How to Unlock a Blacklisted Phone

Want to unlock a blacklisted phone, remove an activation lock or unlock a phone you still owe money on so you can sell it for full price? Here’s how to tackle each type of phone lock:

NOTE: These are not the same as carrier locks, which mean your phone can only be used with a certain carrier. Learn more about carrier locks.

Financed lock

Pay off your phone and ask your carrier to remove the lock. If that’s not an option, you might be able to switch carriers. See if any competing carriers will pay off your phone and/or early termination fees (ETFs) if you switch.

Another option is to transfer your phone and contract to someone else. This isn’t the same as unlocking your phone, but it can eliminate payments and free up funds.


In general, only the party that placed it on the blacklist can remove it – most likely your carrier. If you feel your IMEI was blacklisted in error, you can petition your carrier to remove it.

If your phone was reported lost or stolen, it could prove difficult to get it off the blacklist. That doesn’t mean all is lost: you may still be able to unlock a blacklisted phone by paying a blacklist removal service like IMEI Authority.

Alternatively, you can continue to use your phone on WiFi.

Activation lock

Contact your phone’s manufacturer. In most cases, they’ll remove the activation lock if you can prove you own the phone. Both Apple Stores and authorized Samsung Service Centers can help you remove an activation lock.

If you don’t have a proof of purchase, you can try software like dr.fone or pay an activation lock removal service like DoctorUnlock.

Once you’ve successfully unlocked your phone, you can continue to use it or sell it for a higher price than you could get if it were still locked.

Related Help

Q and A: Can I sell an iPhone that’s activation locked?

> How to unlock or sell a blacklisted iPhone

Bad ESN? Blacklisted IMEI? Here’s what you can do

Can you get out of a phone contract or sell a phone you owe money on?

> Now you can sell locked phones on Flipsy

Verizon phone with IMEI blocked? Here’s what you can do

AT&T phone with IMEI blocked? Here’s what you can do

Can I sell a Cricket phone with a blocked IMEI?

IMEI on Sprint blocked: Is there still hope?


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