How to Use an iPhone Without a Sim Card

A smartphone and Sim Card seem like a pretty inseparable duo, but sometimes this doesn’t have to be the case. But why would you need to use your iPhone without a Sim Card? Well, a sim card usually requires a network provider, data plan, minutes, and text messages. This means getting into a contract. But, if you’re quite comfortable with what you can do with your iPhone just using Wi-Fi, you don’t need it. Or, maybe you just want to keep your sim card away from toddlers with quick fingers!

How to Use an iPhone Without a Sim Card

No Card – No Problem

If you have one of the newer models of iPhone that runs on iOS 11.4 and above, that is. If so, then how to use iPhone without a sim card becomes a non-issue. The recent software updates have completely eradicated the necessity of a sim card for your iPhone to work. When you insert the empty sim card tray into your iPhone, the activation will start.

You get to choose the preferred language, and connect to a Wi-Fi network (where previously the activation would fail without a sim card). Now, after several minutes, it’s successful and you can go through all the usual setups, like password protection, and setting up Siri.


No Card – Kind of a Problem

But, how to use iPhone without sim card when you’re not in possession of a model with an operating system that supports such freedom? Possibly, you just got your brother’s hand-me-down and want to listen to music. Don’t fret, there are options. Let’s review some of them.

Use to iTunes

Go to the most trusted source and access iTunes from your computer. Apple owns iTunes and its primary function is to manage iPhone and other iOS devices. This is the quickest, most effective, and safest way to go about activating your iPhone without a sim card. When you connect your phone to your computer, all you need to do is follow the instructions you see on the screen.

Step 1

Make sure that you download the latest version of iTunes available from Apple’s website onto your computer. This will help to avoid complications and make the process run smoothly.

Step 2

Use the USB cable to connect your iPhone to the computer.

Step 3

You will notice that iTunes has launched automatically and is able to detect your iPhone. Continue and select “Set up as new iPhone”.



Step 4

When you click “Continue” you’ll be directed to a “Sync with iTunes” screen. Then you need to click “Get Started” followed by “Sync” and wait until the process is over. After everything is complete, go ahead and detach the iPhone from the computer and finish the setup manually.

Borrow It

This method technically involves a sim card, but ultimately you get to use your iPhone without it. In case you opted out of going on a phone plan from a network provider, but still want to activate your iPhone, you might consider asking a friend or a family member to help you out. They would have to temporarily take out their sim card and entrust it into your careful hands. You then insert the sim card and go through the process of setting everything up. Remember, the most important part is to connect to Wi-Fi, and then wait for the phone to activate. After that, give your friend or loved one their sim card back so they can continue to use it. You won’t have the option of phone calls, but you can use apps like Skype and WhatsApp for that purpose.

sim cards

The Hard Way

You might have heard of the term “jailbreaking your phone”. As you probably gathered, this is very much a last resort and should only be used on old iPhones that are locked by carriers. Keep in mind that if you try this, it voids the phone’s warranty because you’re tampering with iPhone’s internal software.

You Can Do It

So, how to use iPhone without sim card? The great news is – it can be done! Even better, you can fix this yourself if you have an older phone. Alternatively, buying a new iPhone completely solves the problem. For example, next time you want to travel abroad but don’t want to entertain the idea of international data and calling plans, just leave your sim card at home and you’re good to go. Similarly, if the full price tag of a new iPhone sounds more appealing than getting into a contract with a mobile carrier, you don’t have to worry about what to do about sim card activation.

Let us know what you think about sim cards and iPhone activation in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “How to Use an iPhone Without a Sim Card”

John says:
unlocked 3 cellphones today after ATT plans paid off…however, the I5s by apple does not support VoLTE…like this phone and looks great., but no companies are accepting this as they are going to VoLTE.

Maybe need to stick with ATT this phone only of of go off SIM (Go Ruge with this i5s) and save money.

Calin says:
Thank you! You made my day 🙂

Using a dumb SIM card bypass the activation menu.

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