iPhones come in two flavours, locked and unlocked, and it’s important to be able to check which sort you’ve got. An unlocked phone can be used on any network, while a locked phone can only be used on the one it’s locked to.
How to check if an iPhone is unlocked in Settings
The simplest method of checking if an iPhone is locked or unlocked, and the one we’ll use first, involves a quick look in the Settings app.
You’ll need to be able to power up the iPhone and access the cellular settings (you may need to enter the passcode). Follow these steps to check in iOS if an iPhone is unlocked:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options. (In older versions of iOS you will just have to tap Mobile – or Cellular, if the device is set to American English.)
- Check for an option named Mobile Data Network (or Cellular Data Network).
If you see an option for Mobile Data Network, as shown above, then your iPhone is most likely unlocked. This option should not appear on locked iPhones.
This method is not 100 per cent effective, however. If you need to know for sure – if you’re buying a second-hand iPhone, for example, and want to know if you’re paying a fair price – you should use a SIM card to check that it is unlocked. We’ll walk through that method next.
How to check if an iPhone is unlocked using a SIM card
For this method it’s best to have two SIM cards, from different networks. Follow these steps to check that the iPhone is unlocked:
- Make a phone call using the current SIM card. Make sure it connects.
- Power off the iPhone. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button and use the Slide to Power Off option to switch off the iPhone.
- Use the SIM-card ejector tool (or a paper clip) to eject the SIM card from the iPhone.
- Insert your new SIM card.
- Press the Sleep/Wake button to wake up the iPhone.
- Make a phone call. Check that the iPhone can connect a call using the new SIM card.
If the phone call does not connect with the new SIM card, then the iPhone is locked.