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Unlocking on the high street

Last updated 27-APR-11

This is perhaps the most well-known method in the UK. You may have seen phone-repair outlets, computer shops and even key-cutting businesses that offer this service, typically marked by a neon display and a range of phone accessories.

Let's face it: many of them look rather shady. The perceived illegality of unlocking no doubt partly derives from the jungle of cables and screwdrivers that one is confronted with when dealing with these vendors.

- Professional unlockers use a combination of methods to unlock phones, using cables, clips, codes and even online forums to help them find the right solution for your handset.
- Costs vary and begin from as little as £5, though are reported to go over £70 for some new handsets such as iPhone 4s.
- You can expect to have to wait between 15 minutes and one week to get your phone back from high street unlockers.

While this solution involves leaving the house and handing your treasured phone over to a stranger, it remains a popular option due to the convenience of not having to worry yourself with complicated instructions and technically challenging procedures. Prices also tend to be reasonable.