Hey! Hope you are doing good!
I have been researching and trying out different ways to unlock the iphone 4/4s for a while now. I wanted to share some of my experiences, so if you are looking to switch to a new carrier without having to deal with contracts, you’ve come to the right place.
What I found when I was researching and doing unlocks was that there are a ton of scams out there. It’s amazing what people put out there to make a buck or two. That’s what prompted me to write this article. I want to save as much frustration as I can for as many people as I can. An unlock should be quick and easy and you shouldn’t have to break the bank for it.
So here is what I found:
Software Unlocks do not and have never existed for the iPhone 4/4s. They are a scam and you should avoid them like the plague! I tried purchasing software unlocks a couple of times, and both times I got the same result. Nothing! Plus, the sites I used had my credit card information and wouldn’t refund my money. I had to go through the trouble of cancelling my cards and ordering new ones so that they wouldn’t have my information for future use. Software unlocks- just don’t do it!
These are basically alternative SIM trays, that supposedly make your iPhone work with ANY sim card.
I ordered several of these. They actually did work, but they come with pretty harsh consequences. First of all, shipping takes forever. I waited about 3 weeks, give or take a couple of days. So if you are looking to get your phone unlocked quickly, this isn’t the way to go. But that isn’t even the worst of it. Most of the SIM trays are actually larger than your phone’s original SIM tray, so there is a huge chance that you will damage your phone when your replace the SIM card. The new SIM has a tendency to get stuck as well because of the larger size.This will void your warranty, so don’t expect any help from Apple. Unless you are willing to take the risk, don’t do the hardware unlock.
Network Unlocks- a.k.a. IMEI Unlocks
This is the way to go when you want to unlock your phone. There is a global database of iPhone identification numbers (called IMEIs) that can be accessed. Then your phones number can be added to Apple’s whitelist (which is a list of numbers allowed on any network). When the process is complete, you will get a confirmation email. Then just connect to iTunes and you will see:
Your iPhone is officially unlocked! And, with no risk of damage or voiding your warranty! Plus, because it is on Apple’s whitelist, the unlock is permanent.
I used several IMEI companies for a few iPhones and for some friends… I had some good and bad experiences. I have listed the best of them below, beginning with my top choice.
Top IMEI network unlocks
This is the company I use and recommend to all of my friends. I have yet to find anything faster or cheaper.
Customer service is phenomenal. I signed up on a Saturday and expected them to start working on my unlock on Monday – but just a couple hours later I had my email in the inbox… And after connecting to iTunes – an unlocked iPhone, free to use on any network I pleased! It was so simple and painless.
For unlocks, these are the go to guys to go to. Check them out here: Official iPhone Unlock
#2 iUnlock Pro (7 out of 10) (UPDATE: iUnlockPro.com site has been down for months. Link now point to Official iPhone Unlock)
I have to be honest with this one. These guys really aren’t all that. Customer service was sub par. My experience with these guys is that they take several days to get back to you. Not to mention they are very limited on what payment processors they can accept, and their website is very poorly designed and difficult to navigate.
Despite all of these things, they are the only decent unlock company I have found aside from Official iPhone Unlock. Some of the others don’t work, or I am still waiting after weeks to hear back from them. So I include these guys as an option because at least I know you will get the unlock you paid for. That’s more than I can say for a lot of the companies I have found out there.
Update: As of about an hour ago their website was down. I will keep checking and keep you posted.
#3 IMEI Codes
Really it’s the same story with these guys. If you have the patience and the time, you will get your unlock. Customer service and navigation of the website are a bit worse than Official unlock’s site, but as a last resort these guys will do.
To sum it up
OK so the basic rundown is this:
1. Software unlocks for iPhone 4/4s are a scam. Period. Avoid them.
2. Hardware unlocks do work. But they are risky and cause damage to your phone and will void your warranty. Plus you have to wait weeks to get your SIM tray.
3. IMEI unlocks are quick, inexpensive and safe. This is the absolute best option for unlocking your iPhone. If you go to a good site, like Official iPhone Unlock, it can be done within hours.
So there you have it. If you want to be done with being tied down to one carrier, and you want to go with the safest option, go with an IMEI unlock.