April 23, 2018

How to Unlock your Tracfone Cell Phone

Step by Step Guide to Unlocking a Tracfone Device

It is now possible to unlock some Tracfone devices, mostly smartphones, so that you can use them with other carriers in the US or around the world. TracfoneReviewer shares the requirements and a step by step guide below! (Updated April 2018)

tracfone unlock code
How to Unlock a Tracfone
Owning an unlocked phone means that if you travel to another country that offers service for unlocked phones, you can buy a SIM card and service, and you will have cell phone use in that country. When you leave, you can switch your old SIM card back in to resume service with Tracfone.

Tracfone is well known for not allowing their phones to be unlocked, but because of FCC rules, and a ruling against Tracfone, they are required to unlock phones from after a certain date, offer a credit towards an exchange, or offer a partial cash refund for older devices.

We've got all the information you need about unlocking your Tracfone device. We will start with the requirements, including who can unlock their phone, and then give a step by step guide.

Let's get started.

Requirements for Unlocking a Tracfone Device

There are a number of requirements that you must meet in order to get your phone unlocked. Here are the requirements:

(You can also check if your phone is eligible by entering your phone number or serial number at the bottom of this page)
  • Customers must request handset unlocking.
  • Customers must have had their locked device activated on Tracfone service for no fewer than 12 months, redeemed air time cards in no fewer than 12 months, and not have had their telephone number recycled or ported.
  • Customers must request this interim unlocking solution while their service is active or within 60 days after their active service days expire. This 60-day grace period applies even if the customer's telephone number was recycled or ported.
  • Customers must currently own a Tracfone branded handset model launched on Tracfone's service after February 11, 2014 or activated with Tracfone's service after February 11, 2015.
  • Customers must possess a handset that is in working condition.
  • Customers must possess a handset that is not reported stolen, lost, or associated with fraudulent activity.
  • If a customer requesting handset unlocking is deployed military personnel, upon provision of deployment papers, Tracfone will honor that customer's unlocking request by sending a refund for the Trade-in Value of the used, locked phone returned by the customer without regard for the 12 months of service activation and air card redemption eligibility requirements. However, all other eligibility criteria apply to Tracfone's customers who are deployed military personnel. 
  • Customers are eligible for this program only once every twelve months.
  • (Source - www.tfwunlockpolicy.com/)
There are a lot of requirements, but the key points are that you need to have your phone active for 12 months with Tracfone, it needs to be a newer phone from after Feb 11, 2014, and you can only unlock a phone once every 12 months. While we haven't confirmed this yet, it is likely that only GSM smartphones are able to be unlocked. Let us know your experiences in the comments.

If you're phone is eligible for unlocking, you can continue with our guide to unlocking it.

How to Unlock a Tracfone Cell Phone in 3 Steps

Here is our step by step guide to unlocking your Tracfone cell phone. Be aware that not all Tracfone devices can be unlocked, many of their older phones are not eligible.


unlock tracfone smartphone
Steps for Unlocking a Tracfone
1. Go to www.tfwunlockpolicy.com and enter your phone number at the bottom of the page. You can also call 1-888-442-5102 during normal business hours.

2. If your phone is eligible, you will be able to continue the process to receive an unlock code for your phone. If your phone is not eligible to be unlocked, you may still qualify for a credit towards a new phone, or a cash refund

We tested a Motorola EX 431G Tracfone prepaid phone. It met the requirements to be unlocked, but because it is an old phone, it can't be unlocked. So Tracfone offered a $5 cash refund. To get the cash refund, you have to send the phone to Tracfone, and you lose any remaining airtime on the device.

We also tested an LG Ultimate 2, which is an Android smartphone. This phone also could not be unlocked, and Tracfone offered a $15 cash refund.

3, Once you get the unlock code from Tracfone, you can purchase a SIM card from another carrier, power off your phone, switch the SIM cards, and turn it back on. You should get a notification that your phone is locked, but there should be a place for you to enter your unlock code. After the code is entered your phone will be able to use the new SIM card. You can always switch SIM cards whenever you like, just remember to turn your phone off and back on.

