I want to use my old iPhone for iMessage but I am running into an issue setting up iMessage as it seems to be waiting for phone activation which wont happen because I have a new android phone.

How can I set up my iPhone to only send iMessages from my Apple ID? Right now my old number is grayed out with a loading wheel to the left.

  • Have you disabled cell service and enable wifi on this old iPhone?
    – IconDaemon
    Dec 10 '16 at 2:58

Assuming you still have a current Apple ID, you would set up your old iPhone to send/receive messages on your Apple ID email address, rather than your mobile number.

  • First you need to ensure you're logged into iCloud on your old iPhone. Go to Settings > iCloud to do this.
  • Second you need to set what 'addresses' you want to have your iPhone send/receive iMessages with. Go to Settings > Messages and tap on the Send & Receive option. You will see two sets of addresses, one you can be reached at and one you start conversations from. You will need to ensure that the Apple ID you use for iCloud is added and ticked.

NOTE: Your old iPhone can only send/receive iMessages while connected to the internet. Also, it will only work with the email address (people won't be able to send an iMessage to your mobile number as it's now on an Android device).

Should you run into any problems, post back using the comments function below.


Unfortunately if your old cell phone doesn’t have cell service (SMS specifically), iMessage cannot be activated. Quoting Apple:

If you’re using an iPhone, you need SMS messaging to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime.

From “If you get an error when trying to activate iMessage or FaceTime.” In my own test this proved to be true, and I couldn’t find any way around this iPhone-specific restriction.

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