Similar to other carriers, Sprint also locks its iPhone devices to the network, and user can’t simply switch out SIM cards. Sprint has pushed out an automatic unlock program, but it can be confusing to find out if users are eligible for the free unlock. Here’s what you need to know to unlock your Sprint-Locked iPhone.

Before you start going to your nearest Sprint store, you need to check first if you’re eligible for Sprint’s automatic unlock system. If your iPhone was sold after February 2015, it’s already unlocked. Sprint now sells phones unlocked and just place the SIM cards in. Meanwhile, if the iPhone was bought before February 2015, Sprint will have to inform you when it is unlocked and users will have to call them for the unlocking procedure.

If you do need to call customer service, you’ll need to make sure that these criteria are met first:

  • The device is capable for Domestic SIM Unlock
  • The device has been using Sprint network for a minimum of 50 days.
  • All payments and fees tied to the device have already been covered.
  • The account tied to the device is  in good standing.
  • The device is has not been reported to be lost, stolen, used in illegal activities or have already been tagged as ineligible for unlocking by Sprint.

If you are doing this internationally, the criteria is also similar, save for the fact that the requester must be the true Sprint subscriber to apply for the unlock.

Once all of the criteria has been satisfied, users can now call for the Sprint Customer Care hotline (1-888-211-4727) or Sprint Worldwide Care (888-226-7212) to get their phone’s unlocked. The full list of the unlocking policy details are available on the official Sprint site.

If the unlocking process is done, you can now replace the SIM card of the unlocked iPhone. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Turn off the iPhone
  • Take out the SIM card from the iPhone.
  • Insert the new SIM card in
  • Restart the phone

The SIM card would prompt the user about the setup and will help them out in completing it. Once the set-up is done, users can now enjoy their fresh start on their iPhone.

Sprint logo Unlocking phones from them can take time but we have a guide to help you. Pictured: A Sprint cell phone company logo is seen on a store in New Carrollton, Maryland, December 31, 2014. Photo: Getty Images/Saul Loeb