And that is all it takes to unlock a Tracfone prepaid device. It is a fairly easy process, if your phone is eligible.

Going through the process of unlocking a Tracfone device doesn't seem worthwhile in most cases with the huge number of unlocked devices available on the market at very low prices. Amazon, eBay and many other online retailers have plenty of unlocked phones, and if you buy older models, or refurbished phones, you can often get a great deal.

Check out our list of the Best Unlocked Phones for Tracfone to get some ideas about the great options already available.

If you have an unlocked phone, you can activate it with Tracfone BYOP. Then, if you travel to another country and need to use cell phone service, simply power off the phone, switch the SIM cards, and you are ready to use your phone in the new country. Switch the SIM cards back when you return to the US.

The Moto G line of smartphones, with the Moto G6 the latest, are a popular unlocked phone choice for their high performance at a reasonable cost. Take a look at the Details and Specs for the Moto G5 Plus, and our Review of the Moto G4/ G4 Plus

We hope this information has been helpful. Leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts, and also share your experiences.

We are also on Facebook, with a large community who help answer questions, share news and much more.

See our last post about the Best Tracfone Deals, Discounts and Sales including several recent smartphones with airtime bundles.

Thanks for visiting!

20 comments :

Uncle Fester said...

Regarding the refund on phones that can't be unlocked, for which "you lose any remaining airtime on the device." I was thinking about replacing my LG Ultimate 2 (3G CDMA) with a 4G phone, transferring my number and minutes to it. Can I request the refund from Tracfone on the Ultimate 2, activate a new phone and transfer my account to it, and then return the Ultimate 2 (deactivated and with no airtime on it) and still get the refund (they quoted me $16)?

nanci kleber said...

This isn't addressed anywhere.
Over the weekend we received our new LG Fiesta 2 Lte ($99.00). Yesterday while putting on the new case, the screen cracked at the bottom, WE called tracfone for a repair or a replacement & they refused to replace the screen or replace the phone. I have had about 15 tracfones in my household in about 15 years amoung family members & I have never had a problem. This has me very upset that the screen couldn't hold up & tracfone couldn't care less. Not sure where to go next. Advice would be appreciated

Anonymous said...

At that price the phone probably has a plastic screen. The warranty only covers defects.
Sorry, but you should have been more careful.

Keith S. said...

I have the same phone... no problems. What did you do - roll over it with a car?!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes on ebay you can purchase damaged phones or parts for little money. Watch on ebay to see if a damaged phone with a good screen is offered & maybe you can replace the screen.

Julian Grace said...

My friend got locked out of a new Apple iPhone SE after only having it for about a month. He said I could have it if I could understand-disable it. I did. But it's not released by T-Mobile tracfone because I got a SIM for tracfone and it STILL wouldn't work. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

my mom purchase a tracfone LG L64VL and never use and activate the phone because shes not familiar with the internet.After a year she decided to gave me the phone.Although it still a virgin .(NEVER USED OR ACTIVATED FROM THE TIME SHE BOUGHT THE PHONE),I FOUND OUT THE THE LGL64VL IS LOCKED AND CANNOT USED TO ANY NETWORK.AND WHEN I READ THE TRACFONE UNLOCKING POLICY .THERES NO NO WAY YO UNLOCK THE PHONE AND USED ANOTHET SIM CARD.TO UNLOCK THE PHONE I GET A HAMMER AND SMASHED THE TRACFONE LG L64VL .IF MY MOM KNOWS THAT IS AND CANNOT UNLOCK ...SHE DIDNT BUY THAT _PHONE...IF TRACFONE CANNOT UNLOCK THE PHONE ..I CAN UNLOCK IT...

Unknown said...

I got a tracphone z828tl that has not been used,how do I unlock it

Anonymous said...

It's good to know what all the rules are. Thank you for this blog.

In my case, I've been learning as I go. I bought a TracFone without knowing about locked phones, but I learned. I activated my phone and remained in good standing with my active TracFone service for a year. I actually like the plan I'm on and want to keep it, but I still want to unlock it. My phone is eligible and yet, I could not get an unlock code from TracFone customer service at 800-867-7183.

