How to Check if an iPhone is Locked or Unlocked

If you bought an iPhone or if you are going to buy one, you will probably want to learn how to check if your iPhone is unlocked. There are various ways to check the unlock status of an iPhone and this post covers some of those ways for you. Read on to find more information.

Author Avatar Joy Taylor Last Updated: Jun. 25, 2021

If you are buying a brand new iPhone from the Apple Store or a distributor, you will be told whether your iPhone is locked or unlocked beforehand. However, that is usually not the case when you buy a second-hand iPhone. And even when someone says that the device is unlocked, it is worth checking it for yourself to see if that iPhone is indeed unlocked since there are differences between a locked iPhone and an unlocked iPhone.

This leads you to run an iPhone carrier check and find out whether the phone is locked or not. If you are in this situation, you can use one of the several ways to check the lock status on your iOS device.

Also Read: How to Bypass iCloud Activation Lock on iPhone/iPad >

Locked iPhone v.s. Unlocked iPhone

Whether you buy a new iPhone or an old iPhone, it could have either of the two statues: unlocked or locked. If you have bought your iPhone from an Apple Store or an authorized store by paying the full price, it is highly likely that your phone is unlocked. On the other hand, if you have bought your iPhone from an unauthorized carrier, it might be unlocked for a certain period of time.

The locked iPhone here is related to the carrier check, not the locked iPhone because of no screen passcode.

A locked iPhone only works with the carrier from which it has been purchased from. For example, if you buy an iPhone from, say T-Mobile, your device is going to be locked to that carrier. Your iPhone will only work with that carrier and no other carriers at all. Also, if you bought a used iPhone that is locked, it can be unlocked only when the previous owner finished the duration.

Locked iPhone v.s. Unlocked iPhone

Locked iPhone v.s. Unlocked iPhone

An unlocked iPhone, on the other hand, works with any carrier. This iPhone does not need to be unlocked, or you do not need to do anything to use it with a different cellular provider. All you need to do is pop the old SIM out, put the new SIM in, and off you go. Most people prefer to go for unlocked iPhones, especially when they often change their providers.

Value-wise, an unlocked iPhone costs more and you can sell it for more money. That is because whoever gets the phone with no restrictions, as to what SIM you should use on it whatsoever.

4 Ways to Check if iPhone is Unlocked

Now that you clearly understand the difference between a locked and an unlocked iPhone, you will want to find out which one is yours. The following are three ways for you to check if your iPhone is locked to a particular carrier or if it can be used with any provider.

Check if the iPhone is Unlocked in the Settings

Your iPhone actually has an option in the Settings menu that indicates the lock or unlock status of your device. This option does not directly tell you about the current lock status of your iPhone, but it gives you a hint of which works in most cases.

With this method, keep in mind that the results will not always be accurate. You might find that your iPhone is unlocked but that may not be the case. If you want a foolproof method, you might want to check out one of our other methods below.

Step 1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.

Step 2. You should find an option that says Mobile Data. Tap on this option to open it.

Step 3. On the following screen, find and tap on the option that says Mobile Data Options.

Open Mobile Data Options

Open Mobile Data Options

Step 4. Here comes the screen that tells whether your iPhone is locked or unlocked. If you see an option that says Mobile Data Network on this screen, it means your iPhone is unlocked. If you do not see the option, it is likely that your phone is locked.

As said earlier, the result may or may not be a hundred percent correct.

Check if iPhone is Unlocked via SIM Card

An accurate and foolproof way to check if your iPhone is unlocked or not is to use a different SIM card with your device. As explained in the first part of this guide, if your iPhone is locked, it should not accept or recognize the SIM cards that are not from your primary carrier.

Different Carrier's SIM Card

Different Carrier’s SIM Card

In this method, a locked iPhone will not let you make calls with a SIM card that is from a different carrier. This method gives you an accurate answer as to whether your phone is locked or not.

Follow the full instructions below on how to do this.

