Unlocking Your AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone

When you buy your smartphone with a contract or service agreement, your phone might be locked to your wireless company’s network. The company gave you the phone for free or sold it to you at a reduce price in exchange for you using their service for 12-24 months. Your monthly bill is very expensive because you are paying off the rest of the cost of your phone.

Once your contract is up, you might want to take your phone to a lower cost prepaid wireless company. If you phone is locked however, it might not work. But most wireless companies will unlock your phone. I recommend you unlock your phone. If you decide to sell your used phone, you’ll get more money for it unlocked. Also, you own the phone should it remain locked to one network.

Most wireless companies will unlock your smartphone for free. That is, if the are willing to unlock it at all. You’ll need to meet their terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are different for each company.

Typically, the company checks:

  • the phone was not reported lost or stolen
  • your account is / was in good standing.
  • the contract was completed or the Early Termination Fee was paid.
  • The phone was used on there network for the required amount of time

See the links below for more details.


AT&T
The official AT&T unlocking policy is here: Unlock your AT&T wireless phone or tablet.

You can fill out the ATT Unlock Request form here: Customer Device Unlock- Request – AT&T


T-Mobile

The official T-Mobile unlocking policy is here: Unlock your mobile wireless device


Verizon
The official Verizon unlocking policy is here: Device Unlocking Policy


Sprint
The official Sprint policy is here. Unlock your Sprint device.

7 Comments

  1. Amirrah | | Reply

    So i have a locked T-mobile phone because the bill wasn’t paid for, and that has been for a year or two now. my phone is still locked till this day, and i was wondering if i get a Simple Mobile prepaid card will it work on my locked T-mobile iphone 7 or do i need it unlocked in order for it to work ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know. Here is what I think though. If a T-Mobile SIM still works in the phone, a Simple Mobile SIM will. Under normal circumstances, a locked T-Mobile phone would work with Simple Mobile, or even Straight Talk’s, Tracfone’s, or Net10’s T-Mobile SIM cards. However in this case, someone did not honor their contract or payment plan. I don’t know if T-Mobile prevents phones like this from being used on their network. (Bad ESN). Simple Mobile doesn’t ask for the IMEI when you activate the phone. T-Mobile and Metro do sometimes.

      Does the phone still work with a T-Mobile SIM? Buy a BYOP Simple Mobile SIM for $1, see what happens when you put it in the phone? Worst case, activate a sim on the $25 plan and if it works, try porting in your number.

      • Amirrah | | Reply

        okay thank you so much i appreciate it A LOT, i’ll try it

  2. Adela Vega | | Reply

    thank you very much! and keep up the good work with your youtube videos i love how you fully explain things in detail 🙂

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Adela,
      Thanks. I am glad to hear my articles and videos helped you.

  3. Adela Vega | | Reply

    will a samsung galaxy s5 active that is AT&T locked work with a AT&T straight talk sim card?
    or will any locked android phones from att work with straight talk just like how locked att iphones will?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Your AT&T-locked S5 will work with Straight Talk’s AT&T network. All AT&T locked phones will work with Straight Talk’s AT&T network. Oscasionally I hear from a reader who has a issue where a phone doesn’t work for one reason or another, but that is really rare. If you meet the terms and conditions from AT&T i encourage you to get your phone unlocked as they do it for free, and its your phone.

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