Updated: June 7, 2018
An issue many mobile users face when looking to extract better value for money from their mobile devices is that they are locked to their original provider while others are offering more compelling rates and packages. The solution is to figure out how to unlock iPhone 8, and luckily I will show you how!
Switching to a better value provider, or simply being able to use your package when abroad requires something known as an IMEI unlock. This is a safe and legal method to permanently separate your iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus from your carrier, giving you the freedom to choose a package that works for you. When it comes to choosing who to use to unlock your phone, you first need to factor in your location.
For those locked to a provider inside the US, the UK, or Canada, I recommend using iPhoneIMEI.net. In my opinion, they have the most comprehensive range of prices and options but do note that if you live outside of these regions, their options can be limited.
If you need iPhone unlocking and are outside of the US, the UK, or Canada, I recommend using OfficialiPhoneUnlock. While they come in marginally more expensive than iPhoneIMEI.net, they offer a vast range of unlocking options and features for regions across the world. This is certainly your go-to option.
iPhone Unlocking 101
I know what you’re thinking! Finally, your brand new iPhone has arrived on your doorstep, and you can’t wait to get a hold of it. Unfortunately as is proving all too often to be the case it comes with a catch; annoyingly high charges and prohibitive international roaming charges mean you have little option but to spend an ever-increasing amount of the monthly budget on a service we have all become reliant on.
Phone locking makes this poor level of customer service possible by tying you into a contract that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of a discerning consumer in any other industry. So, what is phone locking, and why does it matter?
Simply put it is where your iPhone 8 or 8 Plus is stuck with a given carrier in a way that prevents you from using it with anyone else, even if they offer you a much better deal! This allows them to charge whatever they feel like, safe in the knowledge that you can’t go elsewhere. The answer? Master the art of iPhone unlocking that Apple doesn’t want you to know about.
iPhone unlocking is where you use a clever digital service to remove these restrictions and preventative measures so that you can search for the best deal for you.
There are three methods you will see written about a lot, but only one that is proven to work.
Method 1: Software Unlocking
(This hasn’t unlocked a single phone since the iPhone 3G)
The oldest unlocking method was known as software unlocking. While it worked for a time, it relied on users exploiting a loophole that allowed them to switch carriers.
Apple spotted this loophole and quickly closed it with the iPhone 4, and it hasn’t been open since meaning it will be no good for your brand new iPhone 8.
Method 2: The Hardware Method
(Users Beware: An unreliable approach that invalidates your warranty)
This is a brute force method if ever we have seen one. Once the software loophole had been closed users quickly tried to find hardware loopholes. This often involved paying large sums of money to questionable characters who didn’t know what they were doing and tended to break iPhones.
Studies show that this rough and ready approach only works 30% of the time. Given how long you’ve saved up for that shiny new iPhone 8 is that really a risk you’re willing to take?
Method 3: IMEI Unlocking
(The ONLY safe and highly effective way to unlock the iPhone 8 & 8 Plus)
The newest and most reliable method is known as the factory or IMEI unlock. The IMEI is your iPhone’s unique identifier that is used to track it over its lifetime. They’re unique and are stored by Apple on a giant database along with other pertinent details like color, time of production, storage, and whether or not it is locked to a given network.
The IMEI methods change the status of your iPhone as seen on Apple’s database from locked to unlocked. Not only is it a highly effective and permanent solution that gives you the freedom to choose, it is completely safe and doesn’t invalidate your warranty. The iPhone 8 IMEI approach is the only method I recommend.
Putting The IMEI Unlock Providers To The Test
Predictably the massive increase in iPhones on the market in the last 10-years has led to a boom in the field of IMEI unlocking. So who can you trust to get the job done?
To make sure that you know exactly what is available to you I have tested the major players in the field. I’ve done this for many previous iPhone generations, but by making sure they can unlock iPhone 8 and 8 Plus I want to make sure they still know what they’re doing.
Choosing The Right Test Cases
The most significant challenge I faced was trying to find enough people who were willing to part with their brand new 8 and 8 Plus for long enough for me to conduct a meaningful test! Luckily I was able to find enough through my website and amongst friends and family.
