Unlocking the iPhone 4: Is it Still Possible to Fully Unlock this Classic Device?

The iPhone 4 originally launched way back in 2010, yet even in 2024 there remains interest around this classic Apple device. With the iPhone 4 lacking many of the features we take for granted on modern smartphones, those still using an iPhone 4 may be keen to unlock it to enhance its capabilities. But with the iPhone 4 over 13 years old in 2024, is permanent unlocking still possible on the aging device? Let’s take a look.

A Brief History of the iPhone 4 for Context

To understand the current unlocking capabilities and limitations of the iPhone 4, it helps to know where this device sits in Apple’s history.

The iPhone 4 marked several firsts for Apple’s iconic smartphone line. When it launched on June 24, 2010, it became the first iPhone with:

  • A front-facing camera and ability to make FaceTime video calls
  • A high resolution Retina display (640 x 960 pixels at 326 ppi)
  • A 5MP rear camera capable of 720p HD video recording
  • A stainless steel frame and glass front + back enclosure
  • iOS 4 introduced with the iPhone 4 brought multitasking support

The iPhone 4 was powered by Apple’s A4 chip and featured 512MB RAM + 16/32GB storage options.

This combination of new hardware and software features made the iPhone 4 a significant upgrade over the preceding iPhone 3GS. In the context of 2010, the iPhone 4 was an impressively specc’d device.

But of course the smartphone landscape has massively evolved since then…

The iPhone 4 feels positively archaic by 2024 standards. Even budget smartphones now surpass the iPhone 4’s display, camera, performance and connectivity capabilities multiple times over.

Yet the durable, premium design still feels solid in the hand even today. And for light use cases focused on calls, messages, music or simple apps, the iPhone 4 remains a usable device in 2024.

Its longevity comes down in part to Apple supporting the phone all the way up to iOS 7.1.2. So it did receive a few years of updates, even if it never made it anywhere near recent iOS versions packed with new features.

Which brings us to the topic of unlocking the iPhone 4 in 2024…

Also Read: How to Unlock Your Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Why Unlock an iPhone 4 in 2024?

Given the iPhone 4’s dated hardware and inability to run newer iOS versions beyond 7.1.2, you may wonder why anyone would still use it daily, let alone go to the effort of seeking a permanent unlock for it.

But there remain a few motivations for unlocking an iPhone 4 in 2024:

  • Continuing to Use an iPhone 4 as Main Phone – For those wanting a simple feature phone for basic use cases, an iPhone 4 can actually still serve pretty well in 2024. Unlocking expands its usability.
  • Nostalgia/Collectability – Vintage electronics fans may enjoy unlocking an iPhone 4 purely for its collectability/novelty value.
  • Give to Kids – An iPhone 4 makes a great first phone for kids. Unlocking allows greater customization potential.
  • Repurposing/Experimentation – Developers or hobbyists may wish to repurpose an iPhone 4. Unlocking permits more tinkering freedom.

Note that most common usage now relies on VoLTE connections for call quality and network coverage. Unfortunately the iPhone 4 lacks VoLTE support. So its functionality is quite limited on many modern networks.

But that hasn’t deterred some loyal users rocking an iPhone 4 in 2024. Let’s examine the current unlocking situation…

Also Read: How to Unlock Your US Cellular Phone

Can an iPhone 4 be Fully Unlocked in 2024?

The short answer is yes – as of 2024 it remains possible to perform a full factory unlock on the iPhone 4. This unlock achieves two key outcomes:

  1. Carrier Unlock – Your iPhone 4 will work with SIM cards from any carrier worldwide. No longer only usable on the original network.
  2. Custom OS Freedom – Freedom to jailbreak or install custom OS alternatives like Android without network blocking or penalties.

However, while full unlocks are still achievable in 2024, the process has changed substantially from earlier iPhone models…

Back when the iPhone 4 initially launched, software unlocks were common. Tools like Ultrasn0w provided semi-tethered carrier unlocking capabilities.

