any recommendations for how to unlock a locked phone?


Hi all, apologies if this is a stupid question: is there a way to unlock a phone that is currently locked to a carrier like Sprint? I called customer service and they basically said that I need to seek the approval of the person who originally purchased the phone, which will probably be difficult considering I bought the phone on swappa. Thanks, gautam

Will Verduzco on Swappa
Will Verduzco

Hey there, Gautam!

This is definitely NOT a stupid question. Unlocking a carrier-locked phone can be a bit tricky sometimes.

According to Sprint's unlocking requirements, Sprint will unlock your phone for free as long as the following criteria are met:

  • The device must be sold by Sprint.
  • The device has not been reported as lost or stolen, associated with fraudulent activity, or otherwise flagged as ineligible to be unlocked.
  • The device is SIM Unlock capable.
  • The device must be or have been active on the Sprint network for a minimum of 40 days.
  • Any associated Service Agreement (or any Minimum Service Term, where applicable), Installment Billing Agreement, or Lease Agreement has been fulfilled including, but not limited to, payment in full of any applicable: 1) early termination fees, 2) accelerated installment or lease payments, and/or 3) end-of-lease purchase options. Because leased devices are not owned by the user, the end of lease purchase option must be exercised and paid in full before the device unlock is completed.
  • Sprint may request proof of purchase or additional information in its discretion and certain other exceptions may apply.

As you can see, Sprint doesn't explicitly state that you must be the original purchaser. However, they do state that they may require proof of purchase. I would try contacting them again, specifically referencing the page I linked above. And if asked, say that you bought this Sprint phone second-hand on Swappa and that it meets all of their requirements (fully paid for, on their network for over 40 days, and not reported lost/stolen).

Hope they're able to unlock your phone for you!

Gautam R. on Swappa
Gautam R.

Thank you so much Will! That's very helpful and I will try this.

MN Mobile Guy on Swappa
MN Mobile Guy

There are also 3rd party professional companies that offer SIM unlocking, if T-Mobile (as they now handle all things Sprint-related) says that they won't do it for you. What model device is it?

Gautam R. on Swappa
Gautam R.

Thanks for the tip MN Mobile! I tried calling Sprint and they will not unlock it for me. I did discover more information though: they said that the phone had a "lease or agreement that is not paid off." I'm a little upset about this because I cannot access this agreement and I don't know how much the original owner owes. I bought this phone on swappa. Anyways can you recommend any third party companies that would be able to deal with this situation?

Thanks alot! Gautam

Gautam R. on Swappa
Gautam R.

Forgot to mention that this phone is a Samsung Galaxy S20 5G 12 MB

Will Verduzco on Swappa
Will Verduzco

Hey again, Gautam!

I wanted to follow up to make sure we do everything we can to help you.

As you probably already know, sellers are under no obligation to unlock devices sold as carrier-locked, or to provide assistance for you to unlock your own device. However, devices cannot be sold on Swappa if they have outstanding financial obligations.

If you decide against third-party unlocking services and you find yourself unhappy with your purchase due to what Sprint told you, I suggest reaching out to the seller on your private sale page, stating your concerns about outstanding financial obligations, and checking the "Swappa I need Help!" box if you want our support team to review the situation.

Gautam R. on Swappa
Gautam R.

Thank you both Will and MN Mobile for your help! Now I feel like I have some options and I appreciate your input.

This thread has been locked by Swappa

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