How to unlock an AT&T phone to use with other carriers

How to unlock an AT&T phone to use with other carriers
You can unlock your AT&T phone with their online form. Reuters/Albert Gea/File Photo
  • If you're an AT&T customer, you can unlock your phone using a portal on the AT&T website.
  • To unlock an AT&T phone, make sure you've paid for the device in full, and don't have any unpaid bills.
  • Active military personnel can unlock their AT&T phones without paying for the device in full.

AT&T is one of the biggest cell phone carriers in the world. But being tied to one network isn't always fun or practical.

Luckily, AT&T makes unlocking your phone easy. When you unlock a phone, you become its full owner, no strings attached. This means you can then switch cell phone providers without losing your phone.

Here's how to unlock your phone if you're an AT&T customer.

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What to do before unlocking your phone

AT&T doesn't allow just anyone to unlock their phone. You'll need to fulfill a few requirements beforehand.

  • If you've been paying for your phone (the actual device itself) on a monthly plan, you need to finish those payments.
  • Make sure you don't owe any money to AT&T. This means your account can't have a past-due balance.
  • The device you want to unlock can't have been reported as lost, stolen, or "involved in fraud."

The only customers who can avoid these rules are military personnel. If you're currently deployed and can provide temporary or permanent change of station (TCS or PCS) documents, you can unlock your phone without finishing your phone's payment plan. To do this, you'll need to call AT&T directly at (800) 331-0500, or chat with them online.


How to unlock your AT&T phone

1. Head to AT&T's online unlocking portal and select Unlock your device.

How to unlock an AT&T phone to use with other carriers
If you've already submitted an unlock request, you can check it from this page too. AT&T; skitching by William Antonelli/Insider

2. When asked if you're an AT&T customer, select Yes and enter your phone number.

Quick tip: If you're not currently an AT&T customer, but want to sign up for AT&T with an unlocked phone, select No here instead and enter your phone's IMEI number.

How to unlock an AT&T phone to use with other carriers
Enter your current AT&T phone number. AT&T

3. Complete the rest of the form by entering your name and email address.


4. AT&T will send you an email. Click the link in that email within 24 hours, and your unlock request will be processed. If you don't click it within a day, you'll need to go through this process again.

How to unlock an AT&T phone to use with other carriers
Make sure to confirm your request once you receive the email. AT&T; skitching by William Antonelli/Insider

AT&T should respond within two business days to let you know if your request has been accepted or rejected. If you were rejected, it probably means that you still owe money to AT&T.

If your request is accepted, AT&T will send you more instructions on how to unlock your specific phone model. The steps will differ based on which phone you have.

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