Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.
If you own a network locked iPhone, there are a few popular ways to have it unlocked so that it can support other sim cards around the world. These options are available for fees or for free.
Below are some of the iPhone unlock services:
- Ultrasn0w unlock from Cydia: Ultrasn0w has been around for as long as iPhones have existed. This unlock is however limited to jailbroken iPhones with compatible basebands.
- Gevey SIM unlock: Gevey sim unlock is a hardware exploit that relies on specialized SIM tray interposer. You do not have to jailbreak your iPhone to use this exploit.
- R SIM interposer: Rsim exploit is an alternative to Gevey SIM and also not limited to jailbroken phones.
- iPhone IMEI number: This is the best unlock procedure for any iPhone model, baseband or iOS. Any service that offers iPhone unlock using IMEI number provides permanent unlock.
- SAM ticket: SAM exploit is reliant on tickets that have been saved over time using SAM unlock.
For iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 basebands
Ultrasn0w is a free unlocking software. Unfortunately, it does not deliver a permanent unlock, but will work well when other unlock solutions aren't viable.
- Practically, all iPhones 3GS and 3G, and relevant iOS firmware and basebands can unlocked using Ultrasn0w. An iPhone 4 can only be unlocked if it runs a specific baseband that is compliant with Ultrasn0w.
- Ultrasn0w SIM unlock is only possible in jailbroken iPhones via Cydia.
- The rest of iPhone 4S basebands, all iPhones 5, 6 and 7 are yet to be supported. Support of these iPhone models is however, unlikely. Software unlocks have ceased since iPhone 4 and none of the famed software unlock teams have shown interest in ever walking this path again.
Ultrasn0w-Compatible iPhone Models and Basebands
Most older iPhone models and basebands can be unlocked using Ultrasn0w.
Check the list below to see supported and unsupported iPhone models and basebands:
iPhone 3GS & 3G
iPhone 4S: No Ultrasn0w support!
iPhone 5 (all): No Ultrasn0w support!
iPhone 6 (all): No Ultrasn0w support!
What is iPhone Baseband you may ask?
iPhone baseband, in short, is the computer component in your iPhone that deals with broadcast functions, or anything that requires the network antenna.Finding your iPhone model is a no-brainer.
To figure out the iPhone baseband:
- Tap Settings > General > About.
- Scroll downwards until you see Modem Firmware.
- The numbers after Modem Firmware represent the baseband of your iPhone.
If your iPhone contains any of the basebands listed above, be sure to preserve it every time you restore to another IOS firmware. Every iPhone baseband is upgraded automatically every time the iPhone firmware is restored. You can preserve your baseband by using Redsn0w and other jailbreak tools, or by customizing the IOS firmware.
If by mistake you upgrade your baseband to anything other than what is listed above, you will lose the ability to unlock the iPhone with Ultrasn0w.
How to Use Ultrasn0w
If your iPhone is compatible as per explanation above, and you are ready to go, start by jailbreaking and installing Cydia. Ultrasn0w unlock is only possible in jailbroken iPhones.
- Be sure your phone is connected to a wireless internet.
- Jailbreak your phone using Jailbreak Me. Follow these iPhone jailbreak instructions in order to have your iPhone jailbroken.
- Place the new sim card in the iPhone.
- The above jailbreaking method will automatically install the Cydia app.
- Select and open the Cydia icon and follow the commands to unlock.
- You may have to allow the relevant upgrades to take place if prompted.
- Go ahead and tap on Sources and then Edit.
- Tap Add and then type http://repo666.ultrasn0w.com.
- Click Add Source.
- When everything is loaded, search and tap Ultrasn0w in your search bar.
- You should now see Ultrasn0w 1.2.8.
- Simply tap on Install and later on tap Confirm to initiate Ultrasn0w 1.2.8 download.
- Ultrasn0w will download and within seconds, depending on your connectivity and availability of Cydia contents, your iPhone should be unlocked.
- Reboot your device when commanded to do so.
- Your iPhone is now unlocked and it should support any sim card thrown at it.
