How to unlock an iPhone 5, 6, 6s, and 7: Here’s how to make a locked iPhone accept any sim

Happy with your iPhone, but think you’re paying over the odds for data and texts? We’ve all be there, to be honest. Sometimes swapping mobile networks is a good idea, but there might be a slight snag: If your iPhone is locked to a particular network, it’ll need to be unlocked before it will accept your new SIM.

It sounds complicated – and it is. Sorry, about that. Anyway, it’ll be fine, because this handy guide contains all the information you need to know.

How to tell if your iPhone is Locked

Not sure if your phone is locked? Well, this bit’s pretty easy. Just pop out your existing SIM and try the new one. If you bought your iPhone direct from an Apple Store, it’ll be unlocked by default, so swapping between SIMs from different networks is quick and easy – and you shouldn’t even need to restart your phone.

If however, your iPhone is locked, you’ll get error messages such as “Invalid SIM”, or “No SIM card installed”. This might not mean that your phone is locked – it could just be iOS throwing a fit. If you’re in this bracket, it’s just a simple case of flicking Flight mode on and off and restarting the phone – or just cleaning out some pocket fluff and reseating the SIM card.

Alternatively, go to Settings | General | About and tap “Check for a carrier settings update”.

If you get the “SIM locked” message, though, you’re out of luck and will need to find a way to unlock your phone – and here’s how.

What do I need to unlock my iPhone?

If you got your phone as part of a contract your phone will be locked to their network only until the terms of the contract, lease, or installment, are met.

If you bought your phone second-hand, it’s a little trickier: if you can’t get the seller to unlock it for you, you may need to jump through some hoops. If the phone was originally purchased on a contract or lease agreement, you’ll probably need the original account holder’s information to have the phone unlocked. Otherwise, that phone will be stuck with that carrier forever.

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Check out the details below for unlocking iPhones that are tied to the major UK mobile networks.

How to unlock your iPhone: Post-Paid Accounts

If your phone was purchased on a post-paid account on one of the top four carriers in the U.S., you will need to go through that carrier to have the phone unlocked. Each carrier has its own process and criteria to release the phone.


To have your phone unlocked, AT&T makes it really simple. Visit their website for device unlocking and input your account/device information. You’ll receive a T&C email once you submit the request.

Check your email and follow the steps to confirm you’d like to unlock your device. Once done, you will receive an email that your device is unlocked within 24 to 72 hours.


Visit your T-Mobile online account and access the phone you’d like to unlock under ‘View Account’ then ‘Lines and Devices’. Submit the request to unlock that device and wait for the confirmation email.


Verizon will automatically unlock a device when it becomes eligible. If you have any trouble with this, you’ll have to contact the Verizon Customer Support Team to have your iPhone unlocked.


Sprint tends to have the most difficult unlocking policy of the four major carriers. Your iPhone will remain on their network until the company initiates the release. Sometimes this happens automatically when you’ve completed the terms of your lease (post-2015 iPhones).

If you need your device unlocked for international travel, or your device doesn’t unlock automatically, you’ll have to contact Sprint Customer Service.





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