In Short: I’ve tested all three unlock methods that claim to work with iPhone 6 and 6s. Software unlocking hasn’t worked since the iPhone 3 and hardware unlocking will ruin your iPhone and void your warranty. The only reliable way to unlock your iPhone 6 is with an IMEI unlock (sometimes called factory unlock).
I’ve combed through hundreds of reviews and put the top 4 unlock companies to the test and can confidently say that IMEI Doctor is the best IMEI unlock provider to unlock your iPhone 6.
My Pick: IMEI Doctor
IMEI Doctor is my #1 choice to unlock your iPhone 6 for one really important reason: they’re the only iPhone unlock company who have been able to consistently unlock every iPhone we’ve sent, including this test of four iPhone 6’s. When you add in that they’re fast, reasonably priced, and have solid customer support, it makes them an obvious #1 choice.
To unlock your iPhone 6, head to IMEI Doctor now.
Runner-Up: Direct Unlocks
If IMEI Doctor is unavailable, give Direct Unlocks a try. They weren’t able to unlock all iPhone 6 unlocks we purchased (only unlocking 2 out of 4 in this test, but maintain an 80% average across all tests we’ve performed) but they were responsive, communicated clearly, honestly, and quickly, and refunded our payments for the unsuccessful unlocks within 48 hours.
If you aren’t able to access IMEI Doctor, Direct Unlocks are a reasonable second place.
- Why you should trust me
- Who should do this
- How I picked
- How I tested
- My Pick
- The Competition
Why You Should Trust Me
I’ve done this before; a lot of times. I had my own smartphone repair shop for eight years and unlocked hundreds, if not thousands of phones. Since selling that businesses, I’ve written more than 100 articles about smartphones and smartphone technology for various leading tech websites.
To ensure this review remains unbiased by my previous experiences, I’ve enlisted the help of three other smartphone repair store owners, all with experience unlocking their customer’s phones.
Who Should Do This
The people who should unlock their iPhone is anyone who is:
- Not receiving adequate phone coverage from their current service provider
- Travelling overseas and don’t want to pay global roaming fees
- Being overcharged by their current provider and want to find a cheaper option
- Dissatisfied with the level of customer support from their current provider
- Selling their iPhone 6 or 6s and wants to get the best price possible
Or anyone considering any of the above and wants to be able to make the choice on the spot without having to pay their carrier potentially hundreds of dollars before they can do what they want with their phone.
How I Picked
The first step in picking a winner was easy: eliminating software and hardware unlocking.
Software unlocking was all the rage around the time of the iPhone 3. There were certain models carrying certain modems that once jailbroken, you could run a specific piece of software that would trick your carrier into thinking your phone was unlocked, allowing you to use a SIM from any carrier. It was actually incredibly clever and obviously had a huge amount of work put into it. I performed this on many iPhones and was continually impressed at how effective it was.
But, as with any hacks that rely on aging hardware, the loophole was closed with the release of the iPhone 4 and no viable solution has been found since.
Hardware unlocking was the next ‘flavor of the month’ to jump onto the scene when software unlocking was rendered obsolete. It involves placing any SIM inside a protective skin before placing it inside your iPhone. This skin interfeers with the signal sent by the SIM and tricks the phone into believing the inserted SIM is actually from the carrier your phone is locked to, thus allowing you to use any carrier’s SIM.
Can you spot the issue with this? If you’ve ever inserted a SIM into your iPhone, this should be obvious. The SIM slot is incredibly tight. What do you think is going to happen if you insert a skin over a SIM before inserting it? Usually, one of three things:
- It doesn’t fit
- You manage to get the SIM into the slot, but it’s aligned incorrectly and doesn’t work
- You manage to damage the SIM slot in your efforts and break your iPhone
Now, I have seen it work once, and the phone owner was very happy, but the other 278,000 (roughly) people who tried it all not only didn’t unlock their phone but also voided their warranty. For me, that rules out hardware unlocking as a suitable alternative.
IMEI or Factory Unlocking
That left IMEI or Factory unlocking. IMEI unlocking is the simplest, easiest, and most reliable unlocking process. All that needs to happen is for your phone’s status to be changed from locked to unlocked in the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) database. That’s it. There’s no software to download and no pieces of hardware to try and jam into tight slots on your phone.
