How to know if iPhone is operator locked

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Know if iPhone is carrier blocked via cellular network

As I was able to explain to you in the introductory jokes of this tutorial, the serial number of an iPhone blocked by an operator is placed in a special "black list", shared by all national (and non-national) telephone operators.

Consequently, although all the other functions of the "iPhone by" remain unchanged, the latter it will not be able to operate in any way on cellular networks where it is blacklisted: consequently, the device will not be able to make or receive calls or SMS and, in general, will not be able to access any cellular network, regardless of the SIM inserted inside it.

Hence, the first thing to do for know if iPhone is operator locked, is to check that the phone is able to obtain field or not: obviously, you can only complete this procedure if you already have the terminal in question.

First, insert a valid SIM into it, turn on the iPhone and wait for all its features to be initialized. If you are unable to mount the SIM card in the iPhone, you can quickly learn how to do it by consulting my specific tutorial on the subject.

At this point, check if the iPhone has managed to register on the network, thus providing you with a cellular field and giving you the possibility to send / receive calls and SMS: if so, it is very likely that the phone in your possession has not been blocked by operator, so you can safely continue to use it.

If, on the other hand, the phone should show messages such as No Service, Emergency Calls Only or other indications that suggest an absence of line, you can try to register manually on the network: first, press the button Settings present on the Home screen of the device, access the section Mobile> Network selectionsposta su OFF the levetta relative to the dicitura Automatica and wait for the search for nearby cellular networks.

At the end of the search, tap on the name of the SIM proprietary network (eg. TIMVodafone) to try to access it: if you succeed in the enterprise and get field, it is very likely that the phone is not blocked by the operator. If, on the other hand, you find yourself displaying some error message (eg. Unauthorized access, Login error, Unable to connect to the selected network or similar), it is likely that the phone has been blacklisted.

As a further confirmation, you can try to insert the SIM of a different carrier and repeat the procedure, making sure you always get the same result.

Know if iPhone is carrier locked through online services

Another valid technique to understand if an iPhone is blocked by the operator involves the intervention of some Internet sites: very often, in fact, telephone operators provide their blacklists to third-party services, in order to help users (especially those who are preparing to buy used terminals) not to inccompare in scams of any kind.

Before moving on, though, you need to get hold of the IMEI code of the iPhone you intend to check - for your information, this is a 15-digit identification code, unique for each device, which can be recovered in different ways.

  • If you already own the "iPhone by", you can trace its IMEI code by dialing the number * # # 06 on dialer, or by going to Settings> General> About and identifying in this screen the aforementioned code (usually found at the bottom). Alternatively, if you are in negotiation for a used telephone, please inform the current owner of how to retrieve this code, urging him to notify you in a short time.
  • Alternatively, the IMEI code can be retrieved from the purchase packaging of the device: it is usually specified on a label glued or contained in the box or, alternatively, on the specific page of the illustrative booklet contained inside.

For more information on retrieving the phone serial number, I invite you to consult my specific guide on how to check IMEI.

Once you have obtained the IMEI code, you can use an Internet site to check it and verify that the phone associated with it is blacklisted or not. Below I point out two of the most valid online services to carry out this operation: unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that the relative reference blacklists are constantly updated, however the results obtained are almost always in line with reality. Still worth a try, don't you think?


An excellent Internet site on which to retrieve information relating to any operator blocks is Imeipro: it allows, absolutely free of charge, to know if iPhone is locked by the operator with low margins of error, simply by entering the serial number of the device to be analyzed.

To use it, connect without hesitation to the main page of the service, type theIMEI phone in the box Enter IMEI Number here…, tick the box I'm not a robot (carrying out, if necessary, the further captcha check) and presses the button Check to start the check immediately.

After a few moments, the site should answer you with some information on the analyzed device, including the validity of the warranty, the possibility of subscribing to the AppleCare service and, of course, the blacklist status: if, in correspondence with this last item, you should see the wording CLEAN colored green, the iPhone is most likely not locked by the operator. If not, you should view the information instead LOCKED, colored red this time.


If you are not completely convinced by the solution reported above, you can carry out a further check using the tool AppleGiveBack. In this case, it is a verification site mainly dedicated to Apple devices (iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and, of course, iPhone), which allows you to obtain information relating to the status of the latter, simply by specifying the associated IMEI code, so as to help users to safely trade and trade-in.

Are you going to rely on AppleGiveBack to fine-tune further control? Perfect: first of all, connected to his website, indicate theIMEI of the "iPhone by" of your interest in the text field attached to the page shown on the screen and, when you are done, press the button Research.

If the iPhone is not locked by the operator, you will be shown a page asking you to indicate it device status in question, "preparing" it for a possible sale: since it is not your intention to get rid of the phone, you can safely close the page. If, on the other hand, you were to be “stopped” by an error message, then it is very likely that the iPhone associated with the IMEI entered has been subjected to operator blocking and inserted in a blacklist.

What to do if an iPhone is operator locked

How do you say? Have you come into possession of an iPhone actually blocked by an operator? Then it is time to further clarify why this happened. In practice, there are mainly two possible cases: the phone is stolen / lost or the previous owner has not completed the payment of the subscription purchase installments.

If the terminal was stolen, the inclusion of the IMEI in the blacklist took place following the complaint made by the owner of the iPhone, as I was able to explain to you in my guide on what to do when a mobile phone is stolen: if you suspect that you own a phone locked for this reason, I advise you to report the incident as soon as possible, by going to a station in police or a barracks of the police, bringing with you the "iPhone by" and the proofs of purchase in your possession (including any conversations via e-mail, SMS or third-party purchase portals, with the person who sold you the phone).

In the best case, the phone will be returned to its rightful owner (who can later request it to be unlocked) and, if you are lucky, you may even receive a fair refund of the amount spent, since you have actually been the victim of a scam. Please do not hesitate to report everything: if you do not do it, you could end up in serious trouble and be accused of crimes punishable even criminally, such as receiving stolen goods.

Also, the next time you decide to buy used items on the Internet, pay more attention to the seller's profile, carefully consulting the feedback and reviews left by other users. To feel even more comfortable, try to rely on secure sales platforms (and payment methods), able to offer you guarantees in case of situations similar to the one you have encountered: I have explained everything to you in detail in my guide on how to do it. shop in total safety.

If, on the other hand, the previous owner of the iPhone you own (or intend to buy) had not paid all the installments of the device purchased by subscription, the inclusion in the blacklist was carried out on the initiative of the operator victim of the default. If so, you can request that it be unlocked by contacting the operator in question, to which you will have to provide the purchase documentation in your possession: it will be his responsibility to provide you with the information necessary to remedy the situation and make the phone operational again.

To learn more about the issue of unlocking the IMEI, you can consult my guide on how to unlock a phone locked by an operator, in which I was able to analyze the matter in detail, indicating the most appropriate behaviors to adopt, depending on the case in question. where you are.

How to know if iPhone is operator locked

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