Unlocking a Sprint phone (and iPhone) is a topic that confuses a lot of users since Sprint merged with T-Mobile. Fortunately, it is still possible to unlock a Sprint phone officially.
Sprint USA merging with the T-Mobile network did not affect the unlocking procedure, especially if you want to do it through the carrier.
In this post, we will show you how to Unlock a Sprint phone (and iPhone) and analyze the following topics:
- Unlocking a Sprint phone through the carrier
- Requirements for Unlocking a Sprint phone successfully
- Which Sprint phones are eligible for unlocking?
- Differences between Domestic & Sprint worldwide care unlocks
- Sprint Worldwide Care team method – International unlock
- Calling Sprint support method – Domestic unlock
- Requirements for Unlocking a Sprint phone successfully
- Unlocking a Sprint iPhone through third-party services
- Sprint Unlocking with an Unlock Code – Android devices
- Sprint Unlocking with IMEI Method – iPhones
- What should you do before ordering a Sprint IMEI Unlock or Unlock Code service?
- FAQs for Sprint Phone & iPhone Unlocking
- Will my Sprint phone be compatible with other carriers?
- What is the best US network to get after unlocking my Sprint phone?
- I have a Sprint prepaid plan – How do I unlock it?
- Can I unlock my Sprint phone/iPhone by jailbreaking it? Is unlocking and jailbreaking the same thing?
- Is unlocking my Sprint phone legal?
- Is Sprint legally obligated to inform me if my phone can get unlocked or if it already unlocked?
- SUMMARY: Which method should I use for Unlocking a Sprint iPhone?
If you already have tried to unlock your Sprint phone / iPhone through the carrier and your request was rejected, you can get an iPhone IMEI Unlock check to find all available unlocking options specifically for your device.
Unlocking a Sprint phone through the carrier
Sprint is not the only company that locks its phones, it is a very common tactic among most mobile networks. However, the FCC ruled out that ALL mobile networks should offer a way for their customers to request an unlock.
Having said that, it is not illogical for the carriers to lock their phones since they want to be protected from a few loopholes a user might exploit. Phones that are being sold by carriers, often come with a large discount (even for free) when they are bound to a 12-month contract.
In those cases, Sprint (and all other carriers), lock its devices until the contract is completed. They are trying to prevent people from getting a brand new phone with a contract without paying the full price and then stop paying their bills.
So, unlocking a Sprint phone is possible but there are a few unlock eligibility requirements.
Requirements for Unlocking a Sprint phone successfully
Sprint is very strict with its unlocking policies, so make sure you tick them all off before requesting an unlock:
- The phone must be activated with the Sprint network for at least 90 days
- 12 months for Prepaid Sprint phones
- The phone must not have any outstanding financial balances, such as unpaid bills
- The phone should be paid off, in case it was on a lease agreement
- The phone must not be reported as lost, stolen, or fraud
- A request for unlocking should not have been made within the last 12 months
- The phone should be able to get SIM Unlocked
If your phone does not meet all the above requirements, the only available solution is to find an IMEI Unlock (for iPhones) or an Unlock Code (Android) service.
Which Sprint phones are eligible for unlocking?
The last requirement for successfully unlocking a Sprint phone is “The phone should be able to get SIM Unlocked”. The statement itself sounds weird, but there is a reason behind it.
If you bought a phone that was manufactured after 2015 then you can be 100% sure that it can get SIM unlocked. The problem lies with the older phones. Even though Sprint is a CDMA carrier (you can read more about CDMA unlocking), some older phones supported SIM cards.
Those models cannot get unlocked through an IMEI Unlock method or Unlock Code. You need to use something that is called MSL unlocking code, which will basically reprogram your device’s ROM. You can read more about the MSL code from techjunkie.
Here is a list of some of the most popular Sprint devices that are eligible for domestic and international unlocking:
- iPhones 5s, 5C, 6 and 6s series, 7 series, 8 series, X series, 11 series, and 12 series.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+, S9 / S9+, Note 8, and all the models that came after them.
- LG G5, G6, V30, and all the models that came after them.
iPhone 5 can get unlocked for international use, but not for domestic.
Differences between Domestic & Sprint worldwide care unlocks
Sprint allows its customers to request a Worldwide (international) and/or Domestic unlock.
The “interesting” part is that if Sprint accepts your worldwide unlock request, you will normally be able to use other networks outside of the USA without any problems.