I chose the following locked devices:
- 2 x iPhone 8’s locked to AT&T USA
- 1 x iPhone 8’s locked to Sprint USA
- 1 x iPhone 8 locked to Vodafone UK
- 2 x iPhone 8 locked to O2 UK
- 1 x iPhone 8 locked to T-Mobile USA
- 2 x iPhone 8 Plus locked to AT&T USA
- 1 x iPhone 8 Plus locked to EE UK
- 1 x iPhone 8 Plus locked to KDDI Japan
- 1 x iPhone 8 Plus locked to Rogers Canada
Picking IMEI Providers To Try And Unlock iPhone 8 & 8 Plus
Firstly I had to cut down the unlocking companies to 3 because I wanted to test each company with multiple phones and I was limited to 12-locked devices.
I started out by listing as many companies as I could find and then reading their reviews. Trustpilot, Ripoff Report, and Trustmark Reviews are all great ways to separate the proven specialists from the scammers out to make a quick buck. It didn’t take long to find the trio of iPhone 8 IMEI specialists I would put to the test.
Time For The Tests
I wanted to keep things simple, so I purchased 4-IMEI unlocks from each of the 3-companies identified during my research.
I let them go about their work and sent a few messages to customer support along the way to see how much value for money they genuinely offer.
Criteria To Consider
I came up with 6-different criteria by which I would judge each of the providers:
1: Was the unlock successful?
This is obviously the big one. If they can’t unlock it, then the service is a waste of time, money, and effort.
2: What services do they offer?
I didn’t want to recommend an unlock provider who could unlock just about any device, but then only be able to offer you obscure networks that only operate in small corners of the globe. They need to offer solutions that will work anywhere, anytime.
3: How much do they charge?
Quality is so important, but if it isn’t matched by an affordable price, then few are going to make use of my recommendation. After all, if you’re spending more than the price of the device to unlock it what’s the point?
4: What payment methods do they offer?
If I find a company that’ll unlock anything, get you on any network, and do it for next to nothing, then that’s awesome! The problem with online services can so often be the last hurdle that comes in the form of difficulties making payment. There are a few out there who will only accept Western Union which puts a dampener on things. If a company takes PayPal and all major credit cards then they’re going to get a big tick against their name for sure!
5: How effective was their customer service?
If you’re paying someone you’ve never met before to work on your brand new iPhone 8, then you better be able to trust them. A customer-focused company will build your trust through amazing customer service that gets it right the first time every time. That’s exactly why I’m testing multiple devices with each company.
6: How quickly did they get the job done?
If you find a company that does it all, and for a fantastic price, but they take 2-months to get the job done then you’re not going to recommend them are you? What we need to find is a company that offers it all, and puts their foot down about it too!
How To Use iPhoneIMEI.Net or OfficialUnlock to Unlock Your iPhone 8
Step 1: Find the IMEI code.
This is the unique identifier that will enable them to identify your iPhone; luckily there are three possible ways you find out what it is:
- Option 1: Dial *#06# and you will be instantly sent the IMEI code
- Option 2: It will be located on the back of your device. Make sure to copy it down exactly.
- Option 3: If your phone hasn’t been activated then you should find the small “i” button that appears on the activation screen. If you click on it, your IMEI will then be displayed.
Step 2: You will also need to know the model of your phone such as the iPhone 4, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 7, 8, etc.
Step 4: Next you need to click the “Unlock” button.
Step 5: Use your chosen payment method to make payment.
Step 6: Provide your email address to receive progress updates
Step 7: Welcome a newly freed iPhone into your life in just a few days.
My Top 3 Providers of IMEI Unlocks for the iPhone 8 & 8 Plus
#1. iPhoneIMEI.net (9.5/10 – Definite #1 choice for users in North America or the UK)
My #1 rated IMEI provider for both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus has to be iPhoneIMEI.net. To start with they unlocked all four devices that I had them take a look at, so kudos for that! They are fast, reliable, proven, and affordable. In my opinion that’s the ideal combination when you’re looking for a team, you can trust. While their options are limited outside of North America and the UK, these are by far the largest regions, and if you live there, they’re a definite no-brainer.
The Pros: The biggest tick against their name was that they were the only company who could unlock all four of the devices that we paid them to take a look at. Straight away this means that they give you what you ultimately paid for.
They also beat many others on price (on average 17% cheaper). Please note that this is an average so there may be times when they are more expensive, but on average they came in significantly cheaper.
I really loved their customer service. It was friendly and personable and always came through in a timely fashion. I put three different queries to them, and they consistently came back with helpful solutions and updates within 24 hours. You really can’t do much better than that.
Lastly, the service times were amazing, and matching only by the entry at the #2 slot on my list. With devices unlocked inside 48 hours what’s there not to like?
