How to Unlock an iPhone

How to Unlock an iPhoneIn this post we will cover multiple solutions on How to Unlock an iPhone. The focus will be on Network, SIM and Carrier Locks of an iPhone, and the goal to successfully perform/apply an iPhone Unlocking solution.

We will try not to focus much on many details (Since you can read more about SIM Lock – Unlocking services and iPhone Unlock to more deep and detailed articles), but to provide valid and Legal iPhone Unlocking services so you can get your iPhone Unlocked.

Many things have changed to the iPhone Unlocking topic in the past few years. Unlocking Methods, Unlock Policies, Legal Complications and iPhone Model incompatibilities. Let us start with the Legality of unlocking an iPhone first.


iPhone Unlocking – Legal or still “shady”?

Do not get “very” alarmed with the phrase “stil shady” that I used, since nowadays, you can get your iPhone unlocked legally. It is approved by Apple and ALL Mobile Networks worldwide.

There was a period when some countries (Including USA I believe) were against iPhone Unlocking, but those days are long gone.

As a general rule, Mobile Network Subscribers are eligible to unlock their iPhone, as long as they completed their contract and applied for a Network Lock Removal request to their Network.


Details about how Mobile Networks react to iPhone Unlocking requests

You can skip this part if you are too bored to read it

There is something called “Unlocking Commitment” which is forced to all Mobile Networks. What basically does is to instruct ALL Mobile Networks to develop their devices in such a way, so they can get unlocked if the customer requests it.

Now, this is something that most (if not ALL!) Mobile Networks do not really want, so they have the right to create their own rules and procedures, in order for a subscriber to request a Network Lock Removal. Those rules are complicated and the subscriber has one try per year. The reason behind this complicated and “stupid” procedure is to discourage people from requesting an unlock and increase the chances for a rejection from their side (So the subscriber will stay with their services for one extra year).


How to Unlock your iPhone in 5 steps

  1. How to Unlock your iPhone in 5 StepsMake sure that your iPhone has a Network/SIM Lock (3 Methods to check if your iPhone is Unlocked)
  2. Find out WHICH Mobile Network/Carrier is locking your iPhone
  3. Send a Network Lock Removal request to their Unlocking Department
  4. Wait a few days for processing your iPhone Unlocking request
  5. Receive a reply of your request
    1. If it is positive, proceed with a full iOS Restore through iTunes and receive a Successful Unlock confirmation pop-up
    2. If it is negative, you need to wait for 1 year and resend a request


Software, Hardware and IMEI Methods – How to Unlock your iPhone

Let’s do a quick summary of all the available iPhone Unlocking methods that were used in the past and the ones that are still being used today.

Software Method – iPhone Unlocking

  • Outdated unlocking method
  • Supported iPhone models: iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs & iPhone 4 (for iPhone 4 only up to iOS 4.3.5)
  • How to Unlock iPhone with Software: Jailbreak, Download from Cydia unlocking tool [yellowsn0w, Ultrasn0w, BootNeuter or blacksn0w] and reboot your iPhone.

How to Unlock iPhone with Hardware Method

  • This method is still being used
  • Supported iPhone models: All iPhone models, except iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+
  • How it works: Purchase a specially designed SIM-Card and squeeze it with your SIM-Card to the sim tray.
  • Dangers: Permanent damage to your SIM-Tray and SIM-Card. Over 65% failure rate. Low voice Quality & sudden call drops.

IMEI iPhone Unlocking method

  • This method is active
  • Supported iPhone models: All iPhone models
  • How to Unlock an iPhone through IMEI: You need to know which network is locking your iPhone, purchase a specific iPhone unlock service for this carrier, provide the IMEI number to a third party iPhone unlock provider and pay this service.
  • Dangers: In rare cases, the iPhone might get relocked.


How to Unlock an iPhone - Benefits and Reasons

Reasons to Unlock an iPhone

The main problem of a locked iPhone is the restriction of using other SIM-Cards than the one your iPhone is programmed to use.

For instance, if your iPhone is Locked on AT&T USA network, your iPhone is only able to use the AT&T USA network. If you put a different SIM-Card, it will get rejected by all other Mobile networks and one of the following messages will appear to your iPhone’s screen:

  • SIM Not Valid
  • SIM Locked
  • The SIM card inserted in this iPhone does not appear to be supported
  • SIM Not Supported
  • Invalid SIM Card Error


Benefits of an Unlocked iPhone

  • Able to use ANY SIM-Card you want
  • Travel Abroad and use local SIM-Cards
  • Avoid Roaming fees while travelling
  • Change between Pay as you Go carriers without any restrictions
  • Use your iPhone Contract-FREE
  • Increase the resale value of your iPhone


How to Unlock an iPhone through a Network Lock Removal Request

We strongly believe that contacting your Lock carrier and send a Network Lock Removal request should be your first step.

