In Short: I’ve tested 3 different unlock methods, investigated hundreds of reviews and paid for 11 different iPhone 7 unlocks with 5 different providers. I found that software unlocks are a scam, hardware unlocks will occasionally work but will most likely destroy your phone and void your warranty in the process, and most IMEI or factory unlock companies will promise the world and deliver nothing.
After all the research, I can confidently say that the best way to get a safe, reliable, and effective unlock is with IMEI Doctor.
My Pick: IMEI Doctor
Key Features: Fast, reliable, and very reasonable pricing.
IMEI Doctor is the #1 pick for unlocking your iPhone 7 for several reasons. Firstly, their prices are on par, or even better (depending on your carrier and country), than the competition. Secondly, they actually deliver the unlocks when they say they’re going to — which if you’ve ever tried to unlock your iPhone, you’ll know is a rarity. And finally, their customer support actually responds when you ask them a question (it’s depressing that this is a positive).
Unlock your iPhone 7 here: IMEI Doctor
Runner-Up: Direct Unlocks
Key Features: Solid customer support
Direct Unlocks is my second pick for iPhone 7 unlocks. Whilst their pricing isn’t as reasonable as IMEI Doctor and their speed is less than ideal, what they do really well is customer support. Whilst you may pay a little more and might have to wait longer to get your unlock completed, their customer support will be with you all the way, keeping you updated on your progress the whole way.
Visit Direct Unlocks here.
- 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’m a former smartphone repair store owner who spent 8 years unlocking customer’s iPhones using unlock services. Since I moved on from that, I’ve unlocked my personal iPhone 7, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
To make sure this review isn’t biased by my previous experiences, I enlisted the help of the woman who purchased my smartphone store and got the input of 4 other smartphone retail and support store owners. I also scoured the internet for reviews across several trusted review websites and then tested the information we found in the reviews by attempting to unlock 11 iPhone 7’s to verify the review accuracy.
Who Should Use These Services
iPhone 7 unlock services are unfortunately necessary for anyone who wants to escape the clutches of a controlling phone carrier without paying their ridiculous fees. You could want to escape for a number of reasons, including:
- Inadequate phone coverage in your neighborhood
- Poor data speeds
- Poor customer support
- Unethical billing practices
- Avoiding global roaming fees
Or any other situation that’s left you dissatisfied with your carrier and wanting to explore your carrier options.
How I Picked
The key factor in determining who I eventually chose as the best iPhone 7 unlock provider were the test results. Combing through hundreds of reviews will give you other people’s opinions, but as I’m sure we all know, online reviews can be faked. I wanted to be able to provide an unbiased, fair, and reasonable opinion, not clouded by the opinions of others.
I compared each IMEI unlock provider by testing them 5 unlock criteria:
- Success – was the unlock successful?
- Price – how much did the unlock cost?
- Speed – how long did the unlock take?
- Support – did anyone answer my questions?
- Ease – how easy was the process?
Obviously here, the main criteria is ‘Success’. If the unlock provider failed to unlock my iPhone (which happened FAR more often than I would have hoped) then they were immediately eliminated. Those who were successful were then compared on the other 4 criteria.
The provider that scored highest in the other 4 categories was then recommended as my #1 recommendation. Other successful unlock providers were then ranked in order.
How I Tested
The testing process was straightforward. It consisted of three stages:
Stage 1: Eliminate Ineffective Methods
A small amount of internet research will reveal three methods for unlocking iPhones: software unlock, hardware unlock, and IMEI unlock. I know from my previous experience unlocking customer phones that software unlocks (jailbreaking and running unlock software) are not effective because they relied on utilizing hardware flaws that were phased out with the iPhone 4.
I also know that hardware unlocks are dangerous as they aren’t very effective (10-15% success rate) and they also void your warranty.
This allowed me to eliminate both software and hardware unlocks before I even started the review process.
Stage 2: Eliminate Obvious Scams
The next stage in the testing process was to eliminate obvious scam websites — of which there are FAR too many! This involved investigating hundreds of reviews across the major review engines to determine which providers had actually successfully processed unlocks and which ones would just take your money and run.
