Everybody has a cell phone these days, it’s practically a prerequisite for modern life. Cell phones are so ubiquitous to the point that land lines are dying out and once the Baby Boomers are gone, I sincerely doubt many households will continue to pay for one.

Part of getting a cell phone usually involves signing a contract, and some of them can have some pretty cutthroat terms and be for way longer than you’d like, since deals between carriers often change. Even though you have your phone, it might be locked to only accept SIM cards from a certain carrier. That means if you want to jump ship and get out of your contract and take your business elsewhere, you’re going to have to get your phone unlocked. Luckily, the process has become a lot simpler in recent times and you don’t have to rely on a cell phone guru to open up your phone in his garage anymore.

Here’s how you go about unlocking your cell phone:

Call Your Carrier Or An Unlocking Company

In some countries like Canada, it’s required by law that companies unlock all phones free of charge. Some companies have gotten on with this on their own as a gesture of goodwill, so it’s always worth it to call and see what they can do for you. In fact, this is the most pivotal step according to ichimp.co.uk when it comes to wrestling control of your phone back from a carrier. Simply call your carrier’s support line and then put in a request to unlock your phone, from there, the process will begin.

If your carrier won’t let you unlock your phone, then you’re going to have to seek out a third party service that specializes in unlocking phones. They will charge a fee for this service, but at the end of the day you’re probably doing this to save more money by switching to another carrier in the first place, so it’s a matter of saving money in the long term.

Wait Patiently For Your Phone To Be Unlocked

If it’s been unlocked remotely from the companies’ headquarters, it’ll probably take a bit of time for the information that your phone is being unlocked to be accurately relayed to the phone itself. Waiting for verification typically takes less than an hour however, so don’t get too worried.

If you’re using a third party unlocking service, you’ll just have to wait for them to work their magic. Typically it doesn’t take them very long either.

Reboot Your Phone

The next step to finalize the entire process is to restart your phone. Once you’ve done that, boom! Your phone is now unlocked and ready to accept SIM cards from carriers all around the world. You should test to make sure that the unlock has worked properly, but once you’ve rebooted your phone once everything should be in working order.

Thankfully, we’re moving away from the days when carriers had supreme control over our phones and what we could do with them. Canada in fact has legislated that all new phones will be unlocked out of the box and all old phones need to be unlocked free of charge. Cell phone companies haven’t had the best reputation for being customer oriented, but now people are voting with their dollars and choosing the least predatory companies, and others have to change their practices to keep up. Enjoy your newly unlocked phone!