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How can I tell whether my iPhone is unlocked?

I’m trying to transfer my phone service from AT&T to Ting, but first I want to make sure that my iPhone is unlocked. I called AT&T and paid my termination fee, and they said the ball is now out of their court (and in Apple’s). I’ve heard before that the Apple iPhone unlock process can take up to 24 hours to go through, but I’m wondering there’s a way to check on that “handshake” and see when it may have completed, hopefully sooner!

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1 Comment on "How can I tell whether my iPhone is unlocked?"

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Alex Schenker
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Alex Schenker

First, make sure you know which type of “unlock” is being referenced. Unlock can refer to 1) just getting into your phone from the “lock” screen, 2) a carrier “lock” that prevents another SIM card from activating, and 3) an “activation lock” that attaches a phone to a particular user via an Apple ID (iCloud) (if you purchased a used phone you’ll want to check this also, using Apple’s activation lock checker). In this case we’re talking about 2).

When I moved from AT&T to Ting, I had to reset my iPhone (back it up in iTunes, wipe it completely, and then restore from backup) for the unlock to take effect. Once you’ve done this, in your iPhone browse to Settings > Cellular Data Options > and see if there is an “Cellular Data Network” option. If you see this, your phone should be unlocked (because you’ll be entering your new provider data in here).

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