If you want to perform complex functions on your phone, you may need to find your MSL code. The Master Subsidy Lock code is designed to make it difficult to use the phone on carriers other than the issuing carrier. The most common use for the MSL code used to be unlocking your phone.
This article won’t go into detail about unlocking phones, but you will learn how to get your MSL code from a Sprint phone. Each carrier has a different code that is configured differently, so this won’t work for other carriers.
You probably didn’t think it would be as easy as calling Sprint to get the code.
The “S” in MSL stands for subsidy and this refers to the fact that carriers “subsidize” phones to sell them at a loss, hoping to recoup that loss from service charges in the contracted period. If the phone were transferrable to another carrier, it would defeat the purpose of subsidizing the phones. Therefore, carriers generally have no reason to give up the code unless the contract is up.
But for years now, Sprint has been using carrier locks that have nothing to do with the MSL code. So if you ask for the unlock code — and you’re insistent — they might just give it to you to get you off the phone.
If your contracted time has expired, the phone belongs to you fully and you are entitled to your phone’s MSL code from Sprint. In this case, you should be able to get it by speaking with a customer service representative.
Use an MSL Reader
The simplest way to get to your MSL on an Android phone is by downloading and running an MSL reader app. The downside to this is that you need to have a rooted phone. Rooting refers to having root access to your OS code and it’s similar to jailbreaking an iPhone. This carries a number of potential risks and will definitely void your warranty.
It’s outside of the scope of this article to give an in-depth tutorial on how to root your phone but you can find out how to do so with a Google search. Once the phone is rooted download an app that can read the MSL number, such as MSL reader . You might have to do a little searching because not every app will work for all phones.
Note that these apps tend to be quite limited in their scope, so once you find one that suits your phone, using it should be simple. All you will have to do is launch it and follow the on-screen instructions to get your code.
There is a slightly sketchy way to get your MSL code that has been making the rounds on Android forums. There isn’t much risk involved in trying this method out because it doesn’t involve root access or calling Sprint.
There are quite a few steps to this so before you start, download the [ROOT] aLogcat  application. Then, follow these steps:
- In your dialer, enter ##3282#. This will display the EPST menu.
- Select “View Mode” from the menu.
- Launch the aLogcat app.
- Scroll down until you find the entries labeled: “I/EpstBroadcastReciever.”
- You MSL code can be found after the equals sign, in the line that reads “MSL Code=”
Do You Really Need an MSL Code?
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that MSL codes are far less useful than they used to be, as they are no longer sufficient for carrier unlocking. There doesn’t seem to be too much you can do with an MSL code these days, and the things that you can do are likely to adversely affect your device. You can’t overclock your device or otherwise improve its performance. So make sure you really need your MSL code before you commit.
If you’re confident that you need to have your MSL code, tell us why in the comments. We’re eager to hear about tried and tested contemporary uses for the MSL code.