The iPhones older than two years are locked to a particular provider that compels you to use a network that may not be of your choice and pay a tariff that is more than other carriers.
However, the good news is that you are not stuck with the provider forever, but have the choice to unlock your iPhone and choose your network. In most cases, your current provider will help you unlock it, often for free.
Unlocking by network providers
Let us see how the network providers can help in unlocking your iPhone:
● EE, Orange or T-Mobile account: If you hold any of these accounts for the past six months and have paid your bills, EE will unlock your iPhone for a fee in about a week’s time. In case, you are not an EE customer, you may face problems in finding the original owner’s name, his EE phone number and some additional account information, especially if the iPhone had been purchased online.
● Vodafone: If you are locked to Vodafone, you will need to have an account to use Vodafone’s online unlocking form. It takes up to 48 hours for a feedback from the company and almost 10 days to unlock. Vodafone, does it for free.
● Three: With this provider, things are simpler. It automatically unlocks any iPhone that has been purchased after January 1, 2014. All you need to do is to connect your phone to WiFi or iTunes. You can do the same for iPhones purchased even before this date. Three also offers the option of an online form. Backing up your data before doing so is advised.
● O2: O2 also provides an online form for unlocking, but you will have to pay your last bill, if you are Pay Monthly customer. It is a bit more cumbersome for Pay&Go customers, who may have to wait for a year for unlocking.
● Virgin Mobile: Virgin Mobile gives the option of unlocking by simply updating your iPhone to iOS 8 or later. For iPhones that are not compatible with iOS 8, you can perform a full restore. Here too, backing up of data is advised.
However, if these don’t work out, you have the option of doing it yourself without the need for contacting the provider. There are various third-party unlocking services that will do it for you.
Third-party unlocking service
You can get your iPhone unlocked from third-party unlocking services for a small fee, but their modus operandi, at times, is dubious. Online services are also available, but are not recommended for similar reasons.
If you do go in for any of them, be extra careful of the hidden charges that they may make you pay. However, some third-party services like Doctor SIM that are able to unlock iPhone 7 Carrier Lock.
Is unlocking legal?
There may be a doubt in your mind that an iPhone that has a preinstalled network cannot be removed and you are legally bound to it. The good news is that it is completely legal to get your iPhone unlocked, provided you have purchased the iPhone or have paid all the instalments for purchasing the same.
In case, you don’t fully own your iPhone, you may have to check with your carrier before unlocking it.
How to know if iPhone is locked?
The problem of finding out if your iPhone is locked arises if you have purchased a second-hand iPhone or received a used one from someone else. If the iPhone has a preinstalled different network, it will not work on your mobile network.
Unlocking iPhone to change your provider is not a big issue anymore. But, you will need to be careful not to fall prey to unscrupulous operators, who may charge you exorbitantly for a service that you could have managed on your own, since ways to unlock exist online for free.