How to activate iPhone assigned the same # as old phone without deactivating old

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by vivlund, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie


    Kind of have an unusual problem. I bought a new iPhone4 for my stepdaughter. She currently is using her old AT&T phone. I wanted to set up the new iPhone4 for her before I send it to her (wifi settings, email, mobileme, etc.) Is there any way I can set up the new iPhone4 without deactivating her old cell phone in the process? I guess this is a stupid question but I have to ask because she will be without a phone until the new iPhone4 arrives if I activate the new phone and her old SIM is deactivated....

    thanks in advance.
  2. macrumors demi-god

    Yeah, no real way to do that.

    Can you just write out the instructions in an email? It's not like it's extremely difficult to do. Also, how would you put in her wifi settings from your home (I'm presuming?) before sending it off to her?

    I would say you should just send it off to her and work with her over FaceTime.
  3. macrumors 6502

    If you're dead set on setting it up for her before she gets it..

    - Activate it with a new microsim under your cell phone account and set everything up. Unfortunately you're going to need to then buy and set up a new sim card for your current phone (unless it's an iPhone 4 as well, in which case you just need to temporarily swap your microsim in when activating).

    This is going to potentially cost you 30 to 40 dollars in buying up to 2 extra SIM cards (1 microsim, 1 regular sim) as your old one will not be able to be reactivated.

    I would imagine she may want to set all of her stuff up though. It will be quite simple for her to do and would save you money in having to by all these SIMs.
  4. macrumors 6502


    I did something for my brother. He lives in CA and is on my family plan. I bought the iPhone 4 for him and the store clerk sold me the phone without activating the new iphone 4 SIM card and left the old SIM card active on the account. My brother wanted me to activate the new phone, so I used my microsim to activate the phone and then sent the phone to him by mail. His old phone remained active and once he received the iPhone 4, we called AT&T and gave them the new SIM card number to activate it and everything worked just fine. It didn't cost me an extra penny though.
  5. macrumors 6502

    ^ I heard AT&T charges for SIM cards, which is why I said it may cost money. I don't live in the USA so I'm not sure.

    I imagine there is a way to get the cards for free if you talk to the right sales clerk.
  6. macrumors 6502

    A lot of people say that AT&T does charge for SIM cards but I had a faulty phone that wouldn't recognize my SIM and the store clerk gave me a new SIM for free and told me he could give me as many as I wanted and it wouldn't cost anything. It really is up to the store clerk.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Same thing here. My carrier charges $25 or $30 per SIM, but if you're actually purchasing something from the store they don't mind giving it to you for free.
  8. macrumors 65816

    I've never heard of "activation" for any other phone besides the iPhone so I doubt it's even possible to deactivate a phone.
  9. macrumors 6502

    The OP is referring to SIM card activation/deactivation.

    The phone activation via iTunes is a completely different subject.
  10. SnowDX, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    macrumors 6502

    Did you get a new sim with the phone? If so, I just did this with my daughter's iPhone 4 that I bought her for Christmas. I had the micro-sim that came with her phone that does not yet have her # transferred to it (since she has a current phone she is using). I put in that micro-sim, plugged the phone into iTunes and it gave me some welcome message and asked me if I wanted to register the phone which I didn't at the time. I'm not putting apps on at this point so I just ejected the phone and proceeded with setting up WiFi, email, etc. The iPhone told me it was "waiting for activation" which obviously won't finish until I have a sim with phone # on it.

    On Christmas Eve, after my daughter has gone to bed, I'll do the sim swap online to bring her phone # to her new phone and put the sim back into the iPhone.

    If you didn't get a sim with the phone, do you have an iPhone 4? You can do the same thing using your sim then just putting it back into your phone. If this isn't an option, can you go get her a new sim for the iPhone 4? Then you can do the same process I did and when you give it to her, get her number swapped from her old sim to the new sim.

    ETA: To be clear, this method *only* works if you have a "fresh" micro-sim that is not associated with the account the iPhone is on.
  11. vivlund, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    macrumors newbie



    Thanks so much for all your responses! I guess I should have posted that I *DO* have an iPhone4 myself, so am I correct in understanding @darkside_flow, I can take my micro sim out of my iPhone4, put it in the new iPhone4, activate the new phone using iTunes, put in her settings, then take my iPhone4 microsim out, and put the "new, unactivated" micro sim back in, then send it to her, and then she can activate it with her phone number using iTunes on her computer?

    (Believe me, @Matthew_Yohe, I have a good reason why I don't want to try to help her set up her new iPhone over the phone, even with took over 2 hours on the phone to help her set up wifi on her Windows laptop using the pre-configured wireless router I sent her, all set up, ready to just plug into her the DSL modem (which is how I know her wifi settings). OMG, you would have thought it was a rocket launch!)
  12. macrumors newbie


    Yes, SnowDX, I do have the new micro sim that came with the new iPhone. It does *not* have her phone number transferred on to it since her old phone is still working. This is also a Christmas gift...and I will do exactly what you did: hook the new iphone up to iTunes, but don't register it, then set up the email and wifi. Then I will send it to her and let her register it with her iTunes account and her phone #. I will post the outcome! :D
  13. macrumors 6502

    I wasn't able to do the SIM swap online when I tried about 3 weeks ago. I had to call AT&T and if you are with AT&T, and try to activate the new iPhone SIM online, you are very likely to see a message that says, "iPhone SIM card activations cannot be done online, please call 1-800-331-0500".
  14. macrumors 6502

    Sorry, I should have pointed out that I am not with AT&T and sim swaps do work online with my carrier. Excellent info for AT&T users though and definitely something the OP will want to know so his step daughter knows she has to call in to get hers activated.

