Unlocking your iPhone: What are Your Options?

If you are trying to consider buying an iPhone, picking the right network now could mean ‘unlocking’ possible savings on your mobile phone bill sooner rather than later. In this guide, we take a look at the various options that are currently available.

Read also: How to Unlock Your Mobile Phone

What does ‘unlocking’ mean?

When your iPhone is no longer exclusive to a single network, you are now able to unlock your handset legitimately.

To unlock your iPhone indicates being able to switch your tariff to the provider that you choose and hopefully save yourself some money during the process. However, when or if you can unlock your phone differs from network to network.

O2

Accomplish the O2 phone unlocking form online

  • Pay monthly customers: with O2, you are free to unlock your phone at any time. However, you will still be required to honour your original contract’s length before switching to other providers.
  • Pay As You Go customers: £15 will be charged for unlocking your phone and, if you decide to unlock it less than 12 months after you bought it, you will lose the free Web & Wi-Fi bolt on.

The exact process for unlocking your phone is nearly straightforward. All you have to do is fill out the O2 unlock form online and wait for a maximum of 14 days for a confirmation text. Then you must connect your iPhone to iTunes via a USB port to receive a confirmation that your phone has been unlocked successfully.

Tesco

You can contact their Technical Support on 0845 300 6600

Pay monthly customers: You will be required to pay a £20 fee if you want to unlock before your contract period ends. It will be free after that.
Pay As You Go customers: You are only allowed to unlock iPhones that have been activated for more than 12 months; however, this implies that it will be free to do so.

To unlock your iPhone, you will require an unlatching code to be issued by the customer care team of Tesco. Note: this is not the same as your PIN code.

EE

Call 150 (Pay Monthly) or 450 (PAYG customers)

With EE (including former T-mobile and Orange customers) you are allowed to unlock your iPhone after six months, provided that you satisfy the following conditions:

  • You must currently be an Orange or EE customer.
  • The handset that is to be unlocked must have been registered to an EE account in your name for a minimum of six months.
  • The IMEI must not be blacklisted (customer services will review this for you).
  • Your monthly account balance must be zero; your dues need to be paid up to date

£20.42 will be charged for unlocking the handset, meaning that if you are a Pay As You Go,customer, you will need at least that amount of credit on your account so that you can unlock your iPhone.

You can unlock your phone by calling the customer service department of EE. On average, it will take between seven and ten days for the processing of your request.

Visit: EE Website

Vodafone

Call 191 (Pay Monthly) or 08700 77 66 55 (PAYG customers)

  • Pay monthly customers: £19.99 will be charged in order to unlock your phone if you have had it for under 12 months. It is free to unlock if you have had it for longer.
  • Pay As You Go customers: £19.99 will be charged to unlock, so you will need to make sure that you have enough credit so that the payment can be taken.

You will need an to complete the Vodafone network unlock request form in order to get an unlock code.

Three Mobile

Call 0843 3733 333 from a landline or 333 from your handset

If you have recently purchased an iPhone from Three, then it should be unlocked as soon as you activate it or connect it to iTunes.

If your handset runs on iOS7 or higher, you can unlock the iPhone by simply doing a restore on iTunes. Do not forget to back up your content prior to doing this, as all your data will be deleted once you choose to restore.

However, if you have an older version of iOS, you will need to complete the Three Mobile device unlock form in order to unlock your phone.

Virgin Mobile

Call 0845 6000 789 or 789 from your handset

Use an online unlocking service

An alternative to using a network unlocking service is to check out a reputable online phone unlocking retailer, these work by issuing a code to unlock your mobile phone, normally for a small fee.

MobileUnlocked.com is one of the leading retailers of the mobile phone unlock code based in the United Kingdom and it even provides some unlock codes for certain handsets free of charge!

Other Options

There are other options to unlock your iPhone: from buying an unlocked import from the so-called ‘grey’ market to using a ‘jailbreak’ software that is downloaded from the internet.

Unlocking your iPhone through ‘hacking’ could be illegal. You are running the risk of rendering it unresponsive and it will also affect your warranty.

Purchasing a costly imported iPhone is not always cost effective as you can already have an officially unlocked phone for half the price in as little as three months after you have purchased it. Exercising a bit of patience could save you a significant amount of money.