how to unlock a phone

Jun 2, 2021

Are you wondering what it means to unlock a phone? Or how to do it? Maybe you’ve just come to the end of your phone contract and you’re ready to switch to a SIM-only plan but aren’t sure whether your phone is locked? Read on to find out if your phone’s locked and if it is, how you can unlock it.

what does it mean if a phone is locked?

Your phone is locked if it can only be used with a SIM from the mobile network you bought it from.

is my phone locked?

If you’ve just bought your Honest Mobile SIM, put it into your phone for the first time and then been asked for the ‘SIM Network Unlock PIN’ then it’s likely locked to a mobile network.

why would I unlock a phone?

If your phone is locked and you want to switch to a new mobile network so you can take advantage of better value SIM-only deals like Honest Mobile’s then you’ll need to unlock your phone before you switch.

how to unlock a phone

The best way to unlock your phone is to call the network provider the phone is locked to and ask them to unlock it. It’s a good idea to check on their site before you do to see the charges. The provider will likely ask for your IMEI number.

You can also unlock a phone for free yourself but it’s pretty tricky and requires some technical expertise. Read how here.

You can also go to an independent phone shop where they’ll charge about £20.

how do I find out what my IMEI number is?

for an iPhone:

  1. Go to settings > General > About
  2. Scroll down to see IMEI

for an android:

  1. Go to settings
  2. Tap about phone or device
  3. Scroll to IMEI

how to unlock an EE phone

Most devices sold by EE are locked. You can unlock your device after a certain amount of time, depending on your plan and handset. For an EE pay monthly phone it will cost £8.99 to unlock it if you’re in contract, if you’re not in contract it will be free.

You can unlock your device by:

  1. Logging in to your My EE account
  2. Selecting Unlock your phone and then following the instructions
  3. Follow the instructions in the email you receive (if you have a non-Apple device you’ll also get an unlock code)

how to unlock an O2 phone

You can ask to unlock an O2 device at any time, for free. The easiest way to unlock your O2 device is:

  1. Log in to My O2
  2. Click ‘More’ in the menu bar at the top of the page
  3. Choose ‘Unlock your device’


how to unlock a Vodafone phone

If you want to unlock a device that’s locked to Vodafone’s network, you’ll need a Network Unlock Code (NUC). If you have one, you can unlock your phone here. If not, you can request one clicking the button on this page.

how to unlock a Three phone

Three haven’t locked their devices since 2014 but if you think your device might be locked to Three’s network then fill in this form.

how to unlock a Virgin phone

All Virgin phones are unlocked.


At Honest Mobile we’re a SIM-only mobile network so your phone will never be locked to us. If you are unsure about whether your phone is locked to another network then just chat to our customer support team who will be happy to guide you through the process. We respond in under 30 seconds on average. You can chat to us on our website or via our app.