How To Check If An iPhone is Locked or Unlocked?

Apple iPhones are usually available in two flavors: locked or unlocked.

When you are purchasing an iPhone, it is of vital importance to check which flavor of the iPhone you are buying. Unlocked iPhone offers convenience and flexibility on the other hand having a locked iPhone means you will be stuck with the provider. Here it is worth mentioning that unlocked iPhone is more expensive than locked iPhone.

If you have purchased a carrier locked iPhone then it would be great to know that you can unlock it but it takes time, cost and the whole process will end up with a high level of frustration for users.

You can use an unlocked iPhone on any network whereas a locked phone can only be used on one network to which it is locked. Therefore, when it comes to purchasing an iPhone, it is important to check network status of the phone. Today we’ll discuss that how to check if an iPhone is locked or unlocked?

What Is A Locked iPhone?

A phone which uses only one network is called locked iPhone. iPhone purchased from Apple store by paying full price are unlock by default, but the phone which you buy from a network or carrier are locked. Locked iPhone is locked for a particular period usually 18 to 24 months.

When you purchase an iPhone from the carrier, it is set up to work with that particular carrier only so it is said to be locked to that carrier. Once the payment is complete, the carrier will unlock the phone. Carrier locks are contract locks. The idea behind carrier lock is that when you purchase a phone at a discount you are agreed on particular terms and conditions in the contract. This deal allows the carrier to make up for the discount or allow the company to recoups the price reduction through the term of the contract. When someone breaks a contract, the company charges a termination fee to get the discount back.

In case of locked iPhones, a lock is software code on an iPhone by the manufacturer with an objective to meet requirements of the mobile operator. These software locks ensure that you are using your iPhones with a particular mobile company. To unlock the device, it is important to enter a different software code.

Read More: 10 Fascinating And Unknown iPhone Facts You Haven’t Heard About!

Why An Unlocked iPhone Matters?

The most obvious benefit of an unlocked iPhone is that it is not locked to a particular carrier. It allows you to connect with your preferred network. There is the big difference between the price of locked and unlocked iPhones. Unlocked iPhone is generally more expensive than locked ones, but the benefits of having an unlocked iPhone outweigh the cost.

Unlocked iPhones are marking the chapter in history by offering two-fold benefits. Unlocked iPhones are giving a maximum amount of choice to the consumer and allowing Apple to free itself from the operators as well. Unlocked phone offer higher flexibility and convenience to the users by allowing them to change their phones or to change phone provider whenever they want to. Unlocked iPhone users can save money and stay away from contracts and hidden charges.

Unlocked iPhone users have the unique option of switching effortlessly from one network carrier to another. By choosing the right and a well-suited plan, they would be able to enjoy the flexibility as well. Handling an unlocked iPhone involves less hassle and greater connectivity. Unlocked iPhones help to save money in the long run. Unlocked iPhone is a more diverse choice which allows the users to stay updated with latest trends in technology. All these factors suggest that it is important to perform a vital check when you are purchasing an iPhone.

Methods For How To Check If An iPhone Is Locked Or Unlocked!

When you are purchasing an iPhone, it is a good practice to verify that the phone is unlocked. An unlocked iPhone is not limited to a particular carrier and purchasing an unlocked iPhone means you don’t have to deal with pre-installed software or bloatware. By purchasing an unlocked iPhone, you would be able to save money in the long run with greater flexibility and convenience.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know an iPhone is locked or unlocked by just looking at the device. Here are few methods which you can apply to find out whether the device is locked to a particular carrier or it is unlocked.

Check Your Settings To Verify If Your iPhone Is Unlocked!

This move can help you to get your hands on the actual iPhone. It is the simplest way to check if your phone is locked or unlocked. Under this method, you just have to look in the setting app. To check the phone is locked or unlocked you just have to power up the iPhone and access cellular settings. Check an iPhone is unlocked in iOS by following these steps.

  • Open setting
  • Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options.
  • Check the option Mobile Data Network (or cellular Data Network).

If you have an option, Mobile Data or cellular data network then make sure that the iPhone in your hand is unlocked because there is no Mobile Data Network option in locked iPhones. It is important to know that this method is not 100% effective. SIM card to check a phone is locked or unlocked considered as more reliable than this method.

Using SIM Card To Check If iPhone Is Unlocked!

Using SIM card is more reliable way to check the phone is locked or unlocked. According to a report, more than 60% iPhones have carrier SIM Lock. It means you can use those iPhones with SIM card given from specific carrier or network.

This method is applicable when you can make a call. It is also important to note that you must have to come up with two SIM cards from two different carriers for this test. You can temporarily borrow the iPhone SIM from your friend or family member.

After getting two SIMs, you can follow the following mentioned steps:

  • Use Sleep/Wake button by switching off your phone.
  • Use ejector tool or paper clip to eject the current working SIM.
  • Insert another SIM card.
  • Switch on the iPhone.
  • Check if the new carrier SIM is working on your phone.
  • Your phone is unlocked if you can make the call from the new SIM.
  • Your phone is locked to the carrier if you are unable to make the call from the new SIM.

Read More: Apple’s AirPods Remarkably Achieved 98% Satisfaction Rate!

How To Check If iPhone Is Unlocked IMEI?

You can also check that your phone is unlocked through IMEI number. IMEI number is the serial number of the phone or iPad which communicate with Apple server and provide all the information about the device. IMEI is a reliable and secure way which is used to verify iDevices. You can check IMEI number:

  • At the back of the iPhone.
  • Click Setting > About to find the IMEI number.
  • Connect you iPhone to the computer and Launch iTunes.
  • Go to the Device Summary and check if the phone is locked or unlocked when you are using iTunes.
  • You can see IMEI serial number by clicking on the phone number.
  • You can check barcode at the original packaging of the device to find IMEI number.
  • IMEI number is also printed at the SIM card tray in certain iDevices.

After getting IMEI number go to the CTIA-Accredited IMEI checker. You can find CTIA-Accredited IMEI checker for free through your favorite search engines. Some CTIA-Accredited IMEI checkers are free and some charge fee. CTIA-Accredited IMEI checkers check GSMA blacklisting and whitelisting and detect carrier activation issues.


In a nutshell, we can say that it is crucial to know if the iPhone is locked or unlocked. It is true especially in case if you are buying a pre-owned iPhone/iPad or if you are purchasing from other sources. The above mentioned three ways can help you to find whether the phone is locked or unlocked. Go to the setting or insert a SIM card from another network to make sure that the phone is locked. You can also ask for IMEI before making the purchase of an iPhone to make sure that it is unlocked.

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