How to Find Out if Your Phone Is Unlocked
This wikiHow teaches you how to determine whether or not your cell phone is locked to a specific carrier. If your phone is unlocked, you can use other carriers' SIM cards in your phone.
Part 1General Methods
1Doing so will give you an idea of what most people have experienced in this area. You can also use your phone's model number (e.g., "Samsung Galaxy S6" instead of just "Samsung Galaxy") to narrow the search results. With very few exceptions, Android phones are unlocked by default.
2If you open an iPhone's Settings, tap Cellular (or Mobile Data) near the top of the menu, tap Cellular Data Options (or Mobile Data Options) near the top of the page, and see an option entitled "Cellular Data Network" (or "Mobile Data Network") on the page, your iPhone is likely unlocked. A "Carrier" option just below the "Cellular" section in the Settings menu is also indicative of an unlocked iPhone.
3Some carriers provide a service on their website to determine whether or not your phone is unlocked. You can view your phone's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number like so: iPhone - Open Settings, tap General, tap About, and find the "IMEI" section. The fifteen-digit number listed here is your phone's IMEI number. Android - Open Settings, scroll down and tap About device, tap Status, and find the "IMEI" section. The fifteen-digit number listed here is your phone's IMEI number. Most phones - Type *#060# into your phone's Phone app to display your phone's IMEI number. This won't work on Verizon phones.
4If you can't figure out whether or not your phone is unlocked from researching or using an IMEI number-checking service, just call your carrier and provide them with your account details. They'll be able to tell you if your phone is unlocked and, if it isn't, if it qualifies for unlocking.
Part 2Using a Different Carrier's SIM Card
1If you can successfully make a call with another carrier's SIM card in your phone, your phone is unlocked; however, if you can't, the phone is carrier locked and you'll need to talk to your carrier about unlocking it. Before getting a new SIM card, figure out which size of SIM card your phone will use. You can consult the phone's manual, or you can research the phone model online.
2While this process will vary from phone to phone, doing so will usually entail pressing and holding your phone's Power button, then pressing a button or sliding a switch to turn off the phone.
3If your phone has a case on it, first remove the case. You'll most likely have to consult your phone's manual or look online to see where the SIM slot is if you don't already know. On iPhone, the SIM slot is either on the right side of the phone's casing (iPhone 4 and up) or on top of the case. Android phones vary their SIM slot locations, but you'll often find the slot on a side of the casing or under the battery cover.
4On some phones, you'll simply need to pull the card out; on others (e.g., iPhones), you'll need a paper clip or SIM removal tool to insert into a small hole next to the SIM slot.
5Be sure to reference the positioning of the original SIM card in order to ensure that you don't improperly insert the card.
6You'll do this by pressing and holding your phone's Power button.
7Once again, this process will differ from phone to phone: open your phone's calling app, type in a number, and press the "dial" button. If the phone call goes through, your phone is unlocked and should be able to accept any hardware-supported SIM cards from other carriers. If you are unable to make the call and you're certain that the number you're calling is valid, your phone is locked.