The Definitive Guide To iPhone IMEI Unlock

This post is not just about Official iPhone IMEI Unlock. We’ll cover all the methods from free to paid ones that are available to unlock an iPhone. Quite obviously, it’s going to be a long post. We have given a table of content in the beginning. You may directly jump to the area of your interest in case you are in a hurry. However, reading the complete guide will equip you with a treasure trove of information about the whole iPhone unlocking thing.

This is the only guide you’ll need to follow. You don’t need to look any further if you are looking for info on iPhone unlocking.

1. Why to unlock an iPhone:

Before we start discussing different ways of unlocking an iPhone, let’s first understand what are the benefits of an unlocked iPhone. Now in case, you landed on this page searching for the ways to unlock your phone, you don’t need to be explained benefits of unlock. Do you!!! However, if you just chanced upon this page while browsing, below are few major reasons why you should unlock your phone:

1.1 Freedom of using any GSM Sim of your choice:

Till the time you are under the contract with your network service provider, you may keep using the phone with your network. However, once the contract is over, you may want to try your phone with a different carrier because of whatever reasons. An unlocked iPhone gives you the freedom to switch. What if you want to gift your AT&T iPhone to any of your near and dear who is on T-Mobile network. When you have an unlocked phone, you don’t have to think about such issues.

1.2 Increased resale value in secondary market:

A network unlocked iPhone fetches $150 to $200 more on eBay or Craigslist compared to a locked one. It may cost somewhere between $20 to $100 as unlocking charges. It’s no brainer to calculate the benefit. Majority of the buyer don’t want to get into trouble of unlocking the phone. People prefer to buy unlocked phone.

1.3 Handy while on roaming:

Imagine you are holidaying at some remote Caribbean island. You need to make lot of local calls to your hotel, cab driver, travel agent, tour guide etc. etc. Few call back at home to tell your near and dear ones that you are doing good. You may also want to keep a tab on important emails, may be facebook/twitter updates. Have you thought about the prohibitive voice and data charges while you are on roaming. With a locked phone, you don’t have a choice but to use your carrier sim and pay the huge roaming charges. However, you can always buy any local sim card for those limited uses if your phone is already unlocked. Do you see the value!!!

2. iPhone Unlocking Bible:

This section is called the unlocking Bible for a purpose. Given below is the complete list unlocking method for all the iPhone models with corresponding iOS and Modem Firmware (Baseband) Versions. This table can be used as a ready reference for unlock check.

First of all, you need to check at which Modem firmware (Baseband) version your iPhone is currently. To do this, go to Menu, tap on “Settings”,

iOS Settings

then “General”

iOS Settings General

and then “About”.

iOS Settings General About Screen

Scroll down till you see “Modem Firmware” and note it down.

iPhone IMEI Unlock

You will find other useful information on this page, like Version (Firmware Version) “Serial Number”, IMEI Number etc. of your iPhone. Check the attached pics to see the details. As of now we’ll primarily use Firmware Version and Baseband information for this guide. We’ll talk more about IMEI and other info in other sections.

iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS Unlock
iPhone ModeliOS VersionBasebandSoftware UnlockSim InterposeriPhone Factory Unlock
iPhone 3G/3GS 3.0/3.0.14.26.08Ultrasn0wNoYes
3G/3GS 3.1/3.1.25.11.07Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3G/3GS 3.1.35.12.01Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3G/3GS 4.0/4.0.2/4.0.35.13.04Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3G/3GS 4.15.14.02*Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3G/3GS 4.2.15.15.04*Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3GS 4.35.16.01*Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3GS 4.3.X5.16.02*Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3GS 5.0/5.0.1/5.1/5.1.15.16.05*Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 3GS Custom Firmware6.15.00 Ultrasn0wNoYes

*In case your iPhone 3G/3GS is at baseband 5.14.02, 5.15.04, 5.16.01, 5.16.02 or 5.16.05, you need to update your baseband to ultrasn0w unlock supported baseband 6.15.00. This baseband is also called iPad baseband. Once, you are upgraded to the baseband 6.15.00, you need to use redsn0w to again downgrade it to 5.13.04. You can successfully unlock your iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS for free using the ultrasnow software unlock method explained below.

iPhone 4 Unlock
 iPhone ModeliOS Version Baseband Software Unlock Sim Interposer iPhone Factory Unlock 
iPhone 44.0/4.0.1/4.0.21.59.00Ultrasn0wNoYes
iPhone 44.12.10.04NoGevey SimYes
iPhone 44.2.13.10.01NoGevey SimYes
iPhone 44.3.X4.10.01NoGevey SimYes
iPhone 45.0/5.0.14.11.08NoNoYes
iPhone 45.1/5.1.14.12.01NoNoYes

Note: Ultrasn0w unlock for iPhone works for people who upgraded their iOS version without upgrading the baseband. Which means they preserved their baseband to 1.59.00 which is supported by ultrasn0w.