Ultrasnow Fixer for IOS 6.x
In case you have upgraded your iPhone IOS to 6x, you still can unlock it using Ultrasn0w Fixer.
In order to install Ultrasn0w Fixer, head over to Cydia and install a repository called iParelhos, assuming your iPhone runs IOS 6.0 or 6.1 firmwares.
Follow these instructions:
- Tap Manage and then Sources.
- Type http://repo.iparelhos.com
- Search for Ultrasn0w Fixer 6.0.1 or 6.1 and install it.
- Search and install Ultrasn0w 1.2.8 from Cydia.
- Restart Cydia and iPhone, and you should now see the network signals.
Gevey SIM Interposer
For iPhone 4 and 4S
Gevey SIM unlock has been around for quite some time. It's one of the best alternatives, especially when Ultrasn0w fails.
And just like Ultrasn0w, it is not a permanent unlock, but will suffice where factory unlock is not available.
Gevey SIM unlock makes use of specialized hardware interposer: A SIM tray that sits between the hardware baseband of the iPhone and the carrier SIM and performs a Man In The Middle Attack (MITM).
An iPhone unlocked with a Gevey interposer works out of the box with any carrier network SIIM card and does not require the iPhone to be jailbroken.
Unfortunately, Gevey sim unlock is only possible up to iPhone 4S.
Compatible Basebands for Gevey
Gevey SIM unlocks are effective in the older iPhone 4 basebands listed here:
- 59 2.10
And the following iPhone 4S basebands:
For iPhone 4S, 5, 6, and 7
R-SIM interposer is a popular method to unlock iPhone 4S and 5 models, picking up where the Gevey sim interposer stopped. R Sim versions 7, 8, and 9 will also unlock iOS 7 models.
This interposer can also be used to activate stubborn iPhones, especially those from Sprint.
How to Use R-Sim
Unlocking the iPhone with an R-SIM interposer is simple:
- Place your new macro SIM (iPhone 4 or 4S) or nano-SIM (iPhone 5) onto the interposer tray.
- Slide the tray back into the iPhone and follow the simple instructions that follow.
- You will be prompted to restart your iPhone to complete the unlocking process.
Problems Unlocking Sprint iPhones
You may encounter issues when activating and unlocking Sprint phones. In case this happens, the voice calls will function normally but SMS and data services may not.
To solve the problem, you will have to download the free activation patch application and buy an activation code from the R-SIM website.
Video: Unlock Sprint iPhone Using R-SIM 9
The IMEI Number
Factory unlock for all iPhones
Also called iPhone factory unlock, the unlock via IMEI number is the ultimate permanent unlock. Apple sanctions factory unlocks through its carrier partners.
Read through this list of carrier networks offering a variety of Apple-related services. One of the services includes unlocking the iPhone. Cross-check with your relevant carrier network for pre-qualification and then proceed with the rather brief instructions to back-up your apps and data before unlocking the iPhone.
This unlock only works if you have fulfilled the following conditions:
- You should be a customer with an Apple carrier partner and your account must be in good standing, with your phone bills paid.
- You can unlock your iPhone with AT&T even if you are not a customer with them, as long as you have completed your old contract or if you purchased your iPhone with no contract.
- One other important caution is that you must be sure that your iPhone is not stolen or blacklisted. A stolen iPhone that was reported to relevant carrier network will be discovered and you can get into trouble for it.
Check the iPhone IMEI Number
You can find the IMEI number of your iPhone in a number of ways. This is the easiest:
- Type *#06# on the dial screen.
- Your IMEI number will appear in a flash.
Factory Unlock Websites for iPhone
If you wish to unlock your iPhone using the IMEI number be warned of scam websites out there and proceed at own risk. I have listed a few websites which have received recommendations from many users, but do not take my word for it. Always proceed with caution.
The iPhone Wiki maintains lists of hundreds of fake unlocking and jailbreaking sites. You may want to visit it and stay above the scam threats.
