Unlocking an iPhone implies being able to use the iPhone with a different carrier. Not long ago, people could unlock their iPhones by jailbreaking them and installing unlock software. However, in recent times, Apple has patched such exploits and software unlocks are proving difficult.

More official means are therefore sought out including: Unlocking through a Carrier and Unlocking through a paid service.

Unlocking through a Carrier

1) Contact your existing carrier and tell them you would like to unlock your iPhone. Some popular network providers and their contact information include:

  • O2 requires the filling out of a form online to unlock your iPhone
  • Three Mobile: fill out a form online or call 333 from the iPhone or 0843 3733 3333 from a landline.
  • Virgin Mobile: call 789 from the iPhone or 0845 6000 789 from any other phone
  • Tesco: Call 0800 0321 320. This is availed only to those who have been carriers for six months and above and or those who have completed their contract.
  • Vodafone: fill out an online form or call 08700 77 66 55 or 191 from the iPhone. Vodafone charges a fee of 19.99 Euros to unlock an iPhone. This could take 7-10 days.
  • EE (including T-Mobile and Orange): the account must have been open for at least six months and all the bills paid up to date. It can take up to 20days to unlock the iPhone at a charge of 20.42 Euros.
  • For T-Mobile, call 0845 412 5000 and request a Network Subsidy Code. For Orange, call 450 (Pay As You Go customers) or 150 (Pay monthly).
  • 2) Contact the carrier you are switching to and inform them of your request. Most companies will happily do the unlocking especially if it is from one of their competitors.

    Unlocking Through a Paid Service

    i)Find a company online that can sell you the unlocking codes for your iPhone at a fee. Such companies dodge current limits by carrying out their operations in countries not under the US law.

    ii)Research more on your choice company before making any payments always being cautious of potential scams. Check on users reviews and ask around in phone enthusiastic forums.

    - Retrieve your iPhone’s IMEI code.

    - Dial *#06# to display your IMEI code

    - The IMEI is printed on the SIM card tray of iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S

    - In iPhone 5, the code is engraved on the back near the bottom

    iii)In iTunes, click on your connected iPhone. The IMEI code will be displayed in the Summary window beneath the iPhone’s storage capacity.

    iv)Pay for the service. Confirm that correct information about your device has been entered in order to get a code that works for your iPhone.

    v)On receiving information that your iPhone has been unlocked. Insert the new SIM-card.

    For a jailbroken iPhone, open Settings, then General and select Reset. Choose the Reset Network Settings and then restart your iPhone.

    If asked to activate your iPhone, you can do this directly from the iPhone over a Wi-Fi connection or through iTunes when the iPhone is connected to the computer.