and the starting prices of their Unlock Codes.
|Samsung||From $10 and can go up to $70|
|Huawei||From $15 and can go up to $60|
|LG||Around $15 to $20|
|From $25 to $70|
|Nokia||From $10 and can go up to $30|
|OnePlus||From $30 to $75|
|Motorola||From $25 to $35|
|Acer||From $35 to $55|
|Alcatel||From $12 to $25|
|Asus||From $20 to $35|
The final price for getting an Unlock code might not be the same as the above table, since the Phone model and the network that is locking it might increase or even decrease it.
Use the following form to send us your phone model and the network that is locking it. We will help you to find the best third-party unlocking company and get your Unlock Code.
Cost to Unlock an iPhone with IMEI services
In general, IMEI services have a higher cost compared to Unlock Codes.
In order to find the final costs for fully unlocking your iPhone with an IMEI service, you need to know the following:
- iPhone model
- The network that is locking your iPhone
- iPhone’s Blacklist & Financial status
- And finally, the iCloud status
All the above, play a significant role in the final price.
Below is a list of the IMEI Unlock services costs for some of the most popular networks. The prices are only for iPhones that are not blacklisted, do not have any outstanding financial balances, and are not iCloud locked.
|Sprint/T-Mobile (they are merged)||around $200|
|Boost Mobile||around $50|
|US Cellular||around $40|
|Vodafone||from $60 to $250 (for the latest iPhone models)|
|Three (Hutchison)||around $50|
|Virgin Mobile||around $15|
|Tesco Mobile||around $25|
|Softbank||from $70 to $200 (for the latest iPhone models)|
The IMEI Unlock services that support non-Clean iPhones are called “Premium”. Those premium IMEI Unlock services have a very limited lifespan and capacity. This means that if a premium AT&T IMEI Unlock service gets online that supports AT&T devices with outstanding financial balances/active on another account/under contract, it will stay online for a few weeks and it will be able to unlock only a limited amount of IMEI numbers (around 150).
The only way to verify that a Premium IMEI Unlock service is online and reserve a spot (to make sure that your iPhone will get unlocked in time) is through an iPhone IMEI Unlock Check service.
- It will verify your iPhone’s status
- It will find the best available unlocking service for your iPhone
- It will reserve you a spot in case the premium IMEI unlock service is not yet available
- It will make sure that your IMEI number will get unlocked
Which IMEI Unlock company to choose from?
Now that you know what service will unlock your iPhone, you need to find a third-party service from an unlocking company, that offers it.
There are many reputable and respectable unlocking companies out there to choose from but you need to make very good research.
Unfortunately, among the thousands of unlocking companies, there are a lot of bad apples. Choosing them will cause you a lot of stress, will spend a lot of your time, and will also “steal” your money.
Below is a list of criteria that we use for picking a trustworthy unlocking company:
- Have an up-to-date website
- Always have the latest iPhone models
- Have excellent customer support (through ticketing platforms or even live chat)
- Support multiple payments with the most important one PayPal!
- PayPal will secure your payment and help you to get a refund in case of a service not delivered
- Do not offer non-refundable “pre-orders”
- This is a very common scam from multiple companies. They “offer” rare IMEI Unlock services for only $19.99, but it is actually a pre-order. Those payments are not refundable, so they are not obligated to offer you a service or a refund
- Have a clear and easy refunding procedure to their terms and conditions (refunding a payment through PayPal is the best so far)
- State when a service is OFFLINE and when was the last time this IMEI Unlock service was verified
To save a few hours, you can get an iPhone IMEI Unlock check service that will not only provide you a full IMEI Check report but will also find the best available IMEI Unlocking service specifically for your iPhone.
FAQ section on “How much does it cost to unlock an iPhone” – User Questions
Is the cost for unlocking a newer model higher than unlocking an older one?
This is true for both Androids and iPhones. For Androids the price difference is very small (maybe $10 to $20). For iPhone though, the price might get doubled!
Does the carrier that is locking my iPhone play a role in the cost of unlocking it?
Definitely yes for both Android and iPhones. For instance, a clean AT&T iPhone 6 can get unlocked for only $20 to $30, but a T-Mobile iPhone 6 might cost over $200. The carrier, the iPhone model, and the blacklist/financial status of an iPhone are the most important factors that affect the final unlocking cost.
What is the cost to unlock my iPhone that still has unpaid contract bills?
iPhones with unpaid contract bills require a premium IMEI Unlock service. Without knowing the iPhone model and the network that is locking it, it is not possible to state a price. However, the final price might be as twice as high as a normal IMEI Unlock service. For instance, a clean AT&T iPhone 8 can get unlocked for only $20, but the premium IMEI Unlock for AT&T iPhone 8 costs over $220.
I accidentally purchased a blacklisted iPhone. Can I unlock it and what is the cost?
You might be able, or not. I know that this is not helpful but this is the sad truth. The best way to find out if your blacklisted iPhone can get unlocked is through an iPhone IMEI Unblacklist Eligibility check service. It will identify which network and for what reason blacklisted your iPhone, locate an available premium IMEI unlock service and suggest it to you (if available).