I regularly hear from customers that they have a phone that needs to be unlocked or unblocked and I just keep thinking – How to check Am I Locked or What?
This short post will try and explain the differences between each type of lock or block that customers can experience and this in turn might help them seek the solution to their problem.
- Network Lock
- Network Barred
- SIM Locked
- PUK Locked
- Passcode Locked
- iCloud Locked
This is genuinely what most people are referring to when they want to get a phone unlocked. Since all of the networks subsidise the cost of the handsets they provide they will choose to lock them to their particular network. This means that they only SIM card that can be used in the phone is a SIM that comes from the same network. It is possible to have a phone unlocked and in general a network will be happy to unlock a handset once it is out of commitment or certain criteria are met. This would be termed as a factory unlock as the handset would be unlocked using the correct code – straight from the manufacturer. In the case of iPhones the network would send a request to have the lock removed via the Apple Servers so the lock can be removed by the customer through iTunes.
A lot of customers mix this up with a Network Lock – In the case of a Network Barred it would follow that the network has barred the device (by IMEI) off their network for one of a few different reasons:
- Bill not Paid
- Phone has been reported as stolen
- Device replaced under an insurance claim
This type of lock is also referred to as BLACK LISTED.
Only the networks can remove the phones IMEI from the black list. Nowadays all the network share their black lists -therefore once it it blacklisted on one network it wouldn’t be too long before it would be blacklisted on all networks. It is import to be aware of this type of lock when buying a handset from someone – check that the phone registers on the network before parting with any money – but beware sometimes it can take up to an hour for the phone to be picked up and kicked off the network.
This one is easy enough – it the PIN CODE to your SIM card that you need. If you have never changed the PIN CODE then it is on the card that you got with the SIM in the first place. If you forget this code your network provider should be able to help you to retrieve it.
Put the PIN CODE in wrong over three times and your SIM becomes PUK LOCKED – as with the SIM PIN your network provider are the only people that can help you with this issue. They can easily give you the code after completing a few simple security questions.
This can happen where someone inadvertently puts a passcode on their phone then forgets what the passcode is!
Pass codes can be removed from a phone but it also means that all the data on the phone will be removed also. Pass codes are used to protect a customers data to it makes sense.
This is a lock specific to Apple iPhones. For both security and backup reasons iPhones lock to the iCloud account of the person that sets this feature up. If the phone is reset or sold on the iCloud account would need to be removed so that the new owner can set the phone up.
iCloud accounts cannot be removed from an iPhone!
More recently other operating systems are using a similar type of security feature where the device is being locked to google accounts etc.
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