The Cons: It’s always important to pick up on something that could be better, but with these guys it was hard. I would say that their limited options for those outside of North America and the UK will be a downside for some. If you’re in those regions though they really must be my #1 recommendation.
Overall Rating: If you live inside the US, UK, or Canada these guys are my undisputed #1. 100% unlock rate during testing, brilliant customer service, 48-hour turn around, and all at a price that’s readily affordable. Money well spent!
If you have a locked iPhone 8 or 8 Plus inside the US, UK, or Canada, use iPhone IMEI today.
#2 Official iPhone Unlock (9.0/10 – The no-brainer if you are outside the USA, UK, or Canada)
It was a close run thing for that sought-after #1 spot. Official iPhone Unlock matched iPhoneIMEI.net when it came to speed, price, customer support, and actually offered a larger range of unlock options. The reason that they are at #2 is they failed to unlock 1 of the 4 devices I paid them for…
The Pros: First things first, these guys do a lot, and I mean a lot, of things very well. Speed (48-hour unlocking), customer support, and price were all as good as they could be.
What really stood out though was their list of carriers they can get you on once you’re unlocked. I lost count of how many were on there so I don’t have an exact percentage difference over the rest of the field but it ran to pages and pages and pages. At a cursory look, it appeared to be every provider in every part of the world. Certainly something worth looking into if you’re in a more remote area!
The Cons: The one black mark was a big one, and I’m afraid to say it because everything else was so good. They failed to unlock the KDDI Japan device I paid for. I’ll give them credit where it is due and say that they warned about this before ordering, but then on the other side, they were still taking orders. It’s definitely something they can improve, especially as few users will be unlocking multiple phones at any given time.
Overall Rating: An impressive company that is easy to deal with and offers an unrivaled set of unlocks. The one thing I didn’t like was that they only unlocked 75% of the devices I paid for. If you were in that unlucky 25%, then you would certainly not be happy.
If your iPhone 8 or 8 Plus is locked to a carrier outside the US, UK, or Canada, I recommend using the impressive range of unlocks at Official iPhone Unlock now.
#3 Keys2iPhone (5/10 – USERS BEWARE!!!)
This company was really bad and to be honest I’m still getting over the shock at how bad they were compared to the other two on my list. They only unlocked 2 out of 4 devices. At 50% that’s the same odds as guessing a coin flip…
What really annoyed me is that even to do that they demanded an additional payment that was as much as the original. That’s twice the advertised price for only half the service!
The Pros: They did half the job after paying extra and a lot of chasing…
The Cons: Take a seat, this may take a while…
1 They only completed 2 out of 4 unlocks
2 They took on average 5 days to do that!
3 They requested extra payment to accomplish the measly two unlocks false advertising!
4 They responded promptly pre-sale and then ignored every support email where I chased asking for updates. This was perhaps the most annoying aspect as it showed they don’t care about the customer.
5 I had to file a chargeback for each of the two uncompleted unlocks. The process was long and drawn out…
Overall Rating: Poor service from start to finish. Unexplained additional requests for payment, inability to unlock half of all devices, slow, uncommunicative, don’t care about the customer. Use at your peril. I would never trust them with my own iPhone.
Hardware and software unlocking doesn’t work. The former is dangerous and can easily destroy your shiny new iPhone. The latter hasn’t worked since the loophole it exploits was fixed with the iPhone. IMEI unlocking (aka factory unlocking) is the only proven way forward when you want to unlock an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. The secret is to avoid the scammers and choose a reputable company to get it done.
I surveyed a huge range of companies, choose what looked like three of the best based on their reviews, and put them to the test with multiple devices to see what they offer for the money. Who to choose depends on your location.
If your iPhone 8 or 8 Plus is locked to a carrier inside the US, UK, or Canada, then iPhoneIMEI are the team for you. They’re the specialists within this region and offer the best prices, turnaround times, and customer service on the market. If you lie outside these regions their options can be limited which is important to be aware of when it comes to choosing who to go with.
If your iPhone 8 or 8 Plus is locked to a carrier inside the US, UK, or Canada, then Official iPhone Unlock have got you covered. They were level with iPhoneIMEI when it came to support, speed, and price, and actually had a far larger range of unlocks available in the regions they specialize in. While they failed to unlock one device, they did warn me at the time of purchase of purchase to fair which was a good bit of much-appreciated customer service.