Mobile phone unlock codes
By S21, last updated 5 Feb 2016
Many mobile phones are sold "locked" to a specific network or networks. Most often it is Pay As You Go phones that are locked, but sometimes Pay Monthly mobiles are locked too. It is possible to obtain unlock codes for mobile phones so that they can be used with a sim card from another network. The phone networks will do this for you (at a price!), but you can do it cheaper online using an phone unlocking service, or you can buy a special unlocking clip or unlocking software. Once your phone has been unlocked, you can then use it with any network, provided that you have a valid SIM card.
The easiest way to unlock your phone is by obtaining an unlock code that you can then enter into your mobile yourself. There are a number of companies offering unlock codes for mobile phones on the web, and they are quite a lot cheaper than going to your dealer or network, provided that you have a compatible phone.
The way it works is like this: you need to find out the 15-digit IMEI number on your mobile (type *#06# into your phone to do this. NOTE - CODES ENTERED AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGE TO PHONES.) You then supply this number to the unlocking company, and they will send you a code that you can enter into your phone to unlock it.
Mobile Unlocked is a reputable company that can unlock most makes of phone and email you an unlock code. The procedure is simple. First select your phone from the list of compatible handsets. Then enter details such as your name, country, email and IMEI number (see above for how to find this.) Click the button and make the payment. You will then receive your unlock code or a link to a software download by email. The email will contain full instructions for how to unlock your phone. Once complete, your phone will be unlocked and you'll be able to use it on any network.
Unlock code FAQs and common problems
How to find out if my phone is locked
If you insert a new SIM card into your phone and it is locked, two things may happen.
Firstly, you may get a message like "SIM Network Unlock PIN". This is the phone requesting an unlock code.
Secondly, you may not get a message, but the phone will be unable to make a phone call. In this case, check that your SIM card has been activated and that you have good network reception.
How to find out if my phone is blocked
It is possible that your phone may have been reported stolen and has been blocked and won't work with any network - you should report the phone to the police in this case. Blocking is not the same as locking! To find out if your phone has been blocked, you can use a service such as Check Mend.
My unlock code doesn't work
Sometimes, it may not be possible to unlock your phone. This may be because somebody has tried to unlock your phone before, and has failed. Some manufacturers limit the number of attempts that you can try to unlock the phone. BlackBerry phones have a fixed number of tries, and if you use these up, the phone cannot be unlocked. You may get an error message like "unlock code zero attempts left".
Nokia phones also often have a fixed number of attempts you can make to unlock them - usually between 3 and 5. If you keep entering invalid codes, then it will become impossible to unlock the phone. Some Xperia phones from Sony or Sony Ericsson also have limits on unlocking.
Be aware that rooting your phone (i.e. over-writing the original operating system) can also cause unlocking problems. The solution in this case is to re-install the original OS, and then re-try to unlock it. If desired, you can then root the phone again.
What is an IMEI number?
IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity.
Other options - Data cables & software
If your phone is not compatible with a remote unlocking service, it may be possible to calculate a code using a data cable and some special software. You can buy a data cable and unlock software online.
Unlock clips, cables & software
You can also buy unlock clips that generate unclock codes for mobile phones via a connecting cable. The software in the clip will automatically unlock your phone. The benefit of using an unlocking clip is that you can use it to unlock as many phones as you like!
Got a question? This is the place to ask it!
Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!
Comment by Sam
on 5th Feb 2016
How can I find out if my phone is locked?
Reply by S21
on 5th Feb 2016
Hi Sam, we have recently updated our FAQs section above. Please see "How to find out if my phone is locked".
Comment by gvds
on 22nd Jul 2015
i need unlock my phone huawei y520
Comment by chrisford
on 14th Nov 2014
Need help unlocking my lg135g
Comment by GUNSHOT
on 25th Jul 2014
NEED A SOFT WAR FOR IPHONE. FOR NETWORK UNLOCKING. ANY ONE CAN HELP.
Comment by Gorecia
on 18th Jun 2014
I have an apple I 4s and its unlocked for UK purposes. Itook it with me to Zambia and could not use it and intend to go back. Can I have it unlocked so that it can be used in Zambia with local Airtel chip?
Comment by tim board
on 5th Feb 2014
dear dir or madem,
I would have thought you may have showed what software we need to find, so we can buy it. l am looking for LGEtools so i can use it to open a old mobile. I would greatly like to see all the software types so I may choose the correct software for my needs. I am not a shop just a 16 year old boy who wants to help my out of work mates, have better phones.
Reply by S21
on 5th Feb 2014
Hi Tim, Sorry we didn't answer your needs. We aren't a software supplier, and the details change often, so we can't really cover everything in a general article.
Comment by joseph from philippines on 13th Jun
my galaxy is have a unlock pattern and i forgot it ? and also i forgot my google account in my galaxy ? how can i fix it ?
Comment by marie from wallasey on 10th Jun 2012
iv got blackberry bold 9900 and am currently on T-mobile it is unlocked to any network apart from o2 and want to go onto o2 how would i go about it please help
Reply by Prasanna
on 1st Mar 2014
Hai Marie, In order to unlock your blackberry 9900 mobile you can use code.If you want unlock code you can get it from www.unbblock.com/blackberry-bold-9900/rs18wp9/. Once you unlock your phone you can use any gsm network. Here they will help you to unlock your mobile.
Comment by Michael from UK on 7th Jun 2012
If I buy a smartphone secondhand that previously been used PAYG on 02-UK 3G how do I find out if it's locked, or unlocked?
Reply by Gilly
on 2nd Sep 2014
All I do is try another sim card from another network. If it's locked it won't work
Comment by CHRISTOPHE from FRANCE on 2nd Feb 2012
I HAVE A SONY ERICSSON XPERIA MINI E10I AND I NEED TO GET IT UNLOCKED.
THE IMEI NUMBER IS 012312000908215. IT IS LOCKED TO ORANGE.
CAN YOU ADVISE. THANKS KIND REGARDS.
Reply by Alsi V from England on 20th
Try finding the NCK number/code, and then look online how to go to the special menu needed to enter it. NCK number usually given by SP (in your case Orange.)
Reply by Cornelius from UK on 22nd
Stop being useless and either get a new phone or sort it out yourself!
Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on
22nd Feb 2012
Actually, we are getting tons of "my phone is locked" comments that we are not putting up. This isn't really what this page is for.
Comment by paul holland from united kingdom on
2nd Feb 2012
I have a sony erissson w580i and i need to get it unblocked .
The imei number is 353448020176537. It is locked to orange.
The phone does not allow me to key in any numbers so it probably needs to be unlocked by cable.
can you advise. thanks kind regards. Paul.