How to Unlock Your Cell Phone If You Don't Know the Code

by April KhanUpdated September 28, 2017
cell phone image by sonya etchison from

Only GSM phones can be unlocked. Since these phones work with SIM cards, each handset is programmed to a particular provider. This program can be unlocked, enabling you to use the handset on any network. GSM phones can be used around the globe.

Obtaining the Code

Go online to a web site such as or, and select your phone’s make and model.

Remove the back cover and then the battery from your cell phone. Remove the SIM card, a small white data chip that contains valuable information about your phone and your account.

Write down the IMEI number printed on a sticker under your phone’s battery. Also write down your SIM card number.

Input these numbers in the blanks provided on the web site and an unlock code will be generated for you.

Unlocking the Handset

Put the battery back in your phone and replace the cover; do not insert the SIM card.

Turn your handset on. You will see a message that reads “Insert SIM card.” Once you see this message, type in the code you received from the web site.

Wait for the screen to read “SIM Restriction Removed.”

Replace the SIM card. Once the SIM restriction has been uplifted, you can use the SIM card from any network on your phone.


You cannot unlock Code Division for Multiple Access (CDMA) handsets. These handsets unlock from the inside and do not require SIM cards for activation. If you have a CDMA phone, you will have to take it to your wireless provider to unlock it. This is particularly true for handsets provided by Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

Many web sites charge a fee for providing unlocking codes, so have your payment details ready before you go onto the site.


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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.

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