Are Dual SIM Phones Locked? (Explained)

Smartphone with SIM

Dual-SIM phones entered the scene in the early 2000s, and they have only grown in popularity throughout time.

People shop for dual SIM phones because they offer so many benefits. One popular benefit is that they can potentially enable one phone to use two different networks or carriers at the same time. 

Dual-SIM phones have two IMEI numbers, which is why they can be used on two different networks at the same time; basically, they work as two separate phones combined into one.

However, this benefit is only accessible to phones that are unlocked.

So are Dual SIM phones Network locked or Unlocked?

Fortunately, most dual SIM phones come unlocked, but there are some rare cases where you can end up with a locked one. If you buy your dual SIM phone directly from the manufacturer then they are definitely unlocked, however, if you got your dual SIM phone as part of the contract with your network provider or carrier then it could be locked.

In this article, we’ll go over how to know if you have a locked dual SIM phone. Then, we’ll share how to unlock a dual SIM phone if you have one. Lastly, we’ll discuss if unlocking a dual SIM phone is the right move for you.  

Is Your Dual SIM Phone Locked?

Just because you have a dual SIM phone, it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically unlocked. Test to see if you have a locked dual SIM phone through one of the following methods.

Call Your Carrier

If you’re unsure that your phone is locked, you can directly contact your carrier or network provider. Your carrier’s customer service should be able to inform you if your phone is locked or unlocked.

Check Your Phone Settings

You can often find out if you have an unlocked phone through its settings menu. iPhones and Androids use different methods.

Follow these steps for iPhones:

  1. Go to the “Settings” app
  2. Go to “General”
  3. Go to “About”
  4. Scroll to “Carrier Lock”
  5. You have an unlocked phone if you see “No SIM restrictions.” Your phone is most likely locked if there’s anything else written in that space.

Follow these steps for Android phones:

  1. Go to the “Settings” app
  2. Go to “Connections”
  3. Go to “Mobile Networks”
  4. Find “Network Operators”
  5. Select “Search Now”
  6. If multiple carriers show up, then you most likely have an unlocked phone. If only one shows up, you most likely have a locked phone.

Just note that although this is the easiest and fastest method, it’s not always accurate. 

Use a SIM Card from a Different Carrier

You can also try borrowing another SIM card to test for a locked phone.

Find someone you know with a SIM card from a different carrier. Safely remove your current SIM card from your phone. Then, set the other SIM card in its place. 

You have an unlocked phone if you can successfully make a phone call with the new SIM card. If you can’t make a phone call, then you have a locked phone. 

How to Unlock a Locked Dual SIM Phone

There are rare cases where your dual SIM phone is locked. It typically happens when you purchase a phone from a carrier. 

You aren’t guaranteed to unlock your phone. However, you can try the following methods to unlock a locked dual SIM phone.

Just make sure that you are following consumer guidelines

Contact Your Current Carrier

The safest way to unlock your phone is to contact your phone carrier. Your phone carrier will be able to give you the most direct answer.

It can let you know if it’s possible to unlock your phone. If it’s possible, you can find out the cost and the time it’ll take for the changes to be in effect. 

If you choose to unlock your phone with your carrier, be prepared to provide your IMEI number. This number provides the make and model and the serial number of your phone. You can find the IMEI number by going to your phone’s Settings app.

Follow these steps for iPhones:

  1. Go to “General”
  2. Go to “About”
  3. Scroll down until you find the IMEI number

Follow these steps for Android phones:

  1. Go to “About Device”
  2. Go to “Status”
  3. You’ll find the IMEI on this page

Go to a Phone Repair Store

Some independent phone repair stores offer phone unlocking services.

The prices will vary from store to store. So, make sure to do your research to find a reputable store. 

Use Phone Unlocking Software

There is a variety of phone unlocking software available in the market. Most software will take your IMEI number and generate a code to unlock the phone. Prices vary for each software, and there are also some free options. 

Since there are many options available, make sure to use safe software. Do your research and make sure that the software you choose has trusted reviews and verifications.

The safest way to Unlock your phone is use – It is a reliable and trusted online unlocking service.

Should you Unlock a Locked Dual SIM Phone?

It can take some work and cost money to unlock your phone. You can enjoy the many benefits of a dual SIM phone without unlocking it.

Here are some of the general benefits of a dual SIM phone:

  • You can use the same phone for business and personal calls
  • You can keep separate contact lists for each SIM card
  • You can miss fewer calls because your other phone number can ring while you’re on a call with the other SIM card (this is only available for phones capable of Dual SIM Dual Standby)
  • It’s easier to get reimbursed for business calls because you have a SIM card dedicated for work use
  • You can increase the storage or have backup storage for your phone

These are the additional benefits that come with an unlocked dual SIM phone:

  • You can take advantage of different data plans from two different carriers for cheaper rates
  • You can have wider coverage, so if you can’t make a call using one carrier, you can try switching to the other
  • International travel is easier because you can use a local SIM card for cheaper call and text rates


Most dual SIM phones are unlocked.

However, in rare cases, they can be locked. If you have a locked dual SIM phone, there are ways to unlock it.

Just make sure that you would be someone who would regularly use the benefits of an unlocked dual SIM phone. 

For the most part, frequent international travelers will benefit greatly. You could also benefit from an unlocked dual SIM phone if you’re willing to do the work in configuring the best deals for your phone plan. 

Overall, dual SIM phones can be powerful devices with greater capabilities than a single SIM phone. If it provides benefits applicable to your lifestyle, make sure to look into finding one. 


Federal Communications Commission