How to Activate an iPhone Without SIM Card

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2017)

You’ll always have to activate your new iPhone or an iPhone that has been reset. You can’t make any calls or send texts without first activating the phone. But what happens if you don’t have a SIM card? How do you overcome the errors you encounter when activating the iPhone?

Most people looking for how to activate iPhone without SIM card activation step by step any version guide are dealing with factory locked devices. A factory locked SIM card will only activate if you are using the SIM from the mobile network it is locked to.

activating old iphone on itunesHere are your options when it comes to activating your iPhone without a SIM card.

Older Phones are Easier to Activate

Older phones that came before the iPhone 5 are easier to activate. All you have to do is insert any SIM card into the phone and connect it to iTunes via a USB cable. iTunes will automatically activate your iPhone within seconds.

If you are packing an iPhone 5 or later, your best options are listed below.

Activate using Wi-Fi network (And Borrowed SIM)

This is by far the easiest approach. Just access data via WiFi and your device will be active so you can use it as an iPad or an iPod touch without a SIM card in the phone. However, you’ll first have to borrow a SIM card of the right carrier before trying this.

  • Place the borrowed sim card into your phone
  • Go through the normal set up and log into your Wi-Fi network
  • Wait for the phone to activate and then turn it off
  • Remove the borrowed SIM card
  • Switch on your phone and connect to your Wi-Fi network again. You can now do everything on the phone apart from make carrier calls (Skype, Whatsapp etc calls will still work)

Activate it using iTunes

activate iphone on itunes without sim card

This will only work if your phone isn’t locked to any network. The good thing is you won’t need a SIM card at all. The activation will also work if you are using the latest version of iTunes and you don’t have an internet connection.

  • Ensure that you are running the latest version of iTunes
  • Connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable with iTunes open
  • If you get a ‘There is no SIM card installed in the iPhone you are attempting to activate,’ then your device is locked to a carrier and you will have to use the borrowed SIM approach above or unlock your phone
  • Else, you will get a prompt from iTunes explaining what you need to do and what details you need to fill in to activate the phone
  • Once activated, you can now use the iPhone over Wi-Fi just as you would use an iPod touch or an iPad

Activating With the Emergency Call Feature

This option might work on older versions or devices running a late version of iOS. Making an emergency call and dropping it before it goes through will no longer activate your new iPhone.

In addition to this, it is irresponsible to task an already overwhelmed emergency services system just to unlock an iPhone.

Jailbreaking the iPhone

This is the very last trick in the book that you should only try if you don’t care about your warranty or relative safety. You can check out our guides on jailbreaking and also understand the pros and cons of jailbreaking if you want to walk down this path. Jailbreak activation will also work on carrier-locked devices.

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