When it comes to buying a device such as an iPhone, you might notice that the same model can sell for wildly variable costs. The main reasons for this are simple – the iPhone that you are looking at will be locked or unlocked. This means that the iPhone is either tethered to one individual carrier such as Verizon or AT&T. Or, if it is unlocked, your iPhone will not be stuck with any carrier, and you can change its network provider simply by swapping out the SIM.
As you might imagine, a locked iPhone is going to be cheaper to buy. Why? Because it will be more limited as to how and where it can be used. By having a totally open iPhone, you can use it in any country in the world without things like roaming charges being added to your bill. It also means that if you find a better deal, or you need to change for any other reason, you can do so with ease.
You can also unlock a cheaper iPhone that has been locked by using an iPhone carrier unlocking service.
The reason why locked iPhones tend to be cheaper to buy is that they are more limited. Typically, any seller that is providing an iPhone will have to be clear as to whether or not it is locked or unlocked. This is important, as buying a locked iPhone is cheaper today but will cost you in terms of usability and flexibility later on. Buying an unlocked iPhone is more expensive on the day, but gives you so much more versatility in comparison.
iCloud vs carrier locking: What is the difference?
An important distinction to make here is that iCloud locking and carrier locking are two different things. When looking online, though, this is not immediately apparent.
iCloud locking is a built-in Apple security feature that means anyone apart from the user of the smartphone cannot use the device. This requires the username and password for the users Apple account to bypass. If a phone is ever lost or stolen then it means that it can be more securely protected and thus less likely to be used for any nefarious purposes.
At the same time, though, iCloud locking means that if you buy a phone second-hand and the previous user did not unlock the phone, you might have trouble using that device. Make sure that any unlocked iPhone you buy comes with the Find My iPhone feature disabled.
It is illegal to remove iCloud locking without using the official pathway, which involves using the old username and password of the previous owner. If you ever find that you have bought a phone in this situation, you might need to contact the previous owner to find a solution.
By contrast, then, network carrier locking is a simple barrier that stops the owner of the iPhone from changing networks on a whim. For example, you could have several SIM cards that you wish to swap between for whatever purpose. If the phone is not carrier unlocked, though, you will not be able to use the phone.
The reason for this is because a network provider will sell you the locked iPhone at a discount price compared to buying an unlocked iPhone. They then recoup the discounted cost through the cost of your phone contract with them. Unlike removing iCloud locking, though, it is both easy, safe, and legal to remove your network carrier locking. Simply use an iPhone carrier unlocking service to carry out the process quickly and easily.
So, if you want to spot a locked iPhone, you simply need to look out for the carrier that it is assigned to. Almost any ethical seller will mention whether or not the device is locked or not. Look out for this, and make sure that the iCloud protection has also been removed before making your purchase. Keep this in mind, and also that you can easily unlock a carrier locked iPhone by using a simple carrier unlocking service.