As a daily necessity for most people, owning a smartphone is highly advantageous for computing needs compressed into a smaller screen. Dialing calls, writing emails, listening to music, or browsing social media platforms—name it and your smartphone can do it. But, what can you do if your smartphone has certain limitations that can potentially become a huge inconvenience to you?
Locked phones, for instance, are smartphone devices with network carrier restrictions. Simply put, having a locked phone means that you can’t insert a different SIM card and use another mobile operator except for the carrier from whom you bought your phone.
Why Phones Get Locked
Purchasing a smartphone is no joke as they’re getting pricier and pricier each day. Many people dream about getting flagship phones, yet the older, lower-end models remain expensive for full cash payments. People with more restricted budgets may not be able to afford to pay in full for a new phone, but, thankfully, various smartphone deals are available in the market to make the payment a lot lighter.
Smartphone plans offered by mobile network carriers are an excellent example of these smartphone deals. Here’s the deal: you can score higher-end flagship phones for a lower price, divided into monthly installments. In exchange, your chosen device will be locked into the mobile carrier, so you can’t use mobile network services by other operators.
How To Tell If Your Phone Is Locked Or Not
Knowing the ‘locking’ status of your phone is crucial if you’re planning to upgrade your phone and sell it, or if you simply want to see if it’s locked. To determine if your phone is locked to a specific carrier or not, you can try doing these methods:
- Dial the customer service number of your existing carrier and ask them.
- Try replacing the SIM card and see if you can receive mobile services.
- To determine a locked iPhone, visit Settings > Cellular/Carrier. If a label is written as ‘Cellular/Carrier Data Network,’ your iPhone is unlocked as locked phones don’t have this setting.
What Is Phone Unlocking?
Carriers work with phone manufacturers to lock their smartphone units. Typically, they insert a unique software code that restricts users from availing the services of other networks. Therefore, the software code has to be removed to unlock the phone. If your phone is locked and you’re planning to have it unlocked, your safest option is to get it done professionally by reputable service providers, such as Official Sim Unlock.
Getting Your Phone Unlocked: The Dos And Don’ts
Getting your phone unlocked isn’t as easy as 1-2-3, especially if you haven’t finished your contract with the mobile carrier yet. Since the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was signed in 2014, users are prohibited from unlocking their smartphones without the operator’s permission.
To obtain legal consent for your phone unlock, you have to follow your carrier’s policies. Usually, you shouldn’t have any past due balance from your operator before unlocking your phone. If you have any missing payments, you should inform them about the phone unlock and have a mutual agreement.
Essentially, there are three ways on how you can unlock your phone. These are:
- Carrier Unlock: As the name suggests, a carrier unlock means your network carrier will perform the unlocking. You can only unlock your phone through your carrier if you have a good account standing and have met your service contract terms.
- Professional Unlocking Service: If you didn’t pass the requirements for carrier unlock, you could have it unlocked professionally. These unlocking professionals purchase their software unlock codes from carriers and manufacturers. Although professional unlocking services can be costly, they can ensure a seamless unlocking procedure compared to the next method.
- Software Unlock: Software unlock is only for phone users with advanced technical know-how. If you don’t want to risk your phone, don’t do this procedure and spend on professional unlocking services instead. Software unlocking procedures vary from device to device, but they usually involve installing specialized apps.
Why Should You Have Your Phone Unlocked?
Many limitations of locked phones get in the way of users’ daily lives. If you’ve recently acquired a locked phone, don’t wait until the locked status of your phone becomes a great deal of inconvenience in the future.
Consider having your phone unlocked because of the following reasons, as listed by bettertechtips.com:
- Switch to better network plans
- Travel conveniently without too many restrictions
- Take control of your phone’s hardware
- Gain a better resale value for your phone
- Withdraw from the contract and monthly payments
- Download software updates faster
The Future Of Locked Phones: Key Takeaway
Whenever users wish to travel or avail of services from another network for convenience, they simply can’t accomplish them because of their locked phones. Some places around the world are stepping away from this practice. Starting from December 2021, the United Kingdom will ban the sale of carrier-locked phones. Hopefully, the United States will also follow suit, but the law clarifies that it’s legal to unlock phones as permitted by carriers.
After all, it boils down to consumer choice and awareness of SIM locking laws of various countries, so it’s crucial to educate yourself.