The company I am working for wants to develop iPhone apps. But we don't want to have to pay for service on the phone. Is is possible to purchase a used phone and use it to develop apps without hooking it up to a provider? There is an older post about this, but I wanted to check and see if anything has changed in the last two years with doing this.

Are there any special considerations when doing this?

  • 1
    You need to activate the device with Apple, and once you've done that, it should work
    – wrossmck
    Jun 18 '14 at 15:10
  • Is there anything special I need to do/have to activate the phone with Apple?
    – Andy J
    Jun 19 '14 at 13:48
  • you need to have a SIM card with a network that is supported by the iPhone in question. This may be any network (in the case that the iPhone is unlocked) OR it will need to be with the same network as the iPhone was originally on. I'm nearly certain that this sim does not need to have an active plan in order to activate the phone with apple. (all of this info assumes that the phone is not a CDMA phone, and is a phone that uses a SIM card)
    – wrossmck
    Jun 19 '14 at 15:53

There should be no issue with this, the iPhone would just act as an iPod you would just have to install the app with a USB cable or over Wi-Fi if you choose to put it on the App Store.


First, you don't need an iPhone to start developing iPhone apps. Xcode has a simulator.

When you get to the point of wanting to test on an actual device, you do not need carrier service.

However, you will need to activate the device. Ensure that the phone that you purchase is unlocked so that you can activate it with any SIM card.

Also, ensure that the device that you purchase is not signed in to an iCloud account.

  • The simulator is nice but it does not compare to a real device. Many APIs are not functional on the simulator and there is of course a huge speed difference. Jun 19 '14 at 2:49
  • St3fan is right. If you're going to use device specific APIs like the accelerometer, gyroscope, or even multitouch, then the simulator will only get you so far. Jun 20 '14 at 15:36

You might need a SIM card in the phone from a supported carrier. The card does not actually have to be activated, but I am pretty sure the phone checks for its presence when you do the initial setup.

You can get 'empty' SIM cards at the Apple Store. At least you can here in Canada.

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