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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:38 PM   #1
battlekid
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iPhone activation for off-contract phones? Bad ESN?

After taking a look at the iPod Touch 5 and how it already has a list of things that were nerfed or have issues, I decided I wanted to try the alternative route. That route being the route of purchasing a used iPhone (4S, which would be practically identical to the 5G, with a few added extras (pros: GPS, dock connector, better camera, light sensor, etc, cons: not the fancy new screen, no lightning connector (which is actually a pro, not a con)) off of ebay and not getting a contract for it (I've seen people refer to it as the "iPod Touch Pro" route).

I've never tried this before, and after some extensive research on the subject, I'm a little confused about a few things. From what I can understand, for ATT iPhones, they require a SIM card to activate after a restore, but you can use a prepaid or invalid sim card to do this? Is this correct?

For the Verizon/Sprint iPhones, I wasn't able to find much at all about this subject. Do off-contract Verizon/Sprint phones require a contract or sim card to activate (like the ATT iPhone), or not? Can you even use them without a contract? Or are they already activated by default and don't require any of this?

I don't have a problem with purchasing a prepaid sim card or plan, but I have no intention of entering into a contract — I just want it for the hardware, not the phone function.

On the topic of iPhones with bad ESN... Can you still activate these? Is there anything different about them, other than the fact that they're blacklisted from getting service from their native carrier?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 12:09 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by battlekid View Post
On the topic of iPhones with bad ESN... Can you still activate these? Is there anything different about them, other than the fact that they're blacklisted from getting service from their native carrier?

Thanks!
ESN usually stands for CDMA phones.
So if you get a bad ESN iphone 4 or iphone 4S you will never be able to activate them on their original carrier and they will never work on any GSM carrier either.
So they're useless besides having them as an ipod touch.
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 12:49 AM   #3
battlekid
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ESN usually stands for CDMA phones.
So if you get a bad ESN iphone 4 or iphone 4S you will never be able to activate them on their original carrier and they will never work on any GSM carrier either.
So they're useless besides having them as an ipod touch.
Okay, I wasn't sure if ESNs applied to AT&T phones or not. Thanks for clarifying that for me.

However, do CDMA iPhones require activation at all after a restore? I can only find articles and discussions about activating AT&T iPhones, there doesn't seem to be much out there about the CDMA (Sprint/Verizon) versions (a few places saying they need activation, a few saying otherwise, neither source is clear about details).

Edit: I don't care if or if not the iPhone can ever be used with a contract. I only care about having it handle restores without requiring activation or a contract, and otherwise acting like normal (minus the phone/3G/SMS obviously). So all I want to know is if a normal or bad ESN Verizon/Sprint iPhone can be used like that, or if they have the same activation requirements as the AT&T models.
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Last edited by battlekid; Oct 12, 2012 at 01:01 AM.
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by battlekid View Post
Okay, I wasn't sure if ESNs applied to AT&T phones or not. Thanks for clarifying that for me.

However, do CDMA iPhones require activation at all after a restore? I can only find articles and discussions about activating AT&T iPhones, there doesn't seem to be much out there about the CDMA (Sprint/Verizon) versions (a few places saying they need activation, a few saying otherwise, neither source is clear about details).

Edit: I don't care if or if not the iPhone can ever be used with a contract. I only care about having it handle restores without requiring activation or a contract, and otherwise acting like normal (minus the phone/3G/SMS obviously). So all I want to know is if a normal or bad ESN Verizon/Sprint iPhone can be used like that, or if they have the same activation requirements as the AT&T models.
Yes CDMA iPhones would need to be activated after a restore to get into the homescreen. Unless you jb it but for 6.0 there is no jb yet. P
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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Sorry to revive this old thread, but this is similar to a query I have right now.

I'm also planning on buying a bad ESN (Verizon) iPhone 5 from CL, but only for use abroad. My questions are:

1. If it comes activated and I then just take it abroad, it should work with any international GSM carrier right (because I've heard that all Verizon iPhone 5's come international unlocked by default; as for the CDMA/GSM issue, this article on CNET.com says that even a CDMA iPhone 5 can work on basic GSM networks abroad, which is all I need).

2. If it doesn't come unlocked, or if I upgrade the firmware in the future, will it then go through the activation process through iTunes? If so, I'm assuming that it will then lock me out. However, if a jailbreak is available for that firmware version, then it should allow me to bypass activation right (just like redsn0w allows for ios 6.1.1 at the present time)?

3. If for some reason, the phone is unusable when I buy it, I'm willing to pay a bit extra for an ESN cleaning service. After that, will I still have to pay for an unlocking service, or will the original factory unlock suffice?
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 04:11 PM   #6
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well things have changed since this thread was started. you can now clean bad esn's on sprint and verizon phones so they can be once again used. however, It can only done if the phone has been reported lost or stolen. if you are still in a contract or have a past due bill you will have to pay the piper to get that corrected!
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Yeah, I've come across ESN cleaning services (pretty expensive though), but that still doesn't answer my initial questions:

(PS: In my earlier post, I had a misconception about what activation was. I thought that if a phone was at the home screen, opening apps etc then that meant it was activated. But it turns out that activated actually means being activated at the backend by the carrier so that it can make calls... if it's not activated, most unlocking services I've found online won't be able to unlock it).

1. If I buy a bad ESN Verizon iPhone 5 (doesn't matter why it's been blacklisted), and it's not stuck at the activation screen (i.e. it's at the home screen, running normally, but without the option of making calls of course), then can I simply take it abroad and start using it without going through any activation process? The carriers in the country where I plan to use it are all GSM and they don't have any phone activation requirements by themselves.

Like I said earlier, I'm assuming the phone will be unlocked since I read here at GigaOM that Verizon sells all its iPhone 5's unlocked.

