What is an unlocked device?

Smartphones can be locked or unlocked. A carrier-locked smartphone is only meant for use with a specific wireless carrier. An unlocked smartphone can be used with any carrier with compatible bands.

Unlocked smartphones can either be carrier-unlocked or factory-unlocked. Swappa only allows factory-unlocked devices to be listed in the unlocked category. Devices that were originally purchased from, or locked to a specific carrier, must be listed under their original carrier.

  • Carrier unlocked: Originally purchased from or locked to a single wireless carrier, but later unlocked by the carrier for use on other carrier networks.
  • Factory unlocked: Often originally purchased directly from the manufacturer, and has never been locked to a specific carrier.
  • Flex Device: US Reseller Flex Policy, also known as SIM OUT, allows retail stores to sell devices that have not yet been locked for use on a specific US cell carrier. However, these devices will lock to the first US carrier they connect to after inserting a compatible SIM card.

Network Compatibility: Not all unlocked devices are compatible with all carriers. For example, an unlocked smartphone intended for use with a US carrier may not work with an international carrier. Learn more about carrier compatibility on the Swappa blog:


Swappa has fantastic support and we're quick to answer questions!

Help & Support

Swappa has fantastic support and we're quick to answer questions!

Contact Us

We have a team of Swappa experts that are here to help!

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to other sites. We may receive commissions for purchases made through these links.

Get Help, Fast


[email protected]

Need help with a listing or a sale?

Submit Help Request

Helpful Links

Swappa's typical response time for help requests is around 20 minutes... That's really fast

Cart, Full of Deals

Your cart is empty :(

Login for Deals