A couple of years ago, when the iPhone was the king of smartphones, it was not easy to unlock a cell phone. Unlocking an AT&T cellphone was very problematic for iPhone and Android users.
At that time, if you wanted to unlock your device, you had to go through loopholes such as hacking your device, buying a SIM interposer, or buying an unlock code from a shady website. But as time passed, AT&T began to unlock customers’ phones as long as their met the unlock requirements.
Now, if you have an AT&T cellphone in your hands – Android or iPhone – it’s pretty easy to have it unlocked straight from AT&T even if you’re not a former or active customer. The best of all is that you can unlock any AT&T phone by yourself. You do not have to contact AT&T customer service at all.
AT&T unlock phone policy
To begin with, in order to have your device unlocked from AT&T, your device has to comply with AT&T unlock policy requirements. These are the requirements you must meet for AT&T to unlock your device:
- The device was originally purchased for AT&T’s network.
- The device is not reported as lost or stolen.
- The cell phone cannot be active in another account.
- Fully paid off. AT&T doesn’t unlock phones on installment plans.
- The device needs to be active for at least 60 days.
- Users on prepaid accounts must wait at least six months to submit an unlock request.
If your device meets all of those requirements, then your device will be approved for unlocking. Even if you’re not sure whether or not your device is eligible for unlocking, you should submit an unlock request. It’s very easy and there’s nothing to lose.
A major advantage is that you do not have to be a former or active AT&T customer to request an unlock code from the mega carrier.
Unlock an AT&T phone yourself
- Navigate to att.com/deviceunlock
- Click the “Unlock your device” option.
- Now it will ask you if you have a mobile number from AT&T. If you’re not a current customer, chose No, and enter your phone’s IMEI number. IMEI can be obtained by dialing *#06# on your device phone’s dial.
- Note: If you get a message saying “Looks like this device is lost or stolen so we can’t unlock it” then you will not be able to unlock this device. Return the device to anyone who sold it to you. If you get a message saying “Looks like the device you want to unlock is active on another AT&T account. The owner has to remove it from their account first” you won’t be able to unlock it using the non-AT&T customer method.
- Fill out the rest of the needed information such as first and last name and email address.
- AT&T will send you an email address asking you to click on a link in order to confirm your unlock request. If you don’t confirm this email AT&T will cancel your unlock request within 24 hours.
Entering AT&T unlock code on Android phones
If your device gets approved for unlocking, AT&T will send you a confirmation email informing you that your unlock has been approved. This email will contain your unlock code and instruction on how and where to put these numbers.
Be careful: after five attempts of incorrect code, your phone will get permanently locked to AT&T’s network.
This is an example of the email I received from AT&T when I requested an unlock code for a Samsung Galaxy S5:
Unlock request number: 2071502833
Thank you for contacting AT&T about unlocking your mobile device.
Congratulations! Here are your unlock instructions:
Your unlock code is: 14180278
Unlock Steps – Use Non-AT&T SIM Card
- Power off the device, remove the battery, and insert a non-AT&T SIM card.
- Re-insert the battery and power on the device with a non-AT&T SIM.
- The device displays “Enter the device unlock code.”
- Enter the eight-digit unlock code.
- Press OK.
Note: You are allowed five attempts to unlock before your device permanently locks to the AT&T network.
Every Android device has different instructions for the unlock code. You can view all instructions for all devices at att.com/media.
Entering AT&T unlock code on iPhone
When unlocking an iPhone, it’s a more straightforward procedure. You do not receive an unlock code from AT&T. After you submit an unlock request for an iPhone, your iPhone gets unlocked remotely by Apple. All you have to do is insert a non-AT&T SIM card into your iPhone when AT&T sends you the email confirming that your device has been unlocked.