My spouse got an iPhone 4 recently and we want to use the old iPhone 3GS as an iPod for the daughter. They switched him over at the AT&T store so I don't know if the old phone has a SIM card in it or not right this minute (not at home).

The WIFI works fine. On the top left of the screen where it would show bars and "AT&T", it displays NO SERVICE.

The issue is this: the battery drains over night when it is asleep. I have charged it the last few days and the next time the kid wants it, the battery is dead. The iphone was only 1 year old so the battery shouldn't be fading.

Is the phone searching for service and draining the battery even when asleep?

I have disabled the location services and made sure push notifications are set to manual or disabled.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

  • I would recommend selling it and buying iPod touch. Tradeoffs will be camera that is not as good and sreen that is not as wide angle and vivid as on iPhone but everything else — resolution, weight, battery life, speed — will be much better. And you'll got front camera. I believe you can easily fetch as much as a cost of a new iPod Touch if your 3GS in a good condition. – iskra Oct 29 '11 at 13:30

Remove the SIM. That should solve your problem. It will complain about no SIM whenever it is restarted but apart from that will work fine. I presume you want the WiFi to remain functional.


To conserve battery, put the phone into airplane mode and then turn on Wifi. Also, if you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off.


When the iPhone has no service, what it does is continually search for a signal that it can connect to. This is why the battery drains so quickly when you have no signal, especially over a long period such as over night (this is also, incidentally, why the battery drains so fast when you have Wifi on but have no network to connect to).

As you are using it as an iPod essentially, I would recommend you go into Settings, and put Airplane Mode into 'On.' This turns off all outside connections (GPS, carrier etc) with the phone. That way, the unit will not be searching and therefore drain battery, but you can still turn on Wifi or Bluetooth when you wish.

Hope this helps!

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