But, here’s the issue: you can’t just access the database. You need a trusted industry insider to do this for you. And that’s where unlock providers come into it. They have connections with industry insiders inside phone carriers who can change your phone’s status.
Picking a winner from the various IMEI unlock providers was far easier than I had hoped. I developed a five-point criteria to assess each provider and rank them accordingly. That criteria was:
- Success – Did they unlock all IMEI they were paid to?
- Price – Were did their prices rank?
- Speed – How quickly were they able to unlock the iPhones?
- Support – How responsive, polite, and courteous was their support team?
- Ease – How easy or difficult was the unlock process?
It turns out that once again (this has been consistent across all iPhone unlock tests I’ve performed), this was completely unnecessary. The only criteria was #1: did they unlock all iPhones they were paid to?
Only one provider satisfied this criteria and so they were my #1 choice. My #2 choice was also easy because they were the only other unlock provider to unlock ANY of the iPhones I sent. Every other provider failed this one basic test and so there really wasn’t much competition.
How I Tested
The test was a three-stage process.
The first stage involved eliminating any provider who was an obvious scam. This started by getting the feedback of those who unlock other people’s phones for a living – the three smartphone repair store owners who’re assisting with this review. They were able to identify 11 unlock providers who were going to take our money and provide nothing in return and they were eliminated from the review process.
The second stage of the testing process was to analyze reviews of the unlock companies who hadn’t been eliminated in stage 1 to find any who may also be scams. For this, I read more than 50 reviews for each provider on 4 different review sites and eliminated any provider who scored worse than 3 stars with obvious legitimate criticisms (as opposed to just fake reviews).
The final stage of the testing process was to put the remaining four unlock companies to the test by purchasing four iPhone 6 unlocks from each of them. Each provider was ranked on the criteria listed above and the eventual winner was:
My Pick: The Best iPhone 6 Unlock Company is IMEI Doctor
The best iPhone 6 unlock company is IMEI Doctor. They were the only that unlocked all phones they were paid to in this test, but have consistently done so in every test of every iPhone (including iCloud accounts).
Their payment and checkout system was easy to navigate, which isn’t always the case with iPhone unlock companies.
Their customer support was responsive (averaging less than two hours for each response), polite (even when answering questions that were clearly already answered on their site) and helpful.
And finally, everything just worked. Their checkout process was smooth and simple, with the process being both intuitive and easy. Their confirmation of payment emails arrived within 2 minutes of paying. Their unlock confirmation emails arrived quickly and their instructions to reset the phone and take advantage of the unlock were clear and concise. Overall, it was just a simple and easy process which is why they’re my #1 recommendation.
To unlock your iPhone 6 now, head to IMEI Doctor.
Runner-Up: Worth a Shot to Unlock your iPhone 6
The runner-up to IMEI Doctor is Direct Unlocks. Whilst they were only able to unlock two of the four iPhone 6s we sent them for this test, they have maintained an 80%+ average across all tests we’ve performed (which is lightyears ahead of the nearest rival).
They fulfilled the rest of the criteria reasonably well. They were reasonably fast with their completed unlocks done within four days. Their website was reasonably easy to navigate. Their prices were reasonable, being only 15-20% higher than IMEI Doctor.
They did perform very well on the customer support test, though. They were extremely responsive, very helpful, and impressively courteous and friendly. And when they weren’t able to unlock two of the iPhones, they sent refunds within 48 hours.
All in all, if IMEI Doctor isn’t available for some reason and you have to use an alternative, then Direct Unlocks is a good enough substitute.
The only other iPhone 6 unlock company I tested was Sim Unlock. I’ve tested them before and not had great experiences but was informed they were under new management and might be worth a shot. I can say that their website checkout experience and customer support have both improved, but unfortunately, they STILL didn’t unlock any of the four iPhones I paid them to unlock.
They have refunded all four payments although it was a struggle to get them to with multiple threats to escalate the matter.
If you want iPhone 6 your unlocked, stay right away from software and hardware unlocking. The only effective unlock method is IMEI unlocking. I reviewed twenty iPhone 6 unlock providers and tested the top 3. I can confidently say that IMEI Doctor is the best choice.
They’re fast, cheap, have great support, and most importantly are the only company able to consistently unlock every iPhone I have ever sent them.
If you have an iPhone 6 you want unlocked today, head to IMEI Doctor now.