How to unlock your iPhone to use it on a different carrier

Many of you might have purchased an iPhone that is locked to a single carrier. This is typically when you buy the device at a subsidised price, and sign a two or three year contract. So here’s a post detailing all the unlocking options you have.

Official Carrier Unlock

Many carriers are willing to unlock your iPhone if you’ve completed the stipulated contract period, or paid the early termination fee (ETF).

The carrier unlock method is the best out of all options, as it is permanent, persists even after restores, completely official, and doesn’t require a jailbreak or any other hacks. It also works with all iPhone models and all iOS versions.

To know more about getting your iPhone officially unlocked, contact your carrier’s customer support. Ask them if you’re eligible for a free or paid unlock.

IMEI Unlocks

If you learn that you’re not eligible for an official carrier unlock, you can opt for an IMEI unlock. Although this method isn’t “official”, it works just like the official carrier unlock: It’s permanent, works with all models and OS versions, persists even after a restore, and doesn’t require you a jailbreak or any other hacks.

There are a lot of IMEI unlock providers, but it’s best to go with a trusted provider, as there are a lot of scammers out there. Here are a few trusted unlock providers:

The iPhone Wiki has a partial list of sites known to offer fake unlocks, and scam people. Ensure that you don’t deal with any of these sites.

The price for an unlock varies based on your carrier, but it typically ranges from $5 to $150.

Ultrasn0w

Ultrasn0w is a much older unlocking method, which isn’t very relevant right now for for multiple reasons.

  • It works only with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G
  • It requires your device to be jailbroken
  • Even on supported devices, it requires baseband version 01.59.00 , which you most likely don’t have
  • You’ll lose the unlock if you upgrade or restore your iOS firmware

Guide to Unlock iPhone using UltraSn0w

SAM

SAM or Subscriber Artificial Module is a method that briefly worked, and unlocked your iPhone, but Apple quickly blocked the method, so it no longer works.

Conclusion

The best, and the most widely applicable options are the first two options: an official carrier unlock, or an IMEI unlock. Both are permanent, don’t require a jailbreak and work with all iPhone models and OS versions.