Updated on 02-26-2019.
How Exactly Do SIM Lock Work?
Every mobile network has the right to lock a device in its service. This means that this phone only accepts SIM cards from this network and only it. That’s when an iPhone is SIM Locked. But why does this happen?
Let’s say you are a resident of the United States.
At this time you can buy a brand new iPhone XS Max, Space gray, 512 GB with $1450 from the Apple Store. The iPhone will be unlocked and you will be able to use any SIM you want in any corner of the world.
Of course, you can buy it through AT&T at $ 48.34/mo only, with a total cost of $1450. You are, of course, required to sign a 30-month contract, which means that for that period you will be able to use SIM cards ONLY FROM AT&T.
So since you do not have $1450 to buy an iPhone XS Max, the advantage of paying the money in 30 monthly installments at the cost of a contract and being limited in using a single network in just one country seems small … but it is not.
If you analyze what you will pay after 30 months to any Mobile Network, you will realize that the charges for the benefits of the contract (calls, messages and data) are such that in the long run, they will cost you much higher without actually needing them.
Why Networks stop Me from unlocking my iPhone and use any SIM?
The answer is one and obvious – It’s all about the money.
According to the previous example, you have been charged around $3000 for the new iPhone purchase from the first day and of course, no carrier will unlock it if you do not pay until the last installment.
The absurdity starts when you have covered the obligations of your golden contract, but the network continues to reject SIM unlocking requests.
How do you end up with a SIM locked iPhone?
I have already thoroughly analyzed how the original purchaser voluntarily chooses a locked iPhone. Of course, if he decides to sell it before (or even after) the termination of the contract, the problem is transferred to the next buyer with unforeseen consequences.
The risk of buying a second-hand iPhone is familiar to almost everyone.
You decide to buy a used device to save as much money as you can. Most of the time, despite the salesperson’s description, when you buy the phone and put your SIM card in, you realize you can not make or receive calls. Basically, the iPhone you bought is SIM locked.
But is this information enough to unlock it?
How to unlock an iPhone and use any SIM
I am sure that if you read some articles before my own or you visited some unlocking sites, the process is described as simple, secure and guaranteed.
In a few days, your iPhone will be unlocked with $19.95 or you will take your money back
Well, I’m sorry, but it’s not like that at all.
There are 3 ways to SIM unlock an iPhone and each of them has its pros and cons.
Naturally, the choice of the most appropriate depends on the case and most of the time, the “patient” is not in a position to know the situation he is in. But we’ll get there.
SIM Unlocking the iPhone through the Mobile Network
This must always be the first choice. After many years of legal disputes, since December 21, 2017, all carriers will unlock any iPhone for free or at an extremely small cost (about $10) if it meets some basic specifications.
- It is locked by this mobile network
- Has not been stolen, lost, replaced, or involved in some fraud (simply put, not being blacklisted)
- There are no unpaid bills or other debts
- The contract has expired or a specific pre-requisite period has elapsed (usually 90 to 180 days)
Certainly, every network has its own iPhone SIM Unlock policy and it is very common to deny unlock even if you meet the above conditions. The devil is in the detail after all.
Obviously, when you are the original owner you know very well which carrier has locked your iPhone and you can very simply communicate with them, learn all the above and ask for its SIM unlock.
On the other hand, if your iPhone is used, it is totally impossible to learn all this information without communicating with the previous owner or IMEI checking your phone. Unfortunately, even when you discover the identity of the network, frequently SIM unlocking services through it are only available to the original owner (the man who signed the contract)
In any case, unlocking your iPhone through the network services should be your first choice. If it is not available for you or very simply the carrier refuses, then you have other weapons in your arsenal.
IMEI iPhone SIM Unlock – The Best Alternative so far
This method (aka Factory Unlock or Official Unlock) is remaining at the top of preferences for at least the last seven years, and there is nothing accidental about it. The IMEI of the iPhone is enough to unlock it for all GSM networks globally.
A few years ago nothing could stop the Factory method from SIM Unlocking an iPhone. Today, however, the availability of this service is determined by specific factors:
- The mobile network which has locked the phone
Although it is applied to a large variety of carriers worldwide, unfortunately, it is not available for all of them
- The financial balance
If there are unpaid debts, this method is limited to fewer networks.
- The Blacklist Status
In this case, the options are also very specific
So you have to make sure you can use this service and the only way to succeed is to know the full state of your iPhone. And an IMEI Check will show you the way.
Hardware SIM Unlock – Can I Trust It?
Until the end of 2018, I detested this alternative. Although it was extremely cheap, the problems it could create could cost you much more.
However, there is a specific Hardware Unlock SIM Card that I recently discovered and it has nothing to do with any of the above. It is a permanent solution without any complication.
The issue is that in many cases it is preferable to stick with the classic IMEI unlock.
So, it’s just another dilemma only an IMEI Check can solve.
iPhone SIM Unlock Software – Stay Away
For historical and only reasons I have to say that this method was the very first ever developed and remained a reliable solution until iPhone 4 running iOS 6.1.6 where it worked for the last time.
There is no software SIM unlock for iPhone from 2011 onwards. If you see a site advertising any type of software that can unlock your device is very simply a fraud.
Which is the best iPhone unlock service?
We have identified the root of all evil and showed you the three ways to deal with it. The only thing left is to determine which method to choose for iPhone SIM Unlock.
Several times I have stood in the importance of knowing the state of your mobile. Essentially, this is the only way to choose the service that suits you.
Every day, people ask for my help through this blog describing their situation and after an IMEI Check, the reality is completely different from what they initially believed.
So, before you start a wild goose chase, it is wiser to first check your iPhone and then find the appropriate solution based on the information that the IMEI Check report will reveal.
For me, this is the decisive principle of trying to unlock the SIM lock on your iPhone.
Solutions exist but they are not “all for one and one for all”.