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Need to unlock a device? Here's some information to get you started.

  • 20 February 2023
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The magic of cell phones is that they are our companion wherever we go. They connect us to friends and family, work, entertainment, and everything in between. Cell phones have also been a convenient place for us to store our treasures like pictures and music. Changing phones can be a headache, which is why unlocking our devices is so important if we are traveling to other countries or changing wireless providers.

Let's take a look at the requirements and processes for unlocking your phone.

Eligibility requirements

To network unlock your device, you must first meet certain eligibility requirements. Some of the requirements are different based on your account type, but some things don't change. The device must be sold by T-Mobile. It mustn't be reported as lost, stolen, or broken. The account associated to the device must be in good standing. T-Mobile may need proof of purchase or some additional information, but most of the time the unlock process is seamless and easy.

If you are on a postpaid account, the unlock requirements are pretty straightforward. Make sure the device is paid off and it was used on your account for a minimum of 40 days. How easy is that?! :D

If you have a prepaid plan, your device will be eligible for unlock 365 days after the day it was initially activated on the account. One year can be a very long time to wait, but don't fret — there's another option available. Prepaid accounts that activated the device at least 14 days ago and placed $100 in refills per line are also eligible for unlock. Each line can only have two unlocks per year, though, so keep that in mind if you are trying to unlock a third device on the same phone number.

Process to unlock

So how does the unlock happen? As soon as your device is eligible, you will receive a text message notification letting you know that you can go through the unlock process. It only takes a couple of minutes as long as you are connected to the T-Mobile data network or reliable Wi-Fi.

Android devices are diverse, so the exact steps vary. Basically, you can go into settings and then to Network, Connections, or About Phone. You want to find the option for Network Unlock or Device Unlock. Finally, select Permanent Unlock and let it load. It may restart itself, but if it doesn't, you'll want to restart the phone and then you are ready to roll.

If you use iPhone, you just insert the new SIM card and restart the phone. You can also follow the normal steps to activate the eSIM with the other service provider like normal. Easy peasy!

To sum it up

I love that we have reduced the effort that it takes to unlock devices by sending notifications proactively when the eligibility requirements are met and empowered device owners with the ability to complete the steps easily right from the phone. It saves so much time because there is no need to contact customer support or wait for a ticket to be filed to gain approval.

I hope this helps answer any questions about our unlock process. You can find more information about our unlocking devices on our Support page. I would love to hear any thoughts or other questions that y’all have about unlocking devices.


99 replies

Followed directions, didn’t work. 

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Followed directions, didn’t work. 

Hi @LB47 Did you already receive the text message letting you know that the device is eligible for unlock?

I called 611 finally and was told it had to be unlocked by calling them first. After two reboots it worked. Whew. 

I was given an iPad Pro 3rd gen as a birthday gift, and I activated it on an old ex’s iCloud acct because I didn’t have one and we are no longer together so to be spiteful she reported it lost on find my app can I bypass the activation unlock somehow?

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I called 611 finally and was told it had to be unlocked by calling them first. After two reboots it worked. Whew. 

Hmm Once you get the text message, the phone should be ready for those steps without having to call 611. Thanks for letting us know that they were able to help with that unlock for your device. 

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I was given an iPad Pro 3rd gen as a birthday gift, and I activated it on an old ex’s iCloud acct because I didn’t have one and we are no longer together so to be spiteful she reported it lost on find my app can I bypass the activation unlock somehow?

The unlock that you are talking about is a bit different. iPads do not have a network unlock and one cannot be requested. If the owner of the iCloud account reported a device lost through their iCloud account, that is something that you would have to discuss with that person. You may get some help or options if you contact Apple directly, but T-Mobile wouldn’t have any way to help out with that situation. 

Sorry and I wish you luck. 

I could not find the device unlock command on my Galaxy S21. This is a device that is an insurance replacement for the one I damaged, and on the T Mobile web site it tells me that it is eligible for unlock.

I have replaced the phone with an S23, so have no service to call 611

 

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You need to contact Tmobile support using messenger on one of tmobile's social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook so they can assist you with unlocking the phone.

You need to contact Tmobile support using messenger on one of tmobile's social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook so they can assist you with unlocking the phone.

I did this and they helped me out. It was a little slow going, but got it done. Thanks

I could not find the device unlock command on my Galaxy S21. This is a device that is an insurance replacement for the one I damaged, and on the T Mobile web site it tells me that it is eligible for unlock.

