How to Get iPhone Factory Unlock Using the IMEI Number
Using the IMEI number, you can get iPhone factory unlock from your carrier network or gray market providers both for free and for a small fee. Once unlocked (read white-listed) using the IMEI, the iPhone will accept SIM cards from all network providers around the world.
Starting with the first iPhone which shipped in 2007, Apple iPhones have always been sold locked to carrier networks all 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 or so. The contract also motivates users to stick to selected carrier networks in the event of an upgrade.
Because of this lock irregularity, the global iPhone market is saturated with both factory unlocked and locked iPhones. While many end users knowingly purchase either of the iPhone types, some purchase 'used' locked iPhones unknowingly and have to tussle it out when told about the lock status.
This is even made cumbersome by network providers who never bother to unlock these iPhones even the contract expires.
Apple shipped factory unlocked iPhone 4 starting in 2011 through its retail stores, and though it had earlier in 2010 sold unlocked iPhone 3GS, the model was partly tied to AT&T contract.
A factory unlocked iPhone is the ultimate choice for most users, but for reasons mentioned above, many end users are stuck with locked iPhones and having dis-tasted temporary unlocks, are continuously seeking permanent factory unlocks.
In order to avoid iPhone unlock hustles with carrier networks and grey market dealers, it is always smart to buy a genuine factory unlocked iPhone.
Purchasing a factory unlocked iPhone directly from Apple is a one off transaction and unless the iPhone develops problems, you may never have to visit the Genius Bar.
Otherwise, a number of options are available in order to have iPhones factory unlocked by use of the IMEI number.
They include iPhone factory unlock;
- using carrier networks
- using grey market providers
The IMEI number is the identity of your iPhone and is the only information you should provide to have it unlocked. You should not have your iPhone for unlock purposes. Anyone that asks to have your iPhone first is probably a rogue unlocker.
1. iPhone Factory Unlock Via Carrier Network Providers
If you bought your iPhone from an Apple carrier partner on contract i.e. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Orange, T-Mobile etc, you had better call or visit them to inquire about possibilities to unlock your iPhone.
Assuming your iPhone is out of contract or the ETF is paid off, then you will be eligible for an unlock for a small fee or free of charge, depending on the carrier network.
Following the passing of the bill by the House of Representatives which sanctioned phone unlock, you will have to fulfill a few requirements though.
For example, AT&T allows up to five unlocks a year per current user account. Former customers have up to five unlocks for the same account only.
Popular carrier network unlock services include:
- A list of all supported carrier network partners worldwide is available from Apple.
However, some carrier networks still do not provide iPhone unlock and, for this reason, you may want to try third party unlock providers.
Do you trust iPhone factory unlock via third party services?
2. Factory iPhone Unlock Via Grey Market Dealers
Grey market unlock services though legal, are not necessarily sanctioned by Apple and carrier networks. They operate independently and are not necessarily subject to supervision.
It therefore goes without saying that you interact with third party unlockers at your own risk.
However, a few providers out there do actually serve legitimate iPhone unlock, and will refund your money upon failure to do so. It is therefore, important to go for a provider that warranties money back guarantee.
All said and done, the grey market unlock services are the last resort, when your carrier network does not provide in-house unlock.
Below I have listed a few links to sites that should be good to start with. No guarantees, but they receive recommendations from users globally.
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
In iPhones running IOS 7x:
scroll down to IMEI
The IMEI number of an iPhone is usually 15 figures.