When looking for an unlock solution for iPhone 7 you’re likely to find 3 alternatives – unlock using software, hardware and an IMEI unlock.
Software unlocks straight out don’t work, hardware unlocks are risky and have a high likelihood of destroying your device (and your warranty). If you’re looking for a safe solution that always works, you’re looking for an IMEI-based unlock solutions.
IMEI unlocks mean having your phone’s hardware number (its IMEI) added to Apple’s global whitelisted phone database, meaning your phone is remotely cleared of the lock your provider put on it the next time it connects with Apple servers.
There are quite a few IMEI unlock providers out there, but we did the heavy lifting for you. We’ve reviewed 15 IMEI unlock providers claiming to be able to unlock iPhone 7 and 7 plus remotely, and using a rigorous methodology found the best ones. It turns out that the “best unlock” depends on the location of the provider who your phone is locked to.
If your phone is locked to a mobile provider within the United Kingdom, USA or Canada, we recommend iPhoneIMEI. They provide a quick reliable service, and have great prices, and quick helpful customer support. However, they don’t offer as many unlocks outside of the above-mentioned countries.
If your phone is locked to a mobile provider outside the United Kingdom, USA or Canada, we recommend OfficialiPhoneUnlock. They provide a wide range of unlocks from a ton of mobile operators worldwide. Their prices are very good (only a bit more than iPhoneIMEI), and they have friendly and responsive customer support, and their unlocks happen within a good timeframe.
The full guide to Unlocking iPhone 7 / 7 plus
The iPhone 7 has just been launched, and even though it’s considered the bleeding edge of technology, some issues are no different to its predecessors.
Mobile phone operators charge too much money and give a crappy level of service in return. Not to mention how much they charge when you try to use your phone to roam overseas.
The reason why they can do that to you and all their other customers? They lock your iPhones!
What does locking an iPhone mean? It’s the practice of pairing your iPhone with a singular mobile provider, and blocking any attempt to use a sim card from another provider. This leaves us the consumers with no other choice but to keep using their overpriced services.
However, unlocking iPhone 7 / 7 plus solves those issues by offering you the ability to use whichever mobile provider your little heart wishes. Thus, you can use cheaper, better service providers, and even buy and use a local sim card with cheap call, text and Internet usage rates when you’re overseas (imagine that!).
If you start researching iPhone unlocking online, you’re likely to come across the following three options. However, only one of them works smoothly and reliably.
Method #1 to Unlock iPhone 7 / 7 plus: Software Unlocks (SCAM ALERT! Run away!)
This method was actually available to early generations of iPhones. You could hack into the operating system of the iPhone and remove the locking using a piece of software.
However, guess what? The last iPhone model this worked for was iPhone 3gs! That’s 7 generations of iPhone ago. If someone tries to tell you that you can download some software to your computer and unlock your iPhone with it, they are straight up LYING.
Method #2 to Unlock iPhone 7 / 7 Plus: Hardware unlocks (Will void your AppleCare, dangerous, can destroy your phone and your data)
Some people claim to be able to unlock more recent generations of iPhones by opening the phone up and playing with its insides. Beyond the discomfort of having to give your phone away for a few days until they finish the process, it only works in 30% of cases.
Since they’re working with a welder to change the hardware in your device, the risk of messing something up – from losing your photos and app data to having your phone completely stop working – is high and just not worth it.
And on top of that, Apple can detect the inside of your iPhone has been fiddled with, and your AppleCare warranty will be completely revoked!
So between low success rates, the potential for hardware failures and having your warranty revoked, this is a no-no for most reasonable iPhone owners that have another option. And that option does exist…
Method #3 to Unlock iPhone 7 / 7 plus: IMEI Unlocks (a safe, reliable and permanent unlock)
The first thing to explain when discussing the IMEI unlocking method is what an IMEI is.
IMEI is a unique number identifying your iPhone. Once you activated your iPhone the first time, your device is registered in Apple servers. If it has been locked to the operator, it is registered as such. If you change your database entry so that it says your phone is unlocked, the phone just automatically unlocks!
The process is permanent. Once an iPhone is unlocked, it is unlocked for life. Your phone’s warranty remains valid and in tact. And there are no associated risks with the process – it’s completely safe.
For these reasons, I only recommend IMEI unlocks for anyone looking to unlock their iPhone 7 or 7 plus.
Why should I listen to you?
While there are no degrees out there in unlocking iPhones, I have the only thing that matters in that area – a ton of experience.
I’ve unlocked my first iPhone in 2008.
It was an iPhone 3G locked to AT&T. Like many other AT&T clients, I quickly realized I was being ripped off and wanted out. I found out about software unlocking – which worked back then – and managed to squirm my way out of my locked contract.
