A PUK code (personal unlocking keys) are required by some networks when you want to unlock your phone, or if you’ve entered the wrong SIM number too many times.
In this article, we’ll explain how exactly PUK codes work and how you can find out what yours is, no matter what network you are on. We will also clarify the difference between a PUK and a PAC (porting authorisation code).
What is a PUK code?
A PUK, which is sometimes known as a network unlocking code (NUC) or personal unlocking code (PUC), is a unique sequence of eight digits that your network supplies to you.
A PUK is required when you want to unlock a phone either to use a SIM card from another network, if your PIN code has been entered incorrectly, or you are switching provider.
How can I find my PUK code?
Your PUK code is written on the tray which your SIM card came in. More than likely, you no longer have the box or any of the packaging which your phone came in. Unless you can locate this tray, you will need to contact your network to retrieve a PUK.
How to get the PUK code from your network
Some networks don’t lock phones so a PUK will not be needed. These are:
- Virgin Mobile
- iD Mobile
- Sky Mobile
The networks that do require a PUK code must provide you with one, although some may charge depending on your contract status. Those that require a PUK code are:
- O2 (selected models)
- Tesco Mobile
Most of these networks allow you to request a PUK code through an online form on their website.
Differences with PAC Code
A PAC code is often confused with the PUK code. A PAC code (porting authorization code) allows you to transfer your current number from one network provider to another without any changes. So if you are switching networks and want to keep your number, you will need a PAC code.
Getting your PUK code dependent on your network
We put together a table which shows exactly how to get your PUK code depending on your network provider, listing all of the major UK networks:
|Network||How to get the PUK code|
|EE||The quickest way to get a PUK code is to log in to My EE: -Go to Menu >Manage device. - scroll down to Unblock SIM (PUK code) - select Show PUK code.|
|Three||Call 333 from a Three phone or 0333 338 1001 (standard rates apply) from any other phone to request a PUK code.|
|O2||Sign in to My O2, go to My device, then Device details. If you put in the wrong PUK code 10 times, your sim will be permanently locked and you will need to speak to customer care (202 from an O2 mobile or 03448090202 from a landline).|
|Sky Mobile||No PUK code needed|
|Tesco Mobile||You can get a PUK to unlock Tesco Mobile phones by dialing *#06# to get your IMEI number. Once you’ve got that, ring Tesco Mobile on 034 5301 4455, who text you your PUK code along with instructions to unlock your phone.|
|Asda Mobile||Call 0800 079 2723 to receive your PUK code to unlock your handset.|
|Vodafone||You need to use Vodafone’s live online chat to request a new PUK code.|
How do I unlock my mobile?
If your phone is locked to a network and you want to switch to a sim only deal or cancel your contracts altogether, you may be wondering exactly how to unlock your mobile. Have a look at our detailed article to find out exactly how to do so, no matter what kind of phone you have
We hoped this article answered all your questions about PUK codes. Feel free to share or comment if it was helpful!