Busting 5 Myths About Unlocking Your Phone

We often get asked the above questions and we’re here to set the record straight about unlocking phones.

What do you mean my phone is locked?

First things first, this isn’t the password you set on your phone. A locked phone is the term used to describe what cellular service providers do to ensure the phone they sell can only be used on their network. They instruct the cell phone manufacturers to lock the phone with software before the device leaves the factory, so it arrives in stores tied to a specific network.

A user with a locked phone would not be able to swap SIMs, switch networks, or use KnowRoaming, because their phone will only operate with the original cellular provider.  If you want to use your phone with other SIMs or networks, you’ll need to unlock your phone.

Globally, locking phones has been deemed as an anti-competitive practice and not as common. However, if you’re from Canada or the USA, you’re far more likely to come across locked phones.

Unlocking frees your phone

Unlocking can sound daunting. But the actual result is freedom and more options! With an unlocked phone, you can shop around to choose the carrier with the best deal and swap in travel SIMs like KnowRoaming’s Global SIMs to save on roaming and enjoy features like Unlimited and long-term data packages, transparent management and more.

So what is holding you back? Let’s bust some of these myths.

  1. Is it illegal?

Unsurprisingly, mobile phone companies haven’t been quick to bust this myth. But rest assured, unlocking your phone is completely legal in the US and Canada.

Under the CRTC’s new Wireless Code in Canada, all carriers must unlock mobile devices free of charge upon request and all newly purchased mobile phones must be unlocked.

For Americans, the Consumer Code for Wireless Services dictates that carriers must unlock phones upon request, or they must provide customers with the information to unlock their devices. Eligibility for device unlocking depends on contract agreements. 

  1. Does it delete everything?

You will not notice any physical differences to your phone once it is unlocked. All your data stays intact!

  1. Does jailbreaking unlock your phone?

Unlocking your phone can often be confused with “jailbreaking”—these are not the same thing. Unlocking refers to removing the network restrictions so that the phone can be used with a SIM card from a different network. Jailbreaking refers to removing the standard operating system restrictions on iOS devices, allowing you to download non-standard or unofficial software. Thus, when your phone is jailbroken, you can download other apps, themes, etc that are not available in the official Apple Store, this does not relate to the network your phone connects to.

  1. Does it damage or break your device?

Unlocking a phone simply restores your phone to its original state of being able to connect to any network. However, jailbreaking can be harmful to your device as it becomes vulnerable to hackers and software bugs when you download unofficial applications.

  1. Does it voids the manufacturer’s warranty?

Unlocking your phone is completely legal and does not tamper with the device itself, so it cannot void the manufacturer’s warranty. Phones are locked at the request of networks after the phone has been built. Therefore, locking and unlocking a device is a change made outside of the manufacturer’s standard settings.

Now that you understand unlocking your phone isn’t a scary thing, it’s time to take advantage of this newfound freedom and enjoy KnowRoaming on your next trip!