The LG V20 is one of the best phones of the last 12 months and if you’re in the market for a used phone, it’s a fantastic option. Actually, with the deep price discounts, it’s still a great option to walk into a carrier store and buy new.
But, we’re all about choice here at AndroidGuys. We want to use the phone we want on the network we want when we want to. That’s not possible with locked down phones. Additionally, if you travel to another country, you’d need to buy both a local SIM card and a new phone in that country since your LG V20 is locked to your current carrier. Let’s avoid all that expense and just SIM unlock our current V20, shall we?
To get your phone unlocked, you have two options.
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 LG V20 on a payment plan or a two-year contract through your carrier, you probably will not qualify for that at this point since it’s unlikely your phone is paid off or the contract term is up. 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:
- Open the phone application
- Dial *#06#
- Your phone’s IMEI will pop up on the display
- Write it down in a document on your computer or a piece of paper nearby
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:
- Call your carrier customer service (normally you just dial 611 and hit send!)
- Request an unlock code
- Provide the IMEI number you wrote down earlier
- Your unlock code will be sent to you and should arrive within 5 days
- Replace the SIM card in your phone with one from another carrier
- 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.
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.
- Visit Android SIM Unlock or a similar unlocking site and enter the IMEI you wrote down earlier
- Complete the checkout process
- Your unlock code will arrive in your email in about an hour, but most of the time sooner than that
- Put a SIM card from another carrier in your LG V20
- 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:
- Visit Android SIM Unlock or a similar service and select the T-Mobile Device Unlock or MetroPCS Device Unlock option
- Enter your IMEI number
- Complete the checkout process
- You’ll receive your unlock confirmation email in 1 – 3 days
- Open the T-Mobile Device Unlock or MetroPCS Device unlock app
- Press Continue, then Permanent Unlock
- 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) LG V20 on any network you please.