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I have iPhone 4 which currently has SIM lock. However, a law passed in my country requires my service provider to disable the lock free of charge. However, I have no idea how this is done in practice - Google only gives me guides to remove the SIM lock after jailbreaking and such.

Of course, I can simply ask my service provider what to do, but they are professionals when it comes to being unhelpful and misleading when it is in their best interest, so I'm trying to ask here first.

Other phone users (not iPhone) I asked said they only had to insert a code given from their service provider. I see no place in the iPhone where such a code can be entered. So, if there is such a place - where is it? If not - how can I remove the SIM lock with most ease?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Without going into the technical details, iOS ships in a deactivated state and needs to contact an activation server to determine the carrier and locking status each time the device is restored.

iTunes performs the unlocking of all phones less than iOS 5. With iOS5, the device can self activate or activate through iTunes.

When a device is sold, it enters the database as an unlocked device or a locked device. You need the entity that has a lock on your device to update this database. It doesn't really matter if they type it into their system or pass a message to Apple that the device should now be unlocked, but iOS doesn't seem to have a place to enter a unlock code for DIY unlocking and instead depends on the activation process to determine GSM lock status.


I haven't seen it documented anywhere, but my presumption is that Apple operates the service that determines which phone on a serial number / IMEI basis should be locked or unlocked. Given the millions of devices this system is surely automated and authority to make changes to the database is delegated through to the carriers to handle their own unlock requests.


Even here in the US where our Library of Congress has stated for the record that consumers are allowed by law to unlock their devices in certain circumstances, I have yet to see a documented case where someone actually got AT&T to perform a true unlock as described above.

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Thank you. I'll try my luck with my service provider, then. –  Gadi A Jan 25 '12 at 19:32

Official iPhone unlocking only comes from Apple. So you'll have to go through your service provider if you want to unlock your phone.

Your carrier will then contact Apple about unlocking the phone. Your iPhone will be identified by its IMEI number. Once this is done, your carrier will contact you (it can take up to a week).

Then, you will have to restore your iPhone through iTunes.

Only then, your iPhone will be unlocked.

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I'm still not sure I understand. What exactly will my service provider do? Some physical tempering with the phone? Send some special signal? –  Gadi A Jan 25 '12 at 14:30
    
I didn't want to edit Loic's answer with my vague ideas and observations - but once my answer gets edited into shape, perhaps it can be appended here to the extent it makes this answer better. –  bmike Jan 25 '12 at 15:13
    
No need to restore, just to insert other providers SIM and connect to iTunes. –  mspasov Apr 15 '13 at 18:25

This poped up on my iPhone last year. We called apple and they gave me a code the first time then when it happened again they told me to set a code mines 0000 try it or call to see if there's any other way.

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