2. If the phone is stuck at the activation step, then I know that I can use redsn0w (as of iOS 6.1) to 'hactivate' it. (This is the part I was confused about earlier, thinking that using a jailbreak method and getting to the home screen constitutes activation, but in reality the phone isn't actually activated for use). However, since I only want to use it abroad, and again assuming that the iPhone originally comes unlocked, will this be sufficient for me? After hactivating it, can I just start using it on the carrier abroad?

Also, if I upgrade the firmware in the future, will the activation step come up again?

3. If none of the above is possible, then I'm willing to pay extra to get the ESN cleaned (as the person before me said, that'll only be possible if the ESN is bad due to the phone being reported lost/stolen). But as I asked before, will I have to also pay for an unlock service after this, assuming that the phone originally came unlocked?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammarkr View Post
Yeah, I've come across ESN cleaning services (pretty expensive though), but that still doesn't answer my initial questions:

(PS: In my earlier post, I had a misconception about what activation was. I thought that if a phone was at the home screen, opening apps etc then that meant it was activated. But it turns out that activated actually means being activated at the backend by the carrier so that it can make calls... if it's not activated, most unlocking services I've found online won't be able to unlock it).

1. If I buy a bad ESN Verizon iPhone 5 (doesn't matter why it's been blacklisted), and it's not stuck at the activation screen (i.e. it's at the home screen, running normally, but without the option of making calls of course), then can I simply take it abroad and start using it without going through any activation process? The carriers in the country where I plan to use it are all GSM and they don't have any phone activation requirements by themselves.

Like I said earlier, I'm assuming the phone will be unlocked since I read here at GigaOM that Verizon sells all its iPhone 5's unlocked.

2. If the phone is stuck at the activation step, then I know that I can use redsn0w (as of iOS 6.1) to 'hactivate' it. (This is the part I was confused about earlier, thinking that using a jailbreak method and getting to the home screen constitutes activation, but in reality the phone isn't actually activated for use). However, since I only want to use it abroad, and again assuming that the iPhone originally comes unlocked, will this be sufficient for me? After hactivating it, can I just start using it on the carrier abroad?

Also, if I upgrade the firmware in the future, will the activation step come up again?

3. If none of the above is possible, then I'm willing to pay extra to get the ESN cleaned (as the person before me said, that'll only be possible if the ESN is bad due to the phone being reported lost/stolen). But as I asked before, will I have to also pay for an unlock service after this, assuming that the phone originally came unlocked?
ok you are way to confused and putting way to much thought into this situation. if you buy an iPhone 5 from Verizon it will be factory unlocked when you get it. so no further unlocking will be required. however if you have bad esn the way I understand it is you cannot use it on any network until it is cleaned. with that said I get iPhones daily that are on at&t and have been reported lost or stolen (esentially like a bad esn). I unlock them and they use them on tmobile and other gsm networks. your problem is you wont know for sure until you take your phone over seas and then it might be to late. but, what you can do is put an at&t or tmobile sim in it here and see if it works. if it does work id say you are good to go. and yes, cleaning an esn is expensive but I have 3-4 people every day paying for that service.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:19 AM   #9
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ok you are way to confused and putting way to much thought into this situation
Lol, you're probably right, but I'll be shelling out quite a bit of money for this phone, and I don't want to end up with an expensive iPod.

From what I've been able to tell by searching/posting online, the phone should work abroad... guess I'm going to have to take a leap of faith to be sure though.

Anyways, thanks a lot for your help.
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Applejuiced View Post
ESN usually stands for CDMA phones.
So if you get a bad ESN iphone 4 or iphone 4S you will never be able to activate them on their original carrier and they will never work on any GSM carrier either.
So they're useless besides having them as an ipod touch.
I got an iphone 4 CDMA sprint
also I am located in Europe, can I restore it?I afraid about activation
I know about flashing to work with another carrier,but my brother wants to use is as ipod touch
thanks
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cruzer-u3 View Post
I got an iphone 4 CDMA sprint
also I am located in Europe, can I restore it?I afraid about activation
I know about flashing to work with another carrier,but my brother wants to use is as ipod touch
thanks
Im afraid you will be stuck at the activation screen.
Unless you JB it but will be stuck on tethered JB with 6.1.3
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Old May 27, 2013, 04:49 AM   #12
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Im afraid you will be stuck at the activation screen.
Unless you JB it but will be stuck on tethered JB with 6.1.3
thank you very much for helping!
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Old May 27, 2013, 04:58 AM   #13
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What's wrong with the lightning connector?
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 05:47 AM   #14
jhbalaji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammarkr View Post
Sorry to revive this old thread, but this is similar to a query I have right now.

I'm also planning on buying a bad ESN (Verizon) iPhone 5 from CL, but only for use abroad. My questions are:

1. If it comes activated and I then just take it abroad, it should work with any international GSM carrier right (because I've heard that all Verizon iPhone 5's come international unlocked by default; as for the CDMA/GSM issue, this article on CNET.com says that even a CDMA iPhone 5 can work on basic GSM networks abroad, which is all I need).

2. If it doesn't come unlocked, or if I upgrade the firmware in the future, will it then go through the activation process through iTunes? If so, I'm assuming that it will then lock me out. However, if a jailbreak is available for that firmware version, then it should allow me to bypass activation right (just like redsn0w allows for ios 6.1.1 at the present time)?

3. If for some reason, the phone is unusable when I buy it, I'm willing to pay a bit extra for an ESN cleaning service. After that, will I still have to pay for an unlocking service, or will the original factory unlock suffice?

Hello @ammarkr
I am stuck with the same issue!
Have you succeed that? I am planning to get a Verizon iPhone 5 with Bad ESN, So do they require Verizon SIM to pass over iOS activation screen after iOS update???
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