Two years ago, for the first time ever, Apple made the decision to sell officially unlocked iPhone directly to the public without the need to sign any form of contract. A factory unlocked iPhone such as this can be used on any network, anywhere in the world. The only drawback in purchasing an officially unlocked iPhone is the price – often multiple times more expensive than the carrier locked alternative. If you look at the difference between a factory unlocked iPhone compared to a locked version, the unlocked handset can be used on any network, anywhere around the globe, but cost five times the price.
So what if you want use your iPhone with a different carrier, perhaps one that costs less to use or gets better reception in your area? Fortunately there are options available to enable the unlocking of a carrier locked iPhone.
There used to be two different methods available to unlock an iPhone. The old method, referred to as software unlocking, and the newer, more robust method, known as official iPhone unlocking. Not surprisingly the software hacking unlock method was only a temporary method which required reapplying every time the phone was rebooted.
A few years ago there was software available that could trick the iPhones iOS into thinking it was unlocked. It had to be installed into the root directory of the phone’s operating system, which meant jailbreaking the device before unlocking. The primary problem with this software was, rather obviously, it was not approved by Apple. The only way this could be achieved was to first jailbreak the iPhone. The purpose of an iPhone jailbreak is to enable software that Apple doesn’t want you to use to be installed on your phone. It’s kind of a way of hacking into the phone. It is a pretty dangerous activity that not only enables the installation of software, but also offers hackers the ability to access your phone without you knowing. Back in 2011 Apple were successful in patching their iOS so that the software unlock would no longer work on an iPhone.
The better alternative to the software unlock, is the iPhone factory unlock. This method of unlocking is not only stable, it doesn’t even void the manufacturer’s warranty. The great advantage factory unlocking has over the software unlock is that it’s permanent, meaning once unlocked, your iPhone will remain unlocked, even after updating to the current (or any future operating system updates). It has been a relatively new independent development in iPhone unlocking, but until recently it was only possible to have your service provider factory unlock your iPhone. It also wasn’t a given that they would comply with your request as they are under no legal obligation to do so.
Just recently a few independent organizations have started to offer IMEI unlocks with virtually no conditions in place for them to be successful. If your iPhone is locked to a network that these independent unlocker supports (and they support pretty much all of the main carriers) they will be able to unlock your handset.