Works with compatible old iPhones and preserved tickets
SAM Unlock was an exploit that worked perfectly until April 2012, when it was patched by Apple.
Despite this, a handful of informed users who first installed SAM in their iPhones, have carried their ticket exploits until today. Sam tickets were saved using Cydia. Having the tickets already installed enabled users to unlock their iPhones even after upgrading to new iOS firmware. The usual advice is that you should never upgrade to any iOS which does not have a jailbreak if you depend on SAM.
SAM only works in jailbroken iPhones.
Video: Unlock with SAM Ticket
© 2012 Alfred Amuno
shahid jamal on March 21, 2019:
my i phone unlock plz heilpme
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on January 01, 2018:
Of course, Glenn, once the iPhone has been paid for in full. If, however, you received it from a second or third user, find out its bill status and seek an unlock from T-Mobile for free (https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-1588#secondh... But for one or other reason, you may as well opt for 3rd party unlock services.
Glenn on January 01, 2018:
Can I unlock an iPhone 7+ that is currently on T-Mobile
michaelkn792 on May 03, 2017:
Hi there, I placed an order to unlock my iPhone 6 at this site https://expressunlock.com/unlock-iphone , I paid it and order status is now “processing” (2 days already). I asked them and they said it would take 2-7 working days for my iPhone. Just a little skeptical, is there any risk? Please advise
Akramul Haq Sagar from Chittagong on August 29, 2016:
Really a good and informatic article...
Telxperts from Australia on June 05, 2016:
Thanks for giving information.It's very useful for everyone.
Visit our website: www.telxperts.com
freeunlockiphone on January 12, 2016:
iPhone Unlocker is the world's first program that permanently unlock iPhone for free !
All Models, Basebands & Firmware Supported. Processed By Apple. Completed In iTunes.
Most Countries & Carriers supported in iPhone Unlocker unlocking system. No matter where are you from our unlock system can help you anywhere. Anywhere in the globe!
The world's first program that permanently unlock iPhone. Unlocking is 100% free!
We support iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone Unlocker unlock iPhone directly over Apple Database.
This is true lifetime Unlock solution.
Forget about turbo unlocks or gevey. It's time for iOS 6 , iOS7 and iOS8 .
iPhone stays permanently unlock even after update in future.
Any iPhone baseband will support.
Sauekie on October 27, 2015:
Nice, its work with my iphone 5 running ios 9.0.2 using SAM... Thanks to your articles i finally unlock my iphone.. Godbless ☺️☺️
Ladiesman on August 06, 2015:
Will my iphone 4 work on r-sim with an ios 7 and a baseband of 04.12.09?
venus666 on July 21, 2015:
Is it suitable for iphone 6 and 6 plus?
MM on June 29, 2015:
when I get to the more information part there are no numbers in each of the sections please help
josue on June 29, 2015:
is r sim one use only or can it be used on many iphones... im a noob sorry dont know how it works
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on May 23, 2015:
vhhh on May 23, 2015:
Hezekiah from Japan on April 16, 2015:
Nice, would be nice to get info on Samsung phones.
Sagi on February 27, 2015:
Great article, man!
Thank you for all this info, really helped clear a lot of things.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on October 12, 2014:
Rsim is reliable enough as long as you are not going for factory unlock.
savvas on October 10, 2014:
Thanks for the information.I just bought an Iphone 5 from ebay and it says that it is locked to At&t.As long as I live in Greece I need to unlock the phone.Im considering the Rsim as the best method but Im getting really confused reading reviews on the internet about it.Do you think it is reliable??
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 28, 2014:
Good info Zahur about scam websites. People need to know about them. Will also check out Pangu. Thanks.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on June 29, 2014:
Thanks for the tip Hasegawa. Hope other readers get to know about the site.
