What does it mean for a phone to be locked or unlocked? A locked phone prevents you from using sims from other carriers while you can use services from different network providers on an unlocked phone. You can use only an unlocked phone to travel to other countries as you will need to use an international SIM card or other local carriers of the region.
A phone being unlocked means that the phone is not bound to a network or a carrier. A smartphone needs to be unlocked so that the consumer can use cheaper and better networks that suit their requirements. In this article, we have tried to guide you to find if your iPhone or Android device is unlocked or not. This article will also serve as your guide to unlocking your phone if it is locked to a network.
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How to tell if the phone is unlocked?
You can check if your phone is unlocked by following the given instructions:
Check the setting
On an Apple iPhone:
- Open Settings on your device.
- Go to Cellular > Cellular Data.
If you can see a cellular data network, then your phone is most probably unlocked.
On Android devices:
Different Android devices have different configurations, so there are no specific steps that will be valid for all devices. But you can open Network Operators in Settings > Mobile Networks.
If you search networks in the network operators and other networks show up, your device is probably unlocked.
Note: This method is not entirely reliable so remember to check it through other given methods.
Switch SIM cards
You can find out about the status of your phone by inserting SIM cards from other carriers. If you can still call from a SIM card of different network providers, then your phone is unlocked.
Call the wireless provider
Contacting your carrier is the easiest and a reliable way to find if your phone is unlocked. Find the service number of your carrier and ask them about it.
How to unlock your phone?
Most of the phones are sold unlocked in recent times. However, for other phones, you can unlock them by following some simple steps.
Contact your carrier
The most preferred and safest method to get your phone unlocked is contacting your carrier and asking them to unlock it.
Before you contact your carrier, you need to be aware of your phone’s IMEI number. This number is unique to your device and helps your carrier know about the model and the serial number. The easiest way to find out your IMEI number is by entering *#06# on the dialing keyboard of your phone app. The IMEI number will pop up as soon as you have entered the last ‘#,’ and you would not even have to press the call icon. You can note the number down as the carrier services will ask you for the IMEI number to unlock your phone.
Another way to get the IMEI number is to open the settings of the phone. Follow the given steps for iPhone and Androids to get the IMEI number:
- Open the Settings of the device.
- Open General > About.
You will find the IMEI number on the bottom of the about screen.
For Android devices:
- Open the settings of the device.
- About device> Status.
You will find the IMEI number when you have followed these steps.
The carrier services will begin unlocking your device once you have given them your phone’s IMEI number. The charges and the amount of time that the process will take would depend on the policies of your carrier.
Use a third-party unlocking service
The alternative way to get your phone unlocked is by using third-party services. You can either download software or reach out to a local shop. The software will help you unlock the phone with the help of a unique data cable by providing you with a code. We will suggest you do this only when you have adequate technical knowledge. Otherwise, it is better to go to a local shop to do it for you for a charge. Using a third-party service to unlock your device is entirely legal, but there is a risk of invalidating your warranty.