Unlocking a Verizon iPhone 4S for International Travel

iphone 4s 5 unlock micro sim verizon

Are you planning to travel internationally and want to unlock your iPhone? This post explains steps related to unlocking an iPhone 4S using the United States carrier, Verizon. It may also work for Android phones on the service, but my experience is with the iPhone. The process takes between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. Be sure to read the “Once you arrive” steps so you are able to finish the process.

Before you get started
You should be aware of restrictions Verizon puts on device unlocks. Some but not all of this was covered in a Venturebeat article.

  1. Your account must be in good standing. i.e. you can not owe them money.
  2. They say that your account must have been in good standing for at least 6 months, but I do not believe they enforce this rule.
  3. You may only unlock one device per phone number every 10 months.

Unlock your iPhone with Verizon

  1. While still in the United States, dial *611 from your iPhone.
  2. When you are asked what you want, say, “Unlock my Phone.” The system will recognize the request.
  3. You will be asked for youraccount password. This is a 4-6 digit pin.
  4. You will be transferred to a general operator who does not know what your request is. Tell them you are traveling internationally and need to unlock your phone. They will probably ask you where you are going, you do not need to tell them. They will explain 1-3 from “Before you get started” above. After verifying the requirements,  they will transfer you to a division of the Verizon billing department.
  5. You will be asked for your name and phone number. This person will then perform the operation to unlock your phone. They will then try to upsell you some accessories for plugging into the wall.

Once you arrive

  1. You will need a micro-sim for an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. These are not always available. A good tech shop should be able to cut a SIM card down to micro sim size. Here’s a page that describes how to do itwith a die cutter.
  2. The first time you turn on the phone, it will say the SIM is not recognized and that it will not work with the phone. You must connect your iPhone to your computer and do a sync. You apparently can do this over wifi sync or by syncing with the 30 pin / Lightning connector.  From then on, the new SIM should work.

I hope this helped you free your iPhone or Android device from the clutches of your carrier. Please feel free to post in the comments if this worked for you or if you have questions or suggestions on how to improve this guide!

1 comment

  1. G’Day! Rob,
    Interesting Post, So I’ve heard all the rumors about Verizon maybe getting the Iphone in 2011, has there been any confirmation yet?

    My phone just broke (I have Verizon), and I really want an Iphone. I heard if you get an international iphone from China or something and unlock it it would work even with the whole CDMA thing, is this true?
    Just wondering what my best option is (get a cheap phone and wait for it to come out, get the international one and unlock it, or get a nice Verizon phone because it won’t come to Verizon)…
    Keep up the good work

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