What is a Locked iPhone and How to Unlock it?
The debate of an unlocked vs. a locked iPhone is probably as long as the iPhone itself. Many people prefer locked iPhones over unlocked ones, but these aren’t for everyone. An unlocked iPhone gives the liberty to switch networks whenever you want without the hassle of getting into a contract without a carrier.
But what exactly is a locked iPhone? And is there a way to unlock it?
We will shed light on these two essential questions in this article below.
What is a locked iPhone?
In the simplest terms, a locked iPhone means it will only work with the original carrier it was intended for. When you buy an iPhone through a network carrier, you get locked into a contract with them for a particular time period. People who purchase locked iPhones don’t have to pay the total price of the phone, and they can enjoy a regular cell plan’s stability.
People having locked iPhones cannot switch to another network carrier, which makes locked iPhones hard to resell. In order to avoid these restrictions, nearly 50 million people in the US have unlocked iPhones. It allows them to change carriers whenever they want and resell used iPhones easily.
It means you can resell an iPhone 11 used unlocked more easily than a locked one.
Why do carriers lock iPhones?
The primary reason carriers lock an iPhone is to prevent users from switching to other network providers before completing their contract duration.
Besides, users benefit from being able to pay off the total amount of their iPhones over the course of their contract. Since iPhones now cost an arm and a leg, this benefit is very lucrative for various interested buyers.
For instance, if instead of an unlocked iPhone 12 pro max you buy a locked one from a carrier like AT&T and T-Mobile, you will sign a contract. According to this contract, you can pay a monthly installment for the amount of your iPhone over an extended period of time. It helps you pay off the total value easily and enjoy a brand-new iPhone for a long time.
In exchange for these perks, the carrier requires you to continue using their network while you are in contract with them. So, you cannot change your mobile phone’s SIM card to another carrier during this period. These carriers install software on their devices to avoid scams and prevent users from switching SIM cards.
How to check if your iPhone is locked?
In order to confirm whether your iPhone is locked or not, you need to call your carrier and ask them. However, they will need some specific information about the device.
They will ask for the iPhone’s make and model along with its serial number. Since you may not have it all memorized, the iPhone keeps all the valuable info required by the carriers in the IMEI number.
You can easily find out your iPhone’s IMEI number by dialing *#06# on your phone call keypad. It will display the IMEI number on your screen, and you won’t have to go looking for it in the settings. You can simply take a screenshot and share it with the carrier in your correspondence.
If you don’t want to use this method, you can also search for the IMEI number in your settings. Open Settings and select General. Scroll to the bottom till you reach the About section. Open it, and you will find the IMEI number in this menu.
After collecting the IMEI number, you need to share it with your provider, and they will confirm whether your iPhone is locked or not. They will also tell you how long you have until you can unlock the iPhone.
But if you want to avoid all this hassle, you can simply replace the SIM card with another carrier’s SIM card. If you are able to make a call through the new SIM, it means your iPhone is unlocked. Otherwise, your iPhone is locked.
How to unlock your iPhone?
After ending a contract with the carrier, you can easily unlock your iPhone. It means you can get your iPhone 13 pro max unlocked after paying off the total value and ending the contract with the carrier.
However, before you attempt to unlock your iPhone, read the contract carefully to be on the safe side. Some carriers may require you to stay with them for a month or so even if you have paid off all the installments.
In order to unlock your iPhone, you can either call your carrier or consult an IT specialist. Your carrier may take longer to process your request, and it may take about a month before your iPhone is free of all locks. You can avoid this waiting period by consulting an IT specialist who can unlock it instantly. However, they will charge you while your carrier won’t.
Besides these methods, you can also attempt to unlock your iPhone on your own. The procedure is not easy and requires coding or using a particular software with a data cable. So, make sure you know what you’re doing before you start; otherwise, you may end up doing more damage than good.
Some carriers also allow unlocking your iPhone before the contract ends. However, they charge a hefty fee for that. So, review your agreement carefully before choosing the best option for unlocking your iPhone.
The Bottom Line
A locked iPhone is not a rare thing. Many people use locked iPhones as they allow them time to pay off their total value over a period of a few months. Moreover, they get to enjoy the stability of a regular cell plan. However, some people like the freedom of switching their carriers whenever they want. Since a locked iPhone doesn’t allow it, they prefer buying unlocked iPhones instead. But even if you buy a locked iPhone, you can unlock it after your contract ends, depending on the carrier’s policies. So, choose the option that fulfills your requirements and comes within your budget.