Check My Phone is Carrier Unlocked or Not and Unlock legally for Free

When you say the word unlocked phones, most of us refer to the Bootloader. But, Carrier Unlock and Bootloader unlock are different. When you have Bootloader unlock mobile, the chances of rooting are high, and you can flash the firmware quickly compare with locked bootloaders. When you have locked carrier mobiles, you can’t use other mobile operators on your mobile. Below we are going find whether you have a carrier locked mobile or not. In old mobiles, we can’t change the mobile carriers. But, Nowadays, Mobile carriers allow their users to unlock their devices without using third-party methods. After following the official methods, you can use different mobile operators.
Car Door Lock Unlock Indicator

If you’re using a device that is locked to a particular carrier network, it means that no other carrier network can be used on mobile, aside from the integrated one. It can be beneficial and not beneficial sometimes; Because you may travel to a destination, and your phone’s default carrier network service won’t be available in the location. Thus, you need to switch to another carrier that’s functional in your new destination. Well, this is going to be an extensive article that will teach you quite a lot of things about locked and unlocked devices.

What is carrier unlocked Mobiles?

Just expounding on what is said above, carrier locked devices are devices that do not allow users to make use of any other network asides the one built-in on the device. These types of devices are somewhat safer to use if you aren’t planning to travel abroad, where you may not have the network service of your phone’s built-in carrier. Most of the carriers use tie-up networks. But, the cost is too high to apply for an extended period.

Simply, this is the opposite of what we have above. A device is said to be “unlocked” when you can use different carriers on it. Thus, an unlocked carrier device allows you to use any network service of your choice without any restrictions. Mobile devices that are carriers unlocked offer more flexibility to users, most notably, people that travel abroad frequently.

Different SIMs

For more enlightening, a carrier unlock device allows you to use Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or any other network SP of your choice.

This flexibility offered by an unlocked carrier device is one of the reasons many people want their mobile phone(s) to be carrier unlocked. Well, if you just got a new device and wondering if it is locked to a particular carrier or not, here are the various possible ways to check it out.

But before checking out the methods and steps, why not you check out the PROS and CONS of using a carrier locked device vs. a carrier unlocked device?

Bootloader unlocked vs. Carrier unlocked

Moto X 2014 Bootloader Unlock Option

Don’t confuse with these terms. Both are different. When you have Bootloader unlocked mobiles, the chances of getting Root methods are high compare with Bootloader locked mobiles. The reality is most of the carrier locked mobiles have Bootloader locked. So, the process of rooting and flashing firmware is laborious when compare with unlocked bootloader mobiles.

Carrier Unlock term is related to a mobile network. When you have unlocked carrier in mobiles, you can use different Network operators.

Carrier-locked vs. Carrier unlocked devices

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Carrier Plans

Even if you can use only one mobile operator in carrier locked mobile phones. It comes with flexible EMI and friendly (cheaper) plans. Also, you will get exclusive offers and plan deals from your carrier. But this is not so with carrier unlocked mobile phones; you can use different mobile carriers but won’t get most of the enticing exclusive offers.

How Do I Know my Phone is Carrier Unlocked/Factory Unlocked?

If you’re using an Android device, the method(s) to check for this is quite different from that of the iPhone. However, we are going to contain how to check if your iPhone or Android device is unlocked or not. Ready? Let’s do this together!

Method One: only for Android devices with dual SIM slots

Most Android devices released in the recent years feature dual SIM slots; typically, these devices with dual SIM are unlocked; however, to rest assured of this fact, below is how to confirm if your Android device is carrier-locked or carried unlocked.

SIM Card Manager Settings Android

  • Switch off the Android device and stick out the SIM card tray
  • Enter two different SIM cards from different carriers
  • Reboot the Android device
  • Check if the different carrier names of the networks showed on top of your screen
  • Now dial any mobile number and see if it will go through

If you’re able to make calls successfully, then your device is unlocked and can accept any network carrier. However, if you’re unable to make calls or send SMS, it may imply that your device is locked, or you can put a call to your carrier and see if the issue is from their end.

Alternatively, try the next method below

Method Two: Using Settings

This method will prove if your device is locked or unlocked. Kindly follow the steps carefully.

Mobile Network Change Settings

  • Go to your mobile device settings
  • Click on the “Networks” or “Connections” tab
  • Select “Mobile Networks” or “Cellular Networks”
  • Then click on “Network Operators.”

