Buying an iPhone 4 as a gift

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by santaphone, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. santaphone macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    Does anyone have experience on how I could buy an iphone 4 as a gift? I know there's the iPhone gift card, but that is not as fun to open up on christmas morning. The person I'm buying for has an iPhone 3GS on AT&T so she does not need to switch her number or anything like that. Is there a way I could just buy it and have her get a sim card for it, or even get a sim card for her account that she could activate from home on christmas day? Also, would there be any way I could use the discount I can get on my account (I already have an iPhone 4 with AT&T) and renew my contract for 2 years, and give her that phone still?

    Any ideas or advice would be great, thanks!
  2. Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    State of Denial
    You cannot do this unless you are willing to shell out full unsubsidized retail price.

    By purchasing an iPhone at the $199/$299 price the buyer agrees to a contract extension. As you are not the contract holder you cannot modify said contract.

    The moment an iPhone 4 is purchased, its activated in store. (99% of the time) which means her 3GS would no longer work, which is of course would ruin the surprise anyway. You also have different size SIM cards in 3 vs 4 so again, surprise is gone.

    Just buy the gift card and give it to her a few days early so she can have her new iPhone on xMas day.
  3. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    Pretty sure that's the case; if you're buying as a gift you need to buy unsubsidized. My gf bought the 2G as a birthday present after it came out, and while I never asked her how much she payed for it, I would assume full price.
  4. fender57 macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2010
    99% is too high a number. If you own the contract and you want to buy one for someone in your family you can buy the iPhone, give it to them as a Christmas present and then activate it on Christmas Day yourself. I know this because I asked yesterday at the Apple Store, I am contemplating getting my wife a new iPhone 4 to replace her 3GS.
  5. jas1973 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2010
    i bought 2 iphones for christmas last year. both were replacing existing phones on my account. so i ordered them from att. the other phones will stay active until you unwrap the iphone and plug it into itunes. i know this because my gifts laid under the tree for 2 weeks before they were unwrapped and activated christmas eve. and both original phones on my plan stayed active.. so you can do that but if she has her own account you can not order a phone on her account, if you have her account info you could maybe log onto her account and then order it and pay for the upgraded with your credit card but it might get declined since the name on the credit card wont match the account name,, might be a way to talk them through it if you get the right person on the phone and explain to them the details of what you are doing and to your credit card company. give her a apple or att gift card with a picture of the iphone under the tree and let her do the upgrade herself with your gift card. even though its not as exciting, lol
  6. calvy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2007
    If you are authorized to make upgrades/changes on the account which olds the gift recipients phone number, then you can get the phone from apple/at&t and have it shipped to you, then let it sit until opened Christmas day. The recipient can then plug it into iTunes and activate, and be on their merry way.

    If they don't already have a contract, or you can't get access to her account or someone that has access, then you are kind of limited.
  7. santaphone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    Thanks for the ideas!

    So if I purchased the phone unsubsidized, would she then just need to take it in to an AT&T store to activate it, or could she activate it from home by plugging it into her computer? Could I buy an unsubsidized phone from an AT&T store with no account associated with it?
  8. cootersgarage6, Nov 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2011

    Nov 6, 2010

    Okay, sooo you have to get a new SIM no mater what, because the Iphone 4 uses a smaller SIM, called a Micro SIM... so no matter what, the SIM must chage. All you need to do is get the new Iphone, and buy a micro sim, it costs about 3 dollars at AT&T.. when you get home LATE at night when he is sleeping or something, go online and get the SIm activated, and that's it!
  9. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    This happened to me. I went to buy my wife an IP4 for her birthday. I had a day off 2 weeks before her bday so I popped into an apple store to grab the phone. the next day I had run into a situation where I needed an immediate answer on something concerning a health issue. I called several times and it went to voice mail, I texted and it went unanswered. I was pissed. When she got home she had mentioned her phone wasn't working.
    In fact the ip4 was activated at the moment of purchase.

    Luckily there is a corporate ATT store minutes from my house where a large sim could be reactivated.
  10. Rajani Isa macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

    Jun 8, 2010
    Rogue Valley, Oregon
    I would simply ask AT&T.

    What you are wanting to do (from what I'm reading) is using your subsidy (with it's accompanying 2-year contract renewal) to buy an iPhone 4 for someone on another account. As long as your contract is locked in, they should have no problem with it, but you might want to make sure.

