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How to Unlock Samsung Galaxy phones

Are you looking to use your Samsung Galaxy phone with a different mobile network? Unlocking your phone is a necessary step. Our free guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to unlock your Samsung phone from any mobile network in the UK and beyond. Whether you have an older Samsung model or the latest in the Samsung Galaxy S range, this guide has got you covered.

Free Guide — How to unlock Samsung phone.

If you got your Samsung phone in the UK, either from a Pay-Monthly contract or with a Pay-As-You-Go sim card, it will most likely be locked to that mobile network - vodafone, or EE or O2 etc.

Unlocking your Samsung phone, or in fact, unlocking any Android smartphone, is required if you plan on using your phone on a cheaper mobile network, or if you are abroad on holiday and want to save a lot of money by using a local SIM card. When you're finished with your contract and want a new phone, you can get it unlocked before passing it on to a member of your family or a friend. If you plan on selling your Samsung smartphone, for example on eBay, you will definitely increase the resale value by unlocking it so that it will work on any mobile phone network.

In this free guide, we explain the process involved with unlocking a Samsung Galaxy phone. We show you how to tell if your Samsung phone is actually locked, where the IMEI number is on your phone and then we'll go into detail about each of the major UK phone networks and give you the best methods of unlocking a Samsung phone on each network. In most cases, you'll want to get your phone network to unlock the phone for you, but in cases where they won't, for example, if you bought the phone from someone on eBay, we'll show you a simple way to unlock Samsung phone to any network.

Benefits of Unlocking

People often ask why Samsung phones are locked. The simple reason is that if a phone is locked to one network, it is likely that person will stay on that network for the lifetime of that phone, and probably longer because they get seduced by the upgrades. But by unlocking your Samsung Galaxy you can choose to switch networks and save quite a bit of cash. You can also delay your upgrade cycle by 6 or 12 months and move to a SIM-only deal. With a SIM-only deal you will pay much less than a standard contract and get exactly the same number of minutes and get the same amount of data.

There are 3 reasons why you would want to unlock your Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. You can switch to a cheaper network provided your contract is over. You can use a local sim card while abroad and save on roaming costs. And your phone will be worth more money when you come to sell it because it is unlocked.

Is it Legal to Unlock a Samsung Phone?

Unlocking your smartphone is perfectly legal in the UK. Each UK network provides methods for unlocking, although some make you jump through a lot of hoops to get it done. Additionally, there are third-party companies that have partnered with networks to offer convenient Samsung phone unlocking solutions. While we primarily focus on Samsung Galaxy phones, it's important to note that you can unlock any Android phone by visiting MobileUnlocks. If you want to unlock an iPhone, you can also do that there.

Although you might come across unofficial options, such as free unlock codes, for older Samsung phones, it's best to avoid them. These methods often involve installing unofficial software on your phone, which can expose it to malware and viruses. The risk of compromising your contacts, emails, and call history is not worth the allure of a free unlock. It's crucial to prioritise the security of your phne and the personal information that you have on it.

Step-by-Step Instructions

It's as simple as 1-2-3 to unlock your Samsung phone. Check if it is actually locked, send your IMEI number to MobileUnlocks and then use your phone on whatever network you want.

Check if your Samsung Galaxy is already locked

The easiest way to tell if your Samsung phone is locked is to put a different SIM card into it and see what happens. Generally, there are 2 things that can happen. It will either show you the new network name or else it will show up an error message, for example, “Invalid SIM” The problem with this method though is that some networks “piggy-back” on a major UK network. Typically smaller networks like Giff-Gaff, or Tesco will use a Major network's infrastructure. So a Giff-Gaff sim will normally work on an O2 phone. So that doesn't really tell you if it is locked or not. SIM Cards are cheap now though, so you could order multiple from different networks and check them all.

Find your IMEI number

In order to get your Samsung phone unlocked you will need the IMEI number from your phone. The IMEI number is a 15-digit number that starts with 35 for a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. It's unique to your handset and will allow the unlocking company to set the unlock code directly to your phone.

