The Ultimate Tutorial On How To Unlock An iPhone 12 Pro Max

The Ultimate Tutorial On How To Unlock iPhone's


Today’s the day you finally made the last payment on your iPhone and it's officially all yours. Which means you’re able to use it while traveling in another country with a domestic SIM card and have the freedom to move networks as you want, right? Don’t start booking your flight to Asia or running to AT&T quite yet since, unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

So as to stop users from transferring to a competitor’s network before they’ve payed off their iPhone or completed their contract, loads of carriers put a SIM lock (also known as a carrier lock) on their smartphones. This inevitably ensures that you, or whomever you sell your second-hand iPhone to, are stuck with them in the future. If you’re thinking this sounds like a extremely dysfunctional relationship, we're inclined to agree with you. Happily, with a bit of effort and an account in good order, you will be well on your way to a carrier-unlocked iPhone in no time!


Before we carry on, a quick note on the type of unlock's that are avialable, and the one's you should avoid! There are apps available on the market that provide a chance to unlock your cellphone yourself, but they require you to jailbreak your mobile phone, and this is a stupid idea, for many reasons. You can do your own investigating into jailbreaking, but it's fraught with danger, and not recommended. The best way to unlock your iPhone is simply by talking directly with your cellular provider. The journey to a carrier-unlocked iPhone depends largely on your network, with the process being either relatively quick and simple or painfully difficult. To get you one step closer to a life free from carrier-locked tyranny, we rounded up all the steps in order to get an iPhone unlock in this comprehensive guide. Please be aware that while this was written with iPhone owners in mind, a great deal of the advice could be used with other smartphones.


What Is Carrier Unlocking?


As mentioned before, when you buy an iPhone or another smartphone through your network carrier, that device is only going to function on that network unless you either request to have your network unlock it or maybe your carrier automatically unlocks it for you (more on that later). Also called a SIM unlock, factory unlock, or network unlock, carrier unlocking means removing a network’s restrictions on a device, letting you use it with a different cellular provider.


The good news is, not all iPhones need to be unlocked. As an example, should you buy your iPhone straight from Apple and pay it off in full, it should already be unlocked and able to use with a variety of carriers.


Please be aware, however, that not all phones bought outright from third-party retailers are automatically unlocked. For example, although sold as “unlocked”, smartphone's purchased at Best Buy are actually considered universal. So, if you insert a Sim initially, the cell phone will essentially lock itself to the carrier linked to the Sim. Subsequently, seeing that certain networks like T-Mobile may only unlock your iPhone if you bought it directly from them, you can end up getting an eternally network-locked device. Quite simply, you find yourself paying factory-unlocked prices to get a carrier-locked cell phone.


Why would I Unlock My iPhone?


Possessing a officially-unlocked iPhone comes with a number of benefits including the freedom to utilize (just about) any network within the Unites States and abroad and increased resale values.



  1. Officially-unlocking gives you the ability to use your phone with the cellular provider of your choice, almost whenever and wherever you want (with some exceptions, as you’ll find out in a while). Such as, if you're currently using T-Mobile but are relocating to a new part of the country with weak T-Mobile coverage, you can swap to AT&T in a heartbeat


  2. A IMEI-unlocked iPhone makes international travel a breeze. Unlocking also provides you with the ability to use your phone in another country. Global roaming fees, pricey international plans, and mad dashes for WiFi become a distant memory with an unlocked iPhone. Merely pop in a SIM card from a local network and you’re in business.


  3. Officially-unlocked iPhones have higher resale values.


Even when you don’t plan on swapping networks or heading internationally soon, unlocking your iPhone is still a smart idea. If you intend on trading in your old iPhone when you upgrade, you’ll generally get more cash for it if the iPhone has already been carrier unlocked because of a greater demand for them in the resale market.


Is it against the law to Carrier Unlock your mobile phone?


Absolutely not! Due to Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014, all US-based cellular providers have to allow customers to unlock their phones. However, the conditions under which a service provider will unlock a smart phone differ greatly from service provider to service provider. Typically, almost all carriers require you to finish your contract, pay for your financial obligations fully, or otherwise have an account in good standing before they’ll allow you to unlock your iPhone.


How you can check if your iPhone is Unlocked


Before you begin the carrier-unlocking process, you’ll first want to check if your iPhone has already been unlocked (no sense in suffering the hassle when you don’t actually need to). All you have to do is be sure that you’re connected to WiFi and insert a new SIM card from an alternative service provider and your mobile phone will do the rest automatically. This validation check generally takes under a minute to accomplish after a Sim card has been inserted.


Through the verification procedure, you’ll see that your iPhone will boot to a white screen and attempt to confirm that it has been unlocked with your service provider. Should Apple verify that your iPhone is IMEI-unlocked, it will return to the home screen and service bars ought to appear from the new service provider. However, if you see a white screen that says SIM Not Supported, your mobile phone has not been unlocked.


How to Unlock iPhones from any Carrier


Having verified your cell phone is definitely locked to your current cellular provider, next you will need to look at your network’s unlocking eligibility requirements. Should your iPhone meet their criteria, you can request that the device can be unlocked from their network. As suggested earlier, both the eligibility requirements and the unlocking process vary from service provider to service provider. Each has been outlined below for the major carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T.


Please note that, as long as you have met the unlock prerequisites and are completing the network-unlocking directly with your provider, asking for your iPhone be unlocked can be completely free. If you choose to go through a third party unlocking service provider, you will be charged, but making use of a 3rd party provider is going to be your only option if you bought the phone pre-owned. Before you spend money unnecessarily, try using the directions outlined below as a first step.


How To Locate An iPhone’s IMEI Number


When officially-unlocking your iPhone, you will have to give your service provider the device’s IMEI number. This unique, 15-digit identifier is fundamentally your mobile phone’s VIN or social security number. To locate your IMEI, on your phone, go to Settings > General > About and search to the bottom of the list where you'll see it listed next to IMEI.


You could also search for the number on the smartphone housing itself. For older iPhone's (6, 6 Plus, 1st-generation SE, 5s, 5c, 5), the IMEI number will also be imprinted on the back or the SIM tray.


When you’ve found the IMEI number, we strongly recommend that you keep it somewhere for safekeeping.


Unlock an iPhone on AT&T


Unlocking an iPhone from AT&T is about as simple as A-B-C. Just pop on over to the AT&T site, answer a few questions, and you’re well on your way to SIM-unlocked freedom.


Once you submit your request, use your IMEI and request reference numbers to review your AT&T unlocking status. When you get your confirmation text or email, just open it up and click on the confirmation link. That's all there is to it! AT&T will unlock your iPhone in just 2 working days.


For an iPhone to get unlocked from the AT&T network, it has to fulfill the following requirements:



  • Must not have a past-due balance
  • Must not be active on a different AT&T account
  • If it is a work phone, you must have your employer’s permission to unlock it
  • If it is an AT&T PREPAID phone, it must be active for at least six months
  • Must not be reported as lost, stolen, or blocked


If your iPhone is part of a term agreement or installment plan, it's got to also meet these requirements:



  • The device must be active on the AT&T network for at least 60 days
  • The installment plan must be paid off
  • The term agreement must be complete


For precise eligibility prerequisites, click here.


Unlock an iPhone on Sprint


Depending on when you purchased your phone and if it has SIM-unlock capabilities, there are a couple of different unlock options. In the event you bought a new iPhone from Sprint after February 2015 (it will be SIM-unlock capable) and it's actively being used on their network, Sprint will unlock it automatically after it meets their eligibility requirements. So, you actually don’t need to do anything at all apart from keep your account in good standing. However, if your iPhone hasn't been activated or was purchased prior to February 2015, you’ll have to get in touch with Sprint Customer Service directly to ask for an unlock (either dial *2 on your Sprint phone or call 888-211-4727).


There have been reports from some Sprint customers that the auto-unlock program does not always function as it should, so it’s unquestionably a good idea to confirm that your iPhone has been unlocked before trying to change to a different carrier or advertising your iPhone as unlocked, if you intend to sell it to a buyback company or on craigslist or ebay.