To account for the large number of fake reviews that can be posted by competitors trying to discredit another service, if an unlock provider had at least 20% positive reviews, I included them in my test pool.
I also eliminated any unlock providers whose websites didn’t instill trust — either through being in a foreign language or only accepting not-so-reliable payment methods, like Western Union.
Stage 3: Test Unlock Providers
The final stage was to actually test the unlock providers still included in my test pool. This involved getting IMEI’s of 11 iPhone 7’s (2 per unlock provider and then another one for a friend who just wanted her iPhone unlocked) and paying the remaining 5 unlock providers to unlock them.
With some, this process took as little as 48 hours, and others, as you’ll see below, still have yet to complete the unlock nearly 2-months later.
My Pick for the Best iPhone 7 Unlock Provider: IMEI Doctor
The best way to unlock your iPhone 7 is through IMEI Doctor. They actually unlock your phones (rather than just waiting you out until you get tired of asking for a refund), they do it quickly (in as little as 48 hours in some cases) and you can chat with their English-speaking customer support through the whole process.
Our tests of IMEI Doctor started well when I messaged their support before starting the unlock process to ask a few questions obviously answered on their website already. Their support responded in under 2 hours and was courteous, polite, and helpful, directing us to the relevant information and offering to explain it in more detail if anything was unclear.
I purchased unlocks for both our iPhone 7s (at very competitive prices) and paid through their simple-to-use system.
I immediately received confirmation emails for both unlocks stating the approximate time and day (48-hours) our unlocks would be processed and contact information for support in case I had more questions.
To test their customer support even further, I emailed them in 24 hours asking for an update. Once again, their support was polite and courteous, explaining that our unlocks were currently in the cue and would be delivered within the timeframe promised in the emails.
12-hours later, I received confirmation emails that both unlocks had been processed. I reset my phones and was able to use a sim card from a competitor, just as promised.
All these elements combined – good prices, fast service, easy to use system, and great customer support – are the reason I recommend IMEI Doctor as my #1 choice.
If you have an iPhone 7 you need unlocked and don’t want to get scammed out of your money, go to IMEI Doctor now.
The second best iPhone Unlock service is Direct Unlocks. Just like IMEI Doctor, they unlocked both iPhones, but they’re second place for a reason.
The first and most obvious difference is the price. They’re roughly 20%-45% more expensive than IMEI Doctor. They’re not entirely unreasonable, but why pay more when you don’t have to?
Once again, I emailed their customer support asking pointless questions that were easily answered by their website and I have to be honest, I was blown away. Their support took the time to carefully answer each question I had and even went out of their way to give me some personal feedback I didn’t ask for on how to unlock my particular model. I was really impressed.
Signing up was easy, once again. No issues there. The confirmation emails came through basically instantly and there were no challenges paying.
I did run into issues after that, though. I received an email 24 hours later stating that there was going to be a delay with my unlock of between 48 and 72 hours. Given that my unlock was only supposed to take 48 hours, this was frustrating, but at least they let me know in a polite and apologetic manner.
Low and behold, just over 52 hours later, my unlock confirmation emails came through! I reset my phone, tested a new sim, and I was free to use the phone on any carrier I wanted.
All in all, a great service, just a little more expensive and a little less reliable.
If you can’t access IMEI Doctor then Direct Unlocks is a great choice. You can find them here.
There were three other unlock websites I tested and they were all disqualified for the same reason: they failed to unlock the iPhone IMEIs we sent them.
iPhone Express Unlock was successful with one unlock and I’m still trying to get a refund for the second one that’s apparently ‘just about to be unlocked’ (as it has been for the last two months).
Sim Unlock failed on all three iPhones. Got two refunds, but they’re claiming the third phone was successful, even though it won’t accept a new sim.
And finally, Unlock Me Now failed on both unlocks as well but refunded both payments with a few followup emails.
The safest, most reliable, and cheapest way to unlock your iPhone 7 is with IMEI Doctor. They’ll get the job done and you’ll be able to change over to your new provider with ease.
Unlock your iPhone 7 here: IMEI Doctor