I have replaced the phone with an S23, so have no service to call 611

 

I have a similar situation where I no longer have access/data to my last phone (galaxy s20+ 5g) but it is available for unlock (paid it off a long time ago/ eligible for unlock/ believed I went through the unlock process/ sold it and apparently it's still locked? very frustrating) and chatting with tmobile support (many times) has gotten me no where. Is there no way to unlock it now that I no longer have access? Is contacting tmobile through socials the way to go? Thanks!!

I could not find the device unlock command on my Galaxy S21. This is a device that is an insurance replacement for the one I damaged, and on the T Mobile web site it tells me that it is eligible for unlock.

I have replaced the phone with an S23, so have no service to call 611

 

Is contacting tmobile through socials the way to go? Thanks!!

All I can say is that it worked for me.

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I could not find the device unlock command on my Galaxy S21. This is a device that is an insurance replacement for the one I damaged, and on the T Mobile web site it tells me that it is eligible for unlock.

I have replaced the phone with an S23, so have no service to call 611

 

You no longer have to call care if you already see online or got the message saying that your device is eligible for the unlock. We show the unlock steps on our Device Unlock support page. T-Mobile device unlock | T-Mobile Support

To find the steps for your S21, use the plus sign next to Android. Newer Samsung devices all follow the same steps so it should be easy peasy. 

I have an old iPhone 11 and I need it to be unlock and the phone is paid off since 3 years old. I called customer service and they are giving me a hard time to unlock it. They say it will take up to 24-72 hours to unlock it. Well it's over that time frame. I am still a customer with them but I want to give this phone to a family member. When I go on the site to check to see if my iPhone can be unlock its saying invaild IMEI number. What can I do to get unlock?

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I have an old iPhone 11 and I need it to be unlock and the phone is paid off since 3 years old. I called customer service and they are giving me a hard time to unlock it. They say it will take up to 24-72 hours to unlock it. Well it's over that time frame. I am still a customer with them but I want to give this phone to a family member. What can I do to get unlock?  

TMO must put in a request for unlock to Apple..they do whatever they need to do then accept the unlock request.

 

 

Android they just check to make sure everything has been met obligation wise then fire out the unlock.

 

for what its worth..is the old phone connected to at least wifi if its no longer on the TMO network?

It’s connect to WIFI but not connected to TMO. Also Apple doesn’t unlock phone the carrier have to do it. 

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iPhones are also included in our proactive unlock process. The eligibility requirements must be met and then there are steps you complete on the device itself. Are you on a prepaid or postpaid account? 

My mobile phone is a second-hand mobile phone. I'm on a business trip abroad and can't use the Internet. I'm very anxious. How can I unlock my device?

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Did you read the requirements? You need to be a Tmobile USA customer and meet the requirements in the article. Are you a Tmobile customer? If not there's nothing Tmobile can do for you.

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My mobile phone is a second-hand mobile phone. I'm on a business trip abroad and can't use the Internet. I'm very anxious. How can I unlock my device?

Having phone issues while traveling can be nerve-wracking to say the least. If you can access phone calls and text messages while abroad, then you should also be getting data. You want to make sure your data roaming is on, so your phone knows to look for other data networks. You can also check that your APN settings are good. The APN settings that you need can be found on our support page here.

If you do need your device unlocked to use a non T-Mobile SIM card, you can try going through the steps that I wrote in the article above. If the steps don’t work, you would want to reach out to person that you got the phone from to determine why it may not be eligible for unlock. 

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The conditions are met,but the customer service just won’t unlock it

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The conditions are met,but the customer service just won’t unlock it

When my phone was eligible I received a text letting me know it was unlocked. I didn't have to do anything.

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The conditions are met,but the customer service just won’t unlock it

and the reason they gave you? and which phone do you have?

Hey @HeavenM , I am from Brazil and got an Unlocked Pixel 7 from Best Buy 15 days ago.

I got back to Brazil and, when tried to activate the Pixel on a local carrier it says it is T Mobile locked.

 

The phone was paid full, with no discounts, as unlocked. I questioned best buy and it looks it was a mistake on inventory. The problems is that I have no way to contact t mobile (I am not even a client), The app they say exists to unlock pixel phone is not compatible (says it is only compatible with older android systems when trying to download).

 

Do you know how could I get this phone unlocked?

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You would still need to meet the usage requirements even if you paid in full. The only place you can buy a new Apple phone truly unlocked is at an Apple store.

You would still need to meet the usage requirements even if you paid in full. The only place you can buy a new Apple phone truly unlocked is at an Apple store.

Thanks for the reply. 

 

But I got a UNLOCKED Google Pixel 7. Not an Apple product.

Bestbuy sells them, In the receipt it is the model I ordered. But when trying to activate it is not an unlocked unit, it is a T Mobile tied one

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