Differences between unlocking and unblocking

Unlocking a mobile phone is a legal process and involves removing the network lock on a phone so it can accept all compatible SIM cards. Unblocking is an illegal activity and isn’t something any trustworthy phone shop or unlocking company will advise on how to do.

Phones are locked to a particular network so the network can subsidise the price of the phone to their customers. This allows the customer to pick up for the phone, often a high priced smartphone, for a cheaper cost than if they were to buy the phone already unlocked, which is also known as “SIM free”.

This is vastly different to a phone that has been blocked. When a phone is blocked, often also known as “barred” or “bricked”, it is because the phone has been reported as either lost or stolen and will no longer work on any network until a verified owner has requested the block be removed from the network. Handling a stolen phone is also an offence in the eyes of the law, and if you come into contact with one, it is advised to contact the police to have the phone recovered and hopefully returned to its original owner.

When a block is put in place, it is put on the phones IMEI (the number to individually identify each phone). This means that when someone inserts a SIM card in the phone and attempts to use for the phone (e.g. for making or receiving phone calls, text messaging or data usage) the phone will not connect to the a networks signal and therefore won’t work. This is because the networks see that the phone's unique IMEI is being attempted for use and it's at this point when the connection is blocked. The phone itself will still load up as usual and all the features, such as MP3 player, calculator, games, etc will still work, but it won’t be able to connect to any network worldwide.

It isn’t rare to see someone unknowingly pick up a blocked phone and attempt to use their SIM card in it. However, when the SIM card doesn’t work, they assume the phone is locked to an alternative network and therefore simply need to unlock the phone to have it work. Unfortunately for them this doesn’t work when the phone is blocked, because even if unlocking it were to be successful (which occurs "locally" on the handset itself and it completely separate to removing a block) the phone will still be blocked and won’t work on any network.

There is a simple check that anyone can do to see if there phone is blocked and that is to insert a SIM card from the phones original network and see if it can receive a signal. Alternatively, there is a paid instant service that we often use that can check the status of the phone. They are a company called CheckMend.

If you are purchasing a handset on a website like eBay and want to check the status of the phone, you can request the IMEI from the seller and use CheckMend to check it’s status before buying.

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12 Comments

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    Dougie

    i bought iPhone 6 of ebay quite a while ago and everything worked fine for weeks up until last night 19-06-15, and now its been barred, I've contacted the seller to see what the hell is going on but still waiting on reply

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    Cristian

    I have the same problem as dougie

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    J.C

    Were you able to fix it?

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    Cristian

    No

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    Dre' -2Stepp- Millz

    Yup I Have The Same Problem As Dougie... Someone Please Help Me Figure Out What To Do To Get It Unblocked Because Im Stuck Phoneless For A While

  • 0
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    Dre' -2Stepp- Millz

    Yup I Have The Same Problem As Dougie... Someone Please Help Me Figure Out What To Do To Get It Unblocked Because Im Stuck Phoneless For A While

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    Archibald

    I bought a Samsung Galaxy S6 on August, 2016 on Amazon from a well reputed seller.  Last March 28th, it was blocked by T-Mobile.  I communicated with the seller who in an internal amazon email stated we would look into it.  That was his last communication.  Amazon tells me more than 90 days was passed and they cannot do anything.  I now own a very expensive paper werght.  Very angry.

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    Archibald

    Is there anyway  I can have this Samsung Galaxy 'unblocked'.  I know it is illegal.  I could nevertheless give it to a relative in the Philippines.

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    Lucas # Mobile Unlocked

    When is a phone blocked it's on black list that means it was reported lost or stolen or another reason might be unpaid bills. As Archibald mentioned it's illegal that's why there is nothing we can do to help you. What I can recommend before you buy a phone from Amazon or Ebay ask seller for IMEI number and let us know we can check for you if a phone is clean. 

    MobileUnlocked Support

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    Hardwired

    Darren, Darren, Darren! Shame on you. Are you really gonna sit there and post that garbage. Now I know that most of what you posted is highly inaccurate and i know this because ive activated numerous devices that have been black listed some on the same carrier bit most on alternative carriers. You should be ashames of yourself for posting such nonsense. Here are a few options ome could take advantage of if the device the seek to activate turns up blacklisted. Bad IMEI/ESN Cleaning Services

    Sprint ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning)
    AT&T ( Swap Bad IMEI/ESN Phone for Clean One + Remote Cleaning Options)
    T-Mobile ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning)
    Verizon ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning). These are just a fraction of the options available and if someone would like to explore quite a bit more options contact me. All can offer is the truth on this topic and nothing more. Darren hasnt a clue thats obvious

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    Hardwired

    Darren, Darren, Darren! Shame on you. Are you really gonna sit there and post that garbage. Now I know that most of what you posted is highly inaccurate and i know this because ive activated numerous devices that have been black listed some on the same carrier bit most on alternative carriers. You should be ashames of yourself for posting such nonsense. Here are a few options ome could take advantage of if the device the seek to activate turns up blacklisted. Bad IMEI/ESN Cleaning Services

    Sprint ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning)
    AT&T ( Swap Bad IMEI/ESN Phone for Clean One + Remote Cleaning Options)
    T-Mobile ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning)
    Verizon ( True IMEI/ESN Remote Cleaning). These are just a fraction of the options available and if someone would like to explore quite a bit more options contact me. All can offer is the truth on this topic and nothing more. Darren hasnt a clue thats obvious

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    Alana baird

    Hardwire. Is it possible for me to have my phone unblocked..my stupid ex got my phone blocked cos it was in his name

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