Tips to reveal if your iPhone has an IMEI lock and how to unlock it

Hello there! I recently received many questions about how to find out if an iPhone has an IMEI lock and if it is possible to unlock it in all cases. The truth is that unlocking an iPhone will depend on its particular lock state. Most iPhones can be easily unlocked. I have helped people with this issue, and I have received positive feedback about it. But, some people still don’t know anything about IMEI check and unlock so this post is dedicated to all of you who are searching for info to make a better decision.

Before we talk about unlocks, let’s review the types of iPhone locks:

  1. Carrier Lock

  2. iCloud Lock

  3. IMEI Lock

Carrier Lock

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When you buy an iPhone from a Carrier, it comes locked to their network. They place the lock so you can only use your iPhone with that particular carrier.

For example, if you buy an iPhone from AT&T, you can only use that carrier’s SIM card.

Doesn’t sound fair, but at the end of the day, you get the iPhone you want at an affordable upfront cost. The problem comes when you want to sell the iPhone or if you travel to a location that does not have access to the carrier’s network.

iCloud Lock

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The iCloud lock is the most difficult to unlock. It uses the Apple ID password of the first owner, and without it, you can’t gain full access to the phone.

You can activate the iCloud lock through “Find my iPhone” in the iPhone settings. If you enable this option, the only way to unlock the iPhone will be with the password set from the beginning.

If you have an iCloud lock, you cannot activate the iPhone, personalize it, make calls, update the software or restore it (erase all data). In short, you cannot use the iPhone at all.


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An IMEI lock indicates that the iPhone got reported as lost or stolen. An iCloud locked iPhone usually has been blacklisted too. The blacklisted places the iPhone’s IMEI number on the blacklist database. It prevents you from using any SIM card with the iPhone, which means you won’t be able to make calls or send messages. 

The IMEI is a number that uniquely identifies each iDevice around the world. Carriers initiate the IMEI lock under different circumstances. 

What causes an IMEI lock?

  • The Carrier can perform it for contract non-payments.

  • The IMEI can get locked if an iPhone gets reported as lost or stolen.

  • An iPhone owner who lost their iPhone places an insurance claim which goes through.

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The carrier, iCloud, and IMEI locks are the three ways you can get your iPhone locked. If you are not sure about how your iPhone could be locked, my advice is to get an IMEI check so you can identify what type of lock your device has, and then you will get the proper information to unlock it. It worked great on my iPhone 5S by the way, and I still have it.

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Well, now I’m going to concentrate on the blacklist.

The IMEI lock affects an iPhone when carrier locks its IMEI. When it happens, the iPhone’s IMEI number is entered on the  Blacklist database. It then locks the iPhone’s network functions and prevents phone functions such as making calls or sending messages.

The ability to unblacklist an iPhone or use a blacklisted iPhone in another country depends on the where the theft got reported. Each country has its database of locked devices, but carriers usually share this information globally.

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It is very important to know if your iPhone is blacklisted. You can get a blacklist report to find out if your iPhone was stolen, which carrier locked the iPhone and also get some help to unblacklist it.

I recommend using the UnlockSpector services to get this information. You can check their user comments and the rating. The check comes at a considerably low cost and they offer recommendations to good and reliable unlock service providers. I already tried this with my iPhone 5S, and it was a good experience.

If you have more questions about how to verify if your iPhone is locked, you can check my recent post: FAQs you want to know about iPhone IMEI check and unlock

Have a nice day!

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    1. Adriana ( User Karma: 10 ) says:

      Hi Ian!

      The easiest way would be if you had the password from the iCloud account.
      If you don´t have it, you can check this ebook which specializes about iCloud unlock and it will give you guidance so you can solve your problem. I know it can be bothering but this tool will help you find out the answer. If you have another question, please you can reply anytime.
      I am glad to help 😉
      Best regards!

    2. Adriana ( User Karma: 10 ) says:

      Hi, Ian!
      Well, for iCloud locks, the best option is to count with the iCloud password which is provided by the owner or the previous owner of the iPhone. If you are not sure about what type of lock your iPhone has, I have tried UnlockSpector which solved my lock problem. I repeat, it is better to check the lock type and you will have experts advice about how to unlock your iPhone safely (and legally)
      Have a nice day!

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