Unlocking phones, particularly smartphones, has become very popular in recent times. For years, mobile companies supplying subsidised phones have ‘locked’ the devices to their network, as a way of trying to keep customers from using the devices with a rival service.
This is understandable, as the cost of subsidising the hardware has only increased since the arrival of powerful smartphones like the iPhone 4S. However, Ofcom regulations in the UK demand a competitive market, which means that the customer has a right to choose between network providers, so if the first question you have on the topic of how to unlock iPhone 4s is: is this legal? You will be relieved to find out that the answer is: yes!
Since no manufacturer wants to limit their phones to working on just one network, the locking process is not hardware based. Whichever service provider supplies the phone, it will be the same specification of sim card that is used to connect to the network.
This means that software must be used to lock the phone to a particular network. Unlocking the phone is therefore as simple as entering an unlocking code – but just where do you get these codes from?
In the UK, you may be surprised to find out that the network that supplied the phone in the first place will supply an unlocking code, given certain conditions. You are usually required to fulfil a minimum part of your iPhone contract – typically between 30 days and three months – after which the network will arrange the supply of an unlocking code on request.
This does not necessarily mean that you will get to ditch the contract altogether – depending on the company, you may still be required to make the agreed monthly payments until the contract has fully expired. In addition, there is usually a charge levied by the networks for supplying unlocking codes – the average cost is around £20.
It is little wonder, then, that many people who start researching how to unlock iPhone 4S end up at giffgaff.com. giffgaff are a sim only specialist that also has a resource called Unlockopedia on their webiste, which supplies extensive information on the various options for unlocking different smartphones, including the iPhone 4S. Simply entering