Watch the VIDEO tutorial: How unlock your iPhone for use with another carrier
If you purchased your iPhone within the past year or two, it's likely to be unlocked already. However, if your iPhone is older than that, it might be locked to a particular provider. That doesn't mean you're stuck with that provider forever, though. You should be able to get your provider to unlock your iPhone for you for free. In fact, you might even be able to unlock your iPhone yourself without ever needing to contact the original provider.
It's completely legal to unlock your iPhone if you have finished paying for your contract or you purchased it outright unsubsidised. However, if you're still in the process of paying for your contract it means you don't fully own the iPhone yet, so you're best to check with your carrier before unlocking it.
The issue usually occurs if you've purchased your iPhone second-hand or inherited one from a friend or family member who has updated to a newer model. If it's locked, you'll find that the iPhone isn't working on your mobile network, and that's because it's tied to a different network.
If you discover that it definitely is locked, read on to find out how to unlock it. We've separated the article into the UK's popular carriers to talk you through how to go about getting your iPhone unlocked if it's restricted to that network.
How to unlock an iPhone: EE (including Orange and T-Mobile)
If you've had your EE, Orange or T-Mobile account for at least six months and have paid all of your bills to date, EE will unlock your iPhone for you. It'll cost you £8.99, though, and it could take up to seven days, which is not ideal.
If you're a Pay as You Go customer and have enough credit to pay the £8.99 admin fee, EE will unlock your iPhone for you at that price.
However, if you're not an EE customer and you've got an iPhone that's locked to EE, you're going to need to do some digging and if you got it from eBay the chances are it's not going to be easy. You'll need to find out the original owner's name, EE phone number and maybe some additional account information. Then you'll need to fill out the online form.
Of course, it's not always going to be possible to find out the information you need to unlock the iPhone, in which case you might need to use a third-party unlocking service as described later in this article.
How to unlock an iPhone: Vodafone
Similarly, Vodafone requires you to have an account or know the details of the person who did. If those details are already available, you can go straight ahead and use Vodafone's online unlocking form. It'll take up to 48 hours for the company to get back to you and up to 10 days to unlock it.
It's free to unlock your Vodafone iPhone if you've been with the company for more than 12 months, but if you haven't it'll cost you £19.99. Same goes for any Pay as You Go customers.
How to unlock an iPhone: Three
Three makes things much simpler, you'll be pleased to hear. On its website, the carrier states that any iPhone purchased after 1 January 2014 from Three is automatically unlocked as soon as you connect it to WiFi or connect it to iTunes.
But even if you purchased your iPhone before that, you simply need to connect the iPhone to iTunes and restore the device to unlock it. You'll want to back up your content first, though, as restoring it is going to wipe all of its data.
Alternatively, you can fill out Three's online form.
How to unlock an iPhone: O2
If your iPhone is locked to O2, you'll be required to fill in an online form to unlock it. If you're a Pay Monthly customer you can unlock your phone at any time, but you'll still be required to finish paying for the rest of your contract.
Pay & Go O2 customers are required to wait for 12 months before they can unlock their iPhone. That's according to O2's website, which also claims that it'll cost £15, but when we spoke to an O2 representative they said they could unlock all O2 iPhones for free.
The same representative also told us that, if you're not an O2 customer, you can simply put a non-O2 SIM card into the iPhone, plug it in to your computer and then open iTunes to unlock the iPhone, but we've yet to test whether this works (have you? Let us know in the comments). We'll be testing this as soon as possible and will update this article when we know for sure.
We would recommend trying this before filling out O2's online form, even if you are an O2 customer, as it could save you a lot of time (it takes up to 72 hours for O2 to unlock it for you).
How to unlock an iPhone: Virgin Mobile
Virgin says that any iPhone purchased from the company within the past year or so will be unlocked already, but some older iPhones might not have the same luck.
The good news is that all you'll need to do is update your iPhone to iOS 8 or iOS 9 and it'll be unlocked for you.
If your iPhone isn't compatible with iOS 8 - that is, if it's an iPhone 4 or older - you'll be able to perform a full restore of your iPhone to unlock it in the same way you can if you're on Three. Don't forget to back up your data first, though.
How to unlock an iPhone: Tesco Mobile
If you've been with Tesco Mobile for 12 months or more, or if you've completed your contract, you'll be able to get an unlock code from Tesco for free by calling 0345 301 4455 and choosing "unlock your mobile."
How to unlock an iPhone: Giffgaff
Giffgaff has a handy tool that helps you figure out how to unlock your Apple iPhone from its network, which you'll find here.
Information used in this artcile was taken from http://www.macworld.co.uk
To watch the video please proceed to the NEXT PAGE