Is it possible to use an iPhone without a SIM card as an iPod touch?

I have an old iPhone 3G that no longer has a SIM card and I want to use it as an iPod touch. How can I achieve this?

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  • What happens when you remove the sim card? – MHrappstead Jan 29 '11 at 20:58

There is an Apple support document on how to do this. You don't need to keep a sim in the phone but you need to put one into it to activate it before taking it back out.

Here's the procedure for 3G and 3GS:

You can use any SIM card associated with the carrier that your device supports to activate the phone. Simply place a SIM card from the last carrier with which you used your iPhone into the device, and activate it. Then remove the SIM card. You can now use the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS as you would an iPod touch (Wi-Fi only, no cellular service).

Note: You can use the activated SIM card from your new iPhone to do this.

To re-activate an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS that displays the "Connect to iTunes" screen:

  1. Insert a SIM card from the carrier with which you used your phone. Note: If you are using the same carrier, you can use the activated SIM card from your new device to do this. If your device is unlocked by your carrier, you can use any SIM card.
  2. Connect the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS to iTunes on a computer connected to the Internet. iTunes will then activate the device. You can remove the SIM card at this point and use the iPhone as if it were an iPod touch.
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I use my old iPhone 3G as an iPod with no problems. When I moved to an iPhone 4 I removed the sim, wiped the iPhone 3G, and it works fine. It shows No Sim in the top bar, but it works fine as an iPod and connects to my wifi with no problem.

What kind of problem are you having? Any error messages?

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You want to keep the old sim in the phone. iTunes servers will remember that specific SIM and allow the phone to be unlocked each time it gets restored.

The phone company will have removed that SIM ICCID from service so the phone will say "waiting for service" or "waiting for activation" but otherwise keep functioning as a wifi only device. GPS will work if installed. Even location will work using GSM triangulation as the phone can see the cell towers even though they won't let it on the network for data.

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I assume your iPhone already activated, yes you can. Just remove your SIM card while the phone is on. Done.

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