How to unlock an iPhone from your current carrier and switch it to a new one

It takes a few steps to unlock an iPhone from its carrier. Hollis Johnson
  • To unlock your iPhone from its carrier, you’ll likely need to contact your carrier directly to cancel your contract.
  • Most carriers will require you to pay off any debt you have to them before they will unlock your iPhone.
  • You’ll need a paperclip or a similar object to replace the SIM card in your iPhone, which will allow you to link it to a new carrier.
  • You can also unlock your iPhone without linking it to a new carrier, but you’ll lose some functionality.
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Let’s say you’re about to ditch your current cell phone carrier for another. Before you make the switch, there are a few things to consider – like unlocking your iPhone.

When you buy a new iPhone, if you don’t pay the entire price up front, it will be “locked” to your carrier. This means that, until you pay it off, your phone can only connect to that carrier’s network and no others.

And if you switch to a new carrier without unlocking it first, you might find yourself unable to send texts or make phone calls.

So if your iPhone is locked, but you need to switch carriers, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $US699.99 at Apple)

How to request an unlock from your carrier

Before anything, make sure your iPhone is fully paid for. Most carriers can refuse to unlock your phone if you’re still on a payment plan with outstanding payments, according to the FCC.

Once you’re all paid up, head to Apple’s support page to find out whether “unlocking” is a service your carrier offers. Most major carriers like AT&T, Boost Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, and Xfinity do.

Once you’re ready, call your carrier to request an unlock. Your request might take a few days to process, but you should be sent a confirmation email or letter once it’s done.

If you’re switching from AT&T to another carrier, you can use AT&T’s convenient device unlocking portal to avoid calling customer service. This could take a few days to process. You’ll be sent a confirmation once it’s completed.

Once you’re unlocked, feel free to cancel your old carrier contract.

How to unlock an iPhone with another SIM card

Once you have a SIM card from your new carrier, you can replace the card currently in your iPhone. Before you do this, backup your information to iCloud or your computer through iTunes and turn the device off.

1. Gently insert a paperclip or similar object into the hole of the SIM card slot on the side of your phone. A chipholder will pop out – gently remove it from the phone.


2. Remove the SIM card currently in the chipholder. Once removed, place your new SIM card into the chipholder and slide it back into place.

3. Turn your iPhone back on.

How to unlock an iPhone without another SIM card

In some cases, you might want to unlock your phone without tying it to a new carrier. This is easy to do, but might leave your iPhone without some functionality.

If this alright, once you unlock your iPhone, here’s what you should do:

1.Backup your information to iCloud or iTunes.

2. Erase the iPhone by restoring the device to its original factory settings.

3.Restore the device from your backup.

If you get an error message when you try to restore the device:

1.Restore the device to its original factory settings.

2. Double-check with your carrier that the unlock was successful on their end.

3. Try again to restore the phone from your most recent backup.

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