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I've restored an iPhone 3G (purchased outside the US) and am trying to activate it with iTunes (in the US with an ATT sim). The iPhone tells me to connect to itunes, with an unlock for emergency calls.

When I connect to iTunes, all I get is a plain white window with the word iPhone in it (can't show image; I'm new).

I've tried with iPhone-activated SIM cards and not, and also tried activating without a SIM card at all (iTunes tells me to put a SIM in).

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2 Answers

I recommend going into full recovery mode. Instructions are here: iPhone and iPod touch: Unable to update or restore. A summary:

  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the iPhone or iPod touch, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer's USB port.

  2. Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the the iPhone or iPod touch to turn off.

    • If you cannot turn off the device using the slider, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time. When the device turns off, release the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.
  3. While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to iPhone. When you reconnect the USB cable to iPhone, the device should power on. Note: If you see the screen pictured below, let the device charge for at least ten minutes to ensure the battery has some charge and then start with step 2 again.

    Flat battery

  4. Continue holding the Home button until you see the "Connect to iTunes" screen. When this screen appears you can release the Home button:

    Connect to iTunes

  5. If necessary, open iTunes. You should see the following "recovery mode" alert:

    Recovery mode

  6. Use iTunes to restore the device.

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If iTunes/the phone are saying there is no SIM installed when there is there may be a problem with the SIM card or the phone. These are some steps I'd suggest to help troubleshoot:

  1. First you should try reseating the SIM by removing the tray, making sure the card is nicely position and reinserting it.
  2. Second, I would request a new SIM from the mobile network or use a SIM you know to be working.
  3. Third I would take the phone to an Apple store for repair/replacement (although this is unlikely to be free).

It is worth asking the question: is your phone definitely unlocked for the ATT network?

I should also state that I'm not sure whether there are any differences between an USA iPhone and one purchased outside the USA.

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