For plenty of people, modern smartphones like the iPhone are all you need in a computer. For email, browsing, and shopping online, you don’t really need a desktop or even a laptop. If your phone is big enough, you probably don’t even need a tablet.
Unlike a standard computer, though, you don’t have as much freedom with your iPhone. One of the key examples of this is carrier locking. This means you can’t just sign up with another carrier whenever you feel like it. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do.
Unlock Your iPhone on Verizon
Verizon doesn’t lock most of its phones, and this includes any iPhone released since the iPhone 5. This means you don’t have to contact the company or go through any steps. Simply sign up with the carrier you want to move to and you can port your number over by following your new carrier’s instructions.
Unlock Your iPhone on AT&T
As with many carriers, there are a few restrictions on unlocking your phone. The first is that your IMEI number can’t be associated with any criminal or fraudulent activities. You’ll also have to have any associated balances paid off.
As long as all of the above is true, unlocking your phone is relatively straightforward. Go to AT&T’s device unlock page and follow the prompts. Once you’ve completed the form, you should hear back within 24 hours, and your phone should be unlocked within two business days.
Unlock Your iPhone on Sprint
Sprint is one of the more restrictive carriers when it comes to unlocking devices. For postpaid devices (e.g. most of them) the device must have been active on the Sprint network for at least 50 days. Any lease must be paid as well. For prepaid devices, they need to have been active on the network for at least 12 months.
You can find the full requirements on the Sprint Unlocking FAQ. Once you’re sure you meet the requirements, you can request an unlock by calling Sprint Customer Care at 855-639-4644.
Unlock Your iPhone on T-Mobile
While T-Mobile makes a big deal out of its “Uncarrier” campaign, it’s fairly strict about its iPhones. Requirements are similar to Sprint. The device can’t have been reported as lost or stolen and your account must be in good standing. You’ll also need to have paid off any associated balances with the device.
T-Mobile also has a restriction that you can’t request more than two unlock codes per line in a 12-month period. As long as you meet the requirements you can use T-Mobile’s unlock app or call to request an unlock at 877-746-0909.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to unlock your iPhone, but one of the more common reasons is that you want to sell it. You’ll find much better offers for an unlocked iPhone than you will a carrier-specific version, even if all the other specs are the same.
If you’re selling your iPhone, you’ll want to make sure to back up first. This is easy, but in case you’re not sure how, we have you covered. Take a look at our guide to backing up your iPhone.