iPhone 5s unlocked activation confusion

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by evenmanjebus, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. evenmanjebus macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2015
    Hi there,

    I'm having some issues with an iphone 5s that I bought unlocked from ebay. I've confirmed that the phone is unlocked by At&T today and they tell me that i am able to go to any carrier anywhere in the world, which is why I bought it.

    I live in Spain and I bought the phone in the United States while visiting on holiday. I have a phone plan in Spain with a working sim card. What I didnt realize was that I needed a sim card with service to simply activate the phone? I cant use it as an ipod or anything without one. I went to radioshack and they gave me a sim card with no service and it has not solved the problem.

    So what I'm thinking is just putting in my functioning sim card once i get to spain (i leave tomorrow) and then everything will be grand right? ive just restored the phone to factory settings and so my only concern is that I will need a sim card from at&t even though it is confirmed by at&t that the phone is UNLOCKED. since i reset the phone will i need an at&t sim card to activate? remember, the phone is UNLOCKED and not tied to any carrier!!

    anyway im very dissappointed with apple with the way this works. I know I cant make phone calls and that without a sim and that makes sense but not being able to put music on it or anything before i arrive to spain is a serious bummer. I was really hoping to put some music on it for the flight over and I have to wait to get there and get a nano sim before I can even set the most basic features of the phone up.

    thanks guys,

    Irritated in Illinois
  2. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    if that iPhone is unlocked, all it needs is any sim card and it will wake up and it will function as an iPod. i heard once its activated , you can even remove the sim

    maybe these prepaid go phone sims won't work for activation but thats just me wondering it.

    you just turn the phone off
    insert sim card
    turn the phone on
    it will say welcome to iPhone or something
    you just tell it a wifi network to connect to
    in contacts the iPhone server
    and it just activates.

    try pinging gs.apple.com
    it should say something like
    gs.apple.com.akadns.net ( 56 data bytes

    a lot of jail breakers block gs.apple.com in hosts, and if you have that website blocked it won't activate
    to ping it you just get on a computer that is on the same wifi network and go to terminal or command prompt and type "ping gs.apple.com"

    try verifying the iPhone is not locked

    at last resort try dfu mode

    as far as i know, in order to activate the iPhone either with the iPhone and wifi or the iPhone and iTunes , you don't need a sim card with service. you just need one that is compatible with the device or the same sim card if the device is locked

    maybe the iPhone is running iOS 7 and he went to AT&T and told them to unlock it, but he never went throngh the old school unlocking policy. maybe then you would need an AT&T sim card, and iTunes to erase and restore the iPhones to actually unlock it

    iOS 8 as i learned from this forum, should of unlocked the iPhone as soon as you put a different sim in


    since your in illionois and haven't left the states yet, why not just go to the apple store there and ask them to help you acitvate the iPhone with iTunes. do they have apple stores in Illinois?

    the apple store is better support wise then radio shack
    you don't need applecare to ask a genius to help you with your phone
    just don't walk in with it all jailbroken and