No matter where in the world you are, it has become common to find locked iPhones. This usually happens when iPhone users get their devices from carriers like AT&T.
iPhones are available in two versions, locked and unlocked, and it’s important to be able to verify the type you have. An unlocked phone can be used on any network, while a locked phone can only be used on the locked one.
iPhones for which you pay the full price (usually from the Apple Store) are unlocked by default. But an iPhone purchased on a network, usually as part of an ongoing network plan, will be blocked. This is usually for a set period, 18 or 24 months, and the cost of the contract covers part of the cost of the device.
It is not possible to say, simply by looking at the phone, if an iPhone is locked or unlocked: Apple does not allow other phone companies to dial the iPhone. (For example, you don’t get iPhones of the Three or EE-branded iPhones). To confuse them even more, some phones are blocked when they are sold, but they are unlocked later when the original owner has paid the initial contract.
- 1 How To Check If Your iPhone Is Locked Or Unlocked
- 2 Final Words
How To Check If Your iPhone Is Locked Or Unlocked
So, what makes iPhones locked as they are? Locked iPhones have a software code that prevents you from using the phone on another wireless network or service, which could leave you with the same provider. According to some operators, one of the main reasons why they sell locked phones is to limit phone theft. It is the experience of some iPhone users that their stolen iPhones are offered on the black market for trading.
However, the lock status is particularly frustrating for iPhone users. You will not be able to easily change your wireless operators. The locked iPhone limits the freedom to choose the carrier or service provider. This means that you could be discovered with a particular supplier when purchasing the iPhone. To use another provider, you may need to purchase another phone. If you plan to buy a used iPhone, you must first check to see if it is blocked by the operator to avoid the negative consequences that will come later.
Below you can find 4 effective and simple ways to check if your iPhone is unlocked or not.
Method 1: Check the Settings to Verify If Your iPhone is Locked
The oldest and simplest way to check the status of your iPhone is to look in the Settings. The steps to do this are described below.
- Open iPhone settings.
- Go to cellular.
- Once there, try to find an option called Cellular Data Network/Option (some may call “Mobile Data”). If it’s there, then the iPhone isn’t locked. The locked iPhone will not have this option.
Method 2: Check the lock status of the iPhone with a SIM card from another carrier
For iPhone, the SIM card allows the device to get mobile and data services. It’s also really a good way to check if the iPhone you have is locked.
To do this, first, turn off the iPhone. Then follow the steps described below. Keep in mind that these steps only apply to iPhone models with SIM card slots.
- Find the SIM card slot on your iPhone. Once identified, open it with the eject tool. In case of problems, use a small paper clip. Usually, the SIM card slot is located along with the side case of the phone.
- Remove the SIM card from the iPhone. Insert the SIM card of another carrier.
- Insert the SIM card tray into the iPhone.
- Then turn on the iPhone. Enter the access code for iPhone, if necessary.
- You can find out whether the iPhone is locked by the operator or not by clicking on the iPhone settings. If a screen indicates “SIM not supported/valid” or requires “Activation code” or “SIM unlock code”, it means the phone is locked. Otherwise, you can use any other mobile service provider.
Method 3: Restoring the iPhone to see if it is locked
You may not know it, but performing a factory reset also helps you know if your iPhone is locked or unlocked. How can this be done exactly? Read the following steps.
- Restores the iPhone factory settings. Go to the settings. Find General => Restore, then erase all content and settings. You can also reset it using iTunes. Make sure you have backed up your files before doing so to avoid data loss.
- If you see that the screen shows “Congratulations, the iPhone is unlocked”, so it’s not locked.
- But if you receive this message in iTunes or on your device: “The SIM card inserted in this iPhone does not appear to be supported,” you may need to re-insert the SIM card from your original supplier. You can also visit the carrier’s store to see if there are other options to unlock the iPhone.
Method 4: Use an online service to check if the iPhone is locked or unlocked
Of all the methods here, this takes longer and it is better to do it only when you have no other choice. It involves registering your iPhone on the IMEI information website, which is an online verifier to indicate the lock status of your iPhone.
The international identity of mobile devices (IMEI) acts as a unique identifier for smartphones. Each phone can only have one. Think of it as an identification number that only your iPhone has.
Follow the steps below to see how to use the online service to find out the carrier status of your iPhone. Just search for “IMEI Info” on the Internet and search the registration page of the website.
- Find your IMEI. You can find this number in iPhone Settings => General => About. There you will see the IMEI section. You can also find the IMEI on the SIM tray on some iPhone models. For some older iPhone models, you can find it on the back.
- Once you are on the main IMEI info page, enter the IMEI number.
- Take the short “I’m not a robot” test. Go to Check => SIMLOCCK AND WARRANTY => Check Apple Phone.
- If the result is “Unlocked: false”, the phone is blocked by the operator; while “Unlocked: true” means that it is unlocked.
If you want to make sure you get your money, be sure to check if a used iPhone is locked or unlocked. A locked iPhone will limit your freedom to choose the operator you want, so you should be informed about the lock status of the phone. Otherwise, you can expect your seller to have a decent return policy if you don’t really like the current carrier.
It is essential to know if your iPhone is locked or unlocked. This is especially true if you buy a used iPhone / iPad or buy a new iPhone / iPad from eBay, craigslist or any local or online retailer. Before purchasing, request the IMEI. If the party is not willing to provide it, it is best to go ahead and find a distributor that offers IMEI before buying the iPhone or iPad.
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