It may have been the individual I reached was having a bad day, because when he asked if I am changing to another service and I said no, he actually said, "It's your phone and you can do what you want with it, just don't lie to me, ok?" I couldn't believe it, but I stayed calm and pretended like I didn't hear him. He said he would transfer me to that department. I suspected he just put me on hold and thought I would hang up, but I didn't. I really needed to unlock my phone today. After holding 30 min, "Daniel" came back and said he couldn't reach that department. I asked if there was a number I could call, and he said no. I asked if there is any other method to get an unlock code and he said no. I asked if we were disconnected, would he be able to call me back and he said yes. He came back one more time and said he was still waiting to get through. 1 hour and 20 min into the call, it disconnected. He did not call back.

I understand TracFone doesn't want to unlock the devices, but I had played by the rules and expected them to as well. I was about to call back or start a chat, but I had found this blog while holding and I tried the number in step 1 even though it's Saturday. Viola! "Welcome to TracFone Unlock" recording said the estimated wait time was 19 minutes or I could get a call back without losing my place in line. I just hung on - for 2 hours and 25 minutes until the call disconnected.

I was not able to swap sims between 2 phones, which was my goal today. I'm going to keep trying. I wondered if you had any difficulty with getting the unlock codes during your testing.

Again, Thank you for this blog.

Anonymous said...

Update to Anonymous post from Sunday, 02/10/2019:

I called 888-442-5102 from my place of business at 5:20 pm Central time in the USA. Recording said hold time was 2 to 3 minutes and it was. I talked to the rep, who took my first & last name, email address and contact number. She submitted the request for unlock code, got confirmation, and said I would be receiving the unlock code to my email address. She gave me a case number and by the time I hung up, I had received the email with the code. Start to finish 6 minutes.

Unknown said...

I bought my Alcatel A574bl in one of the Alcatel shop in US,but when I came to my country Zambia,my Alcatel phone ALWAYS say invalid sim card....... please help me am tired with this problem.your positive consideration to my request will be highly appreciated

Anonymous said...

US does not have Alcatel store. I suspect you got a tracfone, which only recognize tracfone simcard. Any other cards you put in will show as invalid. Maybe you can use it as a MP3 device with wifi?

Steve Rinsler said...

I just unlocked my Samsung Verizon model Tracfone (SM-S727VL). The Samsung user guide that came with the phone stated the phone was unlockable. I used the online unlock page. No problems.

My motive was to be able to update the firmware. Unfortunately, at this time there may not be newer firmware (android versions and security patches) that Samsung has released for this specific Tracfone version. Maybe something will come out in the future and I will be able to upgrade.

Overall, very satisfied with Tracfone’s service and handling of my unlocking.

(I am NOT a Tracfone employee or paid to write this ).

Unknown said...

What's the online page to unlock the tracfone

Uncle Fester said...

Well here we are, over two years after my initial comment that no one ever responded to. I still have the Ultimate 2. Gmail crashes in several ways. Navigation in Maps is now crashing. I've tried fixing by the usual methods all the way up to hard-resetting the phone, but it looks like Google stopped supporting Android 4.4.2 "Kit-Kat" in 2018 and it's really time to buy a new phone.

At this time, TF is offering $10 for the Ultimate 2. Better than nothing.

Unknown said...

My LGL63BL IMEI 353262080623670 IMEI SV 01 can't work with my local network and display invalid SIM card, what should I do to unlock it?

Unknown said...

Is this phone eligible to be unlocked? It was given to me by my sister. Presently am here in Philippines,this is where am residing. The imei is 35 537208 738351 .

Davi said...

Please I need help to unlock my iPhone 7plus locked by us tracfone

Abdullah said...

Please I need help to unlock my LG tracfone

Unknown said...

Is Samsung Galaxy j7 crown model(SM-S767VL) eligible to be unlocked? It was brought for me by my aunt. Presently am here in Nigeria,this is where am residing. The imei is 356823096273524 .