Since there doesn’t seem to be an easy and straight through guide for unlocking your iPhone, thought I’d quickly throw something together.
Unlocking your iPhone is great. It allows you to put in other carrier’s SIM cards. This is great if your telco isn’t cutting it and wish to move networks and keep your phone. It’s also handy for when you travel; picking up an international SIM is much cheaper than using your local SIM card and then roaming overseas. Oh, and it increases the resale value; anybody on any carrier in the world can use it now!
Around the world, most telcos will allow you to unlock your iPhone. Here in Australia, all telcos will unlock a post-paid iPhone for free. If you’ve picked up an iPhone (3GS) prepaid, you’ll have to cough up an unlocking fee. Overseas, companies such as AT&T will only unlock your phone when you’re at the end of your contract (officially). Apple has a list of carriers that will unlock your iPhone on their website.
If you contact your carrier today, chances are they’ll tell you it may take a few days (up to 72 hours) for things to happen, and at that point you need to connect to iTunes and restore. However, as of iOS 5, and the new PC-free initiative and methods, unlocking has become much easier. There’s no need to do a great big backup, and then restore just to unlock your phone.