I had to help with this the other day and I thought I would share. Apparently if your are going abroad to places like Europe it is cheaper to buy a SIMM card and use it in your unlocked phone then to purchase an overseas phone and data package from your North American carrier.
In this case I had to unlock two Rogers iPhones. It is a fairly straight forward process but a bit lengthy. I will share the process and you can decide if it is something you want to do.
Step #1 – Backup your iPhone
Plug your iPhone into your computer (This assumes you already have iTunes installed and use it at least every once and awhile). iTunes may ask you to update itself which you might as well do since you will need to do eventually. Now if you have the phone set to automatically sync, it should backup during the sync. If you are not sure, click the iPhone button at the top right of your main iTunes screen. You will then see this screen:
The latest backup will show on this screen. You can manually backup by clicking the “Backup Now” Button. I will let you decide where the backup should be stored (On your computer or iCloud) and whether or not to encrypt the backup.
Step #2 – Call Your Carrier and Have the Phone Unlocked
Once you have the phone backed up, call your carrier and tell them you want the phone unlocked. They will go through the process of verifying your identity. They will ask you what your iPhone number is and your IMEI. It is a 15 digit code and you can get it by going to Settings / General / About on your phone. They need to send this info to the Apple server for unlocking. Now the fun begins……
Step #3 – Restore your iPhone
Now you have to restore your iPhone to default settings. With your iPhone still plugged in to iTunes, Click “Restore iPhone” and it will ask you if you are sure since it will be wiping everything from the phone. You have already backed the phone up so you have nothing to worry about, right? It will take some time to restore the phone and if the iPhone is due for an iOS update it won’t wipe the phone until the update has been done. Depending on how busy the Apple server is and the speed of your internet connection, this process can take anywhere form 20 minutes to several hours, so get comfortable…..
Step #4 – Restore from Backup
Once you have restored your iPhone to default settings, iTunes will notify you that this has been done and that the phone is unlocked, hooray! We are almost there. Since the iPhone is reset, iTunes will ask you if you want to set up the iPhone as new (don’t do this) or restore from Back up. Choose the most recent backup from the dropdown list and then click restore. It will take a bit (iTunes will tell you how long it will take). It really depends on how large your backup was. When it is done, voila, you have an unlocked iPhone with all your apps, pictures and media put back on it. Now you can go abroad and use whatever carrier you want at a better price then a roaming package from your home carrier.
Note: While you are away, you might want to store your home carriers SIMM card in a safe place. Also, you might want to bring your SIMM card tool while you are at it as well!
As always I am here to help so reach out to me!