How to unlock an iPhone from a UK network
We’re often asked if we can remove a network lock from an iPhone. Unfortunately, we can’t as the lock is with the network provider, however, we’ve provided the details for how to go about it with the major UK networks (as of June 2017) below.
Major networks based on uSwitch
If your Pay Monthly device is on O2, they allow you to unlock your phone at any time and it’s also free of charge. They also state, that doing this doesn’t effect your existing contract, however you must see out the remainder of said contract.
To go about unlocking your phone, O2 give you 2 options. You can go to My O2 Online, or you can do it through the My O2 app and heading to the main menu. For iPhone users specifically, you’ll need to connect your device to iTunes once you’ve put a non-O2 sim into the phone. iTunes will then tell you the phone is now unlocked.
If you’re on Pay-As-You-Go, the O2 locked phone can only be unlocked 12 months after the purchase date. It’ll cost you £15, which will be deducted from the amount of credit you have left on the sim. You must make sure that there is £15 or more available credit in your account for up to 72 hours after the request has been made.
Interestingly EE is slightly different to O2. EE gives you two options to get your phone unlocked. You can either call 0800 956 6000 or there is an online form to fill out.
EE also provides a list of stipulations to be eligible for unlocking.
- The phone must’ve been purchased at least six months prior to the request.
- You must be the account holder for this device and phone number
- Ensure your bill has been paid and your account is up to date
- Ensure the device has not been reported as lost or stolen
If you’re still within your contract with EE then the charge is £8.99 (This charge will be applied to your next bill once the unlock code has been provided.). If you’re continuing on a month by month basis and are out of the contract then this service is free of charge.
Pay as you go devices can be unlocked as soon as it is purchased as long as it’s locked to EE, T-Mobile, and Orange. The unlock is also free of charge.
Like EE, Vodafone require you to submit an online form to request an unlock code. A confirmation email will be sent to confirm your application. Another will be sent within 48 hours with the code. Vodafone state that in some instances they may need to contact the phone's manufacturer, which may take up to 10 working days.
For iPhone users, the phone must be synced with iTunes in order to complete the process.
The quickest and most convenient out of the major network providers is 3. For iPhone users that have bought or upgraded an iPhone from Three, as soon as the phone is activated through Wi-Fi or iTunes, the phone will automatically be unlocked.
Non-Apple devices like other networks must fill out a form that can be found here.
Although not widely considered a major network, we do see Tesco Mobile quite often. With them, it is completely free to unlock if you’re on a pay monthly plan. They do state, however, if your device has just recently been released you might not be able to unlock it straight away.
With Pay as you go devices, you can unlock free of charge after 12 months. If you wish to do it before the end of the first year there will be a charge of £10.
To unlock your phone Tesco requires you to ring them on 0345 301 4455, do make sure you make a note of the IMEI. iPhone users can find this in Settings > General > About. Alternatively, if you don’t have an iPhone, you can find this by dialling *#06#.
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