How to factory unlock iPhone using iTunes

In this post today I am going to explain how iPhone iTunes activation works. Understanding the iTunes activation process is important, specially if you want to get your iPhone factory unlocked.

But before we get into that, let’s understand why an iPhone gets de-activated every-time you update or restore iOS software. It’s because majority of the iPhones are sold under contract by Apple. Which are locked to a particular network. Those phones will work only with a sim card from the network it’s locked to. To ensure this, Apple implements an IMEI, ICCID and IMSI verification process through iTunes. This check is performed when you try to activate your iPhone through iTunes. This is the reason behind whole iTunes activation scheme.

Now with that understanding, let’s proceed on how to activate and unlock your iPhone using iTunes. And then, will cover bit more about what actually happens in the back-end during iPhone iTunes activation process.

Activating the iPhone with iTunes:

First of all you need to put a sim card inside your iPhone. In case your phone is locked to any network, use the sim card from that network only. For example, if your phone is locked to AT&T network, insert an AT&T sim card in the phone.

You may insert any sim card, in case you have bought our iPhone Factory IMEI unlock services.  Same applies if you have got your iPhone factory unlocked through your network service provider and trying to activate your iPhone after unlock confirmation.

Inserting sim card into iPhone

Now connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB cable that came with your iPhone.

iTunes unlock iPhone


Launch iTunes now and select your iPhone in the left side menu on iTunes screen. You’ll be presented with two options by iTunes

  1. Check for Update and
  2. Restore

Click on any of the above two, it’ll update your iOS to the latest available version.

latest iOS unlock


Wait for the iOS update process to finish. The activation and unlock process is automated. Your iPhone will get activated within 10 seconds after your iOS version is updated.

In case, you have got your iPhone officially unlocked using our iPhone iTunes IMEI unlock service, you’ll get an iTunes unlock confirmation message as shown below. Wait for few more seconds and iPhone will detect network signal. You can see your carrier logo on the top-left side on the iPhone screen.


iTunes IMEI unlock

What happens in the back-end:

All the IMEIs of iPhones sold by Apple till date are stored in an Apple server. Those IMEIs are either associated with the network it’s locked to, or listed as factory unlocked (also known as Apple white-list database). When you connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac to activate it, iTunes connects to Apple server in the backend. iTunes sends the IMEI number, baseband details, iOS version detail, ICCID and IMSI number to Apple server. There is an automated check that takes place at the server which verifies the ICCID and IMSI of the sim card with network lock record in it’s database. If the inserted sim card ICCID matches with the network the IMEI is locked to, Apple server sends the activation ticket back to iTunes. iTunes places the activation ticket into iPhone, and your iPhone gets activated.


The inserted sim card or ICCID and IMSI doesn’t matter in case your IMEI is listed in Apple’s white-list IMEI database. In that case, Apple server will send activation and unlock ticket simultaneously. Which means, your iPhone will work with any GSM network in the world.


I have tried to cover as much possible on the topic. Please let me know through comment if I missed anything or you need any clarification. I’ll be happy to answer your queries.

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11 replies on “How to factory unlock iPhone using iTunes

  • Zo00o0o0oo0

    plz unlock my i phone 6 plus imei 359243069221474 coz i am Zo

  • sibin

    Hi, i have iphone 6 , once i lost it, so i kept in lost mode, recently i got it back, but now i don’t remember my id and password to unlock nd change the lost mode, now its fully locked and could not use, how can i unlock and use and or to add a new id? Please anyone help me in this…

  • Jakkrit

    I have an iPhone 4, I recall it. But the problem is I forget my Apple ID and password to activate the iPhone 4.
    Shows only the IMEI and no emergency calls please guide me to activate the iPhone …… …………

  • Skilobaba

    I lost my iphone 5s for long bt when i found it i forgot my activation apple id so how can i activate it with wi-fi because i dont have a system

  • Geracel

    Hi, is my iPhone 6 plus unlocked by this details?

    Order #11503 which was made 2 days ago has the status “Completed” and was completed 13 hours ago.

    Order Details
    Product Total
    iPhone Carrier Check, Network & Simlock Status through IMEI ( GSX Info) × 1
    iPhone Model:
    iPhone 6+
    Unlock status::
    Serial Number: F2LPJ3Z6G5QQ Initial Activation Policy ID: 112 MEID: Activation Policy Description: Philippines Globe (SingTel). IMEI: 356996068957926 Applied Activation Policy ID: 112 Part Description: iPhone 6 Plus Applied Activation Policy Description: Philippines Globe (SingTel). Product Version: 9.3.1 Next Tether Policy ID: 112 Last Restore Date: Next Tether Activation Policy Description: Philippines Globe (SingTel). Bluetooth MAC Address: First Unbrick Date: 31/05/15 Last Unbrick Date: Unbricked: Unlocked: false Unlock Date:
    Unlock Reference ID::


  • josef

    Afternoon….i would like to find out if I can unblock my i fone 4s using imei number or iccid number

  • Anoop Singh Rathaur

    i have a iphone 5, i restored it, but the problem is i forgot the my apple id, and password,so how to activate the iphone 5,
    it shows only imei no and emergency calls, please guide me to activate the iphone……………….

  • nutterboxer

    So if the baseband and iOS version do not match what was last associated with the IMEI, will Apple not send an activation ticket? Or is the IMEI number being in the whitelist DB all that matters?

    • nutterboxer

      Should’ve asked ur wife for some really good swears so u wouldn’t sound like such a white racist asshole. Did she translate my Spanish for u? FYI the minute ur comments devolved into name calling I won because I painted u into a corner and left u with no intelligent response. Didn’t take very long to do…

  • dinoslmn

    Is a second post but first was nor save.
    Please explain what is happen when in a unlocked iPhone 5 , activated, the SIM is changed with a sim without data plan, only call. How the phone reach Apple servers for SIM confirmation.
    I Have a problem wich local service cannt resolve.I use 2 SIMs, one with data and second oli calls. When i go abourd i use the SIM with call only
    I cannt over the activation stage. The Iphone ask for a WIFI or Itunes connection.
    See also attached pictures.
    Any solution?
    For Mi Iphone IMEI check look at order #6759

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