Would I need to have a SIM in my phone to update iOS over the air?

  • You had two questions in here. This site works better when there is only one question per question. That way, it's easier for other people to find solutions if they have the same problem. I've edited out your second question, but feel free to ask it separately.
    – nohillside
    Sep 29, 2015 at 16:32
  • Possible duplicate of one of my questions: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/201241/… Sep 29, 2015 at 16:47
  • Are you asking if iOS 9 requires a sim when you first install it? Or do you have an error like this? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/764/…
    – bmike
    Sep 30, 2015 at 1:51
  • No, I'm asking if an already activated iPhone with iOS 8 would require a SIM to upgrade to iOS 9. Sep 30, 2015 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


Often, an iPhone will refuse to function in there is no SIM present. However, I have found that if your iPhone is active, and configured, you can use it and update, OVER WIFI, without the SIM card.

By active I mean that the phone is configured with your information, and set up and running. So, in this case, the phone was being used, and you removed the SIM card to say place in another phone. In this case, yes, you can update the iPhone over Wifi. However, if the phone is not activated, and you have not configured it, the phone will refuse to move forward in the configuration process without the SIM card.


When trying to activate your iPhone, a message might say that your iPhone cannot be activated because the activation server is unavailable, the SIM card is unsupported, or activation couldn't be completed. Follow these steps.


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