However, if you try to use a USA carrier, you will get a SIM Not Supported error. You will need a Domestic unlock to start using USA carriers, which means that you will have to contact Sprint again and send them a domestic unlock request.
Domestic and Worldwide unlock requests have also a few requirements which are similar to the general unlock eligibility requirements.
For a Worldwide (international) unlock request, you will have to contact Sprint Worldwide Care.
For a Domestic unlock request you will have to contact Sprint Customer Care.
Sprint Worldwide Care team method – International unlock
Sprint was kind enough to build an International Support Request Form to make the whole process quicker and easier.
All you have to do is to go to the Sprint Worldwide Care page, fill out the form, and wait for their response. They might also contact you for further information.
Note: Pick the “Enable International Service” option from the drop-down menu.
TIP: You can also attach a few documents, which is optional. However, we highly recommend attaching a few that prove that you are the owner of the device you want to unlock (the contract or a bill). It will make the process go faster since the Sprint agent might not need to contact you for further information.
Calling Sprint support method – Domestic unlock
For a Domestic unlock you will have to call Sprint support, which means that you must be ready to give some information about you and your device through the phone.
Some of them are:
- The account number of your phone
- The account password, or last four digits of your social security number
- The IMEI number of your phone (dial *#06# and note it down)
- The phone’s number
It is also good to have all the available documents that are related to your Sprint phone near you.
Phone numbers of Sprint support:
- 888 211-4727
- 855-639-4644 (for prepaid phones through the Sprint forward program)
- 888-226-7212 (for U.S. military deployed overseas) – Have your deployment papers near you
Unlocking a Sprint iPhone through third-party services
In the unfortunate event of an unlock request rejection from Sprint, there is no reason to despair. The next step is to find a third-party unlocking service provider to remove the SIM-Lock from your Sprint phone.
The company and service you will pick depends on the Sprint phone you own. For instance, an Android phone uses the Unlock Code method, and an iPhone uses the IMEI Unlock method.
Sprint Unlocking with an Unlock Code – Android devices
Android devices require an Unlock Code to get SIM Unlocked. This Unlock Code is being generated by a third-party company using software.
The mobile networks and manufacturers own a database of all unlocking codes based on the IMEI number of the phone. So, when a customer buys a phone from Sprint and then requests for an Unlock Code, it is very easy for Sprint to locate the code using the phone’s IMEI number and send it to the customer to fully unlock the phone.
The same procedure applies to third-party unlocking companies. They do not have access to these databases, but they can reproduce them using software with similar algorithms.
Once you purchase an unlock code specifically for your phone model and carrier, the unlocking procedure is straightforward:
- Turn on your Sprint phone and insert the SIM-Card you want to use
- You will be asked to type the “SIM Network Unlock PIN” or the “Network Lock Control Key”
- Type the Unlock Code you received from the third-party company and get your phone unlocked
NOTE: Sometimes, the phone might ask you for the MCK (Unfreeze Key) before the NCK (Network Code). If you do not have the MCK you should ask it from the third-party unlocking company.
Sprint Unlocking with IMEI Method – iPhones
The iOS devices cannot get unlocked with an unlock code, they need an IMEI method.
All available information about iOS devices can be found in Apple’s GSX databases. Within these, you can check if a device is locked, blacklisted, iCloud locked, is under contract, has unpaid bills, has the IMEI/Serial replaced, and much more.
The IMEI method can change the SIM-Lock status of an IMEI number inside GSX, from Locked to Unlocked. This will allow the device to use any network its owner wants.
Each iOS device requires a specific IMEI service to get unlocked, there is no “one-solution-for-all”.
Once you pick the right service, you simply need to provide your iPhone’s IMEI number and wait for a few days for the unlock confirmation.
NOTE: We highly recommend doing an iCloud backup before starting the unlocking process.
- Once you receive the unlock confirmation notification remove the old SIM-Card and place the new one you want to use
- You will have to follow the on-screen instructions which is the normal setup process
- You should sign in with your iCloud account and then pick how you want to set it up
- If you have a recent iCloud backup (as we recommended) do that, else set it up as a new iPhone
After completing all the above steps, your iPhone should be able to use any SIM-Card you want.
What should you do before ordering a Sprint IMEI Unlock or Unlock Code service?
