Cricket Wireless is an American prepaid wireless service provider owned by AT&T. It was founded in 1999 and has now over 10 million subscribers throughout the country. The company offers a decent selection of high-quality mobile devices and accessories, versatile, flexible, and affordable plans, a Bring Your Own Phone program that enables customers to bring their own compatible devices, and frequent special deals on services and devices.
In this article, we will learn all there is to know about how to unlock a Cricket phone for free. Read on to find out more.
What Does it Mean When a Phone is Locked?
Saying that a phone is locked can refer to several different things:
- It can mean that it is turned on yet locked for use. If so, you can unlock it by either swiping the screen, scanning the user’s face or fingerprint, or by entering the PIN number, depending on the locking system you use.
- It can mean that your phone is powered off and when you wish to turn it on, it demands you to provide a PIN (or PUK) number. Both numbers should be located in your SIM card kit (unless you have changed your PIN number). If you can’t remember or find them, contact the company’s customer support service to help you out.
- Finally, a locked phone can also refer to a ‘carrier-locked’ phone, which is what we will be discussing today. Most wireless providers and carriers only sell carrier-locked phones to ensure that the customer can only use the device on their network, instead of buying the device (or even getting it free of charge through a promotional or assistance deal) and fleeing with it to another carrier. So, for instance, if you have purchased a phone from Cricket Wireless, you can be certain that the device is (at least initially) carrier-locked and only fit for use on Cricket’s network and with Cricket’s services.
Unlock Cricket Phone Benefits
Even though most wireless carriers offer carrier-locked phones, unlocking the phone is certainly possible, legal, and generally completely free of charge. Your wireless company itself will unlock your device upon your request to do so, as long as your phone is eligible to be unlocked (we will discuss the eligibility in the following section).
Unlocking your phone is not mandatory by any means. Nevertheless, doing so comes with some great benefits, including:
- When your Cricket (or any other provider’s for that matter) phone gets unlocked, you will be able to travel internationally. Unlocking your phone will enable you to use the local wireless service by purchasing a local company’s SIM card while overseas. You can simply replace your Cricket SIM card with the other SIM card and once you return to the States, you can just swap the cards again and the device should work on Cricket’s network as usual. Note that not all cell phone companies use the same technology, therefore you must purchase a foreign SIM card that will work with your phone. Also keep in mind that customers with a Cricket plan of $50 a month and more have included international calls to and from Mexico and Canada, therefore they don’t need to unlock their phones or purchase new SIM cards when traveling to these countries.
- Having an unlocked phone also enables you to switch wireless operators. However, to switch to a specific company, your phone must not only be carrier-unlocked, but it must also be compatible with the new provider’s services (use the same technologies, etc.). If your phone is both unlocked and compatible (and if the new company allows customers to bring their own devices, of course), you can simply put in a new SIM card and enjoy your new provider without needing to buy a new phone.
- Sometimes you need to switch the provider (when you move, for example) and if you have recently purchased your phone and you are satisfied with it, it would be very inconvenient if you’d have to buy a new one right away. So, having an unlocked phone enables you to switch providers without much inconvenience.
What are the Requirements for Cricket Phone Free Unlocked?
As having an unlocked phone gives you a lot of flexibility (both in terms of international travel and in terms of switching providers), it is really practical to get your phone unlocked.
In order to unlock your Cricket phone, you must meet certain requirements:
- The phone must be designed for use on and locked to the Cricket network.
- The phone must have an active phone number that has not been reported lost, stolen, or suspended for fraud.
- The phone must have been active for at least 6 months of paid service.
- The phone and the services must be paid in full.
If your Cricket phone meets all of these requirements, you can proceed to unlock the device. See the exact process in the following chapter.
How Can I Unlock My Cricket Phone for Any Carrier for Free?
Now that we have established the benefits of having an unlocked phone and what makes a phone eligible to be unlocked, let’s dive into the big question – how to unlock a Cricket phone for free. Officially, there are three ways to unlock your Cricket device. Select a method and follow the instructions provided below.
Cricket Phone Unlock via Website
Perhaps the simplest way for active Cricket customers that meet the eligibility requirements to unlock their device is through their online Cricket account. To do so, follow these steps:
- Go to Cricket’s official website and sign into your account.
- Visit Account Settings.
- Select Get Code.
- Follow the prompts to receive the unlock code.
- Once you have received the code, enter it on your phone to unlock it.
Alternatively, you can:
- Sign into your account and press Get Code.
