Getting a new phone, even if it’s second hand, can be a really exciting time. Likewise, it can be lovely getting an excellent deal on a phone service provider, and switching over to a less expensive bill can be a weight off of your shoulders.
What can quickly ruin the fun, however, is struggling to get your phone unlocked.
The following will break down the steps you need to take to get your phone unlocked. Special attention will be given to iPhones, but most of these steps apply to all phones equally.
As a side note, if you feel like the phone you have purchased was stolen, be sure to contact the authorities right away.
This can sometimes be the case when you buy a second-hand phone online and, in this situation, if the phone was reported stolen, you won’t be able to get it unlocked at the file associated with the SIM number or IMEI number will reveal this to whomever you take the phone to.
How Do You Know If Your Phone Needs To Be Unlocked?
If when you insert a SIM card from your chosen provider, you get a “SIM not supported” message, or “SIM not valid” specifically in case you need your iPhone 8 unlocked.
You will not be able to use the phone plan you want to with the phone until you get it unlocked.
If you’re unsure, a SIM card is what you’re given when you sign up for a phone plan and get a phone number.
It looks like a tiny floppy disk or SD card. You can take the device and SIM card into your phone service provider, and they should be able to tell you if this is your issue or not.
They can try putting the SIM card in and starting up the phone for you.
Also Read: How to Know if it is Time to Upgrade Your Smartphone?
What Is Phone Locking And Unlocking?
When service providers sign a contract with you or assign a number and SIM card to your phone, they also lock your phone to their company.
If you want to use the same phone with a different company and another SIM card, you need to get your phone unlocked. This is not to be confused with opening your phone using the password.
If you’ve forgotten the passcode and need to get into your phone, this is an entirely different process.
In theory, this process should be simple. All it should take is a call to your previous provider and sharing your IMEI number or SIM number, and it should be done within moments.
If you cannot do that or don’t know where to find these numbers, it can get tricky fast.
Sometimes when an older relative gives you their old phone, they don’t remember which service provider they were with.
Sometimes when you buy a used phone online, it can be hard to get in touch with the previous owner to figure out what service provider the phone was locked with.
What Not To Do: Hardware Or Software Unlocking And The R-SIMs Method
When it comes to hardware unlocking, you’re going to need to take the phone to someone in person who will take it apart and fiddle with the insides to bypass the locking mechanism.
Of the different methods available for unlocking your phone, this is the most dangerous as it could damage the phone or its functionality.
When it comes to software unlocking, you need to know that this hasn’t worked on iPhones since the iPhone 4.
If someone is offering this service to you online or in person, and your phone is a later make or model, be warned, you’re falling for a scam.
Don’t ever share personal information with anyone offering a service like this, and don’t make purchases on websites that seem insecure.
When it comes to the R-SIMS method, this involves attaching a small chip (called an interposer) to your phone, so you can use a different SIM or carrier.
This tends to weaken the signal and doesn’t let you use all the standard apps that you might be used to.
Also Read: Selling Your Smartphone For Some Cash? Here Are 4 Steps To Get You Started
What To Do: Network Unlocking
Although it might be a hassle, and you might spend a decent chunk of time on hold, the best way to unlock a phone is by contacting the original phone service provider.
You might even have to call several providers until you find the one that the phone is registered with.
They should be able to walk you through the steps involved in locating your IMEI number and are not legally allowed to refuse the unlocking process.
With the above information kept in mind, you’re well on your way to getting your shiny new phone unlocked.
If unlocking isn’t the issue, you might need to see a professional customer support person from the company that made your phone.