Can a Sprint iPhone 5s be restored without a Sprint SIM?

dmk1974

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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I have a feeling I may need to drive back to my brother's house, but he passed his iPhone 5s to one of my kids to use as an iPod. I took it home, performed the erase all settings on the iPhone (just like I do on my T-Mobile iPhone).

But after the first or second screen setting it up, it says it needs a SIM to activate. He didn't leave his Sprint SIM in it...do I actually need to go back and have him pop it in, activate it, remove it, and then I'd be good? Or any other way around this to activate the phone without a Sprint SIM? Thanks!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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You shouldn't need the SIM to use it as an iPod. You will need it to activate the phone for cellular service if it's going to be used as a phone.

Sprint pairs the SIM card with the phone. This is how they keep the phone locked to the network (they do not unlock for domestic US use ever).

So. If your brother tries to use that SIM in another phone he's going to find out he can't use it. And if you insert any SIM in the 5s other than that original Sprint SIM you will get no service.

Not having service does not mean you cannot use WiFi. You just can't activate the phone.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Yes, you will need to activate the phone.
Without that step you will never get passed that point and into the home screen.
How strict is that though?

I ask because my sister gave me her AT&T 3GS for Christmas 2011. She left her SIM in there because I demanded it, but despite restoring the phone twice I never had to activate the phone. It had already been disconnected from AT&T service at that point as well.

This was on iOS 5 though so maybe that makes a difference? IDK. But I never got asked to activate or if I did I was able to cancel it.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
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At the iPhone hacks section.
How strict is that though?

I ask because my sister gave me her AT&T 3GS for Christmas 2011. She left her SIM in there because I demanded it, but despite restoring the phone twice I never had to activate the phone. It had already been disconnected from AT&T service at that point as well.

This was on iOS 5 though so maybe that makes a difference? IDK. But I never got asked to activate or if I did I was able to cancel it.
It's very strict.
The sim doesn't have to be an active sim but it has to be a sim from the carrier that the phone is locked to. But it needs a sim to get passed that screen or it won't get in without one.
 

dmk1974

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
2,152
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Lol:) yep, good thing.
But you could Also buy an att sim online for a $1 and just activate it. Or borrow someone's sim for a minute.
My understanding is that it has to be a sprint Sim and nothing else will work.