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?
- Apple files lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of withholding patent royalties
- Apple releases updated iOS Developer Design Resources
- Apple’s exclusive audiobook deal with Audible ends in Europe following EU antitrust scrutiny
- Nintendo officially announces Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS, coming Feb. 2
- Rumor: Apple working on second-generation Apple Pencil
- GarageBand 2.2 adds Logic Pro X integration, Alchemy synth, Multi-Take Recording
- FTC files complaint against Qualcomm citing royalty deal with Apple
- India mulling manufacturing regulation changes which could woo Apple
- Apple Music creative team discusses the service’s exclusives, future
- Apple raising UK App Store prices by more than 25 percent
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- 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