In this article we will explain how to unlock your iPhone and use a cheap Sim Only Deal for iPhone from Another Network, what a locked iPhone actually means and how you can unlock it without invalidating the warranty. So to summarise, these instructions will enable you to keep your old phone and use a cost effective Sim only deal from another network in your iPhone.
We do not recommend that you unlock your phone in any other way otherwise your guarantee may not be valid and that would not be good if the iPhone becomes faulty and needs a repair done by the phone Network or Apple.
So What is a Locked iPhone?
A locked iPhone is one that can only be used with a particular mobile network. For example an iPhone that can only be used with the Vodafone network is said to be 'locked' to the Vodafone Network.
It is worth remembering that even if you purchased an iPhone directly from Apple without a Sim card i.e. A Sim Free iPhone, that software on the iPhone may lock it to the first Network that the phone was used with.
An iPhone detects which Network is being used by reading information on the Sim Card that has been put into it. If the phone is locked it will usually let you know by way of an on screen message or it will not locate the phone network and appear not to be available for regular phone calls. Usually only 999 or emergency phone calls will be available in this mode.
Can I Check If My iPhone is locked?
Yes, the easiest way to check if your iPhone is locked to a Network is to follow these steps:
- Switch the iPhone off
- Remove the Sim Card from the iPhone
- Get another Sim Card from a friend or phone store that uses a different Network
- Place the borrowed Sim Card into the Phone
- Switch the iPhone on
- See if it is possible to make regular calls using the new Sim Card
- If you can make regular calls, the iPhone is unlocked
- If you cannot make regular calls, but only emergency calls - the iPhone is locked
So I Have A Locked iPhone - What Next?
Next you need to contact your Phone Network and ask them to unlock the phone remotely. A Network will usually do this free of charge and if you are out of a current contract.
If you are still in a contract the Network may charge a release fee which will get you out of your contract, but the more time that is left on the contract the more expensive that will be.
It should take up to 72 hours for your Network to unlock the phone remotely and then you will be able to use that iPhone with any Sim Card from any Network - potentially saving a lot of money by keeping your old phone and using a new cheaper iPhone plan with it.
Some Networks make it very easy to unlock your iPhone to use a new better Sim Only contract from another Network.
Unlocking O2 Phones
O2 have an online form which make this very easy and can be found on their website at the information for unlocking O2 phones page
Unlocking EE Phones
EE make unlocking a phone more difficult and it takes up to 20 days. Full information is available from their website unlocking EE phones pages
Unlocking Vodafone Phones
Vodafone is straightforward about unlocking. To unlock a Vodafone iPhone, use their simple online form on their website. They will charge a small amount and unlock within 48 hours
Unlocking Three Phones
The 3 Network now offer all new iPhones as unlocked, which is a great consumer benefit. However if you have one of their older contract iPhones they also make unlocking easy with no charge but it may take up to 7 days and more information is available on the Three website.
Unlocking Orange Phones
To unlock an Orange phone, as they are now owned by EE - it is the same process to use the phone with a more cost effective Sim Only contract and information is on the EE website.
Unlocking T-Mobile Phones
Unlocking a T-Mobile phone as per Orange - they are now owned by EE so head on over to the EE website and follow the instructions but remember that they charge the most and it takes longer than other networks.
Unlocking Virgin Phones
Use a Virgin phone with a cheap sim only deal by unlocking according to their own instructions. virgin have an unlocking fee of 15:32 and they say this can be done instantly here.
Unlocking TalkMobile Phones
Talkmobile phones are apparently already unlocked, so you are free to use a great Sim Only Deal for your iPhone straight away. If in doubt, more information can be found on the TalkMobile help pages.
Once your phone is unlocked then you are free to find the Best Sim Only contract and use it with your existing iPhone, potentially saving hundreds of pounds - and of course, you get to keep your beloved iPhone even longer.