iPhone activation requirements
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: Do you have to get the two year contract for the iPhone? Could you simply purchase the iPhone and use it as an iPod/iPod video or even with wifi? I’m pleased with my phone and plan but I love the widescreen of the iPhone so I was wondering if I could get it to use just as a widescreen video iPod?
A: There are really two answers to this question: The official answer as to what you can do with the product, and the answer as to what you can do if you’re comfortable with working outside of the normal rules of its operation.
The official answer is that you cannot use the iPhone without an AT&T activation. When the iPhone is originally taken out of the box, it will not function in any way until it is connected to iTunes and activated. The iTunes activation sequence first takes you through a process by which you sign up for an AT&T service plan (or upgrade your existing AT&T plan onto the iPhone). Until this process is completed, the iPhone is basically a non-functioning brick.
The normal sign-up process will require a two-year contract, although there have been reports that those who do not qualify for a two-year contract may be offered a deposit-based or pre-paid option. Regardless of this, however, the iPhone does not function even as an iPod until such time as the AT&T activation process has been completed via iTunes.
That having been said, tools are now appearing on the Internet to attempt to bypass this process, and they appear to work quite successfully in terms of activating the iPhone to be used without phone service. Note that as of this writing, nobody has successfully unlocked the iPhone to use its phone services with a carrier other than AT&T, and it is not known when or if anybody is going to be able to accomplish this.
What the current activation “hacks” do is to essentially enable the non-phone-related features of the iPhone, including the iPod functionality and the WiFi capabilities, making it usable as an iPod and a wireless device within range of a WiFi access point or hotspot.
It must be noted, however, that the use of such tools is not in any way supported by Apple, and in fact may even violate certain license agreement terms or invalidate the iPhone warranty, so one should proceed with extreme caution when contemplating using such tools.
Note that while Apple does not disclose any information regarding upcoming products, there is a strong possibility that a next-generation dedicated iPod device is going to be released within the next several months, and may very well incorporate many of the iPod interface features that were introduced with the iPhone. Further, as an actual iPod, it will likely have significantly more storage capacity than the iPhone presently has.
The bottom line is that if you are looking at the iPhone simply to use as an iPod, our advice would be to wait a few months and see what develops with the next-generation of iPod.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1
- New details about Apple Watch Nike+ exclusives, availability
- Apple’s website hints at possible Apple Pay launch in Germany
- ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price
- Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory
- Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta
- iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code
- Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Speck Presidio and Tech21 Evo Tactical for iPhone 7
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps