What does an Unlocked Phone mean?

You see the word unlocked a great deal when it comes to cell phones and most people realize that it has a meaning, but not very many people realize that there are different forms of unlocked phones.

Having a phone that is unlocked is considered to be a good thing because it can make life easier, but if you asked the average person to explain how or why a phone is unlocked, they more than likely could not.


When talking about unlocked phones we can break them into two different types of unlocks. The first is through unlocked sim card and the second is software bootloader.
unlocked phones explained


The type of unlocked phone that more people are familiar with is the unlocked Sim, or in other words, network unlocking. This is an issue mostly for North Americans because carriers tend to sell cell phone that will not work on other networks. The easiest way to do this is by getting in touch with your carrier and asking them to send you a code that unlocks your sim card in order for your phone to be used with a different company. If your account is in good standing the company will usually help you with this issue, bot not always.

Another method for getting your sim card unlocked is by using an unlocking service online. Once you find a reputable unlocking service, you will provide the model of your phone as well as a payment and they will send you a code to use. People who use this method should feel at ease because these codes come from the network provider because they are sold in bulk to these unlocking services. This means that if you find an unlocking service that has a good reputation, you are getting the same service you would from a network when you ask to have your sim card unlocked.


The bootloader on your phone is the program that loads your operating system. The bootloader runs in the background of your device and makes it more secure by ensuring that only official software can be used. This program is usually locked, but people who want to modify their preinstalled software will have to unlock it. Most manufacturers allow users to unlock their bootloader with a supplied key or token, but you must be aware that this action could violate your warranty. However, many U.S carriers don’t want the bootloader on their phones to be unlocked and as a result it becomes much more difficult to accomplish this. For this reason, you should make sure any phone you buy has an unlockable bootloader if updating your preinstalled software is important.
unlocked phones infograph


Unlocked phones come in two forms an unlocked sim and the unlocked bootloader. Most people are familiar with having an unlocked sim card because it means that their device is no longer tied to a single network, and they can make the switch for better service or for lower costs. The unlocked bootloader is also important, but to different people. Having a bootloader that is unlocked is important if you want to change your pre installed software. This is very possible, but cell phone networks make it a great deal more difficult that simply unlocking your sim card.