Want to change network providers but keep your phone? We show you how to unlock and Android phone and use any SIM.
If you’re thinking about changing carrier or network provider, you might be concerned about using a different SIM in your phone. That’s because some phones are locked to a particular provider, preventing the use of a SIM card from a different network. If your phone is locked and you try to use a different SIM, you won’t be able to use your minutes, texts or data. Here, we show you how to unlock your phone and use any SIM with imei unlock.
If you’re here looking for how to unlock your phone because you’ve forgotten your password, pin or passcode, click here.
Is it legal to unlock your phone?
If you’ve finished paying for your contract, it’s completely legal to unlock your phone. The same goes for any phone you purchased outright. However, if you’re still in the process of paying off your initial contract you technically do not own the phone yet, and therefore it’s a bit of a grey area. We’d recommend checking terms with your carrier before you proceed.
If you think your phone might already be unlocked (many are), you can find out how to check in our guide: Is my phone unlocked?
How to unlock your phone
Unlocking a phone can be surprisingly easy once you know how.
1. First, you’ll need to contact your provider and request an unlock. This must be the original network, not the network of the new SIM you’re trying to use.
2. Once you’ve had confirmation that your phone has been unlocked by your provider, you can power down the phone, put your new SIM card into the SIM card slot, and turn the phone back on.
3. Now, try making a call to find out whether or not the unlock has been successful. If you’re able to connect a phone call over the new network, the unlock has worked. If not, get back in touch with your network provider for further assistance.
If you don’t have the original SIM card, you may need to reset the phone before it can be unlocked.
Contact your network provider
Taking a closer look at step one, we’ve listed each of the popular network providers in the UK to help you find out how to go about unlocking your phone. Find your carrier from the list below and follow the instructions provided.
Using a third-party unlocking service
We would always recommend checking with your network provider before you resort to a third-party unlocking service, but sometimes it can be much quicker and easier.
It’s important to watch out for third-party unlocking services that sting customers with extra bills at the end of the process, so be sure to read the small print before you hand over your money.
We’ve tried and tested Doctor SIM, which promises a refund if the unlock is unsuccessful and didn’t surprise us with any hidden fees. It could be an option if you’ve tried the methods listed above.
We wouldn’t recommend paying anything more than £25 to have your phone unlocked. If someone is trying to charge you more than that, they are trying their luck.
For more details instructions about how to unlock an iPhone, visit our sister site Macworld’s tutorial here.