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As a rule of thumb, phones and other devices purchased from a carrier will come with a “network lock”. This means the device can only be used on the network you purchased it from. In most cases, this lock lasts until the device is paid off (except with Verizon, where devices auto unlock regardless after 60 days due to a condition of their purchase of TracFone back in 2021).

This network lock is annoying to consumers, but is used as a method to deter fraud by carriers. Now, though, an unusual software glitch appears to be allowing T-Mobile customers with Samsung devices to unlock them immediately, even when it’s not paid off yet.

According to a tip we’ve received, and verified by numerous users on Discord, customers on T-Mobile with a Samsung device on installments can easily unlock their device “permanently” via a few simple taps.

The steps are simple: users open the Settings app, then go to “Connections”. From there, open “More Connection Settings” and then tap “Network Unlock”. Request a “Temporary Unlock”, and shortly after that, request a “Permanent Unlock”. The device will then immediately become network unlocked, and even shows as unlocked on the user’s T-Mobile account.

Of course, before you try this yourself, we must issue a standard “do so at your own risk” warning. We’re not sure how T-Mobile/Samsung may respond if and when they decide to fix this issue. That being said, it’s likely the device will simply stay unlocked and the loophole will be fixed.

So far, we’ve seen confirmed unlocks on a variety of Samsung devices. This includes the new S24 series, various Z Flip and Z Fold devices, and S23 series devices.

Obviously, this isn’t likely to be intentional. It’s well known that T-Mobile’s unlock policy is that devices must be paid off and used on-network for 40 days or more before being eligible for unlocking. That being said, one user we spoke to said they managed to do this as far back as August on two of their devices, so it’s possible this is either an intentional “loophole” or simply one they are willing to ignore.

Interestingly, T-Mobile has also recently been in the news over their purchase of Mint Mobile. Specifically, consumer advocacy groups want the FCC to require T-Mobile to unlock all devices within 60 days, just like Verizon, as a condition of the Mint acquisition. I guess Samsung devices are a good place to start, even unintentionally!

It’s currently unclear how or why this unlock method works, but so far it’s only been seen to work on specifically Samsung devices on T-Mobile. We’ve had users try non-Samsung Android devices (which require a standalone T-Mobile unlock app) and Samsung users on Verizon attempt this with no luck.

One theory is that the unique Android software Samsung uses can change the system based on which carrier the device is on, and the changes it makes for T-Mobile (namely, an unlock function in settings) might have a bug that auto-approves the unlock. This theory is derived from the fact that the device seems to immediately approve the unlock without making much of an effort to communicate with backend servers. Again, that’s all an unproven theory, though.

In the end, though, having an unlocked device is a nice thing. It allows you to use dual sim with another provider or use a different carrier all together (while maintaining your payments with T-Mobile, of course!). We’re pretty sure T-Mobile is aware of the “bug” either way, but if you’re interested in trying it yourself, you might want to do so soon just in case they do decide to patch it.

Did this trick work for you? Let us know your successes and failures in the comments!

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