As of April 2017, there were over 720 million iPhone in use around the world. Despite the tech giant being Californian, the ‘domestic’ market is not their strongest, over 200 million iPhones are in use in China with almost half that in the USA. This figure is likely to have grown substantially in the last few years with the release of several new landmark devices. With the global smartphone penetration rate currently reaching almost 50%, the Apple iPhone now represents a significant proportion of global smartphone users. 

The question all iPhone owners want answering now

Steve Jobs had envisioned an Apple mobile device as early as 2000, he was sceptical about the future of PDA’s and despite several requests was committed to mobile devices. The California tech-giant first produced an initial beta in 2004 and after being unhappy with compromising design with Motorola, who had become the first company to support iTunes on their device, Jobs announced the first iPhone in 2007. 

Since it’s initial launch Apple has released more than twenty iterations of their now ground-breaking iPhone. The reception has been nothing short of phenomenal, the fanfare surrounding new releases is unheard of in the smartphone industry with users often queuing for many days to be the first to get their hands on the most recent release. Analysts have suggested that sales of the newly released iPhone 12, even in the midst of a global recession, will sell more than its predecessor, the iPhone 11. An impressive achievement by any reasonable standard. 

The first iPhone, though revolutionary at the time of release, can be considered a mere fossil compared to Apple’s most recent handset. The iPhone 12 is significantly more powerful, functional, capable, integrated with the world around us, and central to daily life than any smartphone before it. Attractive though it may be, all of this comes at a price to the consumer. Absolute costs may have fallen since its inception, but in recent years smartphone prices have been creeping up. Despite increasing demand, consumers are finding it increasingly more difficult to purchase the latest smartphones. 

Network providers have a clever response to this. The introduction of the network contract has taken consumers by storm with over 50% of smartphone owners signed up to such a contract. The network contract allows users to purchase a locked device from the network in question which they can pay off in small instalments over several years. While consumers may be able to avoid a hefty one-off payment, locked devices lack flexibility, cost money when travelling, and sell for less when you’re done with me.

The question we are all asking … 

It’s clear why owning a locked iPhone is less than ideal. They sell for 20-30% less than unlocked devices, they lock owners out of the increasingly more competitive SIM-only market and make travelling more expensive due to extortionate roaming charges. So, the real question is how to unlock iPhone handsets if the aforementioned is unattractive to you?

Every single iPhone sold has an IMEI number associated with it, this number never changes and is common across all providers. The IMEI number essentially allows the status of the device to be monitored via a central database, making it easier for buyers, sellers, companies, and authorities to acquire transparent and reliable information about that device. For example, if your iPhone is stolen, your IMEI can be locked, making it impossible for opportunists to make money by selling these devices.

While helpful in some situations, your IMEI also allows networks to lock a sold device to their network, meaning your device will not function when any other SIM is inserted. While this lock is in place there is no way around the associated issues, the only option is to unlock. Companies like DirectUnlocks offer the most reliable method of unlocking via a central database whitelisting of the IMEI. Working with third-party providers, they can remove the lock placed on your IMEI by the network, instantly freeing it from their grasp. The process is super simple and can be completed in just a few steps and from the comfort of your own home. 

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.