Network Unlocked vs Factory Unlocked

Network unlocked vs factory unlocked are somewhat the same. Network unlocked means the carrier/provider (e.g. Verizon) unlocked the phone, from whom you bought it. Factory unlocked means the phone is purchased from the company (e.g. Google store), unlocked by them along with carriers built-in band’s support and operational for use. 

Network unlocked vs Factory unlocked

If you are curious about what is network unlocked vs factory unlocked, then both are nearly the same. These terms mean that you can use a phone on any carrier with which the model is compatible.

You should not experience any difference in using a phone. Until the phone hardware is good enough to support other networks, it can work at all places.  

Network unlocked

It means the mobile is purchased from a retailer/carrier (mobile services providing company).  They unlock the phone. 

1.The major carriers in America are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

2. You cannot use these phones on other networks. It means the phone will receive signals from only one network. You can check it by inserting a SIM card from any other network. It will either show you a message of a SIM card not working or your device will need you to enter unlock code. 

3. If it asks for an unlock code then you need to request the unlock code from the provider, for example, Verizon. In another way, you can use third party websites (e.g.,,, etc) and obtain an unlock code.

4. As these phones are for some particular carrier that is why they work best only on those carrier networks. Expect a restricted performance of phones on other carriers.

5. If the carrier has disabled some features then later you may not obtain them. Carrier disables some features. You cannot remove or change these features. 

6. They will have carrier-specific features that you may not uninstall later.

Factory unlocked

It means you bought a mobile directly from a mobile-making company. For example, buying an iPhone from Apple Store, Google Pixel from the Google store, etc. 

1. Network unlocked from the start and not locked for any specific carrier. The phone is ready for use.

2. It is available at full retail price. 

3. Buying the phone directly from the company means the company unlocked it before selling it to their consumers. 

4. This phone is ready for use as it does not function only for a particular mobile network/cell phone service. You can use any SIM card in your factory unlocked mobile phone.

5. They come with antennas for catching the most familiar frequencies of GSM

6. They have the carrier’s branding and their software installed.

7. You should check if the internet (3G, 4G, 5G, etc) you are using will work with your carrier.

What is an unlocked phone?

An unlocked phone means the phone can work with any network/carrier. It does not require operating on any specific carrier. It is open to all networks.

For example, you change your SIM card. Use a SIM card on your device or any other network. Then your mobile will work on that new network. 

In short

In “factory unlocked” company unlock the phones at an early stage (e.g. Nokia), before shipping to the carrier. on the other hand, in “network unlocked” carrier unlocks the phone (e.g. AT&T). 

What does factory unlocked mean?

1. Factory unlocked means that the company (who made this mobile) unlocked it, before selling it to customers. 

2. Means OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) unlocked it. For example, the Microsoft factory unlocks Windows Phone. It is not specified to only one mobile network/carrier. 

3. Such phones do not have software installed for some particular carrier.

4. Mobile-making companies enable this feature, so you can use your mobile with any network. You do not need to retrieve any unlock code to unlock your phone. You can use any SIM card on your device. 

5. You just need to check if your phone is supporting the carrier’s band/technology or not.

Is it safe to buy factory unlocked phones?

1.It is safer to specifically buy factory unlocked GSM phones in the US. It is because it will work with T-Mobile, AT&T, and their MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) and prepaid brands. If you want to use a phone on Verizon then you need to look into more details of unlocked phones.

2. It frees you from the stress of locking and unlocking the phone. 

3. Carriers ask mobile manufacturing companies to install their apps in the phone. These extra apps are bloatware. We cannot remove bloatware apps.  To remove bloatware apps, you need a software modifier, but it could threaten a device’s warranty.

Factory unlocked vs carrier unlocked

1. There is a slight difference between them. Carrier unlocked means carrier initially locked it. The owner of the phone needs to request for unlocking the phone. Then the phone is no more locked and you can use it. 

2. In carrier unlocked you can use the SIM of any carrier other than the original SIM.  In other words, you can use any SIM with it. 

