Fact Not Fiction – Unlocking the iPhone 5

Two of the most common questions asked these days are what, exactly is the iPhone 5 unlock and how do I do it?   Over the course of your research, you will see a lot of stuff about iPhone unlocking but you have to sort out the wheat from the chaff as it were.

One example is this – you need to jailbreak to unlock iPhone 5.  That is fiction. Neither jailbreaking nor unlocking are related to each other and neither needs to be done to perform the other.  You will hear people tell you that, if you unlock iPhone 5C, Apple will void your warranty – this is true of jailbreaking but not of unlocking.

Finally, you will read loads of articles that tell you about all the wonderful apps you are missing out on if you do not unlock iPhone 5S – yep, you have guessed it – that’s jailbreaking again.  It is actually quite unbelievable the number of people who get jailbreaking and unlocking mixed up still – treat them as two completely separate procedures and you will not go far wrong.

Now though, it’s time to take a look at the real facts about the iPhone 5/5S/5C unlock.

How do I Unlock iPhone 5?

The iPhone 5 unlock is the only way to release your Phone from the restrictions set by your carrier.  There are 3 methods that you will hear about – hardware, software and factory.  The first 2 should be avoided at all costs – hardware unlocking does work but it is costly, time-consuming and can damage your iPhone, in which case, yes, Apple will void your warranty.

Software unlocks are scams, nothing more than a way of getting your credit card details. If, by some small chance, you do get a working iPhone 5C unlock out of it, you will lose it the minute you update your iOS firmware.

The only safe and permanent method to unlocking the iPhone is a factory unlock, more often known as the IMEI unlock. Your IMEI number, unique to your iPhone, is placed on a whitelist of permanently unlocked iPhones, meaning it can never be reversed.

How do I know if my iPhone 5 can be unlocked?

There are very few circumstances when an iPhone cannot be unlocked – it isn’t always an easy job though, hence the difference in prices you will see when you research the iPhone 5S unlock.

If your iPhone is blacklisted for one reason or another it may cost more to unlock and the cost will also depend on the carrier you are currently locked to. The best thing to do is choose a reputable iPhone 5 unlock service and ask them before you goahead and pay.

I bought a second hand iPhone 5 – How do I know if it is unlocked?

There is an easy way to find out and that is to pop a SIM card in from a carrier other than your own. If it works, the iPhone is unlocked – if it doesn’t work, it isn’t unlocked.  If you can’t lay your hands on another SIM card there is another way.

You will need your IMEI number for this and, once you have it, you can run a check on the internet. Most IMEI checks are free and will give you basic information about the iPhone, including if it is still locked and who to. If you need any further information, you will need to pay a couple of dollars to get it.

To find your IMEI number there are a number of ways. However, only 3 of them will give you the correct information. Some say to look on the back of the box the iPhone 5 came in or on the SIM tray but these are things that can easily be swapped out. The best ways to find your IMEI number are:

  • On your iPhone screen dial *#06# – your IMEI number will appear on the screen – write it down
  • Using iTunes – plug your iPhone 5 into your PC and open iTunes. Bring up the device summary screen and click on your phone number in information – the IMEI number will be revealed – write it down
  • On your iPhone, open Settings, tap on General, tap on About and scroll down the screen – your IMEI number can be found near the bottom.

If you do decide to unlock iPhone 5 make sure you only use a trustworthy and reputable source for your unlock service. There are plenty of fakes about who will do nothing but take your cash. And remember, IMEI or factory unlock only – it’s the only safe and permanent way.