Using iPhone without phone service
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: I bought an iPhone but had to deactivate it because I had to get a BlackBerry for work (I am still in mourning). So now I just want my beloved iPhone to act as a regular iPod but iTunes insists that I sign up for AT&T before I can sync it with iTunes. I need to bypass that but it won’t let me. I love my iPhone and would be disappointed if I had to start over and buy a new iPod now. Do you know how I can get my iPhone to stop wanting to be a phone and just be a nice iPod? It’s a first generation, but the Apple Store wiped it clean tonight and installed the latest software.
A: The solution in this case is to “jailbreak” your iPhone to bypass the activation requirement. This was frequently done with the first-generation iPhone by users outside of the United States where the iPhone was not otherwise available to them. Many of these users also “unlocked” the iPhone to use with other cellular carriers, however the “unlocking” process is distinct from the “jailbreaking” process (although there are tools available that can perform both functions in a single step).
“Jailbreaking” simply refers to the process of opening the iPhone operating system to allow access into the iPhone OS by the end-user and by numerous third-party applications available outside of the iTunes App Store. Unlike unlocking an iPhone to use on another carrier, the process of jailbreaking is completely reversible since it only involves software-based changes. Simply connecting the iPhone to iTunes and doing a full “Restore” operation on it will restore the original iPhone firmware and return it to normal operation (again requiring AT&T activation to be used).
To jailbreak an iPhone with the newer firmware versions, search for a tool called “PWNAGE” (Mac) or “WINPWN” (Windows), which will allow you to update your iPhone with a custom firmware version that does not require the iTunes-based activation. Once you have “jailbroken” your iPhone, you can continue to use it with iTunes in much the same way as you would be able to use an iPod touch, and iTunes itself should neither know nor care that you have jailbroken your iPhone in this manner.
Note that jailbreaking technically voids your iPhone warranty, and the other catch is that you will not be able to update your iPhone immediately when new firmware versions come out through iTunes. Instead you will need to wait for the Pwnage/Winpwn software to be updated for the new firmware versions.
- 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?
- August adds Motion Detection, Video Recording to Doorbell Cam
- Black hat security firm triples exploit bounty to $1.5m in wake of improved iOS 10 security features
- BMW acknowledges Bluetooth problems with iPhone 7
- Apple announces ‘Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition’ interactive iBooks
- Apple announces App Store Search Ads
- Apple announces iOS business development partnership with Deloitte
- Apple logs iMessage contact info, could be compelled to offer info to police
- Apple reportedly calls in hackers for meeting on bug bounty program
- Apple creating new London headquarters
- Honeywell debuts Lyric T5 HomeKit-enabled smart thermostat
- IK Multimedia iRig HD 2
- 808 Audio XS Sport Rugged Wireless Speaker
- Mass Fidelity Core Bluetooth Speaker
- Thought Out Simplex Tablet iPad Stand
- SmartX Galaxy ZEGA Starter Kit
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case
- Apple Watch Series 2
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Twelve South HiRise 2 for iPhone + iPad
- Nomad Pod Pro for iPhone and Apple Watch
- 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