Many people switch carriers to save money and get better service. However, it is not so easy if your phone is locked. In such cases, your phone will only work on the carrier’s network. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for your contract to expire to unlock your phone, regardless of carrier.

If you want to know how to unlock an Android phone, look no further. This article explains how unlocking works and offers an alternative in case your device isn’t eligible.

How to Unlock an AT&T Android Phone

Unlocking an AT&T Android phone can be quite complicated due to the company’s many terms. However, the process is not impossible, and it certainly pays off in the end.

Here is the checklist you need to follow to unlock an AT&T Android personal phone:

  • Your device is active on the AT&T network.
  • Your device is not linked to another AT&T account.
  • Your device has been paid for in full (no installment plans).
  • If your device has an installment payment plan, there are two options. If you pay a monthly bill, you can submit the unlock request at the start of the next billing period. If you paid for your device earlier, you will have to wait 60 days to submit the unlock request.
  • There is no outstanding account balance.
  • Your device has not been reported stolen, lost, or involved in fraud.

If you have a work phone, here’s what you need to do to unlock it:

  • You must have authorization from your company.
  • The fixed-term contract/agreement must be completed.
  • If your phone was on a two-year contract and upgraded earlier, you’ll have to wait 30 days to unlock it.

If you are a military member and deployed, AT&T does not require you to complete the plan or contract to unlock your Android phone.

AT&T has an online unlock request form. If you need help, you can always contact them by calling them.

Third Party Lockout Circuit Breakers

If you are not eligible for carrier unlock, you can use an alternate method. Many people opt for an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) unlock which functions as an official carrier unlock. You will find many IMEI unlocking companies online, but it is always best to use trusted providers such as DoctorSIM and MobileUnlocked.

How to Unlock a Verizon Android Phone

Like most carriers, Verizon locks their phones. However, the good thing is that the company’s lockout policy has a relatively short time limit: 60 days. For postpaid phones, the lock is automatically removed 60 days after purchase. If you have a prepaid phone, you can unlock it 60 days after activation.

Other than the 60-day rule, you don’t have to meet any criteria to unlock your phone. Keep in mind that this unlock policy does not apply to deployed military personnel. If you received a relocation order in an area that Verizon does not cover, the company will unlock the phone at your request.

Third Party Lockout Circuit Breakers

If you don’t want to wait 60 days, you can always try one of the many third-party unlocking companies. These companies unlock your phone based on the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and provide fast and efficient service. Of course, it is important to choose the right company. We recommend trusted providers like UnlockBase or UnlockUnit.

Services from third-party lock-breaking companies usually cost less than $100.

How to Unlock a Sprint Android Phone

Sprint officially merged with T-Mobile in 2020 and changed its unlock policy. According to the company, SIM unlock-enabled devices manufactured after 2015 are automatically unlocked once they qualify. If your device was launched before 2015, you won’t be able to unlock it through Sprint.

In addition to this requirement, you will need to comply with these criteria:

  • The device must be from Sprint.
  • The SIM card must be unlockable.
  • The device cannot be reported stolen or lost.
  • The device cannot be associated with fraud.
  • There should be no arrears.
  • The device must be active for at least 40 days before submitting the request.

You can submit an unlock request online with Sprint. If your device is currently inactive, you will need to contact Sprint Customer Service.

If you are a member of the US military and deployed overseas, Sprint will relax some of the requirements and unlock your device. However, if your account is not in good standing and you have outstanding payments, Sprint will not unlock your phone.

Third Party Lockout Circuit Breakers

If you don’t meet the carrier unlock requirements, don’t worry; there are other options. Third-party unlocking companies perform unlocks based on IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and are just as effective as official carrier unlocks.

You can find many such companies online. Since most require upfront payments, it’s essential to read reviews and find a reputable company. We recommend reputable providers such as DoctorSIM or UnlockRadar.

How to Unlock a T-Mobile Android Phone

T-Mobile will unlock your phone if you meet these conditions:

  • Your device is active on the T-Mobile network.
  • Your device is not reported stolen or lost.
  • Your device is not involved in any fraud.
  • If you have a postpaid account, you must pay for the entire device before submitting the unlock request.
  • If you have a prepaid account, the device must have had at least $100 in top-ups since the activation date. Alternatively, the device must be active for a year or more.
  • If you have a service contract, you must have 18 or more consecutive monthly payments to be able to unlock the device.
  • You have not made more than two release requests in the last 12 months.
  • You may be required to submit proof of purchase.

T-Mobile has a convenient online service that lets you check your unlock status. Just go to My T-Mobile and sign in. Then choose “Check device unlock status”. Once your device meets the eligibility criteria, you may be able to unlock it from your settings, depending on the phone you’re using. If you can’t unlock it from your settings, you’ll need to contact the company’s customer support.

Deployed members can have their phones unlocked even if they don’t meet all the requirements. They must be in good standing and provide proof of deployment.

Third Party Lockout Circuit Breakers

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for carrier unlocking, you can opt for an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) unlock which can be just as effective. Many IMEI unlocking companies can be found online, and most work the same way. Once you pay the fee (usually less than $100), you will receive an unlock code via email.

Since you have to pay upfront, it’s important to make sure you’re using a reputable service. We recommend Unlock River or DoctorSIM.

How to Unlock an Android Boost Phone

Boost is owned by Dish Wireless and operates on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. If you want to unlock an Android Boost phone, you should know that the company cannot unlock phones manufactured before 2015. Unlocking a phone launched after 2015 is possible, but only under certain conditions:

  • The device must be compatible with SIM unlocking.
  • The device cannot be reported stolen or lost.
  • The device must be active for at least 12 months prior to the unlock request.
  • The account must be in good standing.

Keep in mind that Boost won’t automatically unlock your phone even if you meet all the criteria. If you want to unlock it, you will need to check the status and make a request with Boost customer service.

Active military personnel can unlock their phone with proof of deployment if their account is in good standing. Family members linked to the same account are also eligible for a device unlock. One phone number is eligible for two unlocked devices over 12 months.

Third Party Lockout Circuit Breakers

If your device was made before 2015 or doesn’t meet the criteria, you can still get it unlocked. Instead of asking your carrier to unlock it, you can hire a third-party unlocking company. These companies use your device’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) for unlocking, which works the same as official carrier unlocking.

If you want to use a third-party unlocking company, you’ll probably have to pay upfront. Costs depend on the company you choose, but are usually under $100. Before choosing a company, be sure to do your research. Unfortunately, there are many scammers online who want to trick you into paying. If you want to be on the safe side, check positive reviews or ask for recommendations.

We recommend MobileUnlocked or UnlockBase.

Free your phone

Being tied to one carrier can be frustrating. Fortunately, most carriers today are somewhat flexible and will unlock your phone under certain conditions. If your device is not eligible for official carrier unlock, you can always use a third-party unlock company. Although paying, you will benefit from a fast and efficient service.

We hope this article explains how the unlocking process works and what criteria you need to meet.

Do you prefer locked or unlocked phones, and why? Why would you change operator? Tell us in the comments section below.