What Does Unlocked Phone Mean

Unlocked phones are pretty common in developing countries. However, in most developed countries like US and UK, carriers often sell locked phones which brings them long-term revenue. This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t unlock them.

Today, we will help you understand what exactly unlocked phones are; there are advantages and disadvantages. We will answer various associated questions with unlocked phones.

What Does Unlocked Phone Mean

An unlocked phone is not associated with a particular carrier or a contract. You can choose any plan. Additionally, no compulsory carrier apps or bloatware are installed on your phone, since a carrier doesn’t bind you.

How Does Unlocked Phone Work

An unlocked phone doesn’t have a software lock. Also, even if it initially had a software lock, after procuring the code to unlock the phone through a program or a carrier, it is now free to use with any Sim or carrier.

Now that you know what an unlocked phone is and how it works, it is time to look at the advantages of the same.

1) Unlock Phone Advantages

It is time to look at the advantages of an unlocked phone.

A) Numerous choices

The primary advantage of an unlocked phone is that it provides you with numerous choices. For example, you can choose between many carrier options. Apart from that, you can buy an unlocked phone from any store or even online.

It is not necessary to buy the phone from the carrier. That is why you can procure the phone from that source if you’re getting a better deal somewhere.

The freedom such a phone provides you is the main reason you should go for it.

B) Ability to use two sims

In case your phone has dual Sim functionality, after unlocking that, you can use both the Sims as well. You can insert Sims of two different carriers. Consequently, it becomes easier to have carrier redundancy as well.

Even if a locked phone has a dual Sim functionality, you can have both the Sims from the same carrier. Because of the same, dual sim won’t benefit you here if you are in an area with poor reception.

After unlocking, you can easily use two Sims of different carriers, which makes it easy to always have a reception in at least one of them.

C) Easy to sell

It is very difficult to find buyers when you’re trying to sell a locked phone. That is because they have to deal with the limitations of your phone.

After unlocking the phone, it is easy to sell the device. The new buyer can insert their sim and use the same number. There is no associated contract. That is why, if you plan to sell the phone in the future, it is best to either unlock a locked one or get an unlocked phone in the first place.

D) Can switch providers

An unlocked phone doesn’t have any limitations when it comes to the carrier. You can switch the carrier to the one which you prefer. That means you can get better plans from new carriers as well. Consequently, you can save significant money when you have an unlocked phone.

E) Changing sim when traveling

When you’re traveling overseas, you can switch the sim to the native carriers of that country when you have an unlocked phone. On the other hand, if you continue with the locked phone, you will have to pay the roaming charges of your existing carrier.

Thus, if you travel a lot, it is better to use an unlocked phone.

F) Saves you money

An unlocked phone helps you in saving money in multiple ways. These include:

  • Better plans: You will save money every month by switching to better and more affordable plans.
  • Better resale value: Unlocked phones certainly have better resale value.

In these two ways, it is easy to save money by unlocking your existing phone or going with an unlocked phone.

2) Unlocked Phone Disadvantage

There is, however, a disadvantage of an unlocked phone which you need to look out for.

A) No carrier support

In case you have unlocked your phone, after that, if you face any network issues, the carrier support department will not be able to help you much.


Thus, instead of restricting yourself by buying a locked phone, it is a much better idea to go with an unlocked one. Should you have any questions regarding the same, you can refer to our guide above, and get all the information you need regarding an unlocked phone.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

We will now answer questions associated with an unlocked phone so you can know more about the same.

Can you put any SIM cards into an unlocked phone?

Yes, you can put any carrier’s Sim card into an unlocked phone. If it is a 4G phone, you can even put CDMA Sims in the phone since most 4G phones work with GSM and CDMA Sim cards. That way, once you have an unlocked phone, you have complete carrier freedom.

Is buying an unlocked phone a good idea?

Buying an unlocked phone is certainly a good idea because you can save a lot of money and go with the plans and carrier you want. The additional advantages of going with an unlocked phone include the following:

  • You won’t have to pay for the smartphone every month. That is why; the overall cost of the phone reduces.
  • If, in the future, another carrier provides you with a more affordable plan, you can switch over to that and save a large amount of money in the process.
  • Selling the unlocked phone is easier. Therefore, if in the future you want to upgrade your device, you can sell the unlocked phone quickly and switch over to a new one.

Can I unlock my phone myself?

Yes, technically, you can unlock your phone yourself if it is eligible for unlocking through the carrier. The carrier will provide you with unlock code and the steps you need to follow.

If your phone isn’t eligible for unlocking, you can unlock it using software, but the procedure is much more complicated. It is best to contact the professionals to unlock the phone.

What does unlocked iPhone mean?

An unlocked iPhone provides you the freedom to use the iPhone with any carrier.

Do I need a SIM card for an unlocked phone?

Yes, an unlocked phone still requires a Sim card. The advantage, however, is that the Sim card can be from any carrier since there is no restriction on your phone after unlocking it.

Can you unlock the phone for free?

Yes, you can unlock your phone for free if it is eligible for unlocking through the carrier. In that case, the carrier can provide you with an unlock code which you can enter into your phone to unlock for completely free.

Is it illegal to unlock phones?

According to a recent amendment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, phone unlocking is no longer exempt. It means that unless and until your carrier allows you to unlock the phone, it is legal to do so. You either need to get the unlock code from the carrier or complete the entire contract duration before unlocking your phone.

Are unlocked phones safe?

Yes, unlocked phones are perfectly safe. If you buy an unlocked phone in the first place, it won’t have any carrier bloatware. That is why you won’t have to deal with unnecessary ads or data tracking. Not only that, it is easier and faster to update unlocked phones as well. Since you can update your phone faster, it will also become secure with each progressive update.

Do unlocked phones get worse reception?

Usually, unlocked phones do not get bad reception. The problem, however, is that if you get bad reception consistently due to external factors, the carrier might not be able to provide you with proper customer support since your phone is now unlocked. This only happens when you have unlocked your phone from external sources without the carrier’s permission.

If you have an unlocked phone with your carrier’s permission, the carrier can provide appropriate support in case of bad reception.

How much do it cost to unlock a phone?

The cost of unlocking your phone varies depending on the phone’s manufacturer and the carrier. For example, the average cost of unlocking an Apple phone is around $90, assuming the carrier is AT&T or T-Mobile.

The same falls to between 10 and 20 dollars if you have an android phone with similar carriers. It is the cost of unlocking the phone through a third-party service.

If you have your carrier’s permission for unlocking, they will provide you with a code at no cost, and you can insert it into your smartphone to unlock it.

Does an unlocked phone mean it is used?

Brand-new unlocked phones are available through various retailers as well. That is why; if you are buying such a phone, it doesn’t mean it is a used phone.

Are unlocked phones cheaper?

While up front, the cost of an unlocked phone might be higher because you have to pay the entire cost, but in the longer run, an unlocked phone is usually cheaper. That is because you will not have to worry about paying any extra interest on the cost of the phone. Also, since you can switch over to more affordable plans when you have an unlocked phone, it becomes easy to save money in the long run.

Can you keep your number with an unlocked phone?

You can certainly keep your old phone number with an unlocked phone. If you want to switch the carrier, you can also transfer your number.