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iPhone Unlock Using the IMEI Number

Updated on November 29, 2017
amuno profile image

Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

You can unlock an iPhone fairly easily using the IMEI number. This can be done through the carrier network reseller or gray market service providers, both for free and for a fee. Once unlocked, the iPhone will accept sim cards from all network providers around the world.

This is what you you get following a successful iPhone activation
This is what you you get following a successful iPhone activation

Starting with the first iPhone which shipped in 2007, Apple iPhones have always been sold locked to carrier network resellers around the world.

This way, the iPhone trades at a cheaper price on the first trading day, allowing end users to complete payment in two years. The contract also motivates users to stick around in the event of an upgrade.

While many end users knowingly purchase locked and factory unlocked iPhones, some, especially those that get them off eBay and Craiglist, do this unknowingly and have to tussle it out when they learn theirs are locked!

For long too, carrier network resellers too never bother to unlock iPhones even after their clients have fulfilled their financial obligations in full.

Apple shipped factory unlocked iPhone 4 starting in 2011 through its retail stores, following the sale of iPhone 3GS in the same manner in 2010, though the latter model was tied to AT&T contract.

A factory unlocked iPhone is the preferred choice for many, but for reasons mentioned above, end users are stuck with locked iPhones and are continuously seeking permanent factory unlocks.

In order to avoid unlock hustles with both carrier networks and grey market dealers, it is always smart to buy a factory unlocked iPhone.

These can be purchased directly from Apple retail stores or its online store.

Purchasing a factory unlocked iPhone directly from Apple is a one-off transaction and the user may never have to visit the Genius Bar.

A notice that your iPhone is activated and factory unlocked
A notice that your iPhone is activated and factory unlocked

Otherwise, a number of options are available in order to bypass the lock status using the IMEI number.

They include:

  • Carrier network resellers
  • Grey market providers

The IMEI number is the iPhone ID and is the only information you should provide to have it unlocked. You should not give it away for any reason. Anyone that asks for it is probably a rogue unlocker.

Carrier Network Unlock

Visit or call an Apple carrier partner on contract i.e. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Orange, T-Mobile etc to inquire about possibilities to unlock your iPhone.

Assuming it is paid for in full or the ETF is paid off, then you will be eligible for an unlock for a small fee or free of charge, depending.

Following the passing of the bill by the House of Representatives which sanctioned phone unlock, you will have to fulfill a few requirements though.

However, some carrier networks still do not provide unlock services and for this reason, you may want to try third-party unlock providers.

Do you trust iPhone factory unlock via third party services?

See results

Grey Market Unlock

Grey market unlock services though legal, is not necessarily sanctioned by Apple and carrier networks. They operate independently and are not subject to supervision.

You, therefore, partake in third-party services at your own risk.

However, a few providers out there do actually provide legitimate unlock services, and will refund your money upon failure to do so. It is therefore, important to go for a provider that warranties money back guarantee.

  • Follow this MacRumors link to read through this long forum to find out MacRumors user experience and views on a host of IMEI unlock sites.
  • Follow the iPhonewiki link to read what consider a scam.

Below are links to sites you should start with. No guarantees, but they receive good user recommendations.

Feel free to add links to sites that have worked for you. NO SPAM.

For a step by step Instructions on how to unlock an iPhone via IMEI number, read this Apple page.

How to Find IMEI number of your iPhone

Tap Settings

Tap General

Tap About

Scroll down to IMEI

The IMEI number of an iPhone is usually 15 figures.

Finding out the iPhone IMEI number
Finding out the iPhone IMEI number


  • You do not have to jailbreak in order to unlock your iPhone.
  • If your iPhone is blacklisted, you may not be able to have it unlocked. Usually, blacklisted iPhones are stolen.

iPhone Factory Unlock Via AT&T

© 2014 Alfred Amuno


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    • profile image

      Giovanni 2 years ago

      All this web sites what promoting Iphone factory unlock working over online web sites. There You need to register and leave your personal details which I do not like. First is my privacy.

      I find our one windows application which you can use to factory unlock

      most of the Iphones, and no need to leave your personal details. Look on - maybe will be handy to everyone here!

    • profile image

      Frank Liberti 2 years ago from Greece

      Hey amuno,

      Nice post, and very detailed. I agree with the Software method (Ultrasn0w), it can support up to iPhone 4 with 01.59.00 baseband, and unfortunately I have a very very long time to see an iPhone with that baseband. A few years ago I had a customer, which was involved with Jailbreaking, and he was constantly preserving his baseband to that version, and he still has it unlocked with the software method (Unfortunately he cannot use the latest iOS versions, but who cares right?)!

      About the unlocking companies you listed, I have used only the two of the three, and they worked very very good.

      I am actually using a website, which finds the cheapest unlocking solution for you, depending on your iPhone model and Network you want to unlock, and those two unlocking companies you mentioned appear very often. I am using either their form or their links, and they send me a link where you can order your unlock (They do not offer the unlocks, they just find you the cheapest solution!). This is their link, - maybe it will come handy to everyone here!

    • amuno profile image

      Alfred Amuno 2 years ago from Kampala

      Sorry for that. Here is the link, again.

    • profile image

      Russell 2 years ago

      That article didn't show.

    • amuno profile image

      Alfred Amuno 2 years ago from Kampala

      I have written an article (see link below) regarding iCloud bypass.

      Unfortunately, the doulCi exploit seems to have hit a brick wall, making it hard to bypass the iCloud screen.

      It is impossible to bypass the lock screen, at least for now. Still, new exploits are being tried out. Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground; something should happen any day.


    • profile image

      Russell 2 years ago

      What I want to know is how in them hell do I bypass/unlock my iCloud activation lock and turn off Find My iPhone! Bought my phone on eBay two months ago with the idea I could unlock it myself with DoulCi or DuolCi or what ever they call it. Now my phone is still am brick and there seems to be no help in sight for someone that just wants his new-ish iPhone 5S.