Gevey Sim unlock for iPhone 4 worked till iOS 4.3.x. As soon, Apple rolled out iOS 5, Gevey sim stopped working on the phones with updated iOS.

iPhone 4S Unlock
 iPhone ModeliOS Version Baseband Software Unlock Sim Interposer iPhone Factory Unlock 
iPhone 4S5.01.0.11NoGevey Ultra S Yes
iPhone 4S5.0.11.0.13NoGevey Ultra SYes
iPhone 4S5.12.0.10NoGevey Ultra SYes
iPhone 4S5.1.12.0.12NoGevey Ultra SYes

3. Different methods of iPhone unlock:

We’ll cover different methods of iPhone unlocking from free to paid ones. Namely, 1. Software Unlock, 2. Sim-interposer (Gevey Sim), 3. SAM method and 4. Official iPhone Factory Unlock. While official unlock is the best iPhone unlocking solution, it costs money. So you will be required to choose the best suitable method for you. It’ll vary according to your iPhone model, iOS and baseband version and country and network your phone is locked to.

3.1 iPhone Software Unlock:

You are in luck if software unlock is available for your iPhone model and iOS version as per the table above. iPhone software unlocking method was the most famous way of iPhone unlocking once. Because, it’s free and there are thousands of step by step guides and tutorials available all over the internet. The job might sound bit complicated, but thanks to some useful guides, your life becomes much easier. There were various software available for iPhone unlock, however, ultrasn0w to date is the most stable and reliable utility. Software unlocking involves two broad steps:
1. Jailbreaking the iPhone and
2. Unlocking it using ultrasn0w

3.1.1 Ultrasn0w Unlock Method:

A. Jailbreaking the iPhone: By default standard iOS comes with lot of restrictions. Many of the features like file sharing over Bluetooth, media file download etc are disabled. This is done to ensure maximum performance and security of the device. However, it is also termed as putting your phone into a jail. Jail-breaking is a method of modifying the iOS structure in a way that it allows running custom programs. In other words, it’s a method of breaking the jail Apple has put your device into. So far no major security issue has been reported because of the jailbreak, but it certainly voids the warranty. Apple doesn’t encourage jailbreaking.

You need to run some custom programs to unlock your iPhone using this method. This is the reason, Jailbreaking is a compulsory first step for software unlock. You’ll need a computer to which you can connect your phone for jailbreak. There are thousand of tutorials online for jailbreak. My favorite is iClarified which covers jailbreaking of all Apple devices. At iClarified you’ll find step by step guide with pictures and proper explanation. It also details the utilities you’ll need to use depending on the iPhone model and iOS version. Simply, select the model, then iOS version and finally whether you are using Mac or Windows. Click on this link to iClarified tutorial about how to jailbreak any iPhone model.

B. Unlocking the iPhone using utlrasn0w: Once your iPhone is successfully jailbroken, you are good to go for unlock using ultrasn0w utility. You’ll see a Cydia icon on your iPhone screen if the jailbreak is successful. Unlocking steps are very simple. Again, it’s explained step by step with pictures in how to unlock an iPhone using ultrasn0w guide. Checkout the guide, you’ll have an unlocked iPhone in your hand once you have followed all the steps.

3.2 Sim-interposer unlock method:

A sim inter-poser is a sort of plug-and-play device manufactured for iPhone unlock. It’s made of a very thin PCB (Printed Circuit Board) which sits between the phone’s sim card reader and your sim card. The unlocking works by manipulating the way the phone reads the sim card data. So, suppose your iPhone is locked to AT&T network but you want to use a T-Mobile sim card with it. You insert the pre-programmed PCB with your T-Mobile sim card into the phone’s sim card slot. Because the phone is locked to AT&T, it’ll do a first reading of the sim card to make sure that the inserted sim card is an AT&T sim. The pre-programmed PCB tells the phone that yes, it’s an AT&T sim. As soon the phone believes that the inserted sim is actually an AT&T sim, it opens the baseband for further signal processing. The PCB sitting conveniently between the phone and the actual sim card keeps watching this. In the second request, it sends the actual sim card data to the now opened iPhone’s baseband. The result, your phone starts working with T-mobile sim card.

