Only a phone carrier can unlock an iPhone, and they all differ on their requirements for eligibility to unlock the phone. Once a phone is unlocked, it is free to use on another carrier or as a contract-free phone.
The steps below describe how to unlock an iPhone.
- Contact the phone's carrier
- Remove the SIM card
- Backup the phone
- Restore to factory settings
- Dealing with an error message
In order to unlock the iPhone, the carrier must process the request. Contact the current carrier of the iPhone to find out the requirements for eligibility. Once the iPhone has been cleared for unlocking, it may take several days to complete the request.
Once the carrier confirms that the iPhone has been unlocked, remove the SIM card if the phone has one installed and replace it with the carrier's SIM card of choice. Complete the setup process once the new SIM card has been installed.
If there is no SIM card, the iPhone can be backed up to save information and important data. Backups can be completed using an iCloud service or iTunes.
Once the information is backed up, erase the iPhone using the settings in the phone and restore to factory settings.
If a message appears stating that the SIM card is not compatible or supported, the phone must be restored to factory settingsusing the original SIM card and the carrier must be contacted in order to complete the process.