Last Updated on January 13, 2020 by Husain Parvez
This T-Mobile unlock iPhone guide details everything you need to know about getting your beloved smartphone geared up to work with any domestic and international network carrier. Here’s everything you need to know about why unlocking your T-Mobile Apple iPhone is the right way to go, and the different methods that you can employ to get it done.
The Apple iPhone rocked the world of mobile tech back in the year 2007, and right from the get-go, it has shared a relationship with the American network carrier T-Mobile. After AT&T being the exclusive carrier for the original iPhone, T-Mobile was the only GSM-based network operator that the device was compatible with, so it is safe to say that the two have a long history that goes back decades. Being a major player in the cellular network space in the United States, T-Mobile has continued to maintain its status as an official network carrier for the Apple iPhone.
Whether you purchased your Apple iPhone under a T-Mobile contract to make the most out of a discount scheme, or simply aren’t happy with the subscription plans offered by the network operator, you don’t need to be stuck with it. We’ve compiled a guide that helps you understand why unlocking your Apple iPhone from the T-Mobile network is in your best interest, with a comprehensive T-Mobile unlock iPhone guide that covers it all. From the official T-Mobile guide to unlocking your iPhone, to the third-party methods that offer an effective and affordable option to unlocking, you can find all of it listed down below.
Why Should You Unlock T-Mobile iPhone?
For longtime iPhone users, upgrading every few years in made simpler when the device is under contract with the network carrier such as T-Mobile. An under-contract device would be eligible for extra discounts, great buyback prices on the older iPhone, and special mobile data subscription plans. However, being tied down to just one network carrier can seem restrictive at times, especially when there are other enticing offers from third-party network operators to compel you. When you choose to unlock your iPhone from the T-Mobile network, here are some of the benefits you can expect.
Cheaper user subscription plans
When you first chose to opt for T-Mobile as your preferred network partner and got yourself an iPhone, the data plans and monthly payment rate may have been the aspects that compelled you. However, after a few years when the excitement has died down and cheaper network carriers are giving out better value for your money, escaping the clasps of T-Mobile might seem like the only option available, especially when the monthly premium is higher than it should be.
There is plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to affordable and efficient cellular networking solutions, with cheaper network carriers such as Sprint, Cricket Wireless, Virgin, and many others fighting to take back the market share from the giants such as T-Mobile. With the iPhone unlocked, you can handpick the networking plan that works for you, and benefit from the growing competition in the cellular space.
Better selling price for the iPhone
Owing to the culture that Apple has created all around the iPhone and the high demand in the market, your used iPhone can fetch you top-dollar even in its preowned condition. One way to maximize the returns on your iPhone is by increasing the reach in the used mobile phone market, by unlocking the complete networking capabilities of the device.
Since you’d be able to find a lot more customers for a network unlocked iPhone, than you would for a T-Mobile restricted iPhone, getting the device unlocked will effectively increase your chances of selling it for a lot more. Even if your iPhone is in pristine condition and you are hoping to make it work for years to come, having the device ready for action in a network unlocked state is a smart decision from a reselling perspective.
Using the iPhone overseas
Just because you’re hoping to get your iPhone unlocked from the T-Mobile network, does not necessarily mean that you need to ditch it entirely. When traveling abroad, you might find the need to maintain communication with your loved ones back home, or keep a line of contact up back at the office as you’re away on a business trip. T-Mobile does offer you the ability to enable international roaming on your SIM card, but this feature can be expensive for both, phone calls and data usage.
For frequent travelers or those of you who are planning to send out the iPhone to someone residing outside of the United States, getting the device unlocked is essential. A network unlocked iPhone grants you the flexibility to enjoy domestic network carriers and their cheaper tariff plans so that you can stay connected to the internet without garnering a ginormous international roaming bill.
Dual-SIM adapters on the iPhone
Over the years, Apple has maintained autonomy in the mobile market by adding features that it deems are necessary, rather than listening to the users. One of the most prominent requests from users that Apple has disregarded for years, has been the plea to add support for multiple SIM cards on a single device. Thanks to the pushing demand from one of the largest markets for the iPhone, the latest iPhone sold in the region of China and Hong Kong include dual SIM card support.
For those of you who purchased their iPhone in the United States of America from T-Mobile, there’s no slot for the second SIM card, but that shouldn’t stop you from living the dream. There are plenty of third-party dual SIM card network adapters that you can fetch for a few dollars, allowing you to use two SIM cards on your iPhone at once. However, in order to do so, you would still require to get your iPhone unlocked from T-Mobile.