Since then, my friends always hit me up about unlocking their iPhones, and I was happy to oblige. I tried hardware unlocking once, it screwed my phone up so much it became unusable. I found out about IMEI unlocks and have been recommending them ever since.
IMEI Unlock comparison process
I decided to use real world data to compare unlock providers. First off, I compiled a list of everyone claiming to do an IMEI unlock for iPhone 7. There were 12.
Following that, I read reviews on various sites dedicated to covering such things, including Trust Pilot and Ripoff Report. This left me with 3 remaining providers to report on in this review.
What I was then left with were 3 services. Next step was the most challenging one – location people who owned a locked iPhone 7 or 7 plus and wanted it unlocked. However, through a few posts on Facebook and using my contacts with a few tech bloggers I ended up with the IMEI number for 12 locked iPhones (7*iPhone 7, 5*iPhone 7 plus). I then just went ahead and tested the various IMEI unlock services with those phones.
The phones came locked to a variety of networks – Three (UK), Vodafone (UK), Rogers (Canada), AT&T (US), Sprint (US), Verizon (US), SFR (France), and Vodafone (Germany).
IMEI Unlock Testing Process
The actual test was pretty straightforward. As I had 12 phones, I paid to buy 4 unlocks from each of the top three providers I figured were legit.
I pretty much just waited from that moment forward for the unlock process to finish. The only other thing I did was to contact the unlock provider’s customer support to see how well it works.
I used 6 different metrics when comparing the various unlock providers.
Metric #1: Unlock success ratio (30% of total score)
Obviously, this is the most important metric. The providers were measured upon completing the unlock process.
I should emphasize that even after getting the confirmation message that the phones were unlocked, each and every unlocked phone was tested with a different SIM card to confirm unlock success.
Metric #2: Number of mobile operators available to unlock (15% of total score)
Since I’m writing this for Internet users worldwide, I have to consider the amount of mobile operators available to unlock an important metric. If someone only has a few small mobile operators in a few small countries, then I’d cross them off my list of recommended services.
Metric #3: Price (20% of total score)
The third metric is how much the actual unlock charges. Unlock providers realize that some people are desperate to unlock their phones they would pay crazy prices. So if someone charged outrageous fees for the unlock, I consider that a no-no.
So, I measured the services which managed to provide a good service on how cheap they provided it for.
Metric #4: Range of payment methods (10% of total score)
Some providers only offered a narrow range of uncomfortable payment options like Western Union transfer or obscure payment methods using crypto currencies like Bitcoin that most of us don’t have available.
If a service accepted Visa, Mastercard and PayPal – the most popular ways to pay on the internet these days – I considered that a plus.
Metric #5: Customer support (10% of total score)
I understand how it can feel to pay a service provider you don’t know, hoping they would complete a service you need without ever having met them.
Good customer service that responds on time, in a polite and helpful manner, and always lets you know where your current project is at, will alleviate that problem.
So, I tested each provider with a few messages to their customer support to see what their standards are in terms of response time and how helpful their support agents were.
Metric #6: Speed (15% of total score)
Usually people unlock their iPhones when they are ready to buy a SIM card on another network or about to go on a trip overseas. In other words, they want to use their phone was a new SIM pretty soon.
For the purposes of this review, I compared the amount of time it took IMEI unlock providers to finish the unlock process. That is – the time between me completing payment until I received word from them the iPhone unlocking process was successfully completed.
Best IMEI Unlock for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
So without further ado, here are the best 3 iPhone 7/ 7+ IMEI unlock companies ranked from best to worst.
#1 – iPhoneIMEI (96% – use in case your phone is locked to a provider within the United Kingdom, USA or Canada)
Without a doubt, I’d recommend iPhoneIMEI as the number 1 choice for unlocking iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 plus.
They have great prices, responsive customer support, tens of thousands of satisfied customers. We purchased an unlock service for 4 iPhones and they’ve managed to unlock all of them. They mostly support unlocking out of mobile providers in the United Kingdom, USA and Canada and they don’t have many options for people in other countries. However, seeing that the majority of the traffic to my site comes from these (English speaking) countries, I decided to place them in first position.
The most important metric was success – whether or not all the phones were successfully unlocked. These guys managed to do that for all the phones we sent their way.
But, there’s more. They also had prices that were on average 15% cheaper across 10 mobile operators from the USA, Canada and the UK.
They also provided top-notch customer service. I get in touch on 3 different occasions and have always received prompt, useful and informative support.
In terms of unlock times, they completed the unlock process within 2 days on average (measured from moment of payment). This is an impressive time, and the same as our #2 rated unlock provider.
iPhoneIMEI only lost points in the “range of providers” metric. While you can get a phone locked to any USA, UK or Canadian provider unlocked, you might find they don’t have your service provider if you’re from another country.
