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Cell Phone Unlocking | Federal Communications Commission

What is Cell Phone Unlocking?

Unlocking a cell phone allows consumers to move their cell phone from one network to another compatible network.

Some cell phones may contain software that prevents them from being used on different mobile networks even when those networks are technologically compatible. For example, if a consumer purchased a phone from one provider to use on that provider’s network, the phone may contain software that prevents it from being operated on another provider’s technologically compatible network. This software “locks” the phone to a provider’s network.

The unlocking process varies by device and by carrier. A carrier may automatically unlock a device after certain conditions are met, send instructions to customers on how to unlock a device upon request, or complete the unlocking process in-store.

What is the CTIA Commitment?

On February 11, 2014, CTIA-The Wireless Association adopted six standards on mobile wireless device unlocking (“the commitment”) into the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service:

  1. Disclosure. Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on mobile wireless device unlocking.
  2. Postpaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices, for customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.
  3. Prepaid Unlocking Policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment, or usage requirements.
  4. Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former-customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier’s website.
  5. Response Time. Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.
  6. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy. Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers.

Signatories to the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service (“participating providers”) implemented all of these principles on or before February 11, 2015.

How Do I Unlock My Device?

Contact your wireless service provider to find out when and how your phone may be unlocked. Many devices can be unlocked with unlock codes or other software updates. Participating providers will unlock postpaid mobile wireless devices for customers or former customers in good standing after fulfillment of the applicable service contract or device installment plan, or payment of an early termination fee. For devices purchased for prepaid wireless service, participating providers will unlock devices within one year of initial activation, consistent with the provider’s reasonable time, payment, or usage requirements.

Technological Compatibility
Carriers typically use different frequencies and air interface technologies to provide mobile wireless network access. Accordingly, a device that works on one provider’s network may not be technologically compatible with another provider’s network. “Unlocking” a device refers only to disabling software that would prevent a consumer from attempting to activate a device designed for one provider’s network on another provider’s network even if that network is technologically compatible. In other words, “unlocking” a device will not make a device fully interoperable—a device designed for one network is not made technologically compatible with another network merely by “unlocking” it. Additionally, “unlocking” a device may enable some functionality of the device but not all (e.g., an unlocked device may support voice services but not data services).


Q1: What does it mean to “unlock” a cell phone?

Unlocking a device allows consumers to move their device from one network to another compatible network. The unlocking process varies by device and by provider. A provider may automatically unlock a device after certain conditions are met, send instructions to customers on how to unlock a device upon request, or complete the unlocking process in-store.

Some phones are sold with built-in software that prevents them from working on a different carrier. That is, if one provider sold you a “locked” phone, then you would not be able to use that phone on another provider’s compatible network. “Unlocking” a phone removes those technical limitations, although it does not resolve all technological compatibility issues with switching networks.

Q2: Has the CTIA commitment on device unlocking taken full effect?

On February 11, 2014, CTIA-The Wireless Association adopted six standards on mobile wireless device unlocking into the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service. Signatories to the Consumer Code for Wireless Service implemented all of these standards on or before February 11, 2015.

Q3: Why do providers lock mobile wireless devices?

In many instances, devices are sold with subsidies (or discounts) in exchange for a required service plan commitment, often months or years in length, or pursuant to a device financing plan. Most service plan agreements have an early termination clause that includes a penalty to be paid to end the agreement ahead of schedule. Locking software is meant to ensure that devices will be active for a certain period of time or amount of usage on the network of the provider that sold that device with a subsidy (or discount) or with a device installment plan.

Q4: Is my cell phone locked?

With many providers, unless you purchased a phone or device specifically sold as “unlocked” at the point of purchase, you should presume that it is locked to a specific wireless service provider’s network. This may be true whether you purchase the device from a wireless service provider, at a general retail outlet (in person or on the web), or through a third-party. Some wireless service providers do not generally lock the phones or devices they sell.

Q5: Can other mobile devices besides phones be locked?

Tablets and other mobile devices can be locked to networks. The commitment covers phones and tablets. You should check with your service provider to see if your phone or tablet is locked and what terms and conditions apply to unlocking it.

Q6: Will my provider unlock my phone upon request?

You should speak with your service provider to understand the terms and conditions of your agreement with your provider and the provider’s policies on unlocking mobile devices. The six principles on unlocking in the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service have been fully implemented by all signatories to the Consumer Code. Participating providers will provide you with a clear, concise and readily accessible policy on mobile wireless device unlocking on their websites, and will respond to your unlock request pursuant to their unlocking policy.

Q7: When is my device eligible for unlocking?