When you click on “Network Operators,” wait for your device to run a scan and fetch the carrier networks that can work on your device. If your device was able to detect multiple carriers, then the device is most apparently unlocked. Nevertheless, on the other hand, if you’re unable to run this action, then the device is locked.

Method Three: iPhones

This method will work on all iPhones irrespective of the model and iOS version. It is similar to the 2nd method discussed above. To check if your iPhone device is carrier unlocked, follow the steps below.

iPhone Cellular Check Settings

  • Go your iPhone device setting
  • Navigate to the “Cellular” option and click on it
  • Activate the “Cellular Data” option by toggling the switch
  • If you could see “Cellular Data Options,” then, your iPhone is unlocked

If you didn’t see “Cellular Data Options,” your device is locked, and you need to contact your carrier for guidelines on how to unlock it.

Method Four: Model numbers

Samsung Galaxy Model Number Check

It may be a tech process for regular users. When you know about model numbers of particular mobile manufacturers, you can find your mobile carrier lock status. Example-Samsung Galaxy S9+ SM-G965F. All Samsung Galaxy mobiles that end with the “F” letter in model numbers are carrier unlocked mobile. You can refer more about Samsung Galaxy Mobile model numbers. You can check your model number on your mobile about information in settings. These values will differ from different manufacturers.

Method Five: Using a third-party website

IMEI lock check status

You can also check your mobile lock status using IMEI checker websites- IMEI.info and T-Mobile Checker. If you do not trust those sites, you can avoid this process. You can get your IMEI by dialing *#06# in your dial pad.

Unlock Carrier locked mobiles legally for Free

Yes, you read that correctly. You don’t have to pay for the third-party sites to get the unlock codes. You can get those codes from your mobile operator. All you need to do is follow the below steps based on your current Network provider. I mentioned only US and Canada carriers. I will add more in the future. Before 2014, Unlocking your mobile is not legal. But, After 2014, FCC approved the Unlock law, so you are good to go. I remember again; Don’t confuse this method to Bootloader unlock. It is for carrier unlock.

Unlock Verizon Wireless Mobiles

Verizon Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus in the hand

In the retail package, Settings, Backside Logo, and when booting on your mobile, you can find you have Verizon Wireless carrier.

  • Your Prepaid/Postpaid mobile should in the active network for 60 days from the date of purchase or 60 days in usage.
  • Your mobile should not report as stolen or missing.
  • When you have Verizon Postpaid, you should have any debt remaining if you have only one connection. When you have multiple links and your account is in good records, you can get the code.
  • Prepaid customers mobile automatically unlocked after 60 days. You don’t have to follow the procedures. But, When you face issues, you can contact the customer care.
  • If you are a military and want to relocate the area where there is no Verizon coverage, you can request to the operator even if your mobile is in under 60 day period.
  • When you are qualified for all terms, you can contact the customer care from the below information. From there, you can follow further procedures.

AT&T Mobiles Unlock

AT&T Logo on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Retail box

In the retail package, Settings, Backside Global Logo, and when booting on your mobile, you can find you have an AT&T carrier.

  • Your Prepaid/Postpaid mobile should not act in another AT&T account.
  • Your mobile should not report as stolen or missing.
  • When you have AT&T Postpaid, you should not have any due remaining if you have only one connection. When you have multiple links and your account is in good records, you can get the code with the active mobile network for that particular mobile for 60 days.
  • Prepaid customers mobile will be automatically unlocked after 180 days (6 months). You don’t have to follow the procedures. But, When you face issues, you can contact the customer care.
  • If you are a military and want to relocate the area where there is no AT&T coverage, you can request to the operator even if your mobile is in under 60 days period.
  • When you are qualified for all terms, you can contact the customer care from the below information. From there, you can follow further procedures.

T-Mobile Unlock

T-Mobile Oneplus 7T

Compare with other mobile operators, T-Mobile has a specific app for the unlocking process. But, you can’t download it from the Play Store. It already pre-installed in your mobile If your device is supported. To check the eligibility, Go to My Apps and Games>Installed. When you didn’t have the app follow the conventional method. When you have the app installed, follow the app method.

