How to Tell If My iPhone Is Locked to A Carrier

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023By Categories: Carrier Unlock

The carrier lock on our iPhone is an inevitable brick if we want to sell the iPhone or change to another more affordable plan or carrier. Before we can make any further decision, we should make sure our iPhone is unlocked to the carrier.

If unfortunately, your iPhone is locked to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Metro PCS, or any other carrier, don’t worry. You can unlock your iPhone from their service for free and do whatever you want to do on this unlocked iPhone.


If you’re having a Cellular version iPad, the following methods are helpful to check and unlock your iPad as well.

How to Check If Your iPhone/iPad Is Locked or Unlocked

Part 1: How to Tell If An iPhone Is Unlocked

There’re multiple ways to find out whether your iPhone is locked or unlocked. All of them methods are 100% free and can be done in minutes. So, if anyone tells you that they can help you find out the status of your iPhone with a price, never trust them.

Pick up any method below and start to check if your iPhone is unlocked or not.

Method 1: Tell If Your iPhone Is Unlocked Depending on The Place of Purchase

There’s one rule that you can bear in your mind: unless you intend to ask for it, every iPhone and iPad sold in Apple Store or Center is unlocked.

The same rule goes for Apple Store Online.

Apple Store Sim Lock

So, if this iPhone is from the official Apple Store, try to think back if you have selected any extra options other than Apple Care. If none, then, this iPhone is likely unlocked.

On the contrary, when you buy an iPhone from a carrier counter, you’ve signed a contract to subscribe to a certain plan. Your iPhone is locked and this is something we call a contract phone.

Also, on BestBuy and Amazon, customers must choose a carrier when they make an order. So, in either case, your iPhone is locked.

iPhone Amazon

Are you using a secondhand iPhone? Well, ask the previous owner for some details or apply to the checking below.

Method 2: Tell If Your iPhone Is Unlocked By Inserting Another Sim Card

The most direct way to check if an iPhone is unlocked or not is very easy and costs nothing. That is you insert a Sim card from another carrier into your iPhone. If this Sim card works, then your iPhone is unlocked 100%.


For an iPhone installed with eSim, you will have to contact the new eSim provider for activation information.

Step 1

Grab the Sim ejecting tool or a paper clip and pop it into the hole on the tray. Push the clip in gently. When the clip gets stuck, pull it out. The Sim tray will come out.

Step 2

Next, replace the current Sim card with a new Sim card from a different carrier. There’s a notch in the corner of the tray and you need to make sure your Sim Nano is perfectly fitted into the tray. Insert the tray back into the iPhone.

iPhone Sim Card

Reboot your iPhone. If a sign pops out saying “Sim Card In Not Supported” or “Invalid Sim”, your iPhone is locked.

No pop-ups? Make a few phone calls or use cellular data. If they work, your iPhone is unlocked. Otherwise, it’s locked to the previous carrier.

Method 3: Tell If Your iPhone Is Unlocked By Calling The Carrier

Which carrier is your current Sim card from? Make a straight call to their hotline. They will tell your the status of your iPhone after they verify your ownership.

To pass it, prepare the IMEI code and possibly your ID used for signing up for this carrier.


To find the IMEI of your iPhone, launch Settings, and go to GeneralAbout. Scroll down and locate the IMEI code. Mark that down.

Besides dialing the carrier, you can also go to their support website and apply for a request of checking. Simply fill in the IMEI code and your ID (possibly). And it will have the result in the following 48 hours.

Here are the hotlines and websites of certain carriers:

Method 4: Tell If Your iPhone Is Unlocked By Checking iPhone Settings App

If you think contacting the carrier is so complex as you need to prepare quite a few things, try to check the status on your iPhone’s Settings app.

Launch the app. Navigate and tap on General. Then, hit the first option – About. On this screen, scroll all the way down to the carrier info. Find Carrier Lock, there if it says “No SIM restrictions”, your iPhone is clearly unlocked.

Check iPhone Locked or Unlocked

If you see “Sim locked”, well, no more explanation for that.

Method 5: Check If Your iPhone Is Unlocked Through Online Checkers

Online, there’re some websites that can help you check if your iPhone is locked or unlocked through the IMEI code.

However, most of them will charge you a few bucks, which is very unworthy personally. Because there’re multiple free methods of checking the unlock status on your iPhone. It makes no sense to pay for the checking.

Part 2: How to Unlock Your iPhone When It’s Locked to A Carrier

All carriers are open for iPhone unlock services. And certainly, to unlock an iPhone from the carrier, you need to achieve their requirements.

Take AT&T iPhone as an example, if you purchased the iPhone on an installment plan, you have to pay off the bills before you can submit an unlock request. Also, no arrear is the key.

AT&T Unlock Requirements

Besides these, there’re more requirements and they vary according to which carrier you’ve signed to.

Go to the official support website and read the whole list or consult customer service for the exact details. When all the conditions are perfectly fitted, you can ask the carrier to unlock your iPhone either through an online request or a phone call.

What to Do Before You Unlock Your iPhone

Cases of data loss after the iPhone is unlocked are reported on Quora, Reddit, and Apple Support. Some poor iPhone users lost their IMs, SMS, contacts, and call logs after the carriers unlock the iPhone. And so far, we have no idea why this happens and we can’t predict it at all.

So, before you file an unlock to your carrier, back up your iPhone data.

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What To Do After iPhone Is Unlocker By Carrier

When your current carrier agrees to unlock your iPhone and they’ve completed it, remove the Sim card and insert the new one.

Normally, the new Sim card will be valid on your unlocked iPhone. If it doesn’t work, reboot your device.

If a reboot cannot activate this Sim card, consider resetting the network settings on your iPhone to reconfigure your iPhone to use the new Sim network.

Follow this path: SettingsGeneralTransfer or Reset iPhone (for iOS 15 and before, it’s Reset) – ResetReset Network Settings.

Reset iPhone Network Settings

When a network reset is still not effective, the last option is to reset your iPhone completely. Go to the Reset screen and tap Reset Content And Settings. You may have to enter your iCloud account and password to complete the reset.

Since a factory reset will erase all your data on the iPhone, you’d better make a backup before you start the action.


No, only the carrier that your iPhone is locked to can unlock your iPhone. Individuals cannot unlock an iPhone.

However, there’re some online IMEI unlock services boasting that they can unlock a locked iPhone with an IMEI code. And surely, they will charge for the unlock. We have no idea whether this kind of service is trustworthy or not. Think twice before you pay for their service.

To find out which carrier your iPhone is locked to, you can go to the Settings app on your iPhone.

Then, tap on General – About. On the About page, scroll down and find the Carrier Lock option. When your iPhone is locked, it will be labeled as “Sim locked”. Tap on it and you can find the carrier that your iPhone is locked to.

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