    Hopefully the original information I gave still works for the OP.
  15. macrumors 65816

    You sure?
    Seems to me he's talking about phones and not SIM cards.
  16. macrumors newbie


    That's the problem--all I want to do is to be able to access the phone settings without actually activating the new SIM that's in the new phone with my step daughter's old phone number. And I know there needs to be a SIM in the phone, but I don't want to fully register the phone, so that my step daughter's old phone keeps on working until the new one gets to her!!
  17. SnowDX, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    macrumors 6502

    As far as I know, her phone #/account info needs to actually be associated with the new sim. That is done either online if the carrier allows it (which apparently AT&T doesn't), by calling in and swapping her # to the new sim or maybe AT&T does this in store?

    Does AT&T know this was purchased for her phone #? or was it purchased on your account? Do you know if they actually did any programming with the sim to attach her phone # to it?

    The sim with my phone was new in package and although the phone was purchased on my daughter's account, the sim doesn't know it's associated with her account at this point until I tell the carrier that I want it to be so.
  18. macrumors 68020


    no need to spend that much money...
    go on amazon and search microSIM adapter

    they'll offer you 2 things...a micro sim adapter and a micro sim cutter. Both together should cost around $10. If you have an iPhone 4 and your daughter will never use her old phone again, you can skip the adapter. Otherwise, you'll need both.

    Take your SIM out of your phone, and if it's not an iPhone 4, cut it using the microSIM cutter. This is possible because the only difference between a SIM and microSIM is the plastic casing, not the location of the metal contacts.

    Now pop the newly created MicroSIM (or the one from your iPhone 4) into your daughter's iPhone 4. Activate the phone and set it up.

    Remove the sim and either place it back in your iPhone 4, or place it in the MicroSIM adapter and put it back into your phone (if it's not an iPhone 4), and then send your daughter the iPhone along with the SIM cutter tool. It's a little stamp type thing, with a tray you put the SIM in and a lever you pull, so she should be able to do it herself, and then place the newly cur microSIM into the iPhone. If she will be using her old phone as well, you'll want to send along a SIM adapter for her as depending on your setup, you may need 2 of those.

    This way, you don't need to buy any new SIM cards in order to do this, no matter what phones the SIMs will be going in to.
  19. SnowDX, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    macrumors 6502

    But he has the micro-sim he got with the phone. I just did this 2 days ago, the exact same thing he wants to do, using the micro-sim I got with the phone and it submitted the request for activation, but didn't actually finish activation because the sim is not associated with her account/phone # yet. But it gave me access to the phone in "No Service" state so I could configure anything I wanted, install apps, etc. and use for everything but a phone. Which is exactly what the OP wants to do.

    So, if this was purchased as his daughter's upgrade, are the micro-sims that come with the phone, "blank"? or do they associate the current account/phone # with them at the time of purchase? My micro-sim doesn't get associated with her account until I swap it online (if I had done it in store then her old phone would have quit working). Does AT&T do this differently for upgrades/renewals?
  20. macrumors newbie


    Hi all, I am a "she", btw. Anyhow, SnowDX's directions worked perfectly. I plugged the phone into iTunes, chose "register later" (it's been too long since I did this and I had forgotten the steps), and then after the phone did a very short sync, and it was OK to disconnect, the phone said, "waiting for activation", I disconnected it, turned it off, took out the SIM, and am now in the process of doing the wifi/email settings!!!! :cool:
  21. macrumors 68000

    I would suggest you call you step daughter and let her know that her phone may stop working within the next 12 hours once the activation goes through. If it dies, she can get a replacement Mini-SIM and reactivate againt her existing phone. This can be done in store or via the phone by calling AT&T Customer Care. :eek:

    You are confusing registering with Apple with Activating the Micro-SIM with AT&T. If it says waiting for Activation, then that is exactly what it is waiting on and once the system backend processing completes her existing SIM will be deactivated if you purchased it as an upgrade on her existing line of service tied to her existing phone number.

    If you ordered the iPhone 4 against her existing line, then it is already parked on her line with the IMEI of the iPhone 4 and the ICCI ID of the Micro-SIM already tied to her line of service. Did you see her phone number at any time when you were activating within iTunes?

  22. SnowDX, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    macrumors 6502

    Yes, my method will only work if the account is not tied to the new micro-sim but the OP did say that the phone # is not tied to the micro-sim, perhaps she told AT&T that it was a gift so they didn't tie any info to the sim?

    I am truly sorry if I confused the OP. I should have more clearly stated this was only for a sim that wasn't tied to the account. I will add to my post for future people reading this.

    I may have also sent a confusing message about the registration. Why I mentioned it was so that she didn't end up registering the phone with Apple using her info instead of her daughter's or registering it with her daughter's info and her daughter getting email about the Apple registration and tipping her off on the gift.
  23. macrumors 6502

    If this is helpful at all, if I look at my daughter's phone (which is still "waiting for activation" a couple days later since the sim can't be activated since it's not associated with her account) and go to Settings -> General -> About -> Network, *no* network is listed and if I click on it, it says "SIM not provisioned".

    Why I am unsure if this is helpful, is because I don't know what it would say here if the sim in the phone was associated with the account but just waiting for activation. If someone else knows what it would say in a typical "waiting for activation" scenario, then maybe we can help the OP figure out if her daughter's phone is going to get activated and deactivate her current phone in the process.

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