Regular Method

  • You should have an Active T-Mobile account.
  • Your mobile should not report as stolen or missing.
  • We can’t make Two unlock request within 12 months period.
  • You should provide proof of purchase details when the customer care executive asked for additional information.
  • When you have T-Mobile Postpaid, you should not have any due remaining if you have only one connection. When you have multiple links and your account is in good records, you can get the code with the active connection of 40 days.
  • Prepaid customer’s mobile will be automatically unlocked after 365 days (1 Year). You don’t have to follow the procedures. But, When you face issues, you can contact the customer care. (or) Your device should be filled with $25 for basic phones and $100 for smartphones from the date of purchase.
  • If you are a military and want to relocate the area where there is no T-Mobile coverage, you can request to the operator even if your mobile is in under 40 days period.
  • When you are qualified for all terms, you can contact the customer care from the below information. From there, you can follow further procedures.

App Method

T-Mobile Permanent Unlock App Screenshots

  • You should have an active T-Mobile account, Internet Data Connection, and compatible with the Regular method criteria like 40 Days period, No debt like that, Refer conventional method for additional information.
  • Open the app and select devices, choose your device.
  • Scroll down the app and Go to How to section and select “Security.” Under this section choose, Mobile device Unlock.
  • Your app will check with the server based on your data like supporting device, your account records.
  • After the successful check, It will ask for the type of unlock. Choose permanent unlock. When your request is approved, you will get the “Unlock Approved” message. Restart your mobile.
  • Hereafter you can use any mobile operator on your device.

Sprint Mobiles Unlock

Sprint Samsung Galaxy Prime

  • Your Prepaid/Postpaid mobile should have an active Sprint account.
  • Your mobile should not report as stolen or missing.
  • When you have Sprint Postpaid, you should not have any due remaining if you have only one connection. When you have multiple links and your account is in good records, you can get the code with the active connection of 50 days.
  • Prepaid customers mobile will be automatically unlocked after 365 days (12 months). You don’t have to follow the procedures. But, When you face issues, you can contact the customer care.
  • If you are a military and want to relocate the area where there is no Sprint coverage, you can request to the operator even if your mobile is in under 50 days period.
  • When you are qualified for all terms, you can contact the customer care from the below information. From there, you can follow further procedures.

Canada Mobile carriers Unlock

I will attach the Canada mobile carriers’ respective support page and customer care numbers below. Based on your current carrier, choose one.

  • Bell / 1-800-667-0123
  • Fido / 1-888-481-3436

Third-Party sites Unlock

When you bought a used phone, and you realized you have locked status, your choices are less. You can contact the actual carrier and ask about the further process. When they can’t help you, try with one of the paid services. Remember, we only mention the idea. Use your experience and tech knowledge to choose the best one. In most of the third-party sites, you have to pay for getting codes. So, you should be careful when making payments. Also, you should be aware that you didn’t receive stolen or lost mobiles.

Why are some mobiles locked?

The truth is, on the one hand, they can provide you the lease or EMI without a lot of documentation when they offer you locked mobiles. On the other hand, Mobile operators want to stay with them. Compare with the Prepaid users, Postpaid closed mobile people are loyal users of their company. They don’t want to lose their customers and want to provide exclusive features. So, they are selling locked mobiles.

Well, if you buy your phone from Amazon or other top sites/resellers, you’ll be notified if the device is locked or unlocked. Some mobiles are carrier locked because the owner is yet to complete the payment for owning the mobile. Most times, when you complete the fee for a branded device, the company unlocks the device to allow you to use other networks.  However, if your device is yet to be unlocked even after completing its payment, then you should contact your carrier provider to unlock the device. The law in the US says that all locked devices can be unlocked at the owner’s request; however, terms and conditions apply.

Furthermore, it is essential to say that locked mobile phones are more secure than unlocked devices. Once your device is unlocked, some exclusive benefits are removed from the mobile. You now have to be more careful when dealing with third-party apps. Always enable SIM Swapping prevention techniques.

What more?

Using the above methods, we can check our device is locked to a particular carrier or is unlocked to use any network. We know some questions will be going through your mind at the moment, and we will clear them up. Whenever you buy phones from the used mobile sites or other people along with some hardware tests, you should check the above things.

When you bought a locked mobile, and the seller doesn’t pay the EMI, you can’t use that mobile. So, It is better to buy a Factory unlocked mobiles. Whenever the user bought Factory unlocked mobiles, the EMI goes directly to their bank credits. So, Even if they paid the payments, it is business between them and the bank. You don’t have to worry about that. But, When you bought carrier-locked phones, you should check everything.

Along with that, always check the necessary things before buying smartphones. Did you use other carriers in your previously locked mobile? Comment below about your experience.

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