How to check if your iPhone is locked or unlocked?
If you have recently bought a second-hand iPhone and are uncertain if the phone is locked or unlocked, you are in for a treat as this guide might come in handy for you.
How do I check my phone’s lock status?
If you bought your iPhone directly from an Apple store, it should be unlocked by default.
If you bought it from a service provider with contract, then it should be locked to that particular carrier. For example, if you got your phone as part of the contract from O2 UK, your phone will then be locked to O2 UK.
However, if you bought a used iPhone from say, Amazon and eBay, and the owner did not mention its lock status *you should always ask this before you purchase a second-hand device*, then you most probably won’t know until you test it yourself.
There are several ways to check if your phone is locked or unlocked.
Test it with a different carrier SIM card.
This is the easiest way to determine if the phone is locked. For example, if an O2 UK SIM card is working on the phone, pop in a Vodafone UK or any non-O2 UK SIM card and see if you are able to make any calls.
- Turn off your phone and replace the SIM card with a different SIM card (with different carrier).
- Switch on the phone and try to make calls / texts.
- Your phone is locked if the phone shows Invalid SIM and is unable to make calls / texts, and vice versa.
- Do try to restart the phone or reposition the SIM card to double check.
This method however, has a downfall – it can’t tell you which carrier the phone is locked to. If you are a second-hand iPhone owner and you have no idea which carrier your phone is locked to, then you will have to move on to method #2.
Obtain a reliable IMEI checking service. *recommended*
Instead of using free sites, we would recommend using a paid service (eg: on eBay or any reliable unlocking sites) to get a complete GSX report. This is because free sites often produce unclear and inaccurate results most of the time.
- Search online (eBay for example) for the service with keywords like “iPhone IMEI network status check”.
- Go through their descriptions and make sure it is the right service.
- Provide them your IMEI (by dialing *#06#).
- They should be able to send you the complete GSX report within their stated time frame.
- Look for “Next Tether Activation Policy Description”. It shows the carrier that the phone is currently locked to.
- If it shows “Unlock” or something like “UK Hutchison Unlocked Policy”, it means that the phone is unlocked.
A typical GSX report should look something like this:
Serial Number: C95FRUEPSHU1
Part Description: IPHONE 6S SPACE GRAY 16GB
Product Version: 9.2
Initial Activation Policy ID: 269
Initial Activation Policy Description: UK O2 Tesco.
Applied Activation Policy ID: 269
Applied Activation Policy Description: UK O2 Tesco.
Next Tether Policy ID: 269
Next Tether Activation Policy Description: UK O2 Tesco.
First Unbrick Date: 15-12-26
This phone is locked to UK O2 Tesco.
Why is it recommended to obtain a GSX report?
This is because the complete report shows you more than just its lock status. It not only shows you whether the phone is locked or unlocked, it shows which carrier exactly the phone is locked to, if it is locked.
The ultimate aim of you wanting to check your phone’s lock status if to unlock your phone and use your own desired SIM card. To do that, you have to the carrier the phone is locked to, so that you can obtain the right service.
I bought my iPhone from Carphone Warehouse. Is it locked or unlocked?
There are many retail stores like Carphone Warehouse who set their phones in a unique way.
If you bought a brand new iPhone from them, it is unlocked initially. However, the tricky part is that, it will lock to the first active UK SIM card you insert and activate with.
For instance, if you activate the phone with an O2 UK SIM card right after you bought it from them, then it will locked to O2 UK.
The GSX report for a brand new iPhone that has not been activated with any SIM will show:
Next Tether Activation Policy Description: UK Reseller Flex Policy
The GSX report for the same iPhone that has been activated with a SIM, say Vodafone UK, will show:
Next Tether Activation Policy Description: UK Vodafone
The same applies to phones from some of the stores in the US as well. Walmart for instance, where the phone will lock to the first active US SIM card and the GSX report should show something similar:
Next Tether Activation Policy Description: US Reseller Flex Policy
If you are ready to move on to getting your phone unlocked, you can then proceed to this handy guide!