In order to pick the right Sprint IMEI Unlock and Unlock Code service, there are a few things you should know before making the actual order.
The reason why it is important to pick the right service is that in case of a wrong order, you will not be eligible for a refund. It is a common refund policy for all third-party unlocking companies.
You will need to know:
- The IMEI number of your phone / iPhone
- The phone model and manufacturer / the iPhone model
- The mobile network that is locking it
- The blacklist status of the device (the reason, the carrier, and the country as well)
- The contract and financial status
- The iCloud status (for iPhones)
- The IMEI/Serial replacement status
With a Phone / iPhone IMEI Check report, you can instantly get accurate and up-to-date information for all the above.
FAQs for Sprint Phone & iPhone Unlocking
Below we gathered a few questions from our users and from other websites which we believe will answer most of the questions you might have about Sprint phone unlocking.
Will my Sprint phone be compatible with other carriers?
It really depends on which carrier you plan on using after successfully unlocking your Sprint phone. Generally, you might encounter some issues between GSM and CDMA carriers. Since Sprint uses a CDMA network, it might have a few issues with GSM network carriers.
Cell phone carriers use two types of technology to connect your phone to their network: GSM and CDMA. Sprint phones use CDMA technology, which means they sometimes don’t play as well with GSM networks.
What is the best US network to get after unlocking my Sprint phone?
Since Sprint uses a CDMA network, the best network to use is Verizon (which also uses CDMA). However, this is not always true because the phone model plays a role as well. We suggest ALWAYS check with the network you want to use before switching networks.
I have a Sprint prepaid plan – How do I unlock it?
Normally, Sprint will automatically unlock your phone after being activated for 12 months with them and is fully paid. For the prepaid Sprint phones, you need to contact them, they will not do it automatically. You can use the phones that we already listed at the top of that post.
Can I unlock my Sprint phone/iPhone by jailbreaking it? Is unlocking and jailbreaking the same thing?
Unlocking and jailbreaking are two completely different things. You can jailbreak a phone or iPhone, but in order to use an app for unlocking it, your device needs to be very old (manufactured before 2010). So, unlocking a new phone or iPhone, like iPhone 12 or Samsung S20, via jailbreaking, is not possible.
Is unlocking my Sprint phone legal?
Using IMEI Unlock methods and Unlock Codes is 100% legal. Also, mobile networks are obligated to have an easy procedure for their customers to request a SIM-Unlock (FCC rule). Once a contract ends, Sprint MUST remove the SIM-Lock automatically or after a customer request.
Is Sprint legally obligated to inform me if my phone can get unlocked or if it already unlocked?
If you do not own a prepaid phone, then Sprint should automatically unlock it, but they will not send any notifications. For the prepaid phones, you need to initiate the unlock request process, Sprint is not obligated to do anything.
Now, if you own a very old device that is not SIM unlocked-capable, Sprint MUST send a notification to you when your phone is eligible for an unlock (at the end of your contract). The process is a little bit different since you need to use an MSL unlock code process, but they will provide you a detailed step-by-step guide.
However, if you are a Sprint Forward customer with an old device (which requires the MSL unlock code process), Sprint will not notify you when your phone is eligible for unlocking. You need to initiate the unlock request by calling them.
SUMMARY: Which method should I use for Unlocking a Sprint phone / iPhone?
Unlocking your Sprint phone through them should be your first step.
- Verify that your phone meets Sprint’s unlock eligibility requirements
- Decide if you want to unlock it for Domestic, or International use (you can do both)
- Contact Sprint Support or use the Sprint Worldwide Care form
- Get your Sprint phone / iPhone unlocked
If your phone or iPhone does not meet the requirements for unlocking it through Sprint, then you will have to pick either an IMEI Unlock or an Unlock Code service.
- Perform a full IMEI check to be able to safely move to the next steps
- Find a third-party unlocking company that can unlock your Sprint phone
- Pick the right IMEI Unlocking or Unlock Code service (iOS or an Android device)
- Type your IMEI number (dial *#06#)
- Pick your phone / iPhone model
- Pick the network that is locking your iPhone
- Pick the blacklist/financial/contract status (for iOS devices)
- Get your Spring phone / iPhone unlocked
If you are unsure of one or more of the above steps, then you should check your phone / iPhone with an IMEI Unlock check service. This service will also suggest guaranteed and permanent available unlocking solutions from verified third-party unlocking companies.