Hasegawa on June 29, 2014:
I paid for easyunlockingsolutions.com
. But they did nothing. Scam site,
Don't pay for this site they will do nothing for you
Jim on June 04, 2014:
I once tried the jailbreak option hoping to unlock my iPhone 5 and ended up bricking it instead. It's better to just purchase a factory unlock service from a reputable third party unlock business. I later ended up purchasing an AT&T iPhone 5s from a craigslist ad and then bought an unlock service www.unlocksxpress.com . They had successfully unlocked my iPhone in about 3 days. I popped in my T-Mobile sim card and it worked like a charm! I have no idea how they did it, as everything was done remotely. So in other words, they didn't even touch the phone! All they needed was the IMEI #. It was all done for around 40 bucks. Definitely money well spent!
TaylorSS92 on May 11, 2014:
me and my gf bought an iphone 5s for $350 from a craigslist member, we were told its unlocked, and needless to say its not, i have at&t and wanna use the phone, but sprint wont do anything to help cuz the guy owes over $700 on his bill... what can i do to either use the phone with my at&t account with out funtion restrictons, or at least make it worth sellng so someone else can enjoy it?
Willa on March 21, 2014:
Hey, I bought an iPhone 5C locked to Sprint. I'm from Canada and cannot get it unlocked up here and don't have the original account holder information. What can I do ??
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on March 11, 2014:
Hardware and software unlock options for iPhone 4 seem to be getting few as new IOS versions are released.
I would advice you Gagan, to go for factory unlock using the IMEI number, since it is getting cheaper every other day.
gagan on March 11, 2014:
sir after updating mi iphone4 to latest ios 7.0.6,my gevey sim not support
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on March 05, 2014:
Sorry muss too. Your situation is even more complex. Once an iPhone has Activation Lock enabled, you cannot do much except using the original Apple ID to activate it.
Basically, you have to trace the person that owned it before you purchased it and have him de-activate or delete the iPhone from his ID account. He could do it remotely via another Apple product or iCloud on the computer. Good luck.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on March 05, 2014:
Sorry for what you are going through rtap. Now that you iPhone is running IOS 7x, you seem to have only one option remaining: IMEI unlock. Try a number of the options listed above, or you can check out for available solutions in eBay. Sadly for you, your IOS is above Gevey sim tray capability, and lower than what Rsim tray can handle.
muss on March 05, 2014:
bonjour , merci pour les infos amuno
moi j'ai acheté un iphone 5s sur le bon coin et j'arrive pas à l'activer vu qu'il a toujours le compte i cloud. je voudrais savoir si vous avez une solution pour ça.merci
rtap on March 05, 2014:
I have been trying and trying to unlock my iphone 4 which is locked to mexican carrier Telcel (i still have the original SIM) but i can't manage to, and no sites seem to support my carrier for an IMEI unlock... I have jailbroken the phone, it has cydia but I can't find a method that works... It's running IOS 7.0.6 and baseband version 04.12.09, and model number MC318LL/A. I'm trying to change to Bell Mobility in Canada. If you have ANY ideas of what I could do to make it would I would really REALLY appreciate it.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on March 04, 2014:
Hello ZWAK, I have added a few links under Factory Unlock Websites for iPhone above. Hope they are helpful.
ZWAK on March 04, 2014:
Thanks for your helpful the information.
I have an iPhone 4, unlocked with gevey SIM.
since I can't upgrade my ISO, I want to unlock it with IMEI.
Will it work for me? Because I don't have original Sim of the carrier my phone it locked to.
It's locked to MTS Allstream in Canada.
John Lfc on January 12, 2014:
Jonas the link above jonasgenys.com is remove site ? is there any other site ?
Joseph Sam on January 10, 2014:
Please unlock my iPhone 4s imei:013064009721664
polo91 on May 06, 2013:
Thanks for giving information.It's very useful for everyone.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on September 03, 2012:
Thanks Ahmed for appreciating.
Muzammil Ahmed from Islamabad on September 03, 2012:
Amuno thanks for providing good information on unlocking iphones.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on August 14, 2012:
Thanks eHealer. Hope one of the solutions works for you!
Deborah from Las Vegas on August 14, 2012:
Amuno, I've been waiting for this man! thanks so much for the information, it has answered all my questions. You Rock!