3. Sometimes carriers want 60 days of service after which your phone is no more locked and is ready for use.

Difference between Factory unlocked and Worldwide unlocked

There are minor differences between them. 

What is Worldwide unlocked or International/Universally/Globally unlocked

It means your phone is unlocked but only for Worldwide or International use. This means it will not work within the US on any carrier. It will work in the world, outside the US. You can use any SIM card of any carrier of other countries on your phone. 

Factory unlocked?

It is an unlocked phone only to operate on any carrier inside the US.

Factory unlocked phones are locked based on location. If you go outside the US, you need to unlock it for use outside the US. In this way only then your phone will accept another carrier’s SIM.

Differences between Factory unlocked and Worldwide unlocked

1. Worldwide unlocked is a carrier locked inside the US. You cannot use it for US GSM carriers. CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) is not available for all countries. It makes this phone the best option and this phone can find GSM as GSM is available in all countries.

2. Factory unlocked is carrier unlocked inside the US. 

3. Worldwide unlocked phones do not have any warranty. 

4. Factory unlocked phones come with a warranty.

5. You can buy US factory unlocked phones even from Europe. You can buy worldwide unlocked phones online. 

Factory unlocked vs GSM unlocked

Factory unlocked phones are open to use for all carriers.

GSM unlocked phone

GSM unlocked phones meant they were initially locked. But when they are no more locked you can use them now on any GSM. 

  • GSM unlocked phones are factory unlocked phones. They were factory unlocked for use on any GSM carrier. 
  • It is the same for CDMA unlocked phones. They are factory unlocked phones for the CDMA network. 
  • Factory unlocked phones can operate on both GSM and CDMA.


Factory unlocked means it was unlocked by the mobile phone company before shipping.  So, it is more preferred to buy a factory unlocked phone. Factory unlocked vs carrier unlocked, GSM unlocked, worldwide unlock phones have minor differences.

Are Factory unlocked iPhones fake?

No, it may not be fake. It is because some carriers lock iPhones. It happens when a phone is bought along with a term subscription. 

In other cases, unauthorized resellers are selling these phones. So, you can expect that they may have original and/or fake iPhones. 

Tips to check if a Factory unlocked iPhone is fake

1. Use FaceTime or iMessage. It is because fake iPhones use Android not iOS. Because of it if you try to use these two applications, they will not work on a fake iPhone. 

2. Call AppleCare on this number 800-275-2273. Ask them to check if your iPhone is fake. Provide your iPhone model and serial number or IMEI to their customer service agent. So, they may check if this number and model exists in their system or not. In case, they do not find it in their system it means you have a fake iPhone.

3. In the original iPhone you receive an alert as “Restore from Backup” or “Set up as New”. It means now your iPhone is activated. So, if you receive such an alert, you have an original iPhone. 

4. In the original iPhone, after restoring, iTunes sends a message “Congratulations, your iPhone is now Unlocked”. If you do not receive this message or any other same message like that from iTunes so it means your iPhone is fake. 

Why are factory unlocked phones cheaper?

A used factory unlocked phone is cheaper. Because it saves your money by costing you a lower price than the huge original price. 

If you buy a completely unlocked phone it costs you less. Carriers offer you deals on the phones. You can buy the phones by taking a contract or device payment. So, purchasing phones in this way means that they will receive their money back in the end. 


Not all factory iPhones are fake. Some authorised sellers offer iPhones which might be fake or original. So, use tips to find out if your iPhone is original. But the best way to check if your iPhone is fake by calling Apple Care.


Let us look at some important questions related to network unlocked vs factory unlocked.

 1. Can a carrier lock your unlocked phone?

Carriers do not lock your unlocked phone. But the carrier helps to unlock a phone. Only the mobile manufacturing company can re-lock it.  So, you should contact them to solve your problem. 

2. What is the disadvantage of a factory unlocked iPhone?

Factory unlocking the iPhone comes with the following downsides.

  • Factory unlocked phones available at higher prices. Because the carrier subsidizes the cost of locked iPhones, initially they are less expensive to purchase.
  • They are subject to the same restrictions as locked iPhones.

