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How to unlock iPhone

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How to unlock iPhone is simple to do when your locked iPhone is ready for an upgrade. You can then unlock your iPhone so you can sell your unlocked iPhone for a better price or switch carriers. Follow these simple steps for legally how to unlock your iPhone when your locked iPhone upgrade time is here and you want to sell your unlocked iPhone 3G/3GS, iPhone 4/4S, or iPhone 5 or move to a different carrier.

Why unlock iPhone?

Apple users choose to unlock an iPhone so that their iPhone will work on any GSM network almost anywhere in the world. For example, suppose you have AT&T and travel a lot to Europe. You can do an unlock of your iPhone, insert almost any SIM card, and use your unlocked iPhone to connect to local carriers while you are in Europe to save a bundle on charges.

Or suppose you decide to unlock your iPhone when your AT&T contract is up and move your iPhone account to T-Mobile because you like its rates better. All you have to do is unlock your AT&T iPhone, open a T-Mobile account and insert a SIM card from T-Mobile in your unlocked iPhone. Presto—you just changed carriers without having to buy a new phone. How's that for a bargain!

Other Apple users choose to sell (or give to family members) their old iPhone after they purchase a new iPhone. Whether a user sells his or her old iPhone, or gives it away, an unlocked iPhone is worth more than a locked iPhone—and there is no drawback to unlocking an iPhone on a GSM network, like AT&T or T-Mobile.

Unlocking iPhones on GSM networks is easy because these networks are designed to accept all GSM-capable phones. It's a little different with CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint because CDMA networks can decide what phones to allow on their networks.

But whether you want to unlock an iPhone on a GSM network like AT&T or T-Mobile, or are unlocking an iPhone on a CDMA network like Verizon or Sprint, this article gives you easy step-by-step directions for unlocking iPhone 3G/3GS, iPhone 4/4S, or iPhone 5 legally.

How do you unlock iPhone legally?

First, see how your carrier supports unlocking your iPhone. Carriers in the United States that support unlocking phones are: AT&T, Northwest Missouri Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The carrier might charge a small fee to unlock your iPhone, but unlocking your iPhone through your carrier is considered the best way to do it for two reasons: (1) iPhones unlocked by hacking can usually be reversed by carriers (2) iPhones unlocked by carriers are supported by Apple.

Carriers have different requirements for unlocking. For example, AT&T requires that the iPhone be paid for, or the contract is up, for unlocking. Verizon requires that you are a Verizon customer in good standing for 60 days before Verizon will unlock. (Note: Verizon iPhone 5 phones are unlocked already but other versions like Verizon iPhone 4S are locked—so be sure to check your iPhone's lock status with Verizon.)

What comes after unlock iPhone confirmation?

Five to seven days after you submit a request to your carrier to unlock your iPhone, you'll receive your carrier's confirmation (provided their unlocking requirements are met). The next step in the unlocking process is to replace your iPhone's SIM card. A SIM card is a smart card inside your iPhone (or cellular iPad) that stores personal data about your iPhone. For example, it has your iPhone's identification number.

To eject your iPhone's old SIM card, first locate the SIM card tray. On the iPhone 3G and 3GS the SIM card tray is along the top of the iPhone. On the iPhone 4 and 4S the micro SIM card tray (the micro SIM is a different size than the SIM used in the iPhone 3G and 3GS) is along the side of the iPhone. On the iPhone 5 the nano SIM card tray (the nano SIM is again a different size than the SIM used in the iPhone 4 and 4S) is also along the side of the iPhone.

Bend one side of a paper clip so its side is straight. Insert the tip of the straight side of the paper clip into the hole adjacent to the SIM card tray. Pull out the tray and remove the SIM card.

If you've already received your new SIM card from your new carrier (you must ask for this SIM card when you open your new account with them), then insert this new SIM card in the SIM tray. Reinsert this SIM tray in your iPhone. Press the Power button until your iPhone boots up. Follow the prompts, connect to Wi-Fi and complete the setup process. Your iPhone is now unlocked.

If you don't have a new SIM card from a new carrier, then connect your iPhone to a power source and follow these steps:

  1. From the Home Screen tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Backup Now to make a manual backup of your iPhone.

  2. At the Home Screen tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content & Settings to erase all personal data and settings from your iPhone and return your iPhone to factory settings. Your iPhone is now unlocked.

  3. If you plan to use your new unlocked iPhone, then follow the setup assistant prompts. When you get to the screen that is titled “Set up your iPhone”, select “Restore from iCloud Backup” and then enter your Apple ID and password (be sure to choose the most current backup when prompted). To see if this restore is finished, tap Settings on the Home Screen > iCloud > Storage & Backup > scroll down and look under “Backup”

  4. If you don't plan on using your unlocked iPhone, then “Erasing All Content and Settings” will protect your private data in your iPhone by removing it. “Erasing All Content and Settings” also makes it easy for your iPhone's new owner to personalize this unlocked iPhone to their liking.

Saving money when you are traveling outside the country by using local carriers; saving money when you are in the country and can bring your iPhone to another carrier to get a better plan; making your iPhone more attractive when you give your iPhone away; helping your iPhone fetch a higher price when you sell it —are all good reasons for knowing how to unlock iPhone.

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