Sim-Lock on iPhone: how is an iPhone locked by a mobile operator?
Earlier in our blog was published an article about various types of iPhone lock. We have described the most common types of blocking, and now we plan to focus on each separately and deployed. Our first material in this series is about locking an iPhone by a mobile operator or the so-called Sim-Lock. In this article we will answer the question of what is Sim-Lock, how not to buy a smartphone with Sim-Lock from cheaters and how to unlock a smartphone with this kind of lock.
So what does the Sim-Lock lock mean? Simply put, an iPhone blocked in this way supports only one mobile operator. If you buy a phone locked by the operator from hand to hand, and the previous owner purchased it in another country – in fact, you cannot fully use the device. After all, the mobile operator with whom the phone works, as a rule, not represented in another country, and another SIM card, which is convenient for you to use, will not be supported by the phone.
The scheme of such locking is simple: in the USA and many other countries, is common practice to pay the annual tariff plan for the services of a mobile operator. Most often, this contract is signed with a client for a two-year term, however, annual contracts also occur. To encourage the customer to purchase an annual or two-year tariff plan, the operator offers for a symbolic amount or even a free iPhone, on which only SIM cards of the specified operator will be supported. This is used by second-hand dealers, who thus get iPhones cheaply or for free, and then sell them from their hands to buyers who, upon inspection, do not detect blocking. Despite the fact that an inexperienced buyer will pay attention to the external state of the phone, pseudo-sellers quickly get rid of the smartphone and get paid, and then the deceived buyer will find out from relatives or in the service center that the smartphone is locked.
It is important to know that the smartphone locked by the mobile operator, you can not even use as a multimedia device – for watching movies or listening to music. Without installing a SIM card, under which the smartphone was configured, the use of the device becomes impossible. For buyers who have become hostages of this situation, they came up with several ways.
How to check iPhone for locking by mobile operator
Of course, first of all we are obliged to warn you about the risk of buying a smartphone from hand to hand, on which there can probably be a lock. If your budget allows to buy a used iPhone, we recommend checking in detail not only the case, but also the technical abilities of the gadget. In particular, it is quite simple to check the phone for locking by a mobile operator: take your SIM card for inspection, which you plan to use for this smartphone, and insert this card into the slot.
Also check if the network icon is displayed on the main iPhone screen. In addition, we advise you to call a friend and check the quality of communication and the general availability of subscribers in the mobile network.
As a rule, locked phones are often sold in the USA, Australia and Western Europe. In official stores and large supermarkets of technology, especially network, you will not find such instances. The largest market for used iPhones, including blocked ones, is the Internet. Therefore, especially carefully approach to buy an iPhone from hand to hand from an unknown person. We have prepared a whole article about the details that you need to pay attention to when buying a used iPhone.
How to check the blocked iPhone before contact with it?
If you buy an iPhone over the Internet, and you have previously agreed on an inspection, you can save your time by checking some of the data about the gadget even before direct contact with it. The key to data about any official Apple gadget is its IMEI. Earlier we have already published an article about what IMEI gives you, even if you do not hold the gadget in your hand. Among other things, you can check by the IMEI number whether the iPhone is blocked by a mobile operator or for other reasons – for example, the smartphone was stolen or lost.
IMEI is a unique gadget number assigned only to it. You can ask the seller the IMEI number, it is open information, and does not give you access to any confidential data. Enter this IMEI number on the official Apple website in the appropriate line and get the necessary data. If the seller for some reason does not give you an IMEI number – it is worth considering whether the seller hides any flaws or defects in the gadget. Also pay attention to the cost: if the price is significantly lower than the market price – this is another reason to find out IMEI and check whether there are good reasons for price reduction (in case there are no case or screen defects).
What should you do if your iPhone is locked by a mobile operator?
If you knew about locking or became a victim of cheaters and bought a locked iPhone, there are two well-known solutions to this problem. The first is hardware unlocking, the second is official unlocking.
The first method is simpler, requires additional costs, but is not considered legal. In fact, this is bypassing the lock with the purchase of components to your iPhone. The second is a request to representatives of the mobile operator to unlock your gadget, sometimes it can also be paid.
How does the iPhone hardware unlock work?
As we noted in the previous paragraph, hardware unlocking is a blocking bypass using components. This tool for bypass is called Turbo-SIM, it looks like a small tab in the SIM card slot. That is, in order to “deceive” the phone, you put in the slot not only the SIM card of the operator you need, but also a small tab that imitates investments in the slot of the operator’s card to which the phone was configured.
The cost of such a device ranges in 20-50 dollars. Also note that cheap parts break quickly. The quality and wear of this tab can affect the operation of the smartphone: the speed and the possibility of its upgrade, as well as the quality of communication.
How does the "official" unlock iPhone with SIM-Lock work?
There is another, legal and stable solution. However, it will require more time and communication with the mobile operator, and, therefore, fluency in spoken English. As a rule, the phone is locked under a mobile operator in the United States and English-speaking countries, that is, you have to explain the reasons for the operator how the phone fell into your hands.
In addition, this procedure may be paid. In fact, they may ask you for money for unlocking and giving access to using the services of another operator. The better you speak English and you can explain that you did not steal the phone, however, without the possibility of checking, you bought a locked iPhone – the more positive the result will be.
The human factor can work here, and you will be refused or agreed to unlock. Find contacts to communicate with the operator on the official website of the operator, under which the smartphone is configured. Also note that it may take up to a month to contact the operator and review your problem.
In addition, if you do not speak English or do not plan to contact the representatives of the operator personally, you can use the services of intermediaries. For a certain amount, they themselves will contact the mobile operator on your behalf and try to negotiate an unlocking. We advise you to choose only proven and official companies. Beware of cheaters who take full prepayment or promise instant unlock.
So, we do not recommend deliberately buying an iPhone locked by a mobile operator. If you are planning to save money in this way, please note that in the future you will need to purchase an adapter Turbo-SIM, pay the funds to the operator or to intermediaries who can contact you for the operator.
If you did not know about blocking and bought such a gadget, there are still options to bypass the lock and unlock the gadget. Although it will be costly for you, pay attention to the other as well. On the Internet and in doubtful service centers, pseudo-agents often offer their services. We recommend you to focus on the reviews and the experience of people you know. Also avoid the services of companies that use your confidential data, or ask for billing information – bank cards numbers, accounts, and the like.