Step 1. Turn off your iPhone using the Power button.

Step 2. Pull the SIM card tray out of your iPhone and remove the old SIM card from it.

Step 3. Put your new and different SIM card in the tray and slide the tray back into your iPhone. Then, power on your iPhone by pressing the Power button.

Eject and Put Back the SIM Card into the iPhone

Eject and Put Back the SIM Card into the iPhone

Step 4. Once your iPhone turns on, try and make a phone call using your new SIM card. If your call connects without any issues, that means your iPhone is unlocked. However, if the call does not connect, your iPhone is still locked.

How to Check if iPhone is Unlocked without SIM

The third option is to use a method that does not use a SIM card to verify your phone’s lock status. This method for how to check if an iPhone is unlocked uses your IMEI number. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity and it is a unique number assigned to your device. With this number, you can actually find if your iPhone is locked or unlocked.

There are online databases and services that can help you fetch the lock status for your iOS-based device. While many of these services charge you a small fee to check your iPhone’s lock status, there are some free services as well that you can use without paying a penny. The following is one of these online services to check your iPhone’s status.

Step 1. Press the *#06# keys on your iPhone and note down the IMEI number. You will use this number in one of the following steps.

Step 2. Open a new tab in your browser and access the IMEI24 website.

Step 3. Type your iPhone’s IMEI number in the given field and click on the Check button.

Check iPhone Unlock Status Online

Check iPhone Unlock Status Online

Step 4. On the following screen, you should be able to view the current status of your iPhone.

In case you did not find whether your iPhone is locked or unlocked with this website, you can try other similar sites and maybe even consider paying a small fee to use a paid service.

Find Out if your Device is Unlocked on iOS 14 or iPadOS 14

There is a new feature for iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 users to check carrier lock status with ease. If you updated to the newest iOS 14, you can follow this quick way as below:

  • Open Settings > Click General and choose About > Scroll down and find Carrier Lock. If it shows NO SIM restrictions, then your device is unlocked.
Check Carrier Lock on your iPhone

Check Carrier Lock on your iPhone

Further Reading: How Long Does the iOS 14/13/12 Update Take >

Bonus Tip. A Free Way to Check iPhone Carrier and IMEI

Except for checking if the device is unlocked or not when you are buying a new or second-hand iPhone/iPad, you may want to know if the Apple ID Activation Lock is on or off and if the device hardware has been replaced when you plan to get an Apple device. iMobie provides you a free way to verify the status of a used iOS device, which is AnyUnlock – iCloud Activation Unlocker. Here are its main features you may be interested in:

  • It can easily check the status of iOS devices, and you can export the equipment inspection report with one click
  • It helps you bypass the iCloud activation lock on iOS devices within a few clicks.
  • It can also recover the Apple ID that you forgot within a few minutes.
  • Supports iOS devices that are running iOS 12.3 and above, including iPhone 5s to X, iPad 4 to 7, and iPod touch 7 to 9.

Now, you can follow the steps below to check the status of an iOS device:

Step 1: Download and install AnyUnlock on your Mac/Windows. Run it and connect the device you want to verify with the computer.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Step 2: Click iDevice Verification and head to Verify Device Now button.

Click Verify Device Now Button

Click Verify Device Now Button

Step 3: Wait for the analyzing process to finish, you will see the verification report of your iOS device as below. And you can export it to your computer.

Check the iDevice Verification Report

Check the iDevice Verification Report

The Bottom Line

Checking whether an iPhone is locked or unlocked is important in many scenarios. This usually includes when you are buying a new phone. You need to know the lock status of the device to ensure you get exactly what you are paying for. Our guide above should help you find the current lock status of your iPhone using various methods. And AnyUnlcok – iCloud Activation Unlocker can help you know that Apple ID Activation Lock is on or off, hardware has been replaced or not, and battery health, etc. You can try it for free now.

Author Avatar
Joy Taylor Twitter Share Facebook Share

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.

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