Cheap, great customer service and full 4 out of 4 iPhones unlocked makes iPhoneIMEI my top recommended IMEI unlocking service for iPhone 7 and 7 plus – if you’re in the USA, Canada or the United Kingdom.
If you’re in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom and want to unlock iPhone 7 or iPhone 7+ from a local provider, go to iPhoneIMEI.net.
#2 OfficialiPhoneUnlock (91% – use in case your phone is locked to a provider outside of the United Kingdom, USA or Canada)
The top 2 providers were really close. They both received similar scores for customer support, and both unlocked all 4 iPhones quite quickly. Official iPhone Unlock has a wider selection of unlocks outside the US, Canada and UK but ultimately it was about 10% more expensive for the providers they both had in common.
I have many good things to say here.
They succeeded to unlock all 4 iPhone 7 / 7 Plus whose IMEI numbers we gave them – and they did it in 48 hours on average. Their customer support was on point – it was speedy, helpful and gave the right information when needed.
They offer the largest selection of unlocks currently available by any IMEI unlock provider. This is not just a small difference, but a huge one – they have dozens of countries more than iPhoneIMEI. If I had to guess, I’d say that if there is a provider out there in some country, you could lock an iPhone 7 from him with these guys.
The factor that eventually led to Official iPhone Unlock to get a lower score was that their prices were slightly higher. I compared the providers they both had an IMEI unlock for – American, UK and Canadian ones – and it consistently came up around 10%-15% more expensive.
Official iPhone Unlock are pretty great. They have good customer support for their clients, provide quick results and they have the biggest list of mobile operators to unlock anywhere on the web.
Despite the great experience I had with them, they are slightly more expensive than #1 for unlocks they both provide. Since the two offer similar quality of service, I see no reason to pay more.
However, if you’re outside the USA, Canada or the United Kingdom– use their services and get your iPhone 7 unlocked with a clear head.
If you’re outside of the United Kingdom, USA or Canada and want to unlock iPhone 7 or iPhone 7+ from a local provider, we recommend Official iPhone Unlock.
#3 Keys2iPhone (40% – not recommended)
Keys2iPhone only made it to this list because they actually did unlock 2 out of 4 iPhones we tested them with. However, we had a bad experience. They asked us for extra money in order to complete the unlock in 3 out of 4 cases (including one case they didn’t actually manage to unlock!).
The one thing is that, for the 2 phones they actually did manage to unlock – the unlock is complete, safe and permanent. Like in all our tests, we’ve tested it with a different SIM card then the phone was locked to, and it worked. But that’s just what an IMEI unlock always is.
I’ve had such bad experiences with these guys.
First off – they only unlocked half of the phones we paid for (!!!)
Even then, it took over a week to do (8 days, 10 days). They asked for more money claiming their costs just went up – I feel this is just a scam, because in one of those occasions they didn’t even unlock the phone! We did pay in all 3 cases, so I guess shame on me.
Finally, you can imagine throughout all of this, I was upset and wrote customer support quite a lot. There was no response on their end. Eventually we asked our credit card company to refund us for the 2 phones that they didn’t unlock. Disgraceful.
Keys2iPhone managed to unlock 2 phones out of 4 we purchased. They didn’t refund us of their own volition and didn’t communicate with us at all throughout the process. Everything from their timeframe to completion to customer support was just bad. Avoid.
I’ll reiterate the main points of this article here.
There are 3 ways you’ll find online to unlock your iPhone – software, hardware and IMEI. Software unlocks haven’t worked for the last 7 generations of iPhones (the last one they worked for was iPhone 3gs). Hardware unlocks is risky and will nullify your iPhone’s warranty.
IMEI unlocks are the only reliable and secure method for unlocking iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus.
After a broad research of 15 different IMEI unlock companies, I tested the top 3 services by buying 4 unlock services from each (12 iPhones in total).
I recommend a different unlock solution depending on which country the mobile operator you want to unlock your phone from is located (for example, AT&T is located in the US).
In case your iPhone is locked to a mobile provider within USA, Canada or the United Kingdom, I recommend using iPhoneIMEI. They are the experts in unlocking phones from those parts of the world, have the best price, great customer service. The unlocks are completed in a speedy manner. If your phone is locked to a provider from another country, go for our second option below, otherwise use them without hesitation – we’ve had nothing but good unlocking experiences with them.
In case your iPhone is locked to a mobile provider outside of the USA, Canada or the United Kingdom, I recommend using Official iPhone Unlock. This company also have great customer service, good prices and a real wide range of providers from all over the world. If you’re living outside of the US, Canada and the UK, they are much more likely to be able to unlock your iPhone from your mobile provider.