How to Activate a 3G iPhone Without SIM

Written by john mitchell Google
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How to Activate a 3G iPhone Without SIM
(Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

If you were recently given or bought a previously owned 3G iPhone, it is possible to bypass the phone's activation screen and turn it into a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device. Activating iPhones without a SIM card is known as "jailbreaking." It can be achieved with one of many free software programs available online, such as "redsn0w" or "Pwnage."

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Download and install the latest version of redsn0w (see Resources).

  2. 2

    Locate the iPhone 3.0 or 3.1.2 firmware. On Windows, it is typically located under "Documents and Settings[User]\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates." Replace [user] in the path with your Windows user login name.

  3. 3

    Copy-and-paste the iPhone firmware file where you installed redsn0w. The firmware ends with a ".ipsw" file extension.

  4. 4

    Drag-and-drop the firmware file on top of the redsn03.exe icon.

  5. 5

    Plug in the 3G iPhone to your computer when prompted by redsn0w. It will tell you to connect the iPhone in DFU mode.

  6. 6

    Hold down the "Power" and "Home" buttons for 10 seconds.

  7. 7

    Release the "Power" button after 10 seconds, but continue holding in the "Home" button. Continue to hold the "Home" button for no less than 30 seconds or until the device alerts you that it has connected to the computer.

  8. 8

    Hit enter on your keyboard at the Command Prompt window. This begins the jailbreaking process and will normally last between 5-10 minutes.

Tips and warnings

  • When jailbreaking your iPhone, it may take multiple attempts no matter which pwnage tool used.
  • Be patient during the jailbreak process; allow the software to activate your iPhone.
  • You can download the latest iOS 4 firmware from BitTorrent websites. This upgrades your 3G iPhone to the latest Apple iOS software.
  • In 2010, the U.S. federal government passed legislation which makes it legal to jailbreak your Apple iPhone or other mobile device.
  • Jailbreaking your iPhone still may void your warranty and service agreements with Apple.

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