How to Carrier Unlock an iPhone
This wikiHow teaches you how to remove a carrier's SIM restrictions on an iPhone, which will allow you to use other carriers' SIM cards in your iPhone.
Part 1Contacting Your Carrier
1For example, if you are a member of the armed forces and are soon traveling overseas, carriers must unlock your phone on request. Be sure to check with your carrier about any other specific circumstances you have.
2This information includes the following: Account information - Typically, this comprises your first and last name, phone number, and a PIN (or your Social Security Number). IMEI number - Your iPhone's IMEI number is an identifying tag found next to the "IMEI" heading in the "About" section of the "General" page, which you'll find near the top of the Settings app. Other information - Your carrier may request details on your current plan, how long you've had your iPhone, and how much you've paid off if you're on a contract. Even though carriers typically have access to this kind of information, it's a good idea to have it on-hand just in case. If you're in the military, you'll need to bring your deployment papers.
3Ultimately, the decision is up to them; however, if you meet the proper requirements for carrier unlocking as outlined in your carrier's policy, you can usually get your phone unlocked: - Most Verizon phones come unlocked to begin with. Call or visit you local Verizon store to make sure your iPhone can support your preferred network. - Sprint will unlock your phone if it has been active on the Sprint network for at least 50 days, you have fulfilled the conditions of your lease or purchase, the phone isn't locked by law enforcement or flagged for criminal activity, and you haven't missed any payments.  - AT&T will unlock your phone if it is designed for and used on the AT&T network at the time of the call and not flagged for criminal activity. You also need to have paid any early termination fees or contractual obligations. - If your phone is registered to T-mobile, you have completely paid for the phone, the phone has been on the T-mobile network for either a year (prepaid phones) or 40 days (month-to-month phones), it hasn't been flagged for criminal activity, and you haven't missed any payments, T-Mobile will unlock your phone for you. Ask your service provider about device compatibility on other networks. Some phones won't work on other networks' cellular frequencies.
4If you have the necessary information and your carrier is contractually allowed to unlock your phone, they will do so. After your carrier unlocks your phone, you'll need to visit a different carrier whom you'd like to use and purchase a SIM card from them. To use another carrier's network on your iPhone, simply insert that carrier's SIM card into your iPhone. The carrier must first activate the SIM.
Part 2Purchasing a Third-Party Unlock
1Some iPhones' hardware is geared toward using CDMA rather than GSM networks, meaning that trying to use a GSM network like AT&T on a phone built for CDMA will be a hit-or-miss experience. For example, trying to activate a Verizon iPhone on an AT&T network might not work due to the iPhone being built to work with CDMA rather than GSM. The best way to figure out whether or not your phone will support your preferred network is by calling the carrier to which you'd like to switch and asking them.
2There are plenty of companies that will sell you stock unlock codes for your phone. These companies circumvent current restrictions by operating in countries not covered by US law. is a well-reviewed choice.
3Before paying any company to unlock your phone, research the company as thoroughly as possible. Find user reviews, and ask around in phone enthusiast forums. Always be wary of potential scams, especially when you are paying to skirt your carrier's policies. Never enter your phone's information or your card details on a website that doesn't start with "HTTPS". There are several apps that will claim to unlock your phone, but these are scams at best. Don't download unlocking software to your phone.
4Your iPhone will be added to Apple’s official unlocked phones list, which means it will stay unlocked even if you upgrade iOS versions. To add the iPhone to the list, the company you are paying will need your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) code, which is unique to your iPhone. There are a couple ways to find this: On any iPhone, you can dial *#06# and your IMEI code will be displayed. You can also open your iPhone's Settings, tap General, tap About, and look at the number next to "IMEI" near the bottom of the page.
5If at all possible, use PayPal to complete the transaction rather than using a credit or debit card. Be sure to select all of the correct information about your device so that you get a code that works for your phone.
6After your phone is unlocked by your selected service, you'll need to have a SIM card from your new carrier in order to take advantage of their network.
7Once you receive confirmation that your iPhone has been unlocked, you will need to activate it before the unlock takes effect.