Participating providers will unlock your postpaid device after you have fulfilled the applicable service contract, device installment plan terms or payment of an early termination fee and are in good standing. Your prepaid device is eligible to be unlocked by participating providers no later than one year after activation, consistent with each provider’s reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

Q8: Will my phone automatically be unlocked when my contract is fulfilled?

It depends on your provider. Under the commitment, participating providers will notify you at the time when your postpaid device is eligible for unlocking if the device is not automatically unlocked. For prepaid devices, participating providers will notify when your device is eligible for unlocking at the point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the wireless service provider’s policy on its website. When your device is eligible, some providers may automatically unlock it remotely. In this case, providers of postpaid devices are not required to notify you at the time when the device is eligible for unlocking. Other providers may require you to formally request to have your phone unlocked. Under the commitment, participating providers will unlock eligible devices, provide you with unlocking instructions, or initiate an unlocking request to the device manufacturer – or provide an easily understood explanation of denial – within two business days of receiving an unlock request, or will explain why the wireless service provider reasonably needs additional time to process the request.

Q9: Will I be charged fees to unlock my device?

Participating providers will not charge customers or former customers additional fees to unlock a device if it is eligible to be unlocked. Providers may charge a reasonable fee to unlock eligible devices for non-customers/non-former-customers.

Q10: Are there exceptions to allow devices to be unlocked for military deployments?

Yes. Under the commitment, if you are deployed internationally or receive orders for international deployment, participating wireless service providers will unlock your device upon verification of deployment.

Q11: Can my provider refuse to unlock my phone because I am not “in good standing”?

Yes. Participating providers do not have to unlock devices for customers or former customers that are not in good standing or have not satisfied the applicable service contract, device financing plan, or paid the applicable early termination fee. You should contact your provider to understand the terms and conditions of your agreement with your provider and your wireless service provider’s unlocking policies.

Q12: Will my unlocked mobile device work on all networks?

No. Network technology (GSM, LTE, CDMA, etc. ) varies globally and across the United States. In other words, your device technology must be compatible with network technology to enable access and functionality. Because the technologies differ, your device will not work across all networks.

Additionally, devices are optimized to work with wireless service providers’ networks for which they are sold. Although your mobile device may work on a compatible network, certain features on your unlocked phone may not work optimally, and some features may not work at all.

Q13: Will unlocking my device enable it roam on international networks?

Whether your device is locked or unlocked, you should check with your provider before you travel internationally to find out if your device will work abroad. Mobile networks differ from country to country, and your device may be incompatible with the networks where you are traveling. Also, if your phone works for voice calls, some other functions – such as sending and receiving mobile data or text messaging – might not work.

Before travelling internationally, you should take time to understand all the roaming rules and rates before you travel. Advance preparation can prevent disappointments such as lack of service or unexpectedly high charges on your next bill.

Research your options and find useful tips using our Consumer Guide: International Roaming – Using Your Mobile Phone in Other Countries.

Q14: How does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act affect consumer use of cell phones?

The DMCA generally prohibits bypassing access controls on copyrighted materials. Cell phones often contain access controls that “lock” the phone to a particular network. The DMCA generally prohibits unauthorized removal or modification of cell phone access controls.

Q15: Where can I find more information about mobile wireless device unlocking?

Please consult our consumer guide on Mobile Phone and Device Unlocking FAQs.

For More Information

For information about other telecommunications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center, or call 1-888-225-5322 voice or ASL Video 1-844-4432-2275; fax 1-866-418-0232; or write to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554


Phone Unlocking in San Antonio, TX

Are you looking for a reliable phone unlocking in San Antonio? Look no further than First Aid Phone Repair! We understand how frustrating it can be to have a phone that is tied to a single carrier. That’s why we offer fast and proficient phone unlocking services that will have you free from any restrictions in no time.

Why Choose Our Phone Unlocking Service?

At First Aid Phone Repair, we take pride in providing top-notch phone unlocking services to our clients. Here are some reasons why you should choose us for your phone unlocking needs:

Fast and Reliable Service

We understand that time is of the essence when it comes to unlocking your phone.
That’s why we offer fast and reliable phone unlocking services that are guaranteed to have your phone unlocked in no time.

Experienced Technicians

Our team of experienced technicians is well-versed in all aspects of phone unlocking. We use the latest tools and techniques to ensure that your phone is unlocked safely and efficiently.

Competitive Pricing

We offer competitive pricing for our phone unlocking services. You can be sure that you’re getting a great deal when you choose First Aid Phone Repair.

What Phone Unlocking Services Do We Offer?

