It is very important to know the status of the iPhone devices that you buy second-hand. Buying a mobile phone from an Apple unauthorised retailer may, in some cases, mean getting a stolen or lost device.
It may also be a model that is not compatible with local operators. Another common situation is to buy the iPhone from a colleague or acquaintance, but who has forgotten to unlink the device on Apple ID, so it is locked.
Fortunately, there are several quick and easy unlocking methods to give you immediate access to your newly purchased iPhone.
What are the reasons why I should unlock my iPhone?
5-step guide to using the tool
- Step 1: Select your mobile device model
- Step 2: Choose your country (Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia…)
- Step 3: Select your company (Vodafone, Orange, Yoigo, Movistar…) and press “Release“
- Step 4: Enter your IMEI number (You can find it by dialing *#06# on your phone)
- Step 5: Click “Unlock Now” and… Done!
There are many scenarios in which an iPhone device ends up locked. In order to know how to react to each situation, it is necessary to know in depth the reason for the blockage when you must unblock an iPhone.
If you have forgotten your code or password
Dialing an incorrect password multiple times on the iPhone screen can result in a lock. In this case, it is necessary to activate the “recovery mode”. The process usually varies a bit, depending on the model used.
Similarly, it is recommended to have a backup, to restore data and settings that are lost during the restoration of access to the iPhone device.
If you are blocked by iCloud
Apple offers an automatic lock-in service through the iCloud platform. In the event of theft or loss, you can log in to the official website. The system offers three options:
- Locking the device.
- Location of the iPhone.
- Data deletion.
This way, you can prevent anyone unwanted from using the device, or from having access to the phone. The iCloud feature is active, by default, on models of the 7th generation or later.
To disable this feature, and unlock a device, you need the Apple ID that is linked to your phone.
For use with another telephone operator
Phone companies offer an unlocking service, or device release, to use other carriers’ phone lines. This is convenient when, for example, you travel abroad and need to purchase a new number. To do this, you need to contact your current operator and request to unlock your iPhone device, as they are the only ones who will be able to lock your phone.
It usually takes a couple of days for the application to be processed. You can check the status of the process, after the estimated time, the operator will notify you of the successful unlocking of the equipment. After that, you only need to enter the new SIM and configure the device.
If it’s a lost or stolen iPhone and it’s locked
When an iPhone device is lost, or stolen, the owner can use the “Find My iPhone” application from the iCloud portal to block access to the device.
In case you recover your phone, and need to regain control over your computer, you will need to log back into the “Find My iPhone” application to unlock the device, and restore the content through the last backup performed.
How to unlock any iPhone using the IMEI
The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code is a unique identification number for each mobile phone worldwide. The IMEI code is very useful both to lock or unlock an iPhone device, through the phone operator, Apple, or from your iCloud account.
The ways to get your IMEI are:
- If you have the device in hand, you can find the IMEI code in the Settings menu. Go to “General” and then press “Information”. At the bottom, the 15-digit number will appear.
- On the other hand, you can dial *#06# on the keypad, and then press “Call”. This is a special code with which you can quickly obtain the IMEI.
- The IMEI code is also engraved on the SIM tray of iPhone devices such as: iPhone 3G and 3GS, iPhone 4 and 4S, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and 7+, iPhone 8 and 8+, and later.
- The IMEI is also printed on the original device box, or can be obtained through the Apple ID website.
Anyway, there are many ways to get this number. How do you unlock an iPhone with the IMEI code, though? On the Internet you can find several pages dedicated to unlocking iPhone devices. Make sure you choose the one you think is best.
The process is practically the same in all of them:
- Enter your mobile phone.
- Enter the IMEI code.
- Pay for the unlocking service.
- Insert the code that has arrived at your device on the screen.
With these simple steps, you’ll have unlocked your iPhone for use wherever you want. This process works with any device from iPhone 4 to iPhone X.
What alternative methods to IMEI are there to unlock my iPhone?
The IMEI code is not the only existing method of unlocking an iPhone phone. Apple provides a number of shortcuts, tools and aids to help restore control of the device. The main alternatives you can use are
Using the iCloud account
To disable the iCloud lockout function, two things must be considered:
- You must unlink any external devices, such as Apple Watch or iPad tablets.
- Have a backup to restore the data and contents of the device.
After keeping that in mind, apply the following steps:
- From any iPhone phone, go to “Settings” and select “iCloud”.
- On devices of the seventh generation or earlier, you must press “Delete account”. While on advanced models, you have to press “Logout”.
- Press “Logout” again. To remove the account from the device, the system will ask for a password.
- Return to “Settings” and select “General”. Then press “Reset”. Then press “Clear Contents and Settings”. If you have the “Find My iPhone” feature enabled, you will need to enter your password and Apple ID.
- Finally, if the system requests the phone code, enter it in the box indicated and then press “Delete device”. You can contact your operator to transfer the device to a new owner.
With your iTunes account
It is considered the fastest method of unlocking an iPhone device. Just connect your phone to your computer, open iTunes, and select the “Restore iPhone” option. The application will open the last backup registered on the computer.
With Find my iPhone
Find My iPhone is an application for devices from iPhone 5 to iPhone X. When enabled, it allows users to locate, block, and delete information from their phone if it is lost or stolen. However, it can also be used to restore control of the phone.
From a computer and smart phone, do the following:
- Go to the iCloud page:
- Enter the “Find My iPhone” service.
- Select “Delete Device”.
- Finally, it turns the mobile phone off and on to restore from the last backup made.
No password using recovery mode
If you’ve forgotten your password, and don’t know how to unlock your iPhone, try Restore Mode. It’s important to have a computer, and to have made a backup beforehand. On the contrary, you will not be able to recover lost data. The entry to the recovery mode varies depending on the device.
- From an iPhone 8, 8+, iPhone X, or higher: Simultaneously press and hold the side button with one of the volume buttons. The “Slide Off” option should appear on the screen. Turn off your phone, then connect it to your computer. Press the side button again and hold it until the restore mode screen appears.
- From 7th generation iPhone: Press the side button, or top button. Press and hold until the “Slide to power off” option appears on the screen. Turn off the device and connect it to your computer. Press and hold the volume down button until the restore mode menu appears on the screen.
- From 6th generation iPhone and earlier: Press the side button, or top button, and hold to activate the off slider. Then turn off your device and connect it to your computer. Press the Home button until Restore mode is displayed.
In all three scenarios, you must locate the device on the computer. Then click on “Restore”. This will download software via iTunes or Finder to give you back control of your phone.
After the process is complete, you just need to set up the device and start using it. This way, you will have managed to unlock your iPhone with recovery.
This post is also available in: Português (Portuguese (Brazil))