A device that does not have a locking software code ON which enables the device to use another GSM carrier’s network. The software code locks the device which blocks other GSM carrier’s network to be used on the device. Unlock devices usually don’t have a lock software on it or either with some intervention through software coding an unlock code is received which unlocks the software. Unlock can be categorized into two categories, Factory Unlock and Universal Unlock.

Factory Unlock is further divided into two types: Factory Carrier Unlock and Factory Universal Unlock. A Factory Carrier Unlock means that the phone is purchase through a carrier will have a software code on it but it will be unlocked from the date of purchased and can use different GSM carriers. Whereas the Factory Universal Unlock does not have any lock software code on it from the beginning and can use GSM carriers.

A Universal Unlock device has obtained the code to run on different GSM-Carriers. The reason carrier used to lock the devices like iPhone is so that the user purchasing a contract phone doesn’t have to move to another carrier. In some instances networks like AT&T had policies that they would unlock any other phones the user owned but the iPhone can never be unlocked.

To unlock a device certain criteria needs to be met. Each carrier has their own policy implemented for the user to unlock his/her device. Such policies include:

  1. Full payment of the device or contract.
  2. Minimum days required to use a GSM carrier before the device is unlocked.
  3. Submit a request to the GSM carriers to unlock the device.
  4. Using IMEI number to unlock the device.

The above are the common ways to unlock a device though there are other methods as well. Devices that run GSM networks and LTE network can only be unlocked. CDMA-only devices are locked and the above methods does not apply to it.

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