unlocking

How do I unlock my Android phone?

Bob from Hermosa Beach, CA

Episode 1075

Bob has an LG Android phone through MetroPCS and he would like to unlock it. Leo says it isn't something he'd want to try himself, nor should he take advantage of offers on the Internet to unlock it. What Leo would recommend is contacting his carrier and ask if they will unlock it. He should tell them he's planning on traveling overseas and would like to unlock it to take advantage of purchasing a local sim to make phone calls. If he's past his two year commitment, they should be willing to do it. In fact, the chatroom says that MetroPCS will unlock it after three months.

How can I unlock my Droid to change carriers?

Joe from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1057

Joe has five late model Motorola Droid phones with Verizon, but he wants to change carriers. Leo says that Motorola Droids only work on Verizon. If he unlocks them, he could take them over to Sprint, and maybe AT&T or T-Mobile if the frequencies are supported. He'll have to get the SIM slot unlocked. He should tell them he's going overseas and needs it unlocked to get a local SIM. PadreSJ says a DROID MAXX can support an AT&T SIM Card, so if he has a friend who has one, he could try it.

How can I get an iPhone unlocked to work on Straight Talk?

Carol from San Diego, CA

Episode 1040

Carol bought an AT&T phone but can't unlock it without a phone number to use it on Straight Talk. Leo says it's not likely that she'll be able to get AT&T to unlock it. Leo said that Carol bought it at the subsidized price, so she'll have to go with AT&T for two years. Unless it's a used iPhone, in which case Leo says that Carol can get it unlocked. If she's an AT&T customer in good standing, she can. But since Carol isn't, then she'll have to go to with AT&T Straight Talk in order to use it.

How can I use my iPhone overseas?

Episode 1007

Bob from Santa Barbara, CA
iPhone 5

Bob's wife is traveling to Italy on vacation and wants to know if she should bring her iPhone. Leo says that she could pay for an international data roaming plan. They're not cheap and the data caps are small, not to mention the cell call charges.

Another way is to turn off data roaming. She won't have data unless she has Wi-Fi access, like at her hotel. Some apps, like Google Maps, would allow her to cache data while away from Wi-Fi.

How can I unlock my Sprint iPhone?

Episode 956

Bob from San Diego, CA
Sprint MiFi

Bob wants to know where the best place to get a SIM card is for his Sprint iPhone when he's in Europe. Leo says that Sprint uses CDMA, not GSM, which is what's required for a SIM card. However, the iPhone 5 is a world phone, meaning it has both CDMA and GSM options. With Sprint, however, the GSM slot is locked. He could go to Sprint and explain to them that he's going to Europe and ask if they'll unlock it. Then he could buy a local SIM while he's in Europe. The chatroom says that if he's a customer in good standing, Sprint should unlock it.

Unlocking Smartphones Will Soon Be Illegal

Episode 947

According to the same librarian of Congress who decided that jailbreaking was perfectly legal, it is now a crime to unlock your smartphone without permission. Leo says that the phone is the user's personal property and it should be their right to unlock it. To say a person can't unlock it means it really isn't their property at all and that's just confusing. The carrier can still unlock it, and many will after the contract is up.

How can I unlock the Sprint iPhone 5?

Pronav from New York, NY

Episode 938

Pronav bought an iPhone 5 on Sprint, but hears that Verizon iPhone’s comes unlocked. Would the Sprint iPhone 5 be unlocked as well, since it’s the same phone? Leo says no. Verizon chose on their own to unlock the iPhones that come through them. Leo believes that going forward, this will likely become the norm though. Will he be able to use his Sprint phone on another service when his contract is over? An eager rep at Verizon may be able to do it by unlocking it with software.