Unlock your phone
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How to unlock your phone
What does it mean to have a locked phone and why do AT&T, TMobile, and other carriers do it?
Newly purchased phones are "locked" to a specific carrier (meaning they will only work with that carrier's network) to prevent theft and other potentially fraudulent activity. Most carriers use this practice, but a device can be unlocked so you can take your current device to another carrier when you switch.
Can all phones be unlocked?
Yes, AT&T phones (and phones from other carriers like T-Mobile) can be unlocked and, in turn, will work on the Verizon network.
To unlock your AT&T phone, there are some requirements you should be aware of. Your device must be:
- Paid off.
- Not associated with another active AT&T account.
- Not reported as lost, stolen, or involved with fraud.
You also have to be sure to not have a past-due account balance with AT&T in order to fully unlock your device.
Once you meet these requirements, you can submit a "Device Unlock" request via AT&T's website, or one of our retail representatives can assist you if you’re visiting us in-store.
For a phone locked to T-Mobile's network, first make sure your phone is eligible for unlocking, then follow these steps:
- Make sure you are connected to your wireless network or Wi-Fi
- For Android phones, you can typically find a "device unlock" or "network unlock" option in Settings
- For Apple phones, simply contact T-Mobile and request that they unlock the device
For other devices not listed above, you should call your mobile provider for guidance.
Switching to a new carrier
Can I use my AT&T or TMobile phone with any carrier? And would I be able to transfer my current phone number when switching to a new carrier?
Typically, yes. Phones can usually be unlocked, regardless of which carrier you bought them from including AT&T and T-Mobile. As long as they're compatible with your new desired carrier's network, they can be used with that specific carrier. Same goes for using your existing phone number and porting it over to another carrier. Check to see if your phone and/or phone number is compatible with Verizon.
What information will I need to provide when bringing my number to Verizon?
To start the process of bringing your number, we need to know:
- The current active number that you want to bring to Verizon.
- The account number of your old service provider as it appears on your bill.
Note: If you’re starting the number transfer process in person, bring your most recent bill.
- A security code. Depending on your carrier, this may be a Number Transfer PIN, security PIN, account PIN or password. It's specific to the line/number, it's not the log-in code for your account.
- Another number where we can reach you during the transfer process (other than the number you’re bringing to Verizon).
Need more time to gather this information? Choose "transfer later." We'll text you a link you can use when you're ready.
Is it free to unlock my phone?
Submitting an unlock request through your carrier should be free, yes – however, if you have outstanding charges on your account, you may be required to pay your account's outstanding balance before you can successfully unlock your device.
What does it cost to bring my number to Verizon?
We don't charge a fee for a number transfer. Depending on your old carrier's terms, you may be responsible for an Early Termination Fee (ETF) or other accrued charges. These might include any remaining balance for device payments, if you have them.
Can I check if my phone is unlocked with the IMEI number? (Does a clean IMEI number mean my mobile phone is unlocked?)
Your phone's IMEI number, or "International Mobile Equipment Identity", is like your phone's fingerprint– it's unique to your device and is used for tracking purposes so carriers can know if a phone has been lost, stolen, and so on.
The IMEI number can be found in different places depending on the device:
For iOS Apple, Android, Windows or basic phone devices, follow these simple steps to find your unique IMEI number.
For a Google Pixel, dial *#06# on your phone’s keyboard to get the IMEI number.
For phones with a removable battery, some IMEI numbers are listed on a sticker under the battery on the back of the phone.
If your IMEI number comes back clean (i.e., not "blocked" or "blacklisted"), it should mean your phone is unlocked and ready to be moved to another carrier.
Why can't I unlock my phone?
If your device's IMEI number comes back as "blocked" or "blacklisted", your options become more limited. Blacklisted IMEI numbers are shared between carriers and cannot be easily unblocked. When a phone is locked to a particular network, the IMEI number won't work until the carrier removes the lock (which, in this case, would prompt you to go through the AT&T or T-Mobile unlock request process). Essentially, your only remedy is to contact the previous carrier and ask them to unlock the device. Often we can help you with this process if you visit one of our stores.
Can I trade in my unlocked AT&T or T-Mobile phone for a new phone?
Yes, you can. When bringing your device over from AT&T you can choose to trade it in for a new device, and (in most cases) receive credit on your account which you can put toward a brand new device. There also may be trade-in deals you're eligible for, so be sure to explore our smartphone deals when you switch.
Can I bring my unlocked AT&T or T-Mobile phone to Verizon?
Yes! As long as your device is compatible with the Verizon network, you can bring it over when you switch. At Verizon, we call the process of bringing your own device "BYOD", and we make it easy to bring your old smartphone to the Verizon network. You can even keep your same phone number in most cases, and may be eligible for certain deals and promotions when switching from another carrier.
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