Before buying an Android phone, it is very important to make sure whether the Android phone you are going to buy is an unlocked phone or a locked phone. Below are the methods to find out if Android phone is unlocked or locked.
Difference between locked and unlocked Android phone
It is important that you know the difference between a locked and an unlocked Android phone so that you can choose the type of phone that suits you better.
Unlocked Android Phone: Generally, Android phones sold by the phone manufacturers like Samsung, Nexus, Xiaomi and others are sold as factory unlocked Android phones.
The clear benefit of owning an unlocked Android phone is that it can be used with any carrier or network. You can insert any service provider’s SIM card into an unlocked phone and it will work.
Locked Android Phone: Android phones sold by carriers are generally locked to the carrier’s network and cannot be used on any other network. Most locked Android phones are sold with a network plan and are typically locked for a period of 18-24 months.
After the lock period expires, a locked Android phone can be unlocked. Unlocking can be done by the network operator or by other phone unlocking services.
How to find out if your Android phone is unlocked
The easiest way to confirm if an Android phone is locked or unlocked is to take the existing SIM card out of the phone and insert a different carrier SIM card into the phone.
If you buy your Android phone from an independent seller, you can arrange a meeting with that seller and get his/her permission to check the Android phone with a different SIM card.
1. Make one first Phone call with the Android Phone (with the current SIM card). This will ensure that the phone works with the current SIM card.
2. Next power OUT the Android phone and remove the existing SIM card from the phone and insert it SIM card from another provider into the Android phone.
3. After replacing the SIM card, press the perfomance button to start the phone.
4. Make one now Phone call from android phone
Android phone is definitely unlocked in case the call goes through even after changing SIM card. In case the call does not connect after changing the SIM card, this confirms that the Android phone is locked to a carrier.
Activate the use of IMEI number
In case you don’t want to go through the process of changing SIM cards, you can ask for the Android phone IMEI number and follow the steps below to check if your Android phone is unlocked or locked.
1. Get those first IMEI number of the Android phone from its seller. Depending on the stage of the deal, most genuine sellers should have no problem telling you the IMEI number.
In case the seller doesn’t know the IMEI number, you can direct them to this article – How to find your Android phone’s IMEI number.
2. Next go to imei.info website with your phone or computer.
3. Enter the digit 15 IMEI number of the Android phone in the dialog box shown below and click Check button (see image below).
4. On the next screen you will see information about the Android phone that belongs to the IMEI number you just entered. Click on SIM LOCK & WARRANTY Button.
5. Once the process is complete, you will get information about the network the phone belongs to and whether it is an unlocked android phone or a locked phone.
After IMEI check, the website also offers paid unlocking service in case your Android phone is locked.
- How to set up SIM card lock on your Android phone