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How to activate an iPhone without a SIM card

No SIM card? No problem.

The iphone se 2 could look like the iphone 8
Image: Unsplash

Buying any used device or getting it as a hand-me-down could result in a few pieces missing. iPhones are no exception. It could be the charging cable, it could be a case, but sometimes it can be the SIM card. Which is one of the most important components of activating a phone. When you don’t have one, the iPhone will remind you to do so. Over and over and over again.

So, you might think you need it because otherwise, you own a very stylish Apple-themed paperweight. Buying a SIM card can be done at a carrier store, but there are some stores that can’t sell them. You can always jailbreak the iPhone, but that has its own selection of precautions and potential problems.

If you think you are out of luck, fear not. There are ways to activate an iPhone without a SIM card, and the ways to do so are much easier than you think.

Need to know how to activate an iPhone sans SIM card? Read on below!

An iphone laying on a table

Image: Unsplash

There are a few different techniques to follow that will easily activate an iPhone. And a few of them might surprise you.

Use a Wi-Fi Connection

If the secondhand iPhone is running later versions of iOS (such as 11 and above) and/or own an iPhone 8 and up, then all you need is a Wi-Fi connection.

  1. Boot up the phone and wait for the Hello screen to show up
  2. When it does, tap on the Home button
  3. Another screen will pop up with the option to Set Up Manually
  4. After that, select which Wi-Fi you want to connect
  5. Once you’re logged in, then your iPhone is activated!

Still have iTunes? Good news!

Sure, Apple may not be supporting iTunes anymore, but it still proves to useful. Such as this situation. Although, the following method only works with iPhones that aren’t tied to a carrier.

  1. Download iTunes, or if you already have, activate it
  2. Connect your iPhone with its charging cable
  3. Once iTunes detects the phone, a menu will popup on iTunes with an option to Set up New iPhone. Click on that.
  4. On the next menu, click on Get Started and then the Sync button
  5. Wait for it to sync and then you’re good.

Make a (literal) emergency call

It may not be a real emergency, but it helps to use the Emergency call feature. However, please keep in mind that this trick may not work.

  1. When the “No SIM Card” message appears, tap on the Home key
  2. From there, tap on the Call button to bring up the dial menu
  3. On the bottom left-hand corner, tap on Emergency and dial the number 112 or 999.
  4. When it’s dialing, press the Power button to disconnect the call
  5. A pop-up will appear asking the user to cancel the call. Do it and your iPhone is activated.

There you have it, three ways to get your new (old) iPhone up and running without a SIM card!

Did you try any of these methods? Did you have any issues? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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