Use the PUK code to unlock your Android's SIM card

If you forget the PIN on your smartphone, you need to use the PUK code to unlock your Android's SIM card. Considering that your SIM card stores personal data, like your contacts, it makes sense that PUK stands for personal unlocking key. This tutorial illustrates where and how to use the PUK code to unlock your Android's SIM card:

NOTE: For this tutorial, we used an ASUS ZenFone Max Pro device running Android 9 Pie. The procedures are similar on all Android-powered devices, so you should be good to go even if you have a smartphone from Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, or some other manufacturer. If you do not know your Android version, read How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.

First things first: What is a PUK code and where can you find it?

PUK stands for personal unlocking key. It is sometimes also called a PUC - personal unblocking code. If you insert the wrong PIN code three times on your Android smartphone, either when starting the device or when trying to change or remove the SIM PIN, your SIM card becomes PUK-locked.

You get three attempts to enter the correct PIN

That is when the PUK code comes in handy, as it's the only way to unlock your Android's SIM card, thus preventing you from losing precious data. If you're not sure where to find the PUK, here are 3 ways to get the PUK code of your SIM card.

How to use the PUK code to unlock your Android's SIM card

Inserting the PIN code incorrectly three times in a row disables your SIM card. If you get a message that you must contact your carrier to unlock your device, press OK.

The device is locked after inserting the wrong PIN

Your phone then shows the PUK screen, letting you know that "You have 10 remaining attempts before SIM becomes permanently unusable" and that your "SIM CARD IS PUK-LOCKED." Insert the PUK code for your SIM and press the checkmark to continue.

Enter the PUK

After you enter the correct PUK code, your Android bypasses the current PIN code of your SIM and asks you to set a new one.

Enter the desired PIN code and tap the checkmark button.

Enter the new PIN

Confirm the new PIN code for your Android's SIM and tap the checkmark once more.

Confirm the new PIN

Your smartphone is unlocked. Wait for a couple of moments until your Android connects to your mobile network. When you see your mobile carrier listed on the top-left corner, you are done.

The Android smartphone is unlocked

Did you have any issues unlocking your Android smartphone?

Security is essential for us, so we also use lock screen PIN codes to unlock our smartphones. However, I never turn off my phone, so I rarely need to insert the SIM PIN code, which means I do forget it at times. As extra insurance, I keep the PUK code in a safe place and try to use PIN codes that I can easily remember, without being too obvious. Your significant other's birthday might seem like a good idea, but the numbers making up their birthday in ascending order are a better choice. We hope you managed to unlock your Android's SIM card. If you have any issues with the process, let us know in the comments below.