3. Is it safe to buy unlocked phones on eBay?

If you want to buy an unlocked phone from eBay then you should know the following facts.

  • Expect a higher price while buying unlocked phones on eBay. And their seller fees are high as well. 
  • Your computer may still owe carrier money, that it’s locked to a carrier. There is no way for you to trust the seller because there’s no feedback system.
  • So, overall you can say that it comes with some downsides and is not always safe to buy from eBay.


1. There is a slight difference between Network unlocked vs factory unlocked. 

2. All other types also have minor differences between them.

3. Before purchasing a phone you should check which unlocked phone works best for you.

4. Most important is to check whether your phone supports GSM or CDMA network or both. Try to buy an unlocked phone which supports both of them. 

5. Unlocked phones come with benefits but expect some cons as well. 



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2 thoughts on “Network Unlocked vs Factory Unlocked”

  1. You can transfer providers without purchasing a new phone by unlocking it. As long as you’ve paid off your phone, all carriers must allow you to do so. Many smartphones are compatible with any carrier in the United States. You can find out if your phone is compatible. Changing cellular providers might save you a lot of money in some cases. However, you may need to unlock your phone from your current carrier’s network before switching.

    It’s not difficult, but because the process differs from phone to phone and carrier to carrier, a little assistance might go a long way. If you didn’t make a point of getting an unlocked phone when you bought it, chances are it’s still locked to your current carrier.

    What’s the Difference between Factory Unlocked and Worldwide Unlocked iPhones?

    You could have noticed iPhone commercials that said “factory unlocked,” “global unlocked,” or “we unlocked.” Perhaps you tried to buy an iPhone from me and I asked if you wanted a factory unlocked or a WW unlocked model. You’re undoubtedly perplexed right now, unsure what these terms represent. This curiosity will be put to rest now that I’ll explain what these two terms represent. In general, there are two types of iPhones.

    iPhones that are both unlocked and network-locked can be found all over the world.
    The phones that have been factory unlocked are the typical iPhones that you are familiar with. They function with any sim/network without a hitch. The WW Unlocked (Network locked) iPhones, on the other hand, maybe used on any network. These iPhones arrive in Nigeria locked to a specific US network (Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and so on).


    Isn’t it as easy as that?? Your iPhone’s model number can be found in your settings, which you may access by going to Settings General About. After you have the model number, simply search for it on Google to discover if this iPhone model is compatible with the Verizon network. We hope your unlocked iPhone is compatible with Verizon.

  2. You might have heard about unlocked phones if you’ve looked for a new smartphone in the last few years or tried to transfer wireless networks. But what exactly are unlocked phones, and what do you need to know about them before purchasing your next device?
    In a nutshell, an unlocked phone is not locked to a specific carrier. Unlocked phones may switch networks by switching the SIM card inside. The physical pass that lets your device connect to a certain network is called a SIM card. When you switch providers, you’ll also need to switch SIM cards. We’ve compiled a list of the top unlocked phones available right now, but before you do, have a look at our recommendations.

    In the year 2022, here’s how to unlock a phone for any provider:

    When you buy a cell phone from a carrier, it usually comes locked, which means it has a software code that ensures your phone only connects to one network and that you can’t obtain or utilize a signal from another. If you unlock your phone, you can change carriers if you’re unhappy with the service, move to a new region, travel, or want to keep your previous handset when switching networks. Unlocking your phone is essential if you want to change providers or simply add value while selling it. It’s perfectly legal, so don’t be concerned.


    Unlocking your phone allows you to go internationally and use it with many carriers. In most circumstances, your phone will take a SIM card from a different network or provider, and you will be able to make calls, surf the web, and send texts as usual.

    You can check if your phone is unlocked if you want to use a SIM card from another carrier in it. The phone is yours to do as you choose after it has been unlocked. You’ll be stuck with the original network provider until that time comes. Why Do Carrier Phones Lock? While it was understandable for a carrier to want to keep the functionality of their models locked down, it made resale or refurbishing cellphones more difficult.

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