We offer a range of phone unlocking services to meet your needs. Here are some of the services that we offer:

Phone Unlocking

We offer phone unlocking services for all types of phones, including Android and iPhone devices. Our technicians are trained to unlock phones from all major carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Carrier Unlocking

If you’re looking to switch carriers, we offer carrier unlocking services that will allow you to use your phone with any carrier of your choice. This service is especially useful if you’re traveling abroad and need to use a local SIM card.

iPhone Unlocking

Do you have an iPhone that is locked to a specific carrier? We offer iPhone unlocking services that will allow you to use your phone with any carrier of your choice. Our technicians are trained to unlock all models of iPhones, including the latest iPhone 13.

How Does Our Phone Unlocking Service Work?

Our phone unlocking service is a simple and straightforward process. Here’s how it works:

Bring Your Phone to Our Store

Bring your phone to our store, and one of our technicians will assess your phone and determine the best unlocking method for your device.

Unlock Your Phone

Once we’ve determined the best unlocking method for your phone, we’ll proceed with unlocking your device. Our technicians use the latest tools and techniques to ensure that your phone is unlocked safely and efficiently.

Test Your Phone

After your phone is unlocked, we’ll test your device to make sure that it’s working properly. We’ll also provide you with instructions on how to set up your phone with your new carrier.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I go for phone unlocking service in San Antonio?

    First Aid Phone Repair offers the best solutions for phone unlocking in San Antonio. Our experts are here to perform a quick unlocking procedure so that you can enjoy the features at its fullest.

  • What kind of phones can you unlock?

    Unlock your phone at First Aid Phone Repair. We offer phone unlocking service for all brands and models like iPhone, Samsung Phone, and more.

  • What kind of carriers can you unlock?

    At First Aid Phone Repair, we can help you use your phone on any carrier. We specialize in jailbreaking your phone so that you can get the best deals on cell phones and accessories at our store.

Instant Repair

Unlock phone in Samara – Unlock from 1490 rubles | Price in Intel

Google-account is the key for all products of this company, that is, it is enough to have one account to use Gmail, Google Play Store, YouTube, Google Drive and others.

But it happens that even the only password for the system can be lost or forgotten.

There are many ways to remove your Google account password on the Internet, but each phone model and version of Android has its own option. Smartphone manufacturers release updates to the operating system, so it is almost impossible to find a working way to remove the Google system password.

The only proven way is to contact a service center that has specialized equipment, the masters know all the intricacies of this procedure for almost any smartphone model.

For the service you need:

  1. Call the number listed on the main page or write to Viber/WhatsApp.
  2. Briefly explain what the problem is.
  3. Select a convenient date.
  4. Bring the device to the appointed time.

Why contact the Instel service center?

  1. High quality original spare parts from manufacturers.
  2. Manufacturer warranties for repairs and parts.
  3. Specialists – qualified engineers.
  4. When choosing this service, you can use one of the offers:
    • Diagnostics and identification of problems in working with the gadget.
    • 10% discount for the next treatment.
    • 5% discount for this procedure for a photo review with a mark of our account in Instagram/Vkontakte.
  1. Transparent prices.

The specialist starts work only after agreeing on the cost with the client.

Unlock via “Emergency Call”

The standard phone unlock options include the emergency call option. This method works on models earlier than Android 6.0.


  1. On the screen after switching on, there are dots and numbers for entering the password. And at the bottom there is an “Emergency Call” or “SOS” button. It allows you to call the 911 service even without unlocking.
  2. By clicking on the “Emergency Call” button, open the dialing system with numbers.
  3. Enter any character 10 times in the string, for example, *. By double-clicking on it, highlight and select the “Copy” button from the top menu.
  4. Insert 10 characters next to those already typed, doubling the number. Repeat your actions until the system stops responding.
  5. Go back to the locked screen and swipe left to open the camera. At the same time, drag down the control menu at the top.
  6. Click on the “Settings” button, the system will ask for a password. By pressing, hold the query field for a long time and using the “Paste” command, place the previously copied line there. Continue until the system stops responding and the cursor disappears.
  7. The user interface will stop working and the buttons will disappear. Only the camera screen remains. After a couple of minutes, the camera app will crash and the device will be unlocked.

Unlocking with a Google account

This unlocking method is available when you link your Google account to the mobile device software and perform data synchronization. An active internet connection is required.

Algorithm of actions:

  1. It is necessary to draw the graphic code incorrectly 5 times or enter the wrong combination of password numbers. Sooner or later, attempts will end and an inscription will appear that the smartphone is locked. And repeat in 30 seconds. Press “OK”.
  2. Open the Google account authorization page, log in.
  3. You will then have access to your mobile phone data where you can change your password and choose another one.

