What are PUK codes?

We’ve all been through the malarkey of trying to log in to something, only to find you’ve forgotten which of your many passwords you use for it and swiftly getting yourself locked out. With websites and apps, it’s usually a case of getting an email or text to let yourself back in – but what do you do if you get locked out of your phone? This is one instance where PUK codes come in handy.

What is a PUK code?

PUK stands for Personal Unblocking Key, although you may also see them referred to as Personal Unlocking Keys or Personal Unblocking Codes (PUC). PUK codes consist of eight numbers, which aren’t arranged in any particular order.

What can you use a PUK code for?

There are two main uses for a PUK code:

  1. Unblocking your device or SIM if it’s been locked due to too many failed unlock attempts – for example, if you entered an incorrect PIN too many times.
  2. Unlocking your device from a specific network if it’s locked to one. This may be the case if you purchased a phone from a network, although this practice was banned a few years ago in the UK. You shouldn’t need to do this if you purchased your device after December 2021, however it may be something to aware of if you got your device from a provider before then.

How to get a PUK code

If you need a PUK code for either of the above, you have a couple of options.

Firstly, you may already have it – if you still have the packaging that the SIM card you’re currently using came in, then it should be somewhere on this packet, often on the back.

If you don’t have the packaging, it’s not an issue as you can request a PUK code from the SIM provider. If you need a PUK code from SMARTY, please contact us via our webchat and one of our agents will be happy to give this to you.

How to use a PUK code

When you’ve got your PUK code, your device should present you the option to enter it like you would your PIN, so that you can unlock the device. Enter your eight-digit PUK and you should then be given the option to create a new PIN that you can use to access your device moving forward.

Be aware that you have a limited number of chances to correctly enter a PUK code and if you fail to do so your SIM may be permanently blocked, so only try to enter a PUK code if you have it.

With SMARTY, you have 10 chances to enter a correct PUK code. If it hasn’t worked after your second attempt and you believe you’ve entered it correctly, please contact us via our webchat so we can help you to resolve the issue.

Do I need a PUK code when changing networks?

As mentioned, a PUK code may be needed to unlock a device that’s locked to a specific network, but this may be unlikely these days given the time that’s passed since networks were prohibited from doing so. What you will need when changing networks is a PAC or STAC code to either transfer or close your existing number.

Now that you know all about PUK codes, the malarkey of getting locked out of your phone is one less thing to worry about. Better yet, if you happen to be unlocking your phone from a specific network, you can get yourself one of our great value SIM only deals.

  • SMARTY Team
  • July 26th, 2023