Help needed with activating 4S

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ash101, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. ash101 macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2013
    i bought an iphone 4s off ebay uk. i am new to iphones.
    seller said it was an insurance replacement for a broken 4s. the original was locked to o2 and the replacemeny might also be, but the seller never put in an o2 sim, but rather got vodafone to make it work on their network.
    (does that mean it must be unlocked?)

    the phone was reset before i received it and i could not get past the activation screen. it says "sim not valid", when i put in an orange sim card.

    i took it to apple and they did 'something' to it and now i can get to the menu.
    it says in 'about' menu in 'carrier' field: the name of whatever sim i put in (like 02 and orange) but it keeps trying to activate itself and failing and always says 'no sim' in top left of display.

    what does this mean? why can't it connect to a network?

    thanks anyone - in advance - for shedding any light on this problem.
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
  3. ash101 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2013
    so could it be an unlocked phone but the IMEI is blacklisted?
    and hence cannot get a signal?
    how do i find out if the phone is blacklisted?
    if i take it to an apple shop, could they tell me?
  4. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Yes, the apple store will be able to let you know exactly what's up with it.
  5. stormchaser macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2010
    Sounds as though its not unlocked. I had an iPhone 4 like this. I tried to put an Orange SIM card In but it came up with the same message as you. I found out its locked to the 3 network.
  6. futurefortress macrumors newbie


    Jul 22, 2013
    I had the exact same problem with an iPhone 5 I bought off of Craigslist, spent about half a tank of gas and an entire weekend trying to activate it.

    I don't think the phone you bought is actually unlocked, the error you're getting is what happens when the phone is locked to a certain carrier. Apple probably put that carrier's SIM into it and activated it which is why you are able to access the menu/etc. I think your best bet is to find out what carrier it is locked to and try to resell it.
  7. ash101 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2013
    thanks for sharing your experiences.

    well, i made some progress:

    i borrowed a t-mobile sim and it showed 3g in the top left instead of 'no sim' or 'no signal'. any idea what the implications are of this?

    in the meantime i have made an appointment with a 'genius' at an apple shop to help me sort out this phone.
    any questions you recommend i ask besides finding out which carrier it is locked to (if it is not unlocked or blacklisted)?
  8. awesomest47 macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012

    Ya... This is an issue I've received with Sprint here in the usa. Pretty sure that the iPhone is still not fully activated. When you visit the Apple store ask about the antenna itself. They may not be able to solve it and it will require a call to Vodafone. Happened to me on AT&T.
  9. ash101 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2013
    are you suggesting there is a hardware fault with the phone - something wrong with the antenna?
    also, can anyone clarify for me:
    if the carrier is listed correctly in the settings\general\about with an orange, o2, vodafone sim card - even though it always says "no sim" in top left - does this mean phone is unlocked (because it recognises the different carriers)?
    or does even a locked phone recognise other carriers (besides from the one it is locked to)?
  10. ash101, Aug 8, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013

    ash101 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2013
    i got the help i needed.
    apple genius at apple shop was able to tell me immediately that phone is locked to a certain carrier - o2 tescos (which apparently has nothing to do with o2 uk except that they rent bandwidth etc from o2).

    iphone can recognise other sim cards in 'carrier' field but because it is locked, it will not get a signal and therefore says "no sim" in top left.

    hope that helps anyone else in similar situation.
    it does not mean necessarily that imei is blocked or that there is a hardware fault.

    - go to Apple store and they will tell you the carrier any iphone is locked to.
    - they can also tell you if IMEI is blacklisted.

    also the genius explained that at the previous apple shop, the asistant must have connected the phone to their server and enabled the menu screen (springboard) without activating it. hence phone was still asking to be activated even though initial setup menu had been bypassed. this is perfectly normal and not a sign that there was something wrong with phone. activation will only succeed and complete when a sim card from the locked-carrier has been inserted in phone.

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