Guide to T-Mobile Unlock iPhone Officially
Every major network carrier in the United States and all across the world employs the tactic of network locking their devices. It is no surprise that T-Mobile does the same, but similar to all of the others out there, the cellular company is required by law to provide an official unlocking method, which allows customers the freedom to choose the SIM card of their preference with the device they’ve paid for in full. But before you storm the offices of T-Mobile demanding to have your iPhone unlocked, you need to fulfill the criteria that are listed below.
- The Apple iPhone should’ve been officially purchased from T-Mobile, either online or through a registered T-Mobile service partner under an official contract.
- The iPhone must not have been reported as lost or stolen, or should not have been blocked by T-Mobile previously.
- T-Mobile account with which the iPhone is associated should be in good standing, which means that there shouldn’t be any pending dues or cancellations.
- There is a limit of unlocking requests set forth by T-Mobile, where customers can request the unlocking code only 2 times every 12 months per device that is registered with the respective account.
- The unlocking terms and conditions set in place by T-Mobile should be met to proceed with the request.
- Certain exceptions may apply, with T-Mobile withholding the right to ask the customer for proof of purchase.
For T-Mobile postpaid customers
- The iPhone should have been active and in use under the network for a minimum period of 40 days before making the unlocking request.
- The device should be paid in full with no remaining dues on it.
- The subscription plan charges of the T-Mobile account should be settled, even if it is for a canceled account.
For T-Mobile prepaid customers
- The iPhone locked to the T-Mobile network, should have been active for at least one year before the unlocking request can be processed.
- There should have been at least $100 worth of refills or transactions done through the T-Mobile account to which the iPhone is connected to.
How to unlock T-Mobile iPhone officially
The unlocking service provided by T-Mobile is free of charge, regardless of whether you have purchased the device under a postpaid or a prepaid contract. If you have subscribed to a pay-as-you-go plan and are paying off the Apple iPhone in installments, you will be required to clear all of the outstanding payments that are due, before you can go ahead with the network unlocking request. Either way, you cannot proceed with the T-Mobile iPhone unlocking process through the official channel before a specific time period listed above has ended.
Once you have ensured that your Apple iPhone meets the guidelines stated by T-Mobile, you can fetch the IMEI number of your iPhone and convey it to the customer support to begin the unlocking process. To get a hold of the IMEI number on your iPhone, here’s what you need to do:
- On your iPhone, head over to the Settings app.
- Navigate to the General – About tab.
- Scroll down through the list to find the IMEI number of your iPhone.
Write down the IMEI number of your iPhone, and then contact the T-Mobile unlocking service at 1-877-746-0909 to schedule an unlocking request. Similarly, you can log into your T-Mobile account and request to have your registered device unlocked online.
- T-Mobile network carrier provides you the SIM unlock code for your iPhone at no additional cost.
- The official SIM unlocking code from the T-Mobile network operator is guaranteed to work.
- There is a mandatory wait period that can last up to one year if you want to have your iPhone unlocked, even when there are no payments due.
- Fetching the SIM unlock code from T-Mobile after submitting a request could take weeks sometimes, depending on the network carrier and region.
- The process of T-Mobile SIM unlocking becomes more tedious if your iPhone was reported lost or stolen in the past.
- T-Mobile has complete autonomy over the SIM unlocking process, and may simply disqualify the iPhone for unlocking if the strict guidelines aren’t fulfilled.
Third-party Methods to Unlock iPhone on T-Mobile
Considering the long list of mandatory requirements that are in place for you to qualify for an official unlock code from T-Mobile, it would not be surprising if you seem to miss a few of those pointers. When you find yourself in the middle of choppy waters without T-Mobile throwing you a bone, you’re left with no choice but to seek a third-party option to have your iPhone unlocked and geared up for use on any network carrier.
Software Unlocking Method (Valid up to iPhone 3G)
In the early days of the iPhone, jailbreaking was all the rage since it allowed users to do more with their devices and get past the barriers of iOS. Additionally, jailbreaking the early versions of the iPhones also allowed users to take advantage of a networking loophole in the system, which granted carrier unlocked status to devices. The ability to network unlock devices by jailbreaking them has been glossed over by Apple after the release of the iPhone 4. Since the iPhone 3G is more than a decade old now, you’re most likely using a newer model, which has the network unlock exploit patched up by Apple.
Hardware Unlocking Method (High-Risk)
Most mainstream users would squeal at the thought of having their precious iPhone all dismantled just to have it network unlocked. A black-hat technique that is used in the gray market to grant networking access to locked iPhones, is getting a so-called “expert” to take a look at the innards of your iPhone and solder the internals of the circuit board. Safe to say, this is most likely as shady as it can get when it comes to SIM unlocking since this method not only voids the warranty of your iPhone but also risks frying the motherboard and damaging it beyond repair.
