Samsung Galaxy S4 unlocking

Get your Samsung Galaxy S4 unlocked to use it on other carriers!

You may have heard about this thing called “unlocking” your phone. For the tech-savvy, this is pretty standard stuff, but for everyone else, let us outline the basics of what phone unlocking is, why you might want to do it, and how to go about it.

When you buy a phone from a carrier like AT&T, Vodafone, or Rogers, they give you a SIM card with all of your relevant account information on it. The phone you get from that carrier won’t be able to make calls or sends texts until the SIM card is installed in your phone. Getting data for web browsing and apps is only possible over Wi-Fi without a SIM card installed. 

The thing is, service providers aren’t interested in just selling you a phone; they want to make sure you’re paying them for access to their cell towers and the associated voice and data services. To do that, phone makers allow service providers to lock the device so only SIM cards from that carrier can work in a given phone.

Now, there is a process to unlock the SIM slot so you can use any SIM card in a phone. Keep in mind that this doesn’t guarantee that your phone will actually work with any carrier, either at home or elsewhere in the world, since a phone’s antenna is tuned to specific towers, and putting in a new SIM card can’t change that. Things get legally sticky when it comes to unlocking, too. Any new phone you buy in the U.S. can now only be legally unlocked by your carrier under specific circumstances. Usually that involves having had service for 60 days or more first, but the fine print varies from carrier to carrier. You can read up more about the legality issue here.

Why unlock your Samsung Galaxy S4?

Why would you want to bother? The main reason would be to use your phone with another carrier while visiting another country. Once your phone is unlocked, you can take out your home SIM card and pick up another one in that country. Generally speaking, the service you’ll get from a local carrier is cheaper than what you could get with a roaming package from your carrier back home. Another use case is simply to switch carriers while you’re at home.

Again, unlocking your phone doesn’t guarantee you’ll actually be able to connect to the towers used by your new service provider. Sometimes you’ll be able to get basic access, but not higher-speed LTE. To determine which networks your phone can connect to, first you need to know the model number of your Samsung Galaxy S4. Yes, there are a couple of different ones. Swipe down from the top of the screen of your phone to get the notification tray, tap the settings gear icon in the top-right, and tap the More tab at the top. Down at the bottom, tap About device and make note of the model number. Now find that model number in this table in the top row, and you’ll be able to see which 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE wireless bands that phone can access below.  Also note whether those bands are using UMTS / HSPA or EV-DO.

Finding IMEI on Samsung Galaxy S4

Those numbers determine which service providers you can connect to. Now to identify which carrier you’d like to use your Samsung Galaxy S4 with and which wireless bands they use. This can require a bit of detective work. If a Google search for “_____ wireless bands” doesn’t help you, the most straightforward route is to get in touch with the new carrier and ask them directly which wireless bands their towers use. Wireless band information on American carriers can be found here. With these two pieces of information (bands your Samsung Galaxy S4 can access and bands your target carrier uses), you can determine if it’s worth your while to unlock your device. If there’s a match between the two, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need to find a carrier that will support some (or more of) the bands that your phone can. If none of your potential carriers support the same bands as your Samsung Galaxy S4, unlocking is likely not a viable option for you.

Getting an unlock code for your Samsung Galaxy S4

That’s a lot to take in for a first-timer, but luckily, figuring all of that out is the hard part. Actually getting your phone unlocked is pretty easy. Be sure to call up your carrier first to see if they'll be able to unlock your device for you - if you've got a good reason, they'll do it for you. If not, there are third parties you can go with, though that will void your warranty. The only piece of information you’ll need is the IMEI number of your device. This is a unique identifier code that can be found in the same About device screen we mentioned earlier. Swipe down from the top of the screen of your phone to get the notification tray, tap the settings gear icon in the top-right, and tap the More tab at the top. Down at the bottom, tap About device, then tap Status, and scroll down to find the IMEI number. You can also dial *#06# from the phone dialler to get your IMEI. With that, you should be able to order an unlock code for your phone.

There are a number of different places you can go to get an unlock code. We like these guys, but there are a number of stores, both on- and offline, that can generate a code for you once they have your phone model number, original carrier, and IMEI number in hand. When you put in a SIM card from your new carrier, you should be prompted for an unlock code. Punch that in and you should be good to go. If you can’t get your hands on the new SIM right away, but want to have your Samsung Galaxy S4 prepared ahead of time, you should be able to input the unlock code by opening the phone dialler app and punching in #7465625*638*(unlock code)# or #0111*(unlock code)#. 

There's one big thing to keep in mind here: you only get ten wrong guesses at punching in your unlock code. Don't keep putting in bad unlock codes, otherwise you won't be able to put in any unlock code at all, even if it's good, and the phone will be permanently stuck with its original carrier. 

That's it!

To recap:

  1. Figure out if your phone will work on your new carrier.
  2. Dig up your IMEI number.
  3. Call your carrier for an unlock code, or buy one from a third party.
  4. Swap SIM cards or punch in the dial code, and type your unlock code into your phone. 

Any questions or problems? Leave a comment!

 
There are 24 comments

Steve Srs says:

The recommended guys are good enough but in case of trouble which is happening more and more at the moment (not found codes, codes found but simply not working) I would recommend these guys: http://www.unlocksamsungonline.com. They don't just offer unlock codes but do reverse engineering of Samsung's and made their own software so are better able to troubleshoot in case of problems.

Also the method of entering the unlock codes you suggested doesn't always work (and it not working happens more and more) there are various alternative methods but that would make this comment very long.

