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How to unlock your iPhone for a different network

If you got your iPhone through a contract deal, you may find that it’s locked to a particular network operator. Here’s how to unlock your iPhone.

While many network operators have stopped locking their phones (at least in the UK), it’s still the case that many older devices have been chained to a single provider.

Here’s what to do if you find that your iPhone is locked to a particular network operator.

What we used

  • We used the iPhone 13 Pro, but these methods will work on any iPhone.

The Short Version

  • Check that your iPhone is locked
  • Contact your network operator
  • Swap in the new SIM
  1. Step
    1

    Check that your iPhone is locked

    To establish whether your iPhone running iOS 14 is locked, head into Settings > General > About. Scroll down to Network Provider Lock. If you don’t see ‘No SIM restrictions’ next to it, that means your phone is locked.

    If your phone is running iOS 13 or earlier, you’ll need to try a SIM from a different network or contact your network operator (see Step 2) to find out.

    Either way, while you’re in the About page, note down your IMEI number, as your operator may require it as part of the next step.iPhone check Network Provider Lock

  2. Step
    2

    Contact your network operator

    You’ll need to contact your current (or former, as may be the case) network operator and request an unlock. There may be particular contract-specific stipulations for this to take place, and the process may take a few days to complete.

    Here are the appropriate phone unlock websites for EE, Vodafone, Three, and O2.

    Users in other countries should consult Apple’s network operator support page.iPhone unlock Three

  3. Step
    3

    Swap in the new SIM

    Once your network operator has confirmed that they’ve unlocked your phone, swap out your old network SIM for your new one and reboot your phone.

FAQs

What if I’m selling my iPhone?

If you want to unlock your phone to sell it, simply follow the Step 1 guidance, confirm the unlock with your network operator, and factory reset your iPhone.

How do I remove my SIM?

Use the metal SIM tool that came with your iPhone, or an unfurled paper clip, and push it into the small hole on the side of your iPhone until the SIM tray pops out.

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