There are no guidelines that state the procedure for unlocking the networking capabilities of the iPhone through the hardware method. Since the technician that is working on your precious iPhone isn’t authorized, or even trained officially to do so, you’re leaving the fate of your device in untrained hands. Don’t expect this method of unlocking your T-Mobile iPhone to be cheap either, and without knowing for sure whether you’re going to have a working iPhone at the end of the ordeal.
Guide to IMEI T-Mobile Unlock iPhone
After sieving through the internet and across consumer forums, we’ve reached the conclusion that the most effective, and safest way to have your T-Mobile iPhone unlocked is through IMEI unlocking. Identical to how the official unlocking process works, these third-party unlocking service providers are known to provide unlocking codes to users, just the way T-Mobile officially would, which can then directly be used on the iPhone to gain complete networking access across all SIM cards. Albeit these third-party IMEI unlocking services provide you the code at an incurring cost, the benefits offered far outweigh the cost.
- You are able to request an unlock code regardless of when you purchased your iPhone, as long as it has been a verified purchase from T-Mobile.
- Most reputed SIM unlock services in the market offer a genuine unlock code with a high 95% and more success rate.
- Based on the service provider that you choose, you should be able to pick your iPhone model and its specific network carrier from a long list of others, including T-Mobile.
- Within the time period of 24 to 48 hours of submitting a request for SIM unlocking, you can expect a working code delivered to the registered email address.
- Cheaper SIM unlocking services have been known to give back fake unlocking codes. This can become a nuisance since some network operators restrict the option to try out unlocking codes only 3 times over a period of time per device.
Understanding that the third-party IMEI unlocking market is crowded by both, high-quality as well as mediocre service providers, it is necessary that you choose the ones that are reliable. In our research, we’ve decided on two formidable names in the business, IMEIDoctor, and DirectUnlocks to assist you in getting your iPhone free from the restrictions set upon it by T-Mobile and unleash the networking capabilities of your device.
Why Choose IMEIDoctor and DirectUnlocks
After helping you reach the conclusion that third-party IMEI unlocking services are the way to go, we don’t want you to waste hours of your precious time looking for the best ones out there. In selecting both, and DirectUnlocks for the purpose of this guide, we’ve put the two through our very own qualifying test to ensure that as a consumer, you get the most value for money.
Widespread device support
The first and foremost factor that we have considered in choosing the two best SIM unlocking services, is whether it even supports unlocking the iPhone and its variants that are available in the different regions worldwide. Since we don’t want to begin by making the payment and be disappointed to know that your model of the Apple iPhone isn’t supported, we’ve ensured that the recommended services support unlocking even the latest iPhone 11 on T-Mobile.
Complete SIM unlocking service
The reason you’re choosing to spend the extra money and get your iPhone unlocked from the T-Mobile network, is that you wish to allow the device to work on any network carrier. The recommended network unlocking services won’t hold you back by unlocking your iPhone just for a specific region or only make it capable of working with a handful of network operators.
Efficient and affordable
After spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars to get your hands on the Apple iPhone, it can seem a bit unfair to shell out even more money to unlock the networking capabilities of the device. Albeit the SIM unlocking service providers that we have enlisted aren’t the cheapest ones out there, but considering the high rate of effectiveness with which these services provide the verified unlock code, they are well worth the asking price.
Supreme customer service
The way these SIM unlocking services are designed is in a self-service manner, where you choose your device, select the network carrier, make the payment, and wait for the unlock code to arrive through email. However, in case you run into trouble, there is a robust customer service ready to entertain your queries right from the registration process, till the very end.
Widely accepted payment methods
Despite the steady growth of online marketplaces and online service providers, you might sometimes end up with a payment gateway that doesn’t accept your bank or credit card. We’ve ensured that the SIM unlocking service providers mentioned, support all of the major credit and debit cards, with a simplified and direct payment channel in place.
One of the primary factors to choose a third-party SIM unlocking service is for the quick response time that they offer. When choosing to pay a premium amount for unlocking your iPhone from the T-Mobile network, instead of choosing to contact T-Mobile directly, the least you can expect is to have the unlock code delivered to you in a speedy manner, which is exactly what our recommended unlocking service providers have to offer.
