What Is a Locked iPhone?

What Is A Locked Iphone 1

You may be planning to move to a new country and want to use a local carrier, or maybe you’re fed up with your current service provider. Whatever the reason, you may not be able to use your iPhone if it’s locked to a specific carrier. So, what is a locked iPhone?

Quick Answer

You can only use an iPhone with the carrier that sold it to you when an iPhone is locked. That means it’s only compatible with that particular carrier’s SIM card. If you try to use a different carrier’s SIM card, you’ll get a message saying the iPhone is locked.

This article will explain a locked iPhone and how to unlock it. We will also tell you how to unlock your iPhone if you want to switch carriers.

How To Check if Your iPhone Is Locked

Most of the iPhones sold by carriers are locked, and there are several ways to check if your iPhone is locked.

Insert a Different Carrier’s SIM Card

The easiest way to check if your iPhone is locked is to insert a different carrier’s SIM card. If the iPhone is locked, you will see a message saying that the SIM card is not supported.

Use an Online IMEI Checker

If you don’t have another carrier’s SIM card, you can use an online IMEI checker to see if your iPhone is locked. An IMEI checker is a service that will tell you whether your iPhone is locked or not.

Look for the Carrier Lock Message in the Settings

If you have an iPhone purchased from a carrier, you can check to see if it’s locked by going to Settings > “Cellular” > “Cellular Data Options“. If you see a message that says, “Cellular Data Options are not available for this line“, your iPhone is locked to that carrier.

Check With the Carrier

You can check with the carrier that sold you the iPhone to see if it is locked or not.

Why Do Carriers Lock iPhones?

Carriers lock phones because of the following reasons.

To Keep You as a Customer

One of the main reasons carriers lock iPhones is to keep you as a customer. Carriers want to make it difficult for you to switch to another network provider, and you’re less likely to switch carriers if you’re locked into a contract.

To Subsidize the Cost of the iPhone

Another reason carriers lock iPhones is because they subsidize the cost of the phone. When you purchase a new iPhone from a carrier, you usually get it at a discounted price. Carriers require you to use their service for a certain period in exchange for this discount.

If you try to switch carriers before your contract is up, you’ll usually have to pay the total price of the iPhone. This is why carriers lock iPhones to ensure you fulfill your end of the deal.

How To Unlock Your iPhone

If you want to unlock your iPhone, you can do so through your carrier or a third-party service

Method #1: Contact Your Carrier

The first method is contacting your carrier and asking them to unlock your iPhone. Each carrier has its own requirements for unlocking an iPhone, so you’ll need to check with yours to see the conditions.

Sometimes using your carrier may be expensive, or they may not offer the service. If you’re locked into a contract, you may have to wait until it expires before you can unlock your iPhone.

Method #2: Use a Third-Party Service

The second method is to unlock your iPhone via a third-party service, such as or (We are not recommending any of the services, we’re just using them as examples). 

These services usually charge a fee, but they claim they can unlock your iPhone without going through your carrier.

When using a third-party service, you’ll need to provide them with your iPhone’s IMEI number (a unique number that identifies your iPhone). You can find it by going to Settings > “General” > “About“.

After the third-party service has received your payment and your IMEI number, they will begin unlocking your iPhone. This may take a few days, and once it’s done, you’ll be able to use your iPhone with any carrier.


Only use third-party services as your last option. Some third-party services may unlock your iPhone, but it returns to its locked state once you update it. Before using a third-party service, research and choose a reputable company. There are many scams, so it’s essential to be careful. However, if there’s a chance your carrier can unlock your device, go for it.


A locked iPhone is an iPhone that is only compatible with one carrier. This means that you can only use that carrier’s service and cannot switch to another carrier without first unlocking your iPhone.

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