How to unlock an iPad from a network and use any SIM

If to procure a mobile iPad from somebody aside from Apple, you’ll later find that the iPad is locked on a explicit network. If you insert a SIM card from a completely different network, you’ll not get any mobile choices – simply an error message and a feeling of remorse. Here we clarify how to unlock an iPad from a network to use any SIM card.

If you are attempting to unlock an iPhone, read How to repair the “Could not activate iPhone” error.

(To be clear, this solely applies to iPads with mobile capabilities. If you have not coughed up the additional £ 100, you do not have to fear about network locks. If a Wi-Fi-only iPad misbehaves, you may ‘be locked by way of the fallacious network ‘delete from the checklist of attainable issues.)

What is network lock?

It is widespread for third-party distributors to lock iPads on their networks, and assuming they’ve been sincere about this when promoting the machine, fully legally – the concept is that they promote the iPad at a nice low cost in alternate for it. securing your corporation for a time period.

Outside of this era (often 6 months, a yr or 2 years), you ought to be ready to unlock the iPad by contacting the service. We talk about carriers individually on this article.

Is unlocking an iPad authorized?

This is dependent upon how lengthy you will have the iPad and whether or not you will have paid your contract.

It is completely authorized to unlock your iPad when you will have completed paying in your contract or in the event you purchased it without permission. However, in the event you’re nonetheless paying in your contract, you do not actually personal the iPad but – in any case, totally – so the most effective strategy is to contact your service earlier than unlocking the machine.

It could also be more correct to say that unlocking the machine is totally authorized, however, this doesn’t launch you from any unresolved contractual obligations.

If you are undecided whether or not your iPad is locked or not, observe the directions in our Is my iPhone locked? article – the rules are the identical for a mobile iPad and for an iPhone.

The drawback often arises in the event you purchased your iPad pre-owned or inherited 1 from a friend or family member who has been up to date to a newer mannequin. If it’s locked, you’ll find that the iPad is just not working in your mobile network, and it’s as a result of it’s related to 1 other network.

If you uncover that it’s undoubtedly locked, read on to find out how to unlock it. We’ve damaged down the article into the favored suppliers within the UK to let you know how to get your iPad unlocked if it is restricted to that network.

How to get your supplier to unlock the iPad

For all of the carriers we talk about on this article – assuming you have fulfilled your contractual obligations and all the things is out of line – your major objective is to merely contact the service, clarify the state of affairs and ask them enter a code and / or present directions for eradicating the network lock.

Let’s undergo the carriers 1 after the other and clarify how they’re most successfully approached, any situations or charges they could apply to the unlocking course of, and links to related types.

EE (together with Orange and T-Mobile)

EE shall be joyful to unlock your iPad for you as soon as your payments have been paid and you will have the account for no less than 6 months, however, it should value you £ 8.99 and EE says it should take 10 days for the request to be made. The company states that if further delays happen – resembling contacting the machine producer for the unlock code – they are going to let you recognize by textual content message on the phone quantity you present.

The company states that if further delays happen – resembling contacting the machine producer for the unlock code – they are going to let you recognize by textual content message on the phone quantity you present.

The company’s provisions are as follows:

  • Your machine should be bought whenever you signal up to your contract or improve and be actively used together with your paid month-to-month SIM card for a minimal of 6 months
  • You can solely unlock a alternative machine if it was obtained straight from the producer or underneath insurance coverage. Proof of alternate should be offered

Pay As You Go prospects can even unlock their iPads if they’ve sufficient credit to pay the £ 8.99 administration charge.

If you are not an EE buyer – for instance, in the event you obtained the locked iPad from eBay – then it is more difficult. You want to find out the unique proprietor’s title and some EE account data.

EE advises: “If you are not using EE, Orange or T-Mobile, but have a device locked on EE, call us on 07953 966 250.”


The O2 online type for sharing unlocking is here, however, the company’s types solely refer to iPhones, not iPads: it appears much less set up for iPad unlock than a number of the different suppliers right here. We suspect that an software in your iPad by way of the shape will nonetheless work, however, it could be simpler to get in contact by way of dwell chat (go to this pageand click on on ‘Start a dwell chat’ underneath ‘Chat with us online’) and ask how they like iPad homeowners to do issues.

If you might be a Pay Monthly buyer, you may unlock your machine at any time, however, after all you will have to pay the excellent a part of your contract. Pay & Go O2 prospects have to wait 12 months earlier than they’ll unlock their machine.

O2’s web site warns that unlocking your machine prices £ 15, however, a colleague spoke to an O2 consultant who thought they may do it totally free. If you do not ask, you will not get it both. Expect to wait no less than 72 hours.


Good files! 3 make it a lot simpler: Theservice states that any iPhone bought after January 1, 2014 will robotically unlock as quickly as you join it to Wi-Fi or join to iTunes.

We’ve even been instructed that gadgets bought from 3 earlier than that date can be simply unlocked by merely plugging them into iTunes and doing a full restore – after a backup, after all. But we did not strive that ourselves. You can even full 3’s online device unlock form.


Like EE, Vodafone requires that you’ve an account or know the small print of the 1 that did it. If that files is already obtainable, you may go straight forward and use Vodafone Vodafone online unlock form – though this, like O2, refers to phones moderately than tablets. So this company video guide is a good contact:

Vodafone says it should take up to 48 hours for the company to contact you and up to 10 days to unlock the machine. It’s free to unlock your Vodafone iPhone you probably have been with the company for more than 12 months, however, in the event you do not it should value you £ 19.99. The similar goes for all Pay as You Go prospects.

Use a third-party unlocking service

If contacting the network fails or is just not an possibility, strive a third-party unlocking service. We would advocate it Doctor SIM, however, different choices can be found. Read all of the nice print earlier than paying cash to an exterior service. There are many who, whereas authentic, have hidden prices that you simply is perhaps caught with whenever you least count on it.

Read all of the nice print earlier than paying cash to an exterior service. There are many who, whereas authentic, have hidden prices that you simply is perhaps stung whenever you least count on it.

Sell ​​the iPad

Okay, that is a drastic and miserable final resort, however, in some unspecified time in the future, and if the above strategies do not work, it is perhaps simpler to lower your losses, publish the iPad on eBay or your respected online market of selection (be fully sincere about the network on which the iPad is locked – aside from being an moral factor to do, this may clarify to potential patrons why you might be promoting such a new machine and will allay the worry that they’ve the machine stolen) and transfer the cash in direction of an unlocked mannequin.

This might be a type of conditions the place an merchandise is totally ineffective to 1 particular person and fully usable to 1 other (ie anybody who has a contract with the network the iPad is related to), and in these circumstances it is sensible to find who can use the merchandise and promote it to them.

We have some articles that can aid you take into account this step: how to promote your previous iPad and ideas for promoting on eBay.