How to unlock a phone from any UK network: EE, O2, Vodafone or Three

In our free guide we will outline how to Unlock your phone legally and permanently to give you the freedom of shopping around for better sim card deals. With more and more competition by network providers offering cheap tariff deals, having an unlocked phone is becoming more desirable than ever before - and since the Ofcom review back in 2002, it is now legal to unlock your phone in the UK to use on any mobile network.

When you get a new phone through a provider, the chances that it is locked to that network is very high - so how do you go about unlocking your phone legally without voiding your warranty? Read on for our simple guide on the do’s and don’ts of unlocking your phone.

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

What does it mean when your phone is locked to a network?

Whether you’ve got a phone under contract or a second-hand device, more often than not, your phone will be restricted to one network. This means that when you go to insert another network sim card into your phone you will see a prompt stating: ‘Sim locked’. This means you can only use your phone on the provider that it has been locked to as the settings on your phone block other networks from being enabled.

The reason why your phone is locked to the network provider is simply down to the network keeping you as a customer. Even after your contract has finished on your phone, your device will still be locked into the network indefinitely.

Luckily, there is a way to unlock your phone legally and securely so that you can break free from being tied down to one network and have the choice of shopping around for better deals elsewhere. Our next section will run you through how to do this the official way.

How do I unlock the network from my phone?

Unlocking your phone so that you can insert a sim card from any network on your device has never been easier. If you plan to change the network without having to buy a new phone, OfficialSIMUnlock provides a secure IMEI network unlock without voiding your warranty or affecting your phone’s software updates.

The best part is that the process is very simple and quick as well as being affordable. The only details needed to unlock your phone is your 15-digit IMEI number (Dial *#06# from your phone) and the network that your device is currently locked to. With this information, OfficiaSIMUnlock scans the phone manufacturer’s databases to retrieve the unlock code (iPhone’s don’t need a code).

You may think that unlocking your phone is illegal, but since an Ofcom review in 2002, it has been confirmed that unlocking your phone in the UK is 100% legal when using the official unlock method. To make sure that your phone is legally unlocked, we recommend that you use a reputable service that uses your device’s IMEI number. IMEI is the approved method used by network providers and manufacturers, which means that your warranty will still be valid and your phone’s software will not be interrupted.

When your phone is unlocked this means that you can use it on any mobile network of your choice and you have the flexibility to change providers when you want by simply inserting a new sim card into your phone. If you are currently under contract with your network, you will still need to keep up payments until the contract ends. At the same time, you can still unlock your phone even if it’s under contract.

What are the benefits of unlocking my phone?

Phones that are tied down to one network (locked) are restricted to only using that provider and the phone will basically be unusable with any other network. An unlocked phone has the benefits of carrying no restrictions at all, so the user can shop around for the best deals and choose any network they want, whether it’s T-Mobile, EE, O2, Vodafone, or Three - the choice is extensive.

Not only will you have the freedom of shopping around for the best deals, but an unlocked phone is compatible with dual-sim cards too. This is great news for money-savvy users that want to use one network for calls and texts, and another for data. It’s also great if you travel often as you can insert a sim card from another country into your phone to avoid data roaming charges and get better bundles when abroad.

Additionally, not only will you save money on your phone bills, but you can also increase the value of your device when it’s unlocked. Selling an unlocked mobile will attract more buyers and you can increase the value than if it was locked to a network. Unlocking your phone is a cheap and quick process that can add more value to your phone in the long term, which is a great return on investment further down the line.

Will I have to pay to unlock my phone?

There is a variety of ways to unlock your phone, however, not all are recommended. If you are looking to save money, you may stumble across free unlock codes for your device. But we highly recommend against using these as they could damage your phone’s software and void your warranty.

On the other hand, your network provider may offer to unlock your phone for free or at a cost. This can be a long process by filling out forms and making sure you’ve stayed to the guidelines and meet their long list of criteria. This is usually not the quickest method and can be long-winded.

Alternatively, finding a third-party service like OfficialSIMUnlock can make the experience of unlocking your phone a breeze. Not only will your warranty still be valid, but your phone will be permanently unlocked to use on any network worldwide and you can do it from the comfort of your home. Getting your unlock code online by IMEI is completely safe and legal without affecting the performance of your phone.

How to unlock an iPhone

Your iPhone will be unlocked by whitelisting your IMEI number from apple’s database, which is 100% legal. This is because network unlocking by IMEI is the recommended method by providers and phone manufacturers.

What do I need to unlock my iPhone?

Unlock your iPhone online by IMEI is a simple process. All you need is to know your device’s IMEI number (you can find this by dialling *#06# from your phone and it will be displayed on the screen) and to know which network your iPhone is currently locked to. Apple devices are unlocked ‘over-the-air’ using Wi-Fi or 3G/4G data. All Apple iPhones - whether old or new can be unlocked generally within 1-3 days.

How to unlock a Samsung

Samsung phones require an unlock code to be entered into the phone when prompted. To find your unlock code request a Samsung unlock by IMEI, which is the recommended method of unlocking your phone legally and without voiding your warranty.

What do I need to unlock my Samsung?

Avoid going through hoops and restrictions when unlocking your phone by choosing a reputable Samsung phone unlock retailer. Just have your IMEI number (you can find this by dialling *#06# from your phone and it will be displayed on the screen) and the network that your Samsung is currently locked to. Your 15-digit IMEI will be scanned in an official database to retrieve your unlock code. All you need to do is wait for the confirmation email with your code and instructions to instantly unlock your Samsung.

How to unlock a Huawei 

Legally unlock your Huawei without voiding your phone’s warranty by using an online IMEI unlock tool. This usually takes around 24 hours and you can track your order to keep up to date with the unlock progress. You can still use your Huawei during the unlock process. Once you’ve received your unlock code by email, simply insert a sim card from another network into your phone and enter the unlock code.

What do I need to unlock my Huawei?

Ordering your Huawei unlock code is straightforward. Have your details ready such as your IMEI number by dialling *#06# on your phone and the network provider you are locked to. Once you have entered your details and your payment has been received, your unlock code will be retrieved through the official database. It takes around 24 hours for the confirmation email with your code to come through. Enter the unlock code on your Huawei to permanently unlock your device to use on any network.

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