Can an iPhone be activated without opening the box seal?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 14, 2010
This is probably a dumb question but I'm not sure if this is possible.

I recently bought a brand new older model iPhone in a sealed box on eBay. When I received it, I didn't open up the seal, and checked the serial number.

I saw on Apple's coverage website that the phone has been activated and the warranty has expired.

I'm not sure how this is possible since it's in a seal box.

I guess is that the phone is used and has been re-sealed to look new.

Can someone enlighten me on if this activation is legitimately possible or is it the latter?


macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
Certainly that raises enough questions to warrant a refund or replacement. For all you know there isn’t even a phone inside!

Raise it with eBay/PayPal if you have any trouble with the seller.

Do not open the box unless instructed to do so by eBay and record it if you are, but it’s extremely unlikely they will want you to do that.


macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
Ventura County
An iPhone cannot be activated when it comes to cellular service without going through the setup screen on the phone, but when you purchase the phone, the warranty clock starts ticking. It starts ticking from the date of original purchase, not from the day you turn it on.