How to Activate a Fresh iPhone Without a SIM Card

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to Activate a Fresh iPhone Without a SIM Card
(Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The subscriber identity module (SIM) card that comes with an iPhone is designed to function with a default carrier designated by Apple. You can activate a new, out-of-the-box iPhone without the Apple-approved SIM card. The procedure requires a cell phone that has a specific type of SIM card in it, plus a few supplies from an electronics store or cellular supply store. The free iTunes program designed for use with the iPhone will be needed as well.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Paper clip
  • Phonebook SIM card
  • Blank SIM card
  • iPhone cable
  • iTunes

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Straighten out a paper clip. Insert one end of the paper clip into the hole on the top edge of the iPhone. Push in the paper clip to release the SIM tray. Pull the SIM tray out once the edge is revealed. Upend the SIM tray and catch the SIM card in your hand. Place the SIM card away.

  2. 2

    Remove the SIM tray from a cell phone that uses a Phonebook-brand SIM card. The procedure for removing the card will be similar to that for the iPhone, although the SIM tray could be on the top, side or even the bottom of the cell phone.

  3. 3

    Place the Phonebook-brand SIM card in the iPhone's SIM tray. Return the tray to the SIM tray compartment on the top edge of the iPhone.

  4. 4

    Plug the proprietary end of the iPhone cable into the iPhone. Plug the USB end of the iPhone cable into a free USB port on your computer.

  5. 5

    Launch the iTunes program by selecting it from the "Start" menu and clicking on "All Programs." Let the "SIM card not supported" screen appear at the centre of the iTunes program before proceeding.

  6. 6

    Punch the blank SIM card out of the plastic card holder with your fingers. Insert one end of the paper clip into the hole on the top edge of the iPhone. Push in the paper clip to release the SIM tray. Pull the SIM tray out once the edge is revealed.

  7. 7

    Upend the SIM tray and catch the Phonebook SIM card. Place the Phonebook SIM card aside. Place the blank SIM card in the tray. Return the tray to the SIM tray compartment on the top edge of the iPhone. Let the "Activation" window appear at the centre of the iTunes program before proceeding.

  8. 8

    Tap the confirmation pop-up window that is now on the iPhone's screen. Tap the "Settings" application that is on the screen. Tap "General," then "About." Press the "Home" button once a new screen appears.

  9. 9

    Remove the iPhone cable out of the iPhone. Remove the other end of the iPhone cable out of the USB port. Quit iTunes.

  10. 10

    Insert one end of the paper clip into the hole on the top edge of the iPhone. Push in the paper clip to release the SIM tray. Pull the SIM tray out and remove the blank SIM card. The iPhone is now activated.

Tips and warnings

  • An Apple firmware update can "break" the activation of the iPhone, since it is not using the Apple-provided SIM card.

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