Later services emerged offering factory IMEI unlocks through carrier contacts – a more permanent solution.

But over the years, software unlock reliability declined and factory options dried up across most carriers.

These days fully unlocking an iPhone 4 relies on hardware modification – namely IMEI repair via EEPROM programming. This advanced microsoldering process allows changing of the iPhone’s unique IMEI identifier to permit network activation and SIM freedom.

So while still achievable through skilled microsolder work, iPhone 4 unlocks are certainly more complex in 2024 than earlier software-centric options. And success depends greatly upon finding an experienced iPhone repair shop able to reliably conduct the delicate IMEI EEPROM programming procedure.

Also Read: How to Unlock Your AT&T Phone

Where to Get an iPhone 4 IMEI Repair Unlock in 2024

Microsoldering an iPhone to enable IMEI rewrite capability demands advanced skills, tools and components. So reliable providers are limited for this unlock method.

When searching for iPhone 4 unlocks in 2024, you want experienced, specialist iPhone repair shops that actively promote this service. Avoid general phone repairers unlikely to have necessary expertise.

We suggest considering providers like:


Well known unlocking specialists conducting iPhone 4 IMEI repairs from $70. Hundreds of positive online reviews dating back through early iPhone models.

iOutlet Repairs Australia

Rapidly growing Australian outlet focusing exclusively on iPhone unlocks and repairs. Competitively priced iPhone 4 services with perfect feedback.


UK-based unlocking provider supporting iPhone models right back to the iPhone 2G. £49 iPhone 4 IMEI rewrite cost at time of writing.

This is just a small sample of reputable iPhone 4 unlock performers that constantly arise to serve lingering market demand as we progress through 2024.

Be wary of significantly lower cost offerings, as complex tools and skills are absolutely required here to reliably deliver permanent iPhone 4 network freedom.

Step By Step Process For iPhone 4 IMEI Unlock

While the hardware details behind an iPhone 4 IMEI rewrite are intensely technical, the customer process itself is reasonably straightforward:

1. Read Provider Prerequisites

Carefully check listed requirements around condition, model number etc. For example, some outlets may not service badly damaged units.

2. Supply Necessary Details

Exact requirements vary, but you’ll generally need to provide at minimum the iPhone’s existing IMEI plus desired target network. Some additional preferences may be optional around new IMEI allocation.

3. Agree Terms, Pay

Ensure you read all terms around risks, outcomes and warranties before paying the quoted IMEI rewrite fee. Use safe payment options.

4. Mail In iPhone 4

Box up your iPhone 4 securely with any included components like SIM tray. Follow provided shipping guidelines. Insure package.

5. IMEI Rewrite Conducted

Give the repair shop 5-10 business days to conduct full procedure: receiving unit, opening, specialised board soldering, EEPROM programming for new IMEI, assembly, testing.

6. Return Shipment

Provider ships back fully unlocked iPhone 4 with new IMEI permitting carrier freedom. Expect email notifications around completion/postal tracking.

And there you have it – your iPhone 4 permanently network unlocked and ready to use on any carrier!

Using an Unlocked iPhone 4 in 2024

Receiving back a fully unlocked iPhone 4 ready to accept any SIM card offers more flexibility around carrier choice and international roaming.

But remember that local carrier support varies widely for such an aged device lacking key modern connectivity technologies.

3G-Only Connectivity

Without 4G LTE or VoLTE, you’ll be limited to 3G HSPA speeds on GSM networks. This may mean minimal data speeds and call connectivity depending on network infrastructure.

BYO SIM Plan Required

Shops generally won’t offer plan support for the iPhone 4’s niche demands. But you can activate pre-paid SIMs fine. Data efficiency is a must at 3G speeds!

WiFi Calling Unavailable

Unlike an iPhone XR or newer, WiFi calling isn’t an option to improve connectivity. You’ll purely rely on cellular and any VoIP apps.