For an iPhone to get unlocked from the Sprint network, it's got to fulfill the following requirements:



  • Must have SIM-unlock capabilities (if it doesn’t, it is MSL (Master Subsidy Lock) locked and you will need to call Sprint for the MSL code)
  • Must be active on the Sprint network for at least 40 days
  • Must be on an account in good standing
  • Must not be reported as lost, stolen, or associated with fraud


If the iPhone is part of a service agreement, lease agreement, or installment plan, it has to also adhere to these requirements:



  • Any lease or installment payments must be fully paid
  • If leased, the end-of-lease purchase option must be fully paid
  • Any early-termination fees must be fully paid


For in-depth eligibility conditions, click here.


Unlock an iPhone on T-Mobile


If your reading this and own an Android cellphone and your handset meets the eligibility requirements, consider yourself lucky: You can unlock it right from the phone itself. For the iPhone owners out there, you’ll have to get in touch with T-Mobile’s Group of Specialists directly (either dial 611 from your T-Mobile iPhone, call 877-746-0909.


To have an iPhone unlocked from T-Mobile, it has to satisfy the following prerequisites:



  • Must have been purchased directly from T-Mobile
  • Must be paid for in full
  • Must not have been reported as lost, stolen, or blocked
  • For prepaid accounts, it must have been active on the account for at least 12 months


If the iPhone is on a pre-paid plan, it needs to also meet the following conditions:



  • Must have been active on the account for at least 40 days
  • The account must be in good standing


For precise eligibility conditions, click here.


Unlock an iPhone on Verizon


Verizon is, hands down, the best carrier to use for unlocking an iPhone. Why? Because Verizon will automatically unlock your phone 60 days after the purchase of the device. If you purchased your iPhone from a retail partner, it can be unlocked automatically 60 days after device activation.


There are no catches. You don’t have to pay off your phone, satisfy any special prerequisites, or even get in touch with them to request to unlock your phone from their network. Provided your iPhone hasn’t been reported lost or stolen, merely wait a couple of months following purchase or activation and your phone will be a-ok.


Don’t believe us? Just click here.


Once I've Unlocked my iPhone — now what?


Several years ago, you’d need to connect your iPhone up to iTunes and complete a software restore to perform the unlock procedure. Fortunately, it’s much easier today. All you have to do is go through same steps you followed earlier to determine if your phone is unlocked in the first place.


When you don’t have access to a SIM card from an alternative carrier, you can still verify that a iPhone has been unlocked using an iTunes software restore. Simply hook up your iPhone to a computer running iTunes and click the “restore” option. After the restoration process has completed, you will see a message which says “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”


Good job! You successfully factory-unlocked your iPhone! Meaning your able to use whichever network you would like to now, yes? We hate be the bearer of bad news, but sadly not. Because of the two different types of networks employed in the US, CDMA and GSM, your available mobile providers depends on the type of your iPhone and the original network it's locked to. Primarily, Verizon and Sprint are CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks, while AT&T, T-Mobile, and the majority of providers abroad are GSM (Global System for Mobiles) networks.


As you’ve probably guessed, both these different network types do not talk to each other (because that would be too easy). Thankfully, as we approach world-wide 5G access and as older networks are retired, it will hopefully no longer be a problem.

To discover which networks you have access to based on these two factors, continue reading.


AT&T


GSM networks only (AT&T, T-Mobile, international GSM carriers): Original iPhone, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X


Any carrier worldwide: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max


Sprint


International networks only: iPhone 4s and iPhone 5


Any carrier worldwide: iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max


T-Mobile


GSM networks only (AT&T, T-Mobile, international GSM carriers): Original iPhone, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X


Any carrier worldwide: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max


Verizon


Compatible with any carrier in the world, but with limitations when using GSM networks: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5


Any carrier worldwide: iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max


Will the Unlock last forever?


You got it! Once your phone has been Sim-unlocked, it will stay like that for the life of the handset. It is possible to restore your iPhone or update apps without having to worry about your unlock disappearing afterwards.

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