Is your iPhone locked to a specific network or carrier? Check out our guide to unlocking your iPhone so you can use any SIM card.
If you bought your iPhone within the past couple of few years it’s likely to be unlocked and free to use with any SIM-card. If it is older than that, it might be locked to a particular network/provider. Unlocking your iPhone means that you can use it with different carriers.
“Apple can’t unlock your iPhone for use with a different carrier. Only your carrier can unlock your iPhone.”
How to unlock your iPhone
- Contact your provider and request an unlock.
- If you’ve not got the original SIM, you’ll need to reset the phone before it can be unlocked.
- Power down the phone, then replace the old SIM card with a SIM from a different network.
- Check that the iPhone is able to connect a phone call over the new network.
Contact your carrier
- See if your carrier offers unlocking. Only your carrier can unlock your iPhone.
- Contact your carrier and request an unlock. Your account might need to meet requirements for unlocking. After you submit the request, it might take a few days to complete. To get your request’s status, contact your carrier.
- After your carrier confirms that they unlocked your iPhone, follow the steps below.
How to tell if the unlock worked
Once your phone has been unlocked you will receive a confirmation from the carrier.
- Power down the phone: hold down the power button (or the power button and volume down, if it’s an X-series iPhone) and swipe your finger across to shut down.
- Use the SIM card tool to eject the SIM card holder from the side of the phone.
- Remove the old SIM card from the card holder. Place your new SIM from your new network into the card holder.
- Reinsert the SIM card holder into the iPhone.
- Make a phone call and check that the iPhone is able to connect over the new network. If it works, it’s unlocked!
How to update an unlocked phone without the SIM card
If you’ve requested an unlock from your carrier, but have not got the original SIM card, you will need to reset the phone before it will be unlocked. Follow these steps:
- Back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes.
- Erase your iPhone. Click on Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
- Complete the setup assistant and restore from your backup.