Using iPhone 4 without cellular service | iLounge Article

Article

Using iPhone 4 without cellular service

Author's pic

By Jesse Hollington

Social Media & Software Editor, iLounge
Published: Friday, September 17, 2010
Articles Categories: Ask iLounge, iPhone

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.

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

Q: I just bought an iPhone 4G without a contract and I have a few questions. How do I activate it? How do I use it only as an iPod touch? How do I use it with a phone carrier like T-Mobile if I want to in the future? Will any of this void the warranty? I do not wish to jail break.

- Chris

A: The iPhone 4 is not designed to be used without a SIM card or a cell phone plan of some kind. It must activated with iTunes before it can be used, and in order to do this iTunes needs to see a valid micro-SIM card in the device.

That said, iTunes only checks validity based on the ID of the SIM card—it doesn’t care whether it has an iPhone plan associated with it or even if it’s on an active account at all. Once activated, you can continue using the iPhone 4 without any of the cellular phone or data features much like an iPod touch. Note that FaceTime will not work on an iPhone 4 without an active cellular plan, however, as the iPhone 4 version of FaceTime uses a cellular phone number to register you with the FaceTime network.

Without a SIM card inserted there is no way to activate an iPhone without jailbreaking it.

Note that if you purchased an iPhone 4 in the U.S. even without a contract, your iPhone will still be locked to AT&T and you will therefore need to use an AT&T micro-SIM card in order to activate it, although again you do not need to have an active account on that SIM card—iTunes just needs to see it in the iPhone. Also keep in mind that because the iPhone will still be locked to AT&T you will not be able to use it with another carrier such as T-Mobile without unlocking it first, which requires jailbreaking it.

If you purchased a contract-free phone outside of the U.S. then it may be officially unlocked already in which case you can use a SIM card from any carrier in order to activate it, and you will be able to use it on any carrier you like. Keep in mind, however, that not all carriers support the iPhone 4—even GSM carriers such as T-Mobile in the U.S. use different frequencies for their 3G network that are not compatible with the iPhone. Using an iPhone 4 on T-Mobile will work fine for voice calls, but for data you will only be able to use the much slower EDGE network.

Short of actually jailbreaking your iPhone, none of this will void the warranty as you’re not modifying the iPhone in any way—merely activating it with iTunes like you’re supposed to.

The most asked question at iLounge.com:

How do I copy content from my iPod/iPhone onto my computer?

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, Apple TV and iPhone Video Formats

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Mac)

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Win)

Best Speakers?

Best Headphones?

Best Case?

Best In-Car Solution?

Best Battery Extender?

Find more answers in the latest publications in our Library. Free downloads developed by the editors of iLounge!

Ask iLounge Archives:

1-24-14: Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks

1-22-14: Splitting purchased content between two iPads

12-13-13: Non-Bluetooth Lightning dock speakers

12-11-13: Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone

12-6-13: Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac

Read more recent Ask iLounge articles...

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

« iPhone screen remains active during calls

Reset passcode on iPod touch »

Related Stories

Comments

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Email:

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.