I am looking to buy a used iPhone for use on the TracFone network. I am pretty sure that it will run on the network. According to eHow, I can do it with a jailbreak and according to another eHow article, AT&T phones work. Can someone point me in the right direction? Which version of the iPhone (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint) do I need? How do I get it on the TracFone network?

10 Answers 10


You should be aware that changing the SIM card is not a solution because when you go to activate, Tracfone will ask for the IMEI of the phone and this is a unique to each phone. They have a list of those numbers associated with all the phones they typically sell to the public and the one on your iPhone is not on their list so you cannot activate the service. You should also be advised that changing the IMEI number is a felony. Basically you are not going to meet with success and it is a pity since the Tracfone service is great but the stock phones that go with it are outdated, underpowered and not what many people are willing to settle for.

  • Hmm...okay, sooo...not at all possible? Thanks!
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 19, 2013 at 0:34
  • 1
    "changing the IMEI number is a felony" Care to refer to the particular jurisdiction where that's the case? May 12, 2014 at 1:49
  • @KubaOber Hey that's just what I came here to comment :)
    – tubedogg
    Oct 4, 2016 at 3:53

TracFone, per the eHow guide, relies on a SIM card to work. The CDMA standard does not commonly use SIM cards, especially not in America. TracFone also works on pre-iPhone 4 iPhones.

The conclusion?
Get any version of the iPhone, but get a GSM version if a choice needs to be made.

The next question is, does TracFone provide a micro-SIM for use in an iPhone 4 / 4S?

  • So any phone prior to the iPhone 4 will definitely work? And the iPhone 4/4S require a micro-SIM to work?
    – daviesgeek
    Jul 25, 2012 at 4:14
  • Correct. The original, 3G, and 3Gs all used standard full-size sims. The 4 and the 4S use micro-SIMs. IIRC, the GSM radios in the iPhone have always been the same, except for the missing 3G band in the original iPhone. The only new radios since the 3G have been to accomodate CDMA, or, some bands not relevant inside of America. Jul 25, 2012 at 4:21
  • And the iPhones have to be unlocked?
    – daviesgeek
    Jul 25, 2012 at 4:25
  • They either have to be unlocked, or locked to TracFone :). (Note: TracFone does not sell iPhones, so an iPhone locked to TracFone pretty much can't possibly exist.) Jul 25, 2012 at 4:29
  • And all the iPhones can be unlocked by the carrier? (I prefer not to jailbreak)
    – daviesgeek
    Jul 25, 2012 at 4:31

Now (May 2014), some Verizon CDMA iPhones DO WORK. Specifically, the Tracfone site says that the iPhone 4 and 4S can be activated onto the Tracfone as BYOD phones:

Here's the link: https://www.tracfone.com/direct/controller.block?__blockname=direct.byop_cdma_tf.landing&app=TRACFONE&lang=en&init=Y


I am currently on an iPhone 4s that has tracfone as my service provider.

What I did was buy an used iPhone 4s off of amazon(make sure it is verizon as Verizon is the only company that will work and also make sure it has a clean esn and everything) then I asked the seller if he could check the meid number on the iPhone to see if it would work with tracfone. It did work and I bought it.

Then I went onto the website to activate it. You need to buy an airtime card beforehand and have it on hand when activating it. My suggestion is to not activate it online, as I had trouble and ended up calling customer service and having them activate it for me. You need to buy a network access code over the phone or online while activating it. You will need a credit card to buy it. It is 10 dollars plus tax.

Then I registered an account over the phone and bought an airtime card over the phone because I didn't buy it before hand like I should have. Minutes, data, and texts triple on the iPhone 4s.

Then I was all done and everything was set up. You just have to call this 2889 number and it sets up calling and texting then you call any number you want and it makes finalization and you're done.


I have an Verizon iPhone 4 recently off contract that I JUST activated online with TRACFONE. I did it all on the website, providing them with the IMEI number first to buy the access code then to buy the airtime minutes which TRIPLED into three buckets, talk text and data. It really does work. Phones must not be brand new but previously used on Verizon CDMA Network. See picture included that shows Tracfone activation confirmation text on iPhone.

enter image description here


Tracfone has a "bring your own phone plane" but when asked for the phones info you will see the following notice:

Note: This program will not work with Blackberry or iPhone, nor with Straight Talk, TracFone, Safe Link, NET10 Wireless or Telcel America brand phones.

  • Can you drop a link for that? That would be very helpful. Thank you for your answer!
    – daviesgeek
    Dec 23, 2013 at 4:34
  • tracfonewireless.com/byop The non-iPhone details are after you click the "Get Started" button.
    – slothdog
    Jan 28, 2014 at 19:53
  • The link now says "Note: This program is compatible with iPhone 4 and 4S, [...]"
    – D.W.
    Jun 24, 2014 at 1:30

It can be done although it is a tedious process. You have to buy an off contract Verizon phone with a clean esn and an activation card. Be prepared to spend about 2 hours on the phone with Trac fone, have all your meid numbers from both your old Trac fone and your new iphone 4 available.


As of this writing (October 2016), unlocked AT&T, T-Mobile and other GSM iPhones, as well as Verizon CDMA iPhones, can be used with TracFone without any major issues. Jailbreaking is not required.

For GSM devices you will need to purchase a SIM card from them ($1) and then choose an airtime card to activate with. I'd suggest you buy the SIM card and then choose an airtime card during activation, instead of ordering a SIM + airtime package - in the packages, the cost of the SIM ends up being about $10 instead of $1 versus buying the SIM and airtime card individually.


It will not work, TracFone is not compatible with iPhone. I have tried to unlock and it works for other carriers, but not TracFone.


just unlock the phone using black rain (its a program you can download), and the problem with not having the micro or nano sim is simple, try googleing "sim cutter"

  • 3
    How does unlocking help the asker?
    – nohillside
    Dec 26, 2012 at 8:36

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