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Guide to Activating an iPhone Without the SIM

written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 10/11/2010

Don't get stuck at the emergency screen forever, learn how to activate you iPhone without the SIM card - no special tools or software required.

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    Reasons to Hacktivate

    There are many reasons to learn how to activate the iPhone without the original SIM card. One of the most common reasons, is to use the iPhone on a different network provider, which is not officially authorized.

    This is particularly common in international markets and common for travelers alike. It may also be useful within the USA, to utilize the iPhone on a non AT&T network. The process of activating the iPhone without the original SIM card is often referred to as hacktivating. This action is not supported by Apple and is a much easier process than before.

    In the past, it was necessary to jailbreak and unlock the iPhone to activate it without the original SIM card. Due to progress within the iPhone hacking community, an exploit has been discovered which enables hacktivating of the iPhone, without unlocking or jailbreaking the iPhone. Once the iPhone is hacktivated, you will have the option to jailbreak and unlock the iPhone, allowing use of the iPhone for unsupported carriers.

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    How To Hacktivate

    The process of hacktivating the iPhone is best done with a phone book SIM card. Phone book SIM cards can be obtained at any major electronics retailer, including Radio Shack. These types of SIM cards are used for transferring contacts and storing data. They are easily obtained, not network specific and can be freely purchased.

    1. Launch iTunes. Launch iTunes on your PC or Mac. No specific version of iTunes is required for this exploit to work.
    2. Connect the iPhone. Connect the iPhone to the computer. Use the original USB cable, which came with the iPhone. Avoid using aftermarket USB cables as they have caused problems with syncing in rare cases.
    3. Insert SIM card. Insert the phone book SIM card into the iPhone. The message in iTunes should change to, "The SIM Card inserted does not appear to be supported" or something similar.
    4. Disconnect USB cable. Unplug the USB cable from the bottom of the iPhone.
    5. Reconnect USB cable. Plug the USB cable back into the bottom of the iPhone cable. The iPhone should activate after a few seconds and allow you access. iTunes will prompt you to set up a new iPhone, or restore from an existing backup.

    Now that you have learned how to activate iPhone without SIM card, you may be wondering what to do next. You could jailbreak or unlock the iPhone to use a non-official carrier, if you have not already. You may also continue to use the iPhone without cellular service and utilize the Wi-Fi capabilities.

    Consider reading some of the following articles to learn how to Jailbreak and Unlock the iPhone: