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What actually happens if you enter the PUK incorrectly?

By Adrian M├╝hlroth | July 19, 2019, 9:35 a.m.

The personal identification number (PIN) and the personal unlocking key (PUK) protect the SIM card from unauthorized access - but what is the difference and what happens if you enter the PUK incorrectly?

Who hasn't had the problem: Forgot your PIN and spent hours looking for the PUK in the documents. But what do these abbreviations actually stand for?

PIN: Personal Identification Number

The PIN is a numerical code that is stored on the SIM card. It can be between 4 and 8 characters long and, if this function is activated, will be requested when the mobile phone is started in order to enable the SIM card. The PIN can be changed at any time by the user in the telephone settings. If the PIN is entered incorrectly three times in a row, the SIM card is blocked and can only be reactivated with a PUK.

Also interesting: Instructions: Change the PIN code on Android and iPhone

PUK: Personal Unlocking Key

The PUK - sometimes also referred to as Personal Unlocking Code (PUC) or Super PIN - is required to make the SIM card functional again. In Germany, the PUK is usually noted in the same place as the PIN in the SIM documents, in some other countries, however, the PUK is only sent to the user by the network provider after verification. Some providers have now also stored the PUK online in the customer center. After entering the PUK, a new PIN must be assigned. If the PUK is entered incorrectly ten times in a row, the SIM card is permanently and irrevocably blocked. The SIM card is therefore unusable and must be replaced with a new one at a cost.

Anyone who has lost the documents with the PUK can, for example, call customer service to find out. Most network providers, including Vodafone, O2 and Telekom, also enable the PUK to be queried via the corresponding Internet portal.

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