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How to Use a U.K. iPhone on a Spanish SIM

To use an iPhone purchased in the United Kingdom with a Spanish subscriber identity module card, unlock the handset. Handsets are "locked," or programmed to work on the network of one mobile service provider. Determine your iPhone unlock eligibility and have an unlock request forwarded to Apple. When your iPhone is successfully unlocked, activate your Spanish SIM card for immediate use. The process is not fast, but planning makes for continuous use of your iPhone.

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  1. Contact your mobile service provider and ask if your handset is eligible to be unlocked. Many U.K. mobile service providers will not unlock your iPhone until your initial contract is finished.

  2. Request that your service provider submit a request directly to Apple on your behalf to unlock your handset. The provider will need information including your IMEI number to complete the request.

  3. Wait for notification that your request was granted. It takes three to 14 business days to process your request. Your provider sends you a text message or an e-mail indicating a successful unlock.

  4. Perform a full restore on your handset. Install the latest version of iTunes on your iPhone and connect the device to your computer using the computer download cable included with the handset. Insert the wider end into your iPhone and the smaller end to your computer USB port. Select your iPhone when it appears under "Devices."

  5. Select "Summary" and "Restore." If required, select "Back Up" to save existing iPhone files. Press "Restore." Your handset screen displays "Connect to iTunes" while processing. The process is complete when the screen clears or you see "iPhone is activated." Your handset restore cannot be completed without an Internet connection.

  6. Restore your handset by selecting a previous backup file in iTunes. Selecting "Set up as new..." creates a new handset profile.

  7. Insert an unfolded paper clip in the small hole next to the headphone jack on the top of your iPhone. Open the area and remove the SIM card. Replace it with a SIM card from a Spanish wireless provider. Inquire about Spanish SIM cards in area convenience stores to get the best deals.

  8. Activate Spanish provider wireless service after inserting your new SIM card. Activation instructions are provided during SIM card purchase.

  9. Tip

    There is no charge to have Apple unlock your iPhone.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spanish Mobile Subscriber Identity Module card
  • International Mobile Equipment Identity number
  • Paper clip
  • iPhone computer download cable

About the Author

Splitting her time between El Paso, Texas and Philadelphia, Penn., Jade Blue began writing in 2009. Blue has written for various websites, specializing in travel-related topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Philadelphia University.

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