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How To Check If An iPhone Is Unlocked With or Without SIM

If you want to get a new or pre-owned iPhone or iPad, it’s essential that you check if the iPhone is locked or unlocked. An unlocked iPhone or a cellular iPad is not limited to a particular network carrier. It can connect and work with any carrier of your choice. Another thing you need to know is that there is a big difference in the price of an unlocked iPhone. The amount you will be required to pay for an unlocked iPhone is quite huge compared to the amount you will pay for a locked iPhone.

Sadly, you can never tell if an iPhone is locked or unlocked by merely looking at it. The fact is that unlocking iPhone is not easy and it’s very tough to do if you’re not the original contract owner. So to unlock your iPhone and use any mobile carrier of your choice, it will cost you almost the same amount you bought the iPhone.

unlocked iphone

How To Check iPhone Lock Status

Step 1: On your iPhone Cellular Data Options, look at Settings >Cellular. If Cellular Data is a toggle, your iPhone is most likely unlocked. However, if you don’t see that option, your iPhone is locked.
Step 2: You should test your iPhone with at least two different SIM or more from different Carriers.
Step 3: Get your device IMEI and use any of the CTIA-Accredited IMEI checkers to search Apple’s GSX database
Step 4: You should check your IMEI using a carrier’s website or visit their BYOD page
Step 5: You can also call your carrier and ask them to check it for you.

Carrier Locked iPhone: What You Should Know

The lock on its own is a software code that’s put on iPhone by the maker to meet the mobile operator requirements. This software locked is there to ensure you used your iPhone only and limited to a particular mobile company. This locked software will remain on the device until a different software code is entered to unlock the device.

So the carrier lock is similar to contract locked. When you purchase a particular Phone at a discount, you agree to a particular term contract which usually lasts for two years. The deal is part of the iPhone discount. So, when you break the contract, the company will charge an early termination fee to get back their discount.

Why You Should Buy Unlocked iPhone

It’s better to buy an unlocked iPhone, something you can use with any mobile operator. If your iPhone is unlocked, you can use it on any network operator of your choice around the world as long as they provide GSM Service. All you have to do to switch network is to remove the SIM and insert another one. As you can see, it’s very important to perform a thorough check before buying any iPhone. Below are the steps to know and confirm the Unlocked status of your iPhone.

How To Check Unlocked iPhone Using SIM

One of the best, easy and reliable way to check if your iPhone is unlocked is using a SIM card. This text work on any iPhone or iPad that uses SIM. All you need is two SIM from different Carriers. You can ask a friend or even your family member to lend you their iPhone SIM. Once you have the two different SIM from different Carriers, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Switch off your iPhone
Step 2: Remove the current working SIM card using the ejector tool that comes with your iPhone
Step 3: Insert the other SIM card
Step 4: Switch on your iPhone
Step 5: Now check if the SIM card is working on your iPhone
Step 6: Make a call or try sending a message to see if the SIM works
Step 7: If the call is successful, then your iPhone is unlocked, however, if the call didn’t go through, it means your iPhone is locked.

How To Check Unlocked iPhone Using IMEI Number

You can also check the Unlocked status of your iPhone using IMEI number. The IMEI number is a serial number found on your iPhone or iPad. This communicates with the Apple server and provides all the information you need to know about your iPhone or iPad. Below is how to get the IMEI number on your iPad or iPhone.

You can see the IMEI number from the back of your iPhone

On your iPhone < Settings < About, here you will also see the IMEI number

Connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer and launched iTunes: (On iTunes, Go To Device Summary) Click on the phone number for iPhone and you will see the IMEI number, while for iPad, just click on the serial number to see the IMEI number

If the device is still new and you have the original packaging, you can find the IMEI number by checking the barcode.

On some iPhone, you can find the IMEI number on the SIM card tray.

Checking IMEI Number For iPhone Unlocked

Now that you have the IMEI Number, the next step is to check the Unlocked status of your device using any of the any CTIA-Accredited IMEI checker that searches Apple’s GSX database. You can find this via a search engine. Some of them are free, but to get reliable results you will need to pay a fee.

Some wireless carriers also have IMEI checkers for consumers to use. You can take advantage of this and use it to check your own iPhone unlocked Status. Few network carriers like AT&T, have a device unlock portal that also allows non-customers to enter their device’s IMEI number to unlock it. So you can use the above method to check your device details including the unlock status and others.

How To Check Unlocked iPhone Without SIM

You can check the status of your iPhone to know if it’s unlocked by just putting a call to your carrier. This method does not require any SIM. One of the staff will assist you to know if your device is unlocked. If your iPhone is locked, use that opportunity and ask them to unlock it. If your device meets all the requirements for unlocking, they are obligated by law to unlock the device within a time frame of 24-48 hours.

What Is GSM Blacklist?

Before you visit or contact any mobile operator, find out the current status of your iPhone to know if it’s under Blacklist. The Blacklist is for all iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices reported as stolen or lost. Once reported, the device is put on the GSM Blacklist and it’s identified via its unique IMEI number.

The IMEI which stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity is the only way your iPhone or any mobile device is identified and recognized by the manufacturer and mobile carrier. Blacklisting can also occur when an individual can no longer pay for their contract. The GSM Blacklist is maintained by the mobile carrier and global database to share devices listed as lost or stolen. With the creation of GSM Blacklist, it’s now easy for anyone to check the status of any device with the right tools.

How To identify Blacklist Devices

Step 1: Using Any CTIA-Accredited IMEI checker: With the IMEI number, you can check if the phone is not on the Blacklist. This method is very important especially if you are buying a used phone. You should ask for the device IMEI number and confirmed that the device wasn’t stolen or reported lost.
Step 2: Through Wireless Carriers: To be sure, you can call any wireless carrier and ask them any question about an iPhone Blacklist.

If you find out that your iPhone is locked and luckily for you, it’s not on Blacklist. You can unlock it by contacting the current network carrier. They will help you Unlocked the device if it meets the requirements.

Checking Blacklist Status Using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

You can also check if your device is under Blacklist by visiting any BYO page. Using your IMEI number, the page will show you if your iPad or iPhone is Blacklisted and it can also show you if that particular iPhone or iPad is compatible with the carrier network.

Wrapped Up

Just as mentioned in the article, the FCC in the US requires carriers to unlock phones at the request of the consumer, provided they met certain condition as required. So if your iPhone is still locked, go ahead and fill unlock request. However, if you intend buying a pre-owned iPhone, it’s wise to ask the owner to unlock it first before paying for it.

We hope you find this article helpful and please don’t forget to share and use the comment box in case you have any question.

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James T.

James, Editor-in-Chief of the leading technology blog TechyLoud, is a smartphone aficionado turned tech guru. With over a decade in the industry, he deciphers complex technology into easy how-tos. Known for his keen insights, James is dedicated to helping readers navigate the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

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