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How to unlock any T-Mobile phone

It's easy to keep your phone, even if you're leaving the Un-Carrier.
By
March 17, 2022

You might be ready to leave T-Mobile and its Magenta network in your rearview mirror. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the phone you bought from the carrier. In fact, it might save you a nice chunk of change to bring that phone along with you when you switch. If you’re ready to keep your device, here’s how to unlock any T-Mobile phone.

Read more: The best phone plans for every type of user

QUICK ANSWER

To unlock a T-Mobile phone, first, check on your My T-Mobile account that your phone is eligible. Connect to the T-Mobile network on Wi-Fi and head to Settings-->Network-->Network Unlock. Confirm your decision and restart your device to complete the process.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Check if your T-Mobile phone is already unlocked

The T-Mobile logo.

Depending on how long you’ve had your T-Mobile phone, it may already be unlocked. The Un-Carrier isn’t quite as free-wheeling as Verizon when it comes to unlocks, but it doesn’t have the strictest requirements, either. If you’re not sure whether your phone is already unlocked or not, follow these steps:

  • In a web browser, log into your My T-Mobile account and select your line on the Accounts page. Note that this feature is not available in the T-Mobile app.
  • Click on Check device unlock status to see if your phone is already unlocked.

If your phone is already unlocked, you can feel free to load up your SIM and enjoy your new carrier. If not, keep reading for more steps to follow.

Unlock eligibility requirements

If your phone is not already unlocked, you probably don’t yet meet all of the requirements. T-Mobile has slightly different limitations for its various plans, so you’ll have to follow the information below before starting the process.

General eligibility

No matter which T-Mobile plan you subscribe to, you’ll have to first meet these requirements. They’re pretty similar to those of other carriers and cover the basics. Here are the ground rules:

  • T-Mobile must have sold the device.
  • It cannot be reported as lost, stolen, or blocked.
  • Your account must be in good standing with the carrier.

As long as you’re trying to unlock your own phone that you purchased from T-Mobile and you’ve paid all of your bills, you should be alright.

Postpaid eligibility

If you have a postpaid T-Mobile plan, you’ll also have to meet the following requirements:

  • The device must have been active on the T-Mobile network for at least 40 days.
  • If you opted for monthly device payments, it must be paid off in full.
  • If you canceled your account already, it must also have a balance of zero.
  • T-Mobile reserves the right to request proof of purchase or other additional information from you.

See also: The best T-Mobile plans

Prepaid eligibility

If you have a prepaid T-Mobile plan, you’ll have to follow slightly different requirements.

  • You must have activated the device on the T-Mobile network more than 365 days ago.
  • If the device hasn’t been active for a year, it must have had more than $100 in refills during the active period.
  • You cannot unlock more than two mobile devices in 12 months.
  • T-Mobile can once again request proof of purchase or other information from you.

See also: The best T-Mobile prepaid plans

How to unlock a T-Mobile phone

Best Smartphones 1 End of Year 2021
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Once you’ve gone through the effort to make sure your T-Mobile phone is eligible, the real fun can begin. There are slightly different steps for each major phone platform, so you’ll have to check on the instructions below.

Android

T-Mobile doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Android phones. It offers one of the best selections of any major carrier, thanks to its relationship with OnePlus. However, that also means there are quite a few different instructions to follow, depending on which phone you have in your pocket. We’ll cover most of the main players here.

  • Samsung: Go to Settings–>Connections–>More Connection Settings–>Network Unlock.
  • OnePlus: Enter Settings–>Wi-Fi & internet–>SIM & network–>Advanced or Network unlock.
  • LG: Go to Settings–>Network & internet–>Mobile networks–>Network unlock–>Continue.
  • T-Mobile REVVL: Head to Settings–>Network & Internet–>Mobile network–>Advanced–>Network Unlock.

You’ll also have to select the Permanent Unlock option from the Network Unlock menu, no matter your device. Once it completes the unlock, restart your phone, and you’re free.

iPhone

While Android devices can make life a little tricky, it’s straightforward to unlock an iPhone on T-Mobile of any shape or size. In fact, it’s more than likely already unlocked. Here are the steps to follow:

  • If your iPhone is eligible, contact T-Mobile, and they will automatically process your request.
  • If your phone already shows as unlocked on My T-Mobile, you can insert your non-T-Mobile SIM and complete the setup process to fully unlock your device.

Those of you without a new SIM already in your possession will have to back up your iPhone, then reset the device and restore your backup. In truth, it’s probably easier to make sure you have your new SIM ahead of time.

Other devices

There’s a good chance we’ve already covered your phone in one of the above sections. However, if you have a device not mentioned, you can head to T-Mobile’s Devices page for more detailed instructions. If the phone asks for an unlock code, you’ll have to contact customer service to have it provided.


Read more: The best Android phones

FAQs

Q: Can I use an unlocked phone with T-Mobile?
A: 
Yes, T-Mobile is happy to let you bring your own device, provided it supports the correct mix of bands. You can check out this page for more information on the carrier’s BYOD policies.

Q: Are T-Mobile iPhones unlocked?
A:
iPhones purchased from T-Mobile remain locked to the network until the requirements listed above are met.

Q: Can I unlock my T-Mobile phone online?
A: 
No. While you can check your unlock status online, you will have to go through your phone’s settings menu to complete the process. However, if you need to contact customer service to complete the unlock, you can do so online.

Q: Does T-Mobile automatically unlock phones?
A: 
Yes, so there’s a chance you won’t have to lift a finger to unlock your T-Mobile phone. The carrier says it will automatically and remotely unlock any eligible phone within two business days. You can then see your unlock status in your My T-Mobile account.