How to check if your phone is unlocked and how do you get your phone unlocked.

Having an unlocked phone can give many benefits. It not only gives you ability to shop around for a better network deal, it gives you the flexibility to swap your sim card when travelling abroad, provides a better resale value if you do want to part ways and upgrade or swap to another UK network on Pay as you Go or Sim Only.

In this article we will discuss how to check to see if your phone is unlocked, why networks lock them in the first place and how to get your phone unlocked. We will also look at how you can buy an unlocked handset without request it to be unlocked.

Benefits of Unlocking

Access Cheaper Tariffs In The UK

Having an unlocked handset means you have the freedom to move from network to network in the UK and abroad with no issues when you put the new sim card in, giving you as a consumer real flexibility.

Save Money When Travelling Abroad

If your current network roaming charges are not great value for money, then having a unlocked phone means when you travel abroad you can simply swap you home sim card out and replace with a local sim. Most airports retail sim cards for visitors on arrival to take advantage of local call rates and access to cheap data, saving you money. Remember if you are on Three, there is no need to swap your sim card when you travel to 18 destinations abroad, meaning you can use your mobile number without any charges with Feel at Home.

Second-Hand Usage & Resale Value

Having an unlocked handset when it comes to selling is a major benefit too. You are not restricted by who you sell your phone too and the buyers network carrier they are using, opening more avenues to sell in the first place. Most trade-in websites and high street stores also pay more for an unlocked handset as it opens resell to a greater audience. On average, you can get between 15%-20% more for an unlocked handset.


Step-by-Step Guide To Unlocking

Checking Whether Your iPhone Is Already Unlocked

The easy way to check to see if your phone is currently unlocked is to use either a standard, micro or nano sim from a different network. Some networks like giffgaff, Virgin, Asda, iD mobile and Tesco Mobile are what’s called a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). What this means is they piggy back onto one of the network carriers in the UK – O2, Vodafone, EE or Three. If your current network runs on the same network as the sim you are using to test, it will likely show that’s it working although this may not be the case. See our MVNO page for more details

When placing your sim into your phone, if the phone goes straight through to either your set up screen or home screen then you have got an unlocked handset. If the phone however asks for a network unlock code, not to be confused with a PAC or PUK code, then your phone is locked.

Finding Your iPhone IMEI Number

Finding your IMEI can be achieved in a number of different ways. The easiest is to go to your phone dial pad as if you were to make a call, and dial *#06#. This will show on screen your IMEI.

Another way is to access the settings of your phone. On an iPhone you would head to General, then About. On an Android device you would go to About, then System.

Unturnatively if you are unable to use your dial pad or phone screen you can locate the IMEI behind your battery. If your phone has a built in battery then this can usually be located on the rear of the device, on sim tray or on a pull out slip where your memory card or sim tray is located.

Unlocking Instructions By Network



Orange & T-Mobile






Tesco Mobile






Third-Party Retailers (e.g. Carphone Warehouse)


What’s Next?

More Information