    Then ask if it's possible to just get an new micro-sim for her, and if she would be able to activate it either over the phone or via iTunes.

    Also - is someone else on her account that could be your co-conspirator in this? If so, as was said above, make sure the phone is not activated in-store (or have it shipped to you or someplace where you know she won't intercept it.) You might be able to have them ship it then ask for a package intercept (thus you pick it up at the local FedEx depot) if you call before it gets there (make sure to verify they can do this before you have it shipped).
  11. ImAwesome macrumors newbie


    Aug 9, 2010
    Wichita KS
    iPhone 4 as a gift is $499 for 8GB $599 16GB and so on... you could say that you needed to pick something up, then go to the AT&T Store and surprise her by buying it there and giving to her afterwards!
  12. gtracs macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2010
    Sounds like a plan, but i think I'm missing a step here; doesn't the iPhone 4 come w. a Micro Sim already installed?
  13. santaphone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    I thought I'd update everyone on what ended up happening. I decided to go to the AT&T store to figure everything out today.

    I told them what I wanted, and they let me use the discount on my account to buy a new phone. They had to borrow my iPhone for a few minutes, and I signed for a new 2 year agreement. I received the new iPhone still in its plastic wrap, and the person I'm buying it for can activate it on christmas using iTunes or bring it in to the AT&T store the next day to activate it, so everything worked great.

    So in the end I got to use my discount, get the new iPhone sealed in its box, and it can be activated on christmas day, all I had to do was ask :).
  14. macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Littleton, CO
    Glad it all worked out!
  15. IamNoobot macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    RE: Buying an iPhone 4 as a gift

    Hi Santaphone,

    Sounds like you got it down. Can I ask, did your gf's old phone (3g) service get interrupted when you signed the contract at the ATT store, like how some of the other users have mentioned?

    Some folks at the Apple store mentioned to me that the other person may receive a text to notify them of the changes to the account.

    Thanks for any reply.
  16. Bandolier macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    I hope the phone isn't for someone you're sexually attracted to. Studies have shown that giving someone a gift doesn't make them like you more.
  17. IamNoobot macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Very True Bandolier. However, since some studies show iphone users having much sex, this balances out, no?

  18. martiansoldier macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2010
    As several mambers have posted, iPhone are usually activated in the store but there is a way out if you can get the store employee to understand the situation.

    I recently upgraded 2 of my lines to iPhone 4's. Bought the 1st iPhone 4 for my line at a local Radio Shack and the the guy that helped me out told me that he would have to activate the phone before I paid for it or I would have to pay full price and so I had the phone activated before I left the store.

    A week later, my brother's line was up for an upgrade and he lives in CA while I, the account holder live in TX and he asked me to buy the phone and ship it to him. He was okay with the fact that his phone would be dead for 3 - 5 days before he received the iPhone 4 from me. With that in mind, I went to the local Radio Shack again but they were out of stock. Went to the Radio Shack store in the neighboring city and they had the phone in stock. I explained to the store employee that I had to ship the phone to my brother in CA and if there was a way to buy the phone unactivated. He said all he had to do was ring up the iPhone, activate the necessary data plans and leave the old SIM card number as is, which he did. My brother's old SIM stayed active, I bought the new phone and shipped it to him and after he received it, all we had to do was call AT&T CS and give them the new SIM card number (ICCID found on the back of the iPhone 4 box) to activate it.

    So, it is not impossible to buy an unactivated iPhone 4 at a store.
  19. alejovh1 macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2008
    I just got one at the apple store, paid full price as a gift; no questions asked. when you give teh phone as a gift, have the user call ATT and reques to change the simcard for the new microsim since they will be using the iphone 4, they'll ask for the sim number and it takes one minute to do it.
    you don't even have to have service with ATT, the apple stores will sell them as phones without contract, read the proce tag next to teh iphone models and you'll see. all you need is an ID
  20. martiansoldier macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2010
    Yeah, but the OP want's to use his upgrade eligibility to buy someone else (who is also an AT&T customer) an iPhone 4 at a discounted price but he doesn't want her to know about it until Christmas day.
  21. alejovh1 macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2008
    I know, you can still get the iphone without activating it depending on the person you are buying it from ;)
  22. bid2ask77 macrumors regular


    Jun 29, 2010
    New York
    Yes you would be able to just plug it in to you computer and set it up there should be no need to go over to a store.
  23. TM WAZZA macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2010
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Why the hell would you bump this thread?

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