Generally, the Network Lock Removal request is either FREE or has very small fees. The fees will only apply IF the unlock request is accepted by the Mobile Network, so the actual request is free of charge.

Mobile Network’s Unlock Policies

As we explained at the start of this article, the Network Lock removal request procedure is being “sabotaged” by the Mobile Networks, since they want to avoid losing their subscribers (And lose money!). Those policies are constantly change which means that your attempt for a Network Lock removal request will most likely fail.

The best approach will be to Authorize a company with experience on Network Lock Removal requests, in order to be 100% sure that the due process will be followed.


Network Lock Removal Request - How to Unlock an iPhoneBenefits of using a Network Unlock Request service:

  1. Be 100% sure that the due process will be followed
  2. Increase your chances for a successful iPhone Unlocking
  3. Be part of an Official, Legal and Legitimate procedure
  4. Get the unlock confirmation from the Mobile Network (Not from a third party company)
  5. Get your iPhone Unlocked permanently
  6. Save time since you do not have to get involved at all with the whole procedure

Check the eligibility for unlocking your iPhone

In most cases, if you call the Lock network they will inform you that your iPhone is not eligible for an unlock. This is their policy, so the best way to check if your iPhone is eligible for an unlock is to:


Our conclusion on “How to Unlock iPhone” solutions:

  1. Software iPhone Unlock is for older iPhone models (Up to iPhone 4)
  2. Hardware iPhone Unlock does not have guaranteed results
  3. IMEI iPhone Unlock is an expensive solution (Only as a last resort)
  4. Network Lock Removal Request procedure should be assigned to experts for increasing the success rate


You now know all available iPhone unlocking methods and you know How to unlock your iPhone permanently and legally.

Pick the one that best suits you!

Related articles from iPhone Unlock category:


  1. Fransis says:

    Hello Jason,

    So, your recommendation is to approach those experts and start a Network lock removal request through them?

    Why don’t I just order an IMEI unlock service? Wouldn’t they help me to find the network lock of my iPhone 6+ and then unlock it?

    Thank you

    1. Jason ( User Karma: 54996 ) says:

      Hey Fransis,

      The reason of suggesting the Network Lock removal request as a first step, is because it is FREE.

      Now, by contacting the experts that I am mentioning, you will need to pay them for offering you their services, but the price is extremely low comparing it with an IMEI Unlock service.

      If your iPhone 6+ is eligible for a FREE network lock removal request, you will be able to permanently unlock your iPhone with the lowest price possible.

      Now, if you want to go for an IMEI Unlock service, you need to know before making the order, in which Network your iPhone is locked to, its Blacklist status, its financial status and its contract status (Also the iCloud must be either deactivated or it should be your iCloud account).

      If you do not know all the above information, then the chance of purchasing a wrong IMEI Unlock service is high, and not only the unlock will fail, but you will not be eligible for getting a refund (This is the policy in all iPhone unlock providers).

      The experts that will handle the network lock removal request for your iPhone, are doing an upfront full iPhone IMEI Check, so in case of a network lock removal rejection from the Mobile Network, you will have accurate information about your iPhone, so you can proceed with an IMEI Unlock order.

      Hope that helped!

      1. Fransis says:

        oooo ok, now I got it.

        Thanx Jason for your help.

        I will try them and I ll update here of the results. Hope it will work! 😀

  2. Dorn Gray says:

    Great info.

    I tried the iPhoneUnlock.Zone and they found that my iPhone was locked on AT&T USA.

    They informed me that they requested from them an unlock with their template, and within the same day my iPhone got unlocked!

    I will do the same with a Softbank japan iPhone my brother has! Will update here how it will go 😀

    Thanx again!

    1. Jason ( User Karma: 54996 ) says:

      Good to hear that Dorn!

      We will also create an article about Softbank Japan iPhones (Actually we already have one with some information – Go to Unlock Softbank Japan iPhone)

      Enjoy your AT&T USA unlocked iPhone. Hope they will manage to unlock your Softbank Japan iPhone as well 😀

      Take Care!

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