Applenberry was the leading sim inter-poser manufacturer which marketed their product with the name “Gevey Sim”. It worked for iPhone 4 till iOS 4.3.5 and for iPhone 4S till iOS 6. Many other manufacturer soon entered the market to offer similar utility. To name few, Gevey Sim, R-Sim, X-Sim, Gevey All-in-one(AIO) etc. are some of sim interposer devices which were successful in unlocking many iPhone models at different iOS versions. However, all of these solutions suffered from some or other drawbacks. Based on users feedback, few of the major problems that these solution have are:
A. Need to dial 112 for unlock (illegal in few countries if misused),
B. SMS not working correctly,
C. Frequent signal drops,
D. Increased battery consumption,
E. Need to perform unlock process every-time you loose network or phone gets switched off,
F. Mobile data connection (Edge/GPRS/3G) not working correctly,
G. MMS not working etc.
Inspite of all these shortcomings, these solutions became famous because software unlock option was not available for the newer iPhone models and official iPhone IMEI unlock solution was not easily available or affordable.
We have covered some of the major sim interposer unlock solutions below in detail for your reference.

3.2.1 Gevey Sim:

As explained earlier, Gevey sim is a product from Applenberry which offered unlocking solution for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Gevey sim for iPhone 4S at iOS 6.0 unlock can be purchased at http://www.applenberry.com/gevey-ultra-s-gsm/
There is a very nice and short video from iClarified on how to use Gevey Sim, reproduced below:


How to unlock an iPhone 4 with Gevey Sim:
How to unlock an iPhone 4S with Gevey Ultra S sim:

3.2.2 R-sim

3.2.3 Gevey AIO (All in one) Sim

3.3 SAM Method of unlock:

Factory unlock using SAM method is dead now. Apple has blocked this method. There was a loophole in Apple’s iTunes activation method which was exploited by modifying activation request sent by phone to Apple server. This tricked Apple activation server to send an unlock ticket even to iPhones which were network locked.

The method involved installing a software called SAM (developed by Sam Bingner) on iPhone.

3.4 Official iPhone IMEI Unlock:

This is the most reliable method among all the available iPhone unlocking methods. You don’t have to be a geek to unlock your iPhone. Official iPhone IMEI unlock method is a permanent iPhone unlock solution. All you need is the IMEI of the phone and information about it’s original network. You may directly approach the network service provider in case, an unlock solution is offered by the network or mobile carrier the phone is currently locked to. For example if your iPhone is locked to Australia Vodafone, you may directly head to Vodafone Australia website and get your iPhone unlocked for free. There are also third parties offering official iPhone factory unlocking service whom you may approach in case the original network doesn’t provide an unlock service.

The biggest benefit of official iPhone unlock is that it’s official. Which means you don’t loose your unlock no matter how many times you upgrade or restore your iPhone. It’s just like any other unlock phone available in the market. You just pop-in any GSM sim card of your choice and it happily accepts it.

3.4.1 Free Official Factory Unlock offered by network:

As explained earlier, few carriers offer a free official iPhone unlock service because it’s mandatory according to the country’s statutory requirement. All you need is to check with the customer care department of the network provider. They should be accepting unlocking request over phone, online through “My Account” service or open online unlocking web form. All the network providers in Australia, Denmark, Chile etc. are bound to offer free IMEI unlock as per the country’s local law. Most of them require that you need to be an existing customer to avail this facility.

3.4.2 Paid Official Factory Unlock Service offered by third-parties:

Now, for people who don’t have any of the above options, ray of hope has not died completely. There are third party iPhone IMEI unlock service providers able to officially unlock most of the iPhone locked various networks around the world. You need to pay a fee for this. The unlocks are genuine and life time. You don’t loose your unlock with iOS upgrades or iTunes restore.

iOS Basics offers official iPhone unlocking service at a reasonable price. All you need to do is submit your IMEI through order submission form, make the payment and wait for the unlock confirmation email. The time duration for the unlock may vary from 24 hours to 15 days according to the network the phone is currently locked to. Most of the famous network locks like AT&T USA iPhone, can be removed within 24 hours.

You get the much needed peace of mind with our “No questions asked, 100% refund guarantee” if the unlock fails because of some reason. If you have waited for long to get your iPhone officially and permanently unlocked, your wait is over. Just select the country and network your iPhone is currently locked to, and place unlocking order. Restore your iPhone with iTunes once you get unlock confirmation email from us.

Officially unlock your iPhone now

One reply on “The Definitive Guide To iPhone IMEI Unlock

  • Susanne Junghans

    Hi!
    I want to unlock my iphone 5s with your service but unfortunately you don’t provide unlocking services for O2 germany. Is there any way you might be able to change that?

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