This method usually works on older models. If the password from Google is also forgotten, you can recover it via a computer using the “Forgot password” function during authorization.

How to unlock through factory reset?

If you forgot your old password and the previous methods didn’t work, you can reset your phone to factory settings. This is a radical method, since all information will disappear from the phone after it – contact numbers, photos, correspondence, downloaded applications. The device will become “new”.

Factory reset:

  1. Turn off the phone. Pull out the memory card. Then press combinations of buttons, trying different options until it works. Each time hold for 10-15 seconds and release: “volume down” + “power”; “volume up” + “power”; “volume down” + “power” + “Home”; “volume down” + “increase” + “power”. The specific combination depends on the manufacturer. All of them are different.
  2. The service menu appears.
  3. Navigating through the menu with the volume buttons, select the command “Wipe data” / “Factory Reset” and confirm by pressing the power button. The reboot will take place automatically and the screen will turn on without locking.

Smart Lock Unlock

This feature unlocks the device when certain conditions are met. If the device is at home, then you can connect another gadget to it via Bluetooth.

The “Smart Lock” function allows you to identify trusted devices

Remove the lock via reset using Google

Log in and enter your personal Google account.


  • Open the tab “Security” – “Search for device”.
  • Select a blocked phone from the list, go through authorization.
  • Select – “Delete all data from this device”.
  • Read the warning about the deletion of all personal data, confirm.
  • The files inside the memory card will remain intact, the rest will disappear from the gadget’s interface.

Restoring access through the Samsung service

You can also reset the password on Samsung Android models. Action plan:

  • Open a browser, enter “Find My Mobile Samsung” and open the page of the official website https://findmymobile.samsung.com/.
  • Log in by entering the username and password that the system requests. Select your gadget by name.
  • Click the unlock button.

How to unlock a smartphone through Aroma File Manager?

Download the utility to your computer. Then connect your smartphone or PC via USB cable. Next, through the “Explorer” function, open the internal database. Transfer the archived folder with this program there. Use a memory card if USB doesn’t work.

Enable “Recovery” – “Install update from zip file”. Find the file in the list and select “Automount all devices on start”. Re-select the option to install from archive and file using “Recovery”.

After waiting for the download to finish, launch Aroma File Manager, in the menu – “Data Folder” – “System Folder” – delete the keys “gesture.key” from “password.key” in it. Reboot your phone.

Unlock and remove the pattern

In order to remove the password or pattern, you need to download third-party resources:

  • ADB Run is installed on your PC. Then a mobile device is connected to it via a USB cable. Next, after starting the program, you need to select “Unlock Gesture Key” – “Metod 1” – then the graphic code will be deleted from the “Data / System” folder. If you select “Metod 2” – it will reset after deleting “system.db.”
  • Aroma File Manager – here the pattern must be removed by transferring the program to the device interface.

Discharge the phone completely to restore access

This method works if a graphic is used instead of a pin code. You need to wait for the warning about the minimum charge level. Then by clicking on the pop-up window, open the power management. It is located in the “Settings” menu, where there will be “Security”.

Then just change the key or delete it.

Unlocking the phone using TWRP

This method allows you to remove the pattern or password, but all data will remain intact. You need to download the TWRP application to your phone, remove the “blocker” through the file manager. Without access to the menu, this can be done on smartphones such as:

  • Chinese mobile devices with MediaTek processors that are flashed through the SP Flash Tool.
  • Samsung models flashed with Odin.
  • Other models flashed with Fastboot.

Delete data using Find My Device

Google has developed a special Find My Device utility that allows you to manage your gadget remotely if it is lost or stolen. The map shows the current location of the smartphone and in the list of available ones there is “Clear device”.

Open a browser using the link https://www.google.com/android/find?u=0. Log in, after which the main page will open and a mobile device belonging to the account owner will be shown there.

Allow the system to use geodata by clicking on the “Accept” button in the pop-up menu. On the right you can see the list of available actions:

  • Ring — the smartphone will emit a signal for 5 minutes even when the sound is turned off, it helps to find the device at home or nearby if it is lost.
  • Set up blocking and deletion of data – perform a data reset to factory (start) settings.
  • It remains to confirm your decision and wait for the end of the procedure.

Flashing the phone to unlock it

Universal method, works on all known device models. The user deletes the existing OS and installs a new version. Naturally, personal data will also disappear. You will need to sign in with your Google account.

If you have tried all the methods of unlocking your account at home, but nothing worked, you should contact the specialists of the company Instel. Experienced maters know how to quickly and professionally fix all the problems of digital technology.

Contact us today. We are ready to help you!

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