- Scroll down to find the number of the device you wish to unlock.
- Press Request Unlock.
- The unlock code will appear on the screen and it will also be sent directly to your phone (the same day or the next business day) – assuming that your phone is unlock-eligible.
Once you receive the unlock code, you must:
- Turn off your phone.
- Remove your SIM card and put a new SIM card from another carrier into the phone’s SIM slot.
- Power the phone back on.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and enter the unlock code.
- Restart your phone to complete the process.
Note: This process will not work for iPhones. To find out how to unlock your iPhone for use with a different carrier, visit support.apple.com/en-us/HT201328.
Cricket Phone Unlock Using MyCricket App
In case the first method doesn’t work for you, try to unlock the device through the myCricket app. To do that follow these simple steps:
- Open your myCricket app.
- Press Unlock Device on the app’s sign-in screen (in order to see this screen, you must be signed out).
- Press Unlock at the bottom of the screen.
- Once your phone is successfully unlocked, restart it in order to complete the process.
Cricket Phone Unlock by Contacting Customer Service
Finally, you can also unlock your phone by contacting the company’s customer support service at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538). Follow the pre-recorder prompts and ask the representative to remotely unlock your device. If your phone is unlock-eligible, the agent will generally oblige. Use this method if you have issues with the previous two methods as well.
In case you don’t have a Cricket account or password or wish to unlock your device before the 6-month limit, you can do so through online unlock software, such as DirectUnlocks, Dr.Fone, or UnlockPhoneTool. Simply Google the program and open it online. Fill in all the prompted information (your phone’s IMEI number, wireless provider, phone brand and mode, personal information, etc.). Press the unlock button and you will receive an unlock phone code in your email shortly.
What Should I Do, if Cricket Wireless Won’t Unlock My Phone?
As mentioned before, the unlock process will not be successful, no matter what method you choose if your phone is not eligible to be unlocked.
In addition, Cricket also reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to deny any unlock request that the company assumes may result in the abuse of this policy or assist in any way to perpetrate fraud or any other unlawful conduct against Cricket or its customers. The company also reserves the right to change its unlocking policy at any time without advance notice.
As mentioned before, if you are unable to unlock your Cricket phone officially, you can try to do it unofficially by using one of the SIM unlocking programs mentioned below.
How Do I Know if My Cricket Phone is Successfully Unlocked?
In order to make absolutely sure that your phone has been successfully unlocked, you can try the following:
- Check your settings. If you have an Android phone, go to Settings, Connections, Mobile, Network, Network Operations, and press Search now. Check if the names of other carriers come up. If so, the phone is probably unlocked. On your iPhone, go to Settings, Cellular, and Cellular Data. If you see Cellular Data Network, it means that your phone is probably unlocked.
- Contact Cricket’s customer support service at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538) and ask if your phone was successfully unlocked.
- Switch SIM cards. If you insert another SIM card from another (compatible) carrier into your phone and can make a call, it means that your phone is carrier-unlocked.
How to Check if My Cricket Phone is Locked?
As mentioned above, there are several ways to check and make sure that your Cricket phone is unlocked. See the ways to make sure in the previous section.
Can You Unlock Cricket Before 6 Months?
Not officially, however, you may be able to do so unofficially, using an online SIM unlocking software.
Can I Unlock My Phone Myself for Free?
There are many ways to unlock your phone and most of them are free and you can do them yourself.
Is Cricket GSM or CDMA?
Cricket used to be a CDMA carrier, but ever since 2013, when it was acquired by AT&T, it utilizes a GSM network for its services.
Can I Use My Cricket Phone on Any Network After Unlocking It?
The precondition of all networks and carriers to bring your phone to them is that the phone is unlocked. However, that is not enough. The phone must also be compatible with the new carrier’s services. Most carriers that offer a Bring Your Own Phone program also offer an online check, where you can make sure whether or not your phone is compatible with their services.
How Long Does It Take to Unlock Cricket Phones?
The Cricket phone unlocking process is relatively quick and simple, however, it depends on the method that you have chosen to unlock the device. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a full day or even more.
Can You Factory Unlock a Cricket Phone?
Yes, if your phone is unlock-eligible, Cricket will obtain the unlock code from the manufacturer and provide it to the customer.
I’m a Member of the Military, I Need to Cricket Phone Unlock, What Do I Do?
In case you are in the military and need expedited unlocking prior to deployment, make sure to contact Cricket’s customer service at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538) or dial 611 from your Cricket phone.