Using an iPhone without a SIM card
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: Can you use an iPhone 3G without a SIM card as an iPod touch? I want my wife to have Wi-Fi access to the web and calendar use but no phone. I will upgrade to a 3GS if she can use the 3G like an iPod touch.
A: This is technically possible under certain conditions. Normally, the iPhone must be “activated” by iTunes in order for it to be used at all, and this activation process requires that the iPhone serial number (IMEI) and SIM card ID be checked with Apple’s servers to confirm that they are valid. This is the same process that you would have gone through when you initially purchased your iPhone.
However, once this activation process has been completed, you can remove the SIM card and continue using the iPhone and even syncing with iTunes without having to re-activate it. The only time that re-activation will be required is when you perform a firmware update on the iPhone, or perform a full “Restore” operation on it to return it to factory settings.
So in short, this means that you can use the iPhone on a day-to-day basis without a SIM card in it, and all of the non-cellular functions should work just fine, including Internet access over Wi-Fi. However, should you ever need to upgrade or restore the iPhone, you will need to insert a valid SIM card in order to complete the activation process with iTunes. In the scenario you describe, however, this shouldn’t be a problem, as you should be able to just put your SIM card back into the iPhone and then carry on from there.
It’s also worth noting that jailbreaking the iPhone completely bypasses the iTunes activation requirements as well, although this is a slightly more advanced process and will probably not be worth the effort if your wife just wants to use the iPhone as a basic iPod touch style device.
- 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?
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren accuses Apple, others, of locking out competition
- Cirrus Logic releases development kit for Lightning headphones
- Report details Apple Music’s vision for exclusive content
- Walgreens adds digital coupons to Apple Pay
- China orders Apple and others to monitor, report on app users
- South Korea regulators investigating Apple
- Apple Q3 earnings call set for July 26
- Apple’s UK tax bill under scrutiny
- Apple lays out ‘differential privacy’ plan for data collection
- Report: New iPhone’s space gray to be ‘much darker color’
- IK Multimedia iKlip A/V
- ClamCase ClamCase+ for iPad Air 2
- Philips Hue White Ambience Starter Kit
- Naim Audio Mu-so Qb Speaker
- Phiaton BT 460 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- 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
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app