how to unlock iPhone

How to unlock your iPhone

SIM-locked iPhones should be a thing of the past from the end of 2021, but if you happened to have an old iPhone from before, then you need to know how to unlock your iPhone safely with this helpful guide.

Aren't all iPhones sold unlocked?

Not necessarily true as iPhones sold by network carriers are commonly SIM locked to their network for the duration of the contract you subscribe to. However, unlocking iPhones is slowly becoming a thing of the past in the UK, ever since Ofcom announced that by the end of 2021 all network carriers must provide sim free mobile phones. This change happened not too long ago, so there could still be sim-locked iPhones circulating today in the refurbished smartphone market.

For the best approach on how to unlock your iPhone, and with different network providers, read this guide below for everything you need to know.

What is an unlocked iPhone?

Unlocked iPhone means your iPhone is able to connect to any mobile network carrier of your choice. This means you are not bound to just one network where you have to stick to their SIM card plans only. Instead you can swap and change network carriers freely. Locked iPhones are normally associated with purchasing an iPhone through a network carrier rather than through Apple or other independent iPhone sellers like Back Market. For more details about understanding what "unlocked" means, check out our other helpful guide to understand the difference between locked and unlocked iPhone.

Why unlock your iPhone?

There are a few reasons why unlocking your iPhone will come in handy, for example you might be an environmental rockstar and are helping to save the planet by inheriting a second hand iPhone from your family member, or you chose to buy a refurbished iPhone with Back Market and need to configure your iPhone with your current network - luckily with Back Market almost all of our iPhones are sim free! Another reason could be you’ve found your ideal SIM-only plan and don’t want to fork out more money for a new iPhone plus SIM contract package. Whatever the reason, the ultimate benefit to unlocking your iPhone is the flexibility with switching network carriers, as this will dictate how you use your iPhone on the go.

Is unlocking your iPhone legal?

Unlocking your iPhone is 100% legal, as long as you have finished paying for your initial contract with your network carrier. To avoid this inconvenience, it is best to purchase an iPhone outright or independently away from a network provider (like Back Market). For queries on whether you can still unlock your iPhone whilst under a contract with your provider, then we recommend you seek advice from them.

How to check if my iPhone is locked?

This will be easily noticeable from the moment you insert your SIM card, a message will appear on your iPhone screen stating that your ‘SIM is not supported’.

What are the different ways to unlock your iPhone?

There are a few unofficial methods to unlocking your iPhone in which we highly do not recommend as this could put in danger your existing warranty with your provider. Unofficial ways are commonly known as ‘jail-breaking’ your iPhone, which not only does not guarantee a permanent fix (Apple regularly updates its software to undo these fixes), but also puts your iPhone’s functionality at risk too! The next steps below will tell you how to safely unlock your iPhone.