How To Unlock Your iPhone For Travel
There are many preparations that you need to make when planning for a trip. If you happen to be traveling to another country an important and overlooked preparation is making sure that your phone is able to work with a foreign cellular service carrier. For vacations of only a few days, buying a cheap disposable phone or only using your current phone with wifi is a simple option, but if you are traveling for a while or if you need reliable internet, like us, then knowing how to unlock your iPhone is a necessity.
You can always purchase an upgrade to your current cellphone plan to allow for a minimal amount of minutes and data usage overseas, but these upgrades can be expensive and the price of less than 1 GB of data can run well over $100 USD. These plans sometimes don’t even work in certain areas of other countries.
When we first arrived in Thailand in 2014 with global plans for our iPhones, we found that we could not connect to any of the local networks. The best way to ensure that you will have call and data service in a foreign country is to unlock your phone before a trip and purchase a local SIM card upon arrival to use in your phone. Local SIM cards in most countries are easy to find at most airports, convenience stores, gas stations, and electronics stores.
As of August 2014 the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act has been signed into effect in the USA making the process of unlocking your phone completely legal and a whole lot easier.
If you currently have a Verizon iPhone 5, 5s, or 6 then your phone is already unlocked and can be used with the majority of GSM carriers worldwide. Thats right, Verizon iPhones are ready for world travel. Just use a paper clip to pop out your current SIM card and put in the new one, or go to any cell phone store in your destination country and they will replace it for you.
You can request an unlock directly from AT&T if you have fulfilled your contract. However, I tried this route with my iPhone 5 and AT&T denied my unlock request with little explanation. If you are still making payments on your contract or if the request did not work, then for a fee, a third party service can unlock your AT&T iPhone.
Be careful when purchasing third party unlocking services from certain websites, for a lot of the services out there seem to be scams. Check their reviews and use your best judgement.
For T-mobile you can request an unlock over the phone at 1-877-746-0909 if your account is in good standing. If that does not work then you can use a third party unlocking service for a fee of $99 – $150.
For Sprint customers, the only option available right now is to use a third party unlocking service with a fee of around $150.
When I decided to unlock my iPhone in July of 2014, I researched many 3rd party unlocking services over the course of a week and I found the most recommended and reliable service to be keys2iphone.com. This service offered a 100% satisfaction guarantee and PayPal secure payment. After a fee of $99 and a five day wait period, my AT&T iPhone 5 was unlocked and ready for international use.
I hope this information helps you on your future travels! If you have anything to add or would like to share your experience then feel free to comment below or send me an email at [email protected]