IMEIDoctor – Best to unlock iPhone in the US and the UK
The reason you will find that we’ve held IMEIDoctor to the highest spot in the competition as the best SIM unlocking service provider for the iPhone, can’t be summed up into one simple statement. With several thousand positive reviews from customers and several years of experience in the IMEI unlocking service space, IMEIDoctor stands as a formidable name in the business, taking the top spot. Whether it was the dramatically high success rate that we experienced with the tested iPhone on the T-Mobile network, or the prompt customer service and support we received, it was a comforting experience from the standpoint of a customer.
- When compared to all of the other SIM unlocking service providers that we put to test, IMEIDoctor was the only name to returned with an impressive 100% success rate.
- When contacting the customer support, we were quick to be attended, with not more than 2 hours of wait time for a response.
- Being around 10% – 20% cheaper when compared to most of the other unlocking services on the market, IMEIDoctor enjoys a leading edge with a dedicated refund policy as well.
DirectUnlocks – Best for users outside of the US and the UK
We may have chosen a clear winner for the first spot on the list, but it was hard to disregard DirectUnlocks either. When put to the test, DirectUnlocks matched all of the competitors on the list in every form and met the high standards of service quality that we had established, but where it could match the top one on the list, is with the 100% success rate that the latter was able to provide when our conducting the unlocking. Backed by dozens of positive reviews from highly satisfied customers, leads us to believe that we’re not the only ones who find DirectUnlocks to be a satisfactory service provider.
- The instructions to begin the unlocking process were easy to understand, and with not too much time wasted, the SIM activation code was delivered in less than 48 hours of time.
- The customer support service was responsive, helped out with the SIM unlocking process every step of the way, even after the post-payment process.
- The pricing on par with the other service providers and fairly stated with no hidden charges. In the case of failed transactions, refunds were made promptly.
- An affordable pricing plan and decent support from the service provider were enticing, but a success rate of 75% did cost it a few points on the scale.
Keys2iPhone – Best to skip this one
While we had to scrutinize both IMEIDoctor and DirectUnlocks to decide which one would rise to the top, this wasn’t the case when it came to Keys2iPhone. Right from the first look at the official website of this SIM unlocking service that is dedicated to the Apple iPhone, it seemed like we were back in the early 2000s with the dated and frankly, unpleasant user interface. Despite not judging the book by its cover, the service was a disappointment too, and on several fronts.
- The rate for network unlocking was mediocre in comparison to the two top contenders on the list, with a success rate of 50% only.
- Having only half the devices unlocked was a letdown, considering the excellent results offered by the other two service providers on the list.
- The average time was 5 days for SIM unlocking one iPhone on T-Mobile, which is more than double the competition.
- The service seems to charge an extra fee in some cases, which seems like corporate greed, especially after the initial payment has been made in full.
- Better customer support from the SIM unlocking service provider would’ve been appreciated to resolve issues regarding the refund.
Step-by-Step Unlocking Process
Step 1 – Begin by selecting either of the two SIM unlocking service providers that we have experimented with and mentioned above.
Step 2 – Note down the IMEI number of your iPhone, which is needed by the service provider for the SIM unlocking process.
- Head to the Phone icon on the iPhone and type in *#06#* code in the dialer.
- This should bring up the IMEI Number of your iPhone.
- The IMEI number can also be found by navigating to the Settings – General – About menu and scrolling down.
Step 3 – Type down the IMEI number into the unlocking service provider’s website and proceed with the payment page after you’ve confirmed your iPhone model and selected T-Mobile as the network carrier.
Step 4 – Depending on the iPhone model and service provider, you will be sent an unlock code through the registered email address within days.
There is no question that T-Mobile is among the leading network carriers in the United States, and for all the right reasons. With widespread coverage all across North America, a strong backbone of customer support, and hundreds of handsets in its inventory, getting your iPhone under contract from T-Mobile is a no-brainer. However, with the passage of time, being locked down to just one network carrier can seem like an unhappy marriage, which is why breaking out of it by using the T-Mobile Unlock iPhone Guide is the only escape.
While we have discussed that the official way to unlock through T-Mobile has its downsides, and the hardware option for SIM unlocking is basically device suicide, looking towards third-party IMEI unlocking services is the way to go. IMEIDoctor rests comfortably at the top of the list when it comes to SIM unlocking with an impressive 100% success rate and solid customer support to back it. A close second DirectUnlocks, which is only behind due to a lower rate of success, but does not fall behind in terms of the quality of service that is offered to the customers at an affordable rate.
Which of the two top SIM unlocking services are you going to choose to go for and get the iPhone unlocked from T-Mobile? Would you rather take your chances with a cheaper SIM unlocking service provider and see whether saving those few dollars is worth it? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section right down below, since we’re waiting to hear back what you have to say.
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