Apple How to

How to Setup iPhone Without SIM Card

setup iphone without sim
Written by Hassan Abbas

You normally can’t use an Apple iPhone on a cell network if it’s never activated with such a network. Although once it is activated then you can remove your SIM card or simply never connect to the cell network. If you want to use it without activation, then you can set it up by connecting it to a computer running Apple‘s iTunes. You can also buy a device that’s called an iPod Touch that works jus the same to an iPhone. Although there’s not an equivalent model to the iPhone X. In this article, we are going to talk about How to Setup iPhone Without SIM Card. Let’s begin!

On a related note, you may also be looking for a way to activate the iPhone without even needing to connect to a Wi-Fi network. We have a method that will permit you to do this too.

Expect this process to more challenging if your iPhone is lock to a specific carrier. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will suppose that you have got an unlocked iPhone or have access to a carrier-specific SIM that you can use temporarily.

Set Up an iPhone Without Activation

If you want to use an iPhone on your cellphone carrier’s network, then you must install a SIM card associated with the network and activate it along with the network. You will normally be ask to do this when you first turn the phone on. And then you can do so through the cell network, a Wi-Fi connection, or through connecting the phone to a networked computer with iTunes. If you are trying to do this and having iPhone X activation issues or issues with an earlier iPhone version. Then it is a good idea to contact your carrier or Apple for help.

setup iphone without sim

However, in some cases, you may just want to use an iPhone without activating it. Such as, you may want to use an older version of the iPhone, like the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s, for testing your company’s website. Or you may have upgraded to the iPhone X and want to keep your iPhone 8 or another model as a music player or Web browsing device as well

Use iTunes with no SIM Card | setup iPhone without sim

If you do not have a SIM card or do not want to use one, then you can still use a Windows or Mac computer along with iTunes to set up your iPhone. Again, if you got a new phone and you are just having iPhone X activation issues. Then you likely will want to activate the phone eventually. So it may make more sense to just wait to contact the carrier or Apple for assistance instead of setting up the phone without a carrier connection.

Open iTunes on the computer and then install any updates you are asked to install so that you have the latest version. Connect the iPhone to the computer using the cable that came with the iPhone. And then follow the instructions in iTunes to set up the phone. If you are given an option to activate the phone with a carrier, then decline to do this. If you previously owned an iPhone, then you can restore any backed up data you have to the phone.

Activate your iPhone using someone else’s SIM | setup iPhone without sim

We will start along with the easiest workaround. This is aimed at those who do not have a SIM of their own but are able to borrow a SIM from someone else, just for the duration of the activation process. (That might sound just like a cop-out, however, most people should be able to find someone willing to lend a SIM card – and do not worry, our next method does not need a SIM at all.)

What you will need:

  • A SIM removal tool
  • A kind friend who’s prepared to let you borrow a SIM
  • If your iPhone is lock to a particular carrier you may need to make sure the SIM you borrow is from the same network
  • Also access to a Wi-Fi network

Let’s see how to activate your iPhone:

  • First, remove the SIM from the lender’s iPhone.
  • Then put the SIM on your iPhone.
  • Go through the usual setup options, that include logging on to your Wi-Fi network.
  • Wait when the iPhone activates.
  • Remove the SIM and then hand it back to your friend.
  • You can now use your iPhone; you just won’t be able to make phone calls (unless you do so using Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or FaceTime as well).
  • When you return the SIM to your friend they will be able to put it back in their phone and also continue to use it as normal.

Activate your iPhone using iTunes | setup iPhone without sim

This method’s effectiveness appears to depend on whether the phone is locked to a particular network or not. If your phone is lock and you have a SIM from that network handy then you are best off activating the phone using the method described above.

The principal reason to use the iTunes method is if you have no Wi-Fi access.

What you will need in it:

  1. An unlocked iPhone
  2. A computer running iTunes

setup iphone without sim

And here’s how you can activate your iPhone using this method:

  • Check iTunes is up to date, or if you have not already got iTunes, download it for free through Apple’s website.
  • When you have installed iTunes, then connect your iPhone to your computer.
  • You may see an onscreen prompt saying “There is no SIM card installed in the iPhone you are attempting to activate”. That indicates that the phone is lock to a particular carrier. In which case, you have to find a suitable SIM to borrow so you can activate the iPhone. You will only have to use the SIM during activation. (And if you are using a SIM you won’t need to activate through iTunes.) See the above method in order to activate your iPhone.
  • Supposing the phone is not lock to a carrier you will see an on-screen prompt in iTunes explaining what you need to do and the details you need to fill in to activate your iPhone.
  • When activated, you will be able to use your iPhone on a Wi-Fi network. Just like if it was an iPad or an iPod touch as well.

Activate your iPhone via the emergency call feature

You may have seen reports that suggest that you can activate an iPhone without a SIM card by calling the emergency services.

Not only do we want to dissuade you from calling the emergency services unnecessarily. But we would also warn you that when we tried this method out it did not work at all. We also believe that the software flaw this method exploited has patched.

Jailbreak your iPhone

If all else fails then you can always attempt to jailbreak your iPhone. This does void your warranty, but if you have got an old iPhone that’s carrier-locked. Then it might be the best way to get it working again.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this setup iPhone without a sim article and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: How to Get US Netflix in UK on iPhone – Tutorial

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

Leave a Comment