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How to unlock a Three phone or tablet

If you’ve got a smartphone or tablet on Three then it might be locked to the network, preventing you from using it on any other network. Then again, it might not be.

So whether you want to check if your device is locked to Three or get it unlocked so you can use it on another network we can help. Plus, we've also included details of how to unlock devices from other networks to use with Three.

Is my device locked to Three?

While some networks sell their devices locked, Three doesn’t. Or it doesn’t any more anyway. If you bought your device from Three after January 1st 2014 then it will already be unlocked, so you don’t need to do anything to use it on another network.

Though if you're tied into a Three contract you might want to wait until it’s up for renewal before changing network.

If on the other hand you've been with Three a while and you bought your device before January 1st 2014 then chances are it’s locked. Thankfully, Three has made the unlocking process as simple as possible.

How to unlock your device

If you have an iPhone running iOS 7 or above, then you can unlock it by connecting it to iTunes and doing a restore of the device. Be aware though that this will also delete all of the data on the device, so you’ll probably want to back it up first.

If you’re running an older version of iOS, or want to unlock an iPad or non-Apple device then you’ll need to fill in an unlock form here. This will ask for various things including your name, post code, address and phone or mobile broadband number.

You’ll also need to enter your device’s IMEI, which you can find by entering *#06# into your phone’s call screen, or find in your tablet’s settings or printed on your dongle or MiFi device.

Once you’ve filled in the form Three will send you an unlock code. This will be sent in a text and will usually arrive straight away. However, it can take up to seven days to arrive at times. The text will also contain instructions on how to use the code.

Things to be aware of

The unlock form can be used to unlock phones, tablets and mobile broadband devices from Three. When filling in the form make sure your personal details match up exactly with what’s shown on your bill. They also have to be the details of the account owner.

If you don’t currently have a Three account, you’ll first need to get a Three SIM card before you can unlock your device. You can get one for free online or pay to pick one up in store. Check out our free SIM guide for full details.

Once you have a Three SIM card you can use those account details to fill in the unlock form.

Unlocking a device to use with a Three SIM card

But what if you want to do things the other way around and unlock a device from another network to use with a Three SIM card? Worry not, we've got you covered there too.

Generally, all you need to do is Google your old network along with the word 'unlock' to find the right form. Some networks also let you call to get an unlock code, though note that they may call it a DCK or Depersonalisation Control Key. To get in touch with the right people just call the network's standard customer service number for help.

Be aware that depending on the network, whether you're on Pay Monthly or Pay As You Go, and how long you've had your phone for, you may have to pay or wait before you're able to unlock your handset.


The information contained on this website has been written to assist our readers. We do not represent Three or speak on its behalf and are entirely independent of Three.

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