Today while we await the release of a new jailbreak utility, which will hopefully come relatively soon, I’ve opted to refresh my iPhone unlock guide! While the terms “jailbreak” and “unlock” are often used freely amongst individuals to mean essentially the same thing, the two are fundamentally different. In essence, jailbreaking refers to the process in which a user gains root access and (in most cases) installs Cydia via a public utility, whereas unlocking empowers iPhones that previously would only function on one carrier to work on virtually any!
iPhone unlocks have endless applications and there are a wide array of potential reasons as to why you’d seek one out: you’re switching carriers, traveling abroad or you purchased a carrier-locked iPhone that you intend to use with an entirely different cellular carrier.
There are three major types of unlocks we’ll detail in today’s article, only one of which is suited for today’s would-be iOS 9 through iOS 9.3.3 unlockers. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll detail said (appropriate) method first before briefly touching on the now outdated, legacy methods.
The Current Unlock Method
Due to the lack of advancements in the two below forms of iPhone unlocks, IMEI-based (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) iPhone unlocking has become the creme of the crop when it comes to getting your iPhone functioning across multiple carriers. What’s more, due to the fact that Apple builds both GSM and CDMA components into their latest iPhones one unlock fits all and post-unlock the iPhone can be used on virtually any carrier anywhere in the world!
Also just to name two additional benefits of IMEI unlocks, the iPhone doesn’t need to be jailbroken and it can be on literally any firmware, including both the latest iOS 9.3.2 and iOS 9.3.3 releases. Because IMEI unlocking works on what’s essentially a “factory” level, it would be the equivalent of having purchased your iPhone unlocked from Apple on day one!
How Does it Work?
At this point you’re probably wondering how such an unlock exists; it sounds to good to be true! IMEI unlocks must be purchased for your iPhone’s model and original cellular carrier from a reputable unlocking company. Once it is, said company will pay someone at your iPhone’s original carrier to input your iPhone’s IMEI into their ‘whitelist’ database which will then communicate with Apple’s servers and flag your iPhone as being ready for use on any carrier. At that point just plug your iPhone into iTunes and voila, you’ll be able to pop any SIM card from any carrier into your iPhone and receive service.
Keep in mind that sometimes unlocks (unless you purchase a guarantee) can fail at the carrier level, in which case any trustworthy unlocking company will immediately refund you and you can either attempt the basic unlock again or opt to go with the guarantee the second time around.
IMEI unlock steps
1. Choose the unlock that’s right for your iPhone model / carrier and select whether you want a guaranteed unlock or the cheaper option (if it fails, you’ll be instantly reimbursed and will be able to attempt again). For your convenience, we’ve included a direct unlock widget from what I’ve found to be the best and most reliable unlock company currently operating. Simply click or tap the above green “Unlock your Phone” button, select your iPhone and proceed with the steps listed on their site – they’ll provide you with the best pre and post sales service; if you have any questions, feel free to contact them!
2. Supply the IMEI unlocker company with your iPhone’s IMEI. Remember, while you can pick any company to unlock your iPhone, only go with a reputable one – we’ve included the best option for you in the above step. To obtain your IMEI, either launch the default Settings app > General > about or open your Phone app and type the following on the keypad *#06#
3. Wait until you’ve either received confirmation of a successful unlock or have been refunded (if the latter occurs, simply try again). Plug into iTunes and you’ll see a confirmation that your iPhone is now unlocked!
Pretty easy, huh? Literally, this is the only unlock method that will work on any iPhone (the iPhone 6s Plus, 6s, SE, 6 Plus, 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s) running any firmware (iOS 9.3.3, 9.3.2, 9.3.1, 9.2.1 and lower). Seriously, it’s the best method available.
Hardware Unlocking: Legacy 1
Hardware iPhone unlocking works by essentially tricking your iPhone with a clever device that only functions with select iPhone models on certain firmwares with limited basebands (see baseband definition), something you don’t have to worry about with IMEI iPhone unlocks. Unfortunately, while this method used to be preferred due to its simplicity, just stick the component in the SIM tray between it and your SIM card, the tech is outdated and no longer works with today’s iPhone models.
Software Unlocking: Legacy 2
Even more antiquated than hardware unlocking, software-based unlocks actually do rely on jailbreaking. However, similar to hardware unlocking, software unlocks only function on select jailbreakable iPhone models on outdated firmwares with old basebands. The latest supported iPhones for software unlocks are the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, the former of the two only works on a single baseband!
As an interesting tidbit though, iPhone unlocking actually preceded jailbreaking – genius hacker George Hotz, commonly known online by his handle (GeoHot), was the first individual to ever unlock the original iPhone in 2007.
iPhone Unlocking Summary
That’s it, absolutely everything you need to know about iPhone unlocking in one article. Now that you’re equipped with the proper knowledge of how to unlock an iPhone, I hope you make the informed decision when it comes to which supplier you opt to choose if you proceed with an IMEI unlock. Thank you for reading, stay tuned for more, join our Jailbreak and Hacks news feed, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and add us on YouTube to be promptly informed when we publish future articles.
Latest iCrackUriDevice Wallpaper
For those of you who are interested in obtaining the wallpaper featured in the above video, here’s a direct copy for your enjoyment: