How to SIM unlock the Galaxy Note 5

You may not realize this, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is still the latest and greatest Note you can buy right now. After Samsung skipped the Note 6 name and the Note 7 died an early death, the Note 5 was left at the top of the perch. And honestly, it’s still a fantastic phone. We recently upgraded my grandmother from an LG G2 to a Note 5 and I was honestly surprised at how fast and smooth the thing functioned.

If you’re looking to replace an older or broken phone or you’re still rocking the Note 5 you may have purchased from a carrier, this article is for you. Almost every phone purchased from a carrier come locked to that carrier and that can complicate things like vacations to foreign countries if you want to use your phone. In this article, we have a few tips and tricks for you to get that phone unlocked and use how you please.

First off, you can go through your carrier. If you bought your phone from a carrier and your account is in good standing, your device is paid off, and you’ve had the device on your account for a set number of days (varies by carrier) then you can request an unlock code.

If you’re like most Americans and you bought your Galaxy Note 5 on a payment plan through your carrier, you probably will not qualify for that at this point since it’s unlikely your phone is paid off. If you don’t meet the requirements or you’re trying to unlock a used or “new to you” phone, you’ll need to go through a third-party unlocking service like Android SIM Unlock.

So, how exactly do you get your phone unlocked? Here are the steps we’ll need to take for both methods.

Get your IMEI Number

Before you do anything else, you need your IMEI number. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identifier and it’s the unique code for every device to identify it to carriers for access on their networks. Here’s how you get your IMEI number:

  1. Open the phone application
  2. Dial *#06#
  3. Your phone’s IMEI will pop up on the display
  4. Write it down in a document on your computer or a piece of paper nearby

Unlocking

Free unlocking

Earlier in the article, we talked about the requirements to get your free SIM unlock. If you’re unsure if you qualify, give your carrier a call and ask. The worst they can tell you is no and all you’ve lost is time. If you do qualify, wonderful! Here are the steps to unlocking your device with an unlock code provided by your carrier:

  1. Call your carrier customer service (normally you just dial 611 and hit send!)
  2. Request an unlock code
  3. Provide the IMEI number you wrote down earlier
  4. Your unlock code will be sent to you and should arrive within 5 days
  5. Replace the SIM card in your phone with one from another carrier
  6. Enter the unlock code when the prompt comes up

When you get your unlock code, grab a piece of paper and write it down. While these steps are easy, you don’t want to be left trying to pull that information out of a document you have saved in the cloud when you have no service and no WiFi connections. Just do it the old fashion way.

Paid unlocking

If you don’t qualify for a free SIM unlock from your carrier, you still have options! You can buy a cheap unlock code from a third-party unlocker like Android SIM Unlock. This method will work for carriers besides T-Mobile and MetroPCS, so if you have service through them, we’ll have special instructions below for you.

  1. Visit Android SIM Unlock or a similar unlocking site and enter the IMEI you wrote down earlier
  2. Complete the checkout process
  3. Your unlock code will arrive in your email in about an hour, but most of the time sooner than that
  4. Put a SIM card from another carrier in your Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  5. Enter the unlock code in the prompt that appears on screen

T-Mobile and MetroPCS Unlocking Process

T-Mobile and MetroPCS, as we mentioned above, has its own unlocking app. Even if you don’t qualify for a free unlock, you can still unlock your device using the T-Mobile or MetroPCS Device unlock apps. Here’s how you’ll go about it:

  1. Visit Android SIM Unlock or a similar service and select the T-Mobile Device Unlock or MetroPCS Device Unlock option
  2. Enter your IMEI number
  3. Complete the checkout process
  4. You’ll receive your unlock confirmation email in 1 – 3 days
  5. Open the T-Mobile Device Unlock or MetroPCS Device unlock app
  6. Press Continue, then Permanent Unlock
  7. The unlock process will run and reboot your phone when it’s done

The process for T-Mobile isn’t any more complicated than other carriers, it’s just a bit slower.

It’s as easy as that. Enjoy your new (or used) Samsung Galaxy Note 5 on any network you please.