To find the IMEI number on your Samsung phone, you have two options:

  1. Settings Method:
    • Open the Settings app on your Samsung phone.
    • Navigate to "About phone" or "About device" (the exact wording may vary depending on your device model and software version).
    • Look for "Status" or "Phone information."
    • Scroll down until you find the IMEI number. It is usually listed along with other device information.
  2. Dialer Method: Another way of getting your IMEI number is by using your phone’s dialling screen. This is the screen that you see when you are entering a phone number when making a call.
    • Open the phone app on your Samsung phone.
    • Dial *#06# (star, hash, zero, six, hash).
    • The IMEI number should appear on your screen.
    • Take note of the 15-digit IMEI number displayed. Ignore any additional symbols or digits that may follow.
  3. This "Dialer Method" has worked on pretty much all mobile phones ever since the old Nokia 3210 days. The IMEI number should show up in a new window. You just need to record the first 15 numbers that are shown (ignore any digits or symbols that are at the end — on some Samsung phones there is a slash (/) and some numbers added to the IMEI number on that screen. Just ignore them and take the first 15 numbers).

Unlocking Instructions By Network

Unlock a Samsung from Vodafone

The cheapest way to unlock your phone is to go direct to the network. Unfortunately though it's also the method which causes the most problems. We have had a lot of feedback from people who have had to wait weeks for Vodafone to unlock their Samsung phone. They also have very strict restrictions over which phones they will unlock. You need to have had a contract with them for at least 6 months but it must also be active. So if your contract has finished, it resets back to 0 and you need to sign up for another 6 months before they will unlock your phone.

For the majority of people, it is better to use MobileUnlocks because they will unlock your Vodafone Samsung phone no matter how long you have had it. They don't ask if it's in contract or not. They just unlock it.

Unlock an O2 Samsung.

For some O2 customers, it can be very easy to unlock their Samsung phone. If you are a Pay-Monthly customer, who got their phone from O2, and you are still in your contract, you can normally get your Samsung phone unlocked for free. You do need to provide security information about your account and the IMEI number but after about a week it should be unlocked.

If you are a Pay-as-you-go customer, or if you didn't get the Samsung phone from O2, or even if your contract has finished, they are not so helpful. In those cases, you will normally find it easier to use MobileUnlocks because they can unlock any Samsung phone on O2 without needing any security information.

Unlock a Samsung from Three

Samsung phones that are locked to Three are one of the easiest to get unlocked. On weekdays (Monday – Friday), MobileUnlocks say that they can unlock any Samsung device, that is locked to Three, in a matter of hours. When you compare that to how long your actual network can take, it’s brilliant.

When using MobileUnlocks, there are no restrictions on when you can get your Samsung phone unlocked — so you don’t need to have had your contract for any amount of period or use a Three Pay-As-You-Go SIM for 30 days. Just click on MobileUnlocks and follow the instructions for Three.

Unlock a Samsung from EE, Orange or T-Mobile.

At the time of writing EE have some pretty stringent rules about unlocking Samsung Galaxy phones. You must have been on a contract with them for a minimum of 6 months. So if you have been passed the phone from someone else, or if you bought it from eBay for example, you will need to either sign up for a contract with EE and pay their bills for 6 months, or else go straight to MobileUnlocks because they don't have the same requirement.

What about Free Samsung Unlock Codes?

In the past, it was relatively easy to unlock older Samsung Galaxy phones (typically the Galaxy S3 and older) for free. You could "root" your phone and use a special app to generate an unlock code. A few years ago, this method was considered reasonably safe. However, it now presents several issues.

Firstly, since 2012, Samsung software regularly checks if the handset is running an official version of their software and may relock the phone. Additionally, similar to jailbreaking on iOS devices, the realm of rooting phones or jailbreaking has been infiltrated by organized criminals seeking to install malware on your device. Rooting your phone bypasses the security measures implemented by Samsung, potentially granting unrestricted access to apps, including your text messages, contact information, and even passwords. Considering these risks, it is not advisable to pursue this route. Instead, it is recommended to invest a small amount in a proper Samsung Galaxy phone unlocking service while keeping the official Samsung software intact.

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