If pursuing an iPhone 4 unlock in 2024, adjust expectations around performance limitations and be prepared to tweak usage habits. This can prove rewarding for the right user embracing a minimalist approach! But it certainly won’t suit heavier smartphone demands.

Is Unlocking an iPhone 4 Worth It In 2024?

We’ve covered why you might want to unlock an iPhone 4 in 2024, how IMEI unlocks now work, where to get them done properly, and what to expect using an unlocked unit today.

But the big question remains: is permanently unlocking an iPhone 4 actually worth the $70-100 cost in 2024 when you can buy basic new smartphones for $100-200 these days?

That comes down to personal preference around vintage tech:

  • If you purely want lowest cost phone functionality, then likely not. Grab a prepaid Android phone with far superior specs that still costs under $100.
  • If you have nostalgia for early iOS or iPhone design, the appeal remains. An iPhone 4 unlock lets you daily drive this iconic device while expanding capabilities beyond original limits.

There’s no right or wrong – it depends on your budget, needs and motivations.

But the very fact iPhone 4 unlocks remain actively offered in the 2020s highlights lingering demand from loyal user bases worldwide. For the right customer, the iPhone 4 still has life in it yet!


Early iPhone models like the legendary iPhone 4 played pivotal roles in smartphone history. And they maintain appeal among some users years after release.

In 2024 the iPhone 4 is certainly dated by modern standards. But through advanced unlocking procedures like IMEI rewrite it can still deliver functionality beyond Apple’s original design.

If seeking to unlock an iPhone 4 today, be sure to find reputable microsolder specialists able to reliably perform EEPROM programming. This permits full factory unlocking for carrier freedom.

Handle your classic iPhone 4 with care and it may continue to serve for many more years to come – especially if unlocking provides renewed usefulness on modern networks.

So fear not, that old iPhone 4 in your drawer can indeed live on! With the right unlock in 2024 it still has life in it yet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it still possible to unlock an iPhone 4?

Yes, iPhone 4 devices can still be unlocked in 2024 through an IMEI repair process. This involves reprogramming the phone’s EEPROM chip to allow use on any carrier.

What are the benefits of unlocking an iPhone 4 in 2024?

Unlocking gives you more freedom to use different SIM cards, switch carriers, and travel internationally without roaming charges. It also allows jailbreaking and further customization.

What unlocking method works on the iPhone 4 today?

Software unlocks are unreliable or unavailable in 2024. A hardware-based IMEI rewrite procedure via microsoldering is required now for a permanent iPhone 4 unlock.

Is unlocking an iPhone 4 illegal?

No, carrier unlocking the iPhone 4 through official channels is legal in most countries. But confirm regional laws and ownership before pursuing an unlock.

Where can I get my iPhone 4 unlocked properly?

Seek experienced, specialist iPhone repair shops offering IMEI rewrite service for the iPhone 4. Avoid general phone fixers unlikely to have necessary skills.

How much does iPhone 4 unlocking cost in 2024?

Expect to pay around $70-100 for a quality iPhone 4 IMEI rewrite unlock service today from well-reviewed providers.

What information do shops need to unlock my iPhone 4?

At minimum you’ll need to supply current device IMEI number and desired new carrier. Additional details may be required around IMEI preferences, condition etc.

How long does an iPhone 4 IMEI rewrite take?

Factor 5-10 business days from initial order to completed unlocked unit return shipping after the delicate unlock procedure is conducted.

Can I get 4G LTE on an unlocked iPhone 4?

No. Lacking 4G LTE radios, the iPhone 4 is limited to 3G/HSPA speeds even when unlocked. Data will be quite slow by modern standards.

Should I unlock my iPhone 4 or just buy a cheaper new phone?

If cost is key, a new phone likely makes more sense. Unlocking an iPhone 4 is mainly for nostalgia or very light use cases due to dated hardware limitations.