How to Keep Your Current iPhone Number When Switching Phone Companies

Most carriers allow you to keep your iPhone number when you switch

iphone number portability
Courtesy Apple, Inc.

Cellphone numbers are portable—you can move them from one provider to another when you switch cellular service providers. This means that people can switch from AT&T to Verizon or another service or vice versa without losing their iPhone numbers, whether or not they buy a new iPhone or take their older compatible phone with them.

The process of switching carriers while maintaining the same phone number is possible as long as both carriers offer cellular service in the same geographic location.

If you have a lease arrangement or a contract with your current cellular provider, you must pay off that commitment before leaving the carrier. In some cases, there is an early termination fee. However, if you own your phone and aren't under contract, there should be no fees involved in transferring your number to a new provider.

IPhone Compatibility

As long as your iPhone is compatible with the new carrier, that carrier can switch on your service using the same phone number. Unlocked iPhones are compatible with all current carriers. Older iPhone models are not necessarily compatible due to technology differences; check with the new provider to see if your iPhone is compatible. If not, you can purchase or lease a new iPhone from the second carrier and use your original phone number. In some cases, you can request your old carrier to unlock a locked iPhone you purchased from the provider.

Do not cancel your current cellphone service before you successfully transfer your old phone number to your new provider, and your service is activated.

The new cellular provider will do this for you. If you cancel the number before this is done, you will lose your phone number.

Typically, it takes between 4 and 24 hours for the number transfer to take place.

Note: In some cases, it is possible to transfer a number from an older technology phone that is not a smartphone to a new iPhone, but it takes longer, sometimes up to 10 days.

Ask your new provider about this possibility before you commit to the change.

Check Eligibility

Major cellular providers have websites where you can check if you are eligible to transfer your phone number to their service. Just go to the website and enter your existing number and ZIP code. They include:

All the cellular services stress that you should not cancel your service with your current provider yourself. The new company provides that service to guarantee your number is ported satisfactorily.

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