How to Activate a 3G iPhone

Updated February 21, 2017

The Apple iPhone 3G cell phone has become popular partly because so many of its functions do not require being set up by a service centre or technician. This includes the initial activation that turns a new iPhone 3G on so that it can be used. The owner can activate the iPhone 3G himself provided he has installed the iTunes software and has an Internet connection on his computer. Activating the iPhone 3G will let it perform all of its operations and will not take more than a few minutes to accomplish.

Download the Mac or PC version of the iTunes software (see the link in Resources). Double-click on the iTunes software once it has downloaded. Follow the command prompts to install the iTunes software onto the computer's hard drive. Restart the PC after the installation is finished.

Run the iTunes software. Connect the iPhone connection cable to the connector on the iPhone and the other end to a USB port on the computer. Wait for the icon of the iPhone to appear in the "Devices" column at the left side of the iTunes software.

Click on the "Download Update" button on the window that appears over the iTunes software. Click on the "OK" button on the window that replaces the "Download Update" window.

Click once on the icon of the iPhone that is in the "Devices" column. Press the "Register later" button on the screen to the right of the "Devices" column to wait for a later time to register the iPhone with Apple.

Enter the name for the iPhone in the "Name" column at the top of the screen that appears to the right of the "Devices" column. Check the "Automatically sync contacts, calendars, and bookmarks" check box. Check the "Automatically sync applications" check box. Click the "Done" button at the right bottom of the screen.

Wait for the iPhone's screen to change to the Home menu screen. The iPhone 3G is now activated. Right-click on the iPhone's icon in the "Devices" column and select "Eject" from the pop-up menu. Quit iTunes and disconnect the iPhone connection cable from the iPhone 3G and from the USB port of the computer.


Use the "Check for Update" button on iTunes in the "Summary" tab after the iPhone has been activated to see if there is a software update to install.


Do not connect the USB plug of the iPhone connection cable to a USB hub because it will not provide a good connection for activating the iPhone.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Web browser
  • Internet connection
  • iPhone connection cable
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About the Author

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."