Knowledge Base

Phone Unlocking: What is it?

handy giff-staffer

What is unlocking?


Take a look at our short video about unlocking mobile phones and find answers to some commonly asked questions.



Unlocking is the removal of network restrictions from your phone. Once a phone is unlocked, you can use any SIM card from any network without any errors or complications.


Most networks now lock the phones they sell, however almost all phones can be unlocked with the exception of some network specific handsets. To find out if your phone is unlockable, contact your network operator.


Why would I want to unlock my phone?


Unlocking will open you up to SIM only plans like the ones we offer on giffgaff. These don't tie you into long contracts and save you loads of money in the process. If you're on O2, you won’t even need to unlock, so simply pop in a giffgaff SIM card and start saving.


Is unlocking legal?


Ofcom states locked handsets are an unnecessary restriction to people's freedom, so unlocking handsets is legal.


That said, you may well void your warranty which is usually active 12-months from date of purchase. In addition, Three has specific Ts and Cs on unlocking, requiring you to do it a specific way. If you’re in doubt, give your network operator a call.


How do I unlock a phone?


Before you unlock your phone check out giffgaff’s Unlockapedia, which offers impartial advice on the best way to unlock a range of handsets.


One way to unlock your phone is to take it to an unlocking shop, where they will do the hard work for you, though may well charge a premium.


Alternatively, you can do it through a website. You will need to send through your IMEI number. The site will give you instructions for finding this on your phone and in return for that and about £10-£20, will send you an unlock code. You can also find your IMEI number on many handsets by entering *#06#.


Finally, you can do it for free. This isn’t available on all handsets and can be a bit more technical, however will save you a bit of cash along the way.


To find out your phone unlocking options, simply check out Unlockapedia, unlock away and start saving with giffgaff.



thanks let you know


Nice blog .... Thankyou Man Happy


Any thoughts on having these video blogs linked in with the new KB where appropriate?

handy giff-staffer
Hey, yes we'll be working on embedding these in the new KB Smiley Happy

oh kl...thanks


That's good to hear.... looking forward to it. Man Happy Thankyou




And the best way to get an unlocked handset is, to buy it SIM-Free to start with... Smiley Wink




Good video but .... benifits? Smiley Wink


looking forward to thiss , i agree get a sim free handset! Smiley Happy


I used phone which is locked but I bought new mobile from carphone warehouse to use unlocked phone..

But this is good

I personally think that the locking of handsets should be banned. It all stems from handset subsidies that have distorted the market since the start of mobile networks. At least you now get a worthwhile piece of technology for your money rather than a brick, which makes SIM free the way to go.