How do I unlock my T-Mobile phone?

T-Mobile (Image credit: Android Central)

If you're attached to your current phone but not T-Mobile, then you can unlock your phone and take it to another provider. You'll just have to make sure it's compatible with other networks. If you want to switch to Verizon, then you probably won't have any luck with an unlocked phone; however, if you're switching to AT&T you'll have a better time.

T-Mobile's unlock requirements

You can't just ask T-Mobile to unlock your phone; you must meet certain requirements to request an unlock code.

Here's a rundown of T-Mobile's unlock requirements:

  • You have to have bought your phone from T-Mobile.
  • Your phone can't be reported as lost, stolen, or blocked to T-Mobile.
  • Your account with T-Mobile cannot already be canceled and it must be in good standing (meaning that if you haven't paid your bill in three years, you're probably not getting unlocked).
  • You cannot have requested more than two unlock codes, per line of service, in the last year. So, if you have two phones in your name, you can't have asked for more than four unlock codes.
  • Your phone has to satisfy all of T-Mobile's unlocking terms and conditions.
  • T-Mobile can request proof of purchase and "certain other exceptions may apply." So, don't say anything nasty about Catherine Zeta-Jones.

For those who are on postpaid plans, such as T-Mobile ONE, there are some additional requirements:

  • Your device must have been active on T-Mobile's network for at least 40 days.
  • If the device is financed through T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Plan or JUMP! On Demand, the balance must be fully paid off, "unless otherwise specified".
  • If the handset is on an account that is under a contract term, you are required to make 18 consecutive monthly payments. Or, the account must have been moved to the Simple Choice no-contract rate plan.
  • In the case that the device being requested was on an account that was canceled, the balance of that account must be zero "including all pending charges".

How can I request an unlock code from T-Mobile?

There are a couple of different ways to get an unlock code from T-Mobile. The first and most obvious one is to contact T-Mobile customer service or hit up your nearest T-Mobile store and ask. They make it pretty clear on a few pages of their website that they reserve the right to deny any request.

Android users also have the option to download the Mobile Device Unlock app, which you can use to unlock your phone right on your phone. The best part is that you don't even have to manually enter a code. Once downloaded, you can request and unlock your phone all within the app itself.

Is there a cost involved?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, then unlocking is free. If you're trying to unlock a prepaid phone that's been active for less than a year, you have to have had more than $100 in refills since the device's first use date (not including the initial activation payment).

For non-T-Mobile customers, it's hard to say that T-Mobile has an official stance. You can definitely request an unlock code, but if someone sold you the unit without paying it off, then there will be a balance owed and you will not be able to unlock it without paying for it (prices will vary depending on the balance). That likely also means that the account associated with the phone was not in good standing, and therefore make the phone ineligible, as per the requirements.

Get the best experience

When it comes to finding the best smartphone, the choices are plenty, meaning it can be rather tough. But thankfully, the options for finding the best accessories is pretty easy and straight-forward. We have listed some of our favorites, including some great headphones and a charger that will keep your phone topped off, regardless of where you are.

Jaybird X4 Bluetooth Headphones ($110 at Amazon)

Jaybird has become a household name over the last few years and the X4 headphones could be the company's best product yet. Complete with IPX7 sweat and water protection, these are perfect for any weather conditions or whatever workouts you need to get done. Plus, there's an app that allows you to customize the sound profile of the headphones to your liking.

PopSockets PopGrip

PopSockets PopGrip (Image credit: PopSockets)

PopSockets ($10 at Amazon)

In many cases, smartphones continue to get bigger and bigger, making them harder to handle. That's where PopSockets come to play as they easily attach to the back of your phone or case and give you something to hold onto when you are just out of reach of the top of your screen. If that's not an issue, you can also use these to prop your phone up and catch up on some of your favorite shows or YouTube videos.

Anker PowerCore 13000 C ($40 at Amazon)

Battery life is of utmost importance nowadays since we rely on our smartphones for so much. Anker is one of the best in the business, and the PowerCore 13000 C could be the best portable charger today. The PowerCore includes USB-C charging, along with two USB-A ports and Anker's PowerIQ technology.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.