Also an important note when you start your Samsung with another sim and it only says it is locked and does not offer you an option to enter the unlock code (just a dismiss button) it means it is 'hardlocked'. The only way to solve this problem is to flash the phone with a non branded firmware. You can still get your unlock codes there just won't be any way to enter them so be aware of this. Flashing a phone is def more advanced.

Steve Srs says:

"otherwise you won't be able to put in any unlock code at all, even if it's good, and the phone will be permanently stuck with its original carrier. "

That is not true either. If you do this the phone will be in 'freeze' status. This can be solved by entering the unfreeze code (MCK) first and then the unlock code (NCK). A good unlock code provider always also provides this code.

mboz1963 says:

wondering why my samsung sgh I 337 is not on the list you provided?

moehoward01 says:

It is.

Hi, i have a samsung galaxy s4 i337 on at&t and want to unlock it, i looked given site but they didn't listed this model, so after doing little search i used another site www.codes2unlock.com, i got my code with very simple instructions, which i followed and get unlocked without any trouble.

dimm0k says:

"If you can’t get your hands on the new SIM right away, but want to have your Samsung Galaxy S4 prepared ahead of time, you should be able to input the unlock code by opening the phone dialler app and punching in #7465625*638*(unlock code)# or #0111*(unlock code)#."

Just got off the phone with Sprint and they provided me with an unlock code, however using the above info in the phone dialer app along with the code they provided nothing happens. I'm running on 4.3 if that makes any difference.

Kyle Halaska says:

Did you get it unlocked I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 also and if you got it unlocked please let me know I want to do mine my bill was costing me over $200 please contact me asap

melanchton1 says:

So, what to do if you don't know the original carrier it is locked to?

Svea rain says:

O bought a s4 of kijiji amd being in a rush n excited i forgot to see if it was blacklisted, and my luck it is!!!:( blonde momemt.. Ugh! Can it still be unlocked??!!?! What can i do?!?

Wow.. this helps me lot. Thanks for such a great informative post. I have also found some best tips at : http://androidappsapkdownload.com/android-blog here too.

hi. i needed some information. i bought samsung galaxy s4 from USA on AT&T from craigslist and got to know that it is locked. when i came back to Pakistan i got it unlocked. now i am going to USA again so i was wondering that would it work with a T mobile sim card? can anyone help please?

Youngunn says:

as long as you carrier unlocked it should be fine.

Youngunn says:

Just wanted to add here that if you don't have the SIM card yet and are wanting to put in the code, the USSD code here isn't working correct for GS4 on KK update. Here is what I finally found that works to let me input the Network unlock key:

Go to dialer app and enter in #7465625*638*#
It will then ask for the Network Unlock Key. Enter your 8 digit key and then press OK. If you see nothing pop up saying error etc, then it worked. Hope this helps someone.

MrsBuzzard says:

Hi there, Youngunn. I just joined this forum just to say thank you! We paid big bucks to get out of our AT&T contract on one of our GS4's, and the unlock procedure sent with the unlock code from AT&T was not working. I called their tech support, & still no help after trying several things...they finally told me to go to an AT&T store & see if I could get help there! No store near me, so I turned to the internet. After much searching and hair pulling out after trying things that didn't work, I found your post...

Go to dialer app and enter in #7465625*638*#
It will then ask for the Network Unlock Key. Enter your 8 digit key and then press OK.

Voila! Yea! Bless your heart and thank you again for your post, that did the trick!
I do have a question though...it was so quick, I did not get an error, and I'm pretty sure I saw a message that said "Unlock successful". Is there a way to absolutely confirm it is unlocked? Been searching the internet for the answer to that question as well and all I am is confused. I am going to send this GS4 to our son on the west coast for an early college graduation present, so I need it to be unlocked for sure so that he can use it on Straight Talk. Thank you so much for your help!

Orlandotamez says:

Mrs.Buzzard
Where do you get the 8 digit key from?

MrsBuzzard says:

I got the 8 digit key from AT&T after canceling my contract & paying for the phone in full.

itslez says:

Nothing happens when I punch #7465625*638*(unlock code)# or #0111*(unlock code)# in the dialer...no prompts or anything. What am I doing wrong?

Make sure you check your dialing.

For unlock code for smartphone and specially galaxy s3,s4 this site http://mycellcode.com is very recommended they have very good price for code.

leosweb says:

If you looking to unlock your S4 I can talk to you about my experience.

I requested my unlocking code for my Galaxy S4 several times to T-mobile, though I met all the criteria’s. I was told it could take as long as 20 days for an unlock code. I then waited for 23 days and when the code came - it didn't work!!!

I paid to www.UnlockCode4U.com and got a code within 15 MINUTES! There were also instructions as to what to do if, for any reason it didn't work first time so they sent me additional instructions and IT WORKED!

weicheng42 says:

I am trying to get unlock code for my Galaxy S4 from at&t, but they told me that it could take upto 30 days. then i waited around 35 days and still didn't received it.
Then i tried http://gsmunlockhub.com and got a code within few hours! There were also sent complete step by step instructions which i followed and it worked at very first attempt!

Yaakov Beeds says:

Does this also work for the Verizon Galaxy S4??

Chuck_1122 says:

I have an ATT S4 and have unlocked it for use of an H2O SIM. Now I'm in Thailand and have put a SIM from 7/11 in my phone, but it does not work. The people at the phone store say it needs to be unlocked, but I think they are just looking for money. Do you need to unlock for different SIM cards? Do you know what might be causing this problem? Thank you.

techguy2014 says:

H2O used AT&T towers so you do not have to unlock the phone for their sim to work with a AT&T phone. I use www.Unlocktec.com all the time for my unlock codes. Very fast and easy to deal with and low prices compared to most other companies. They have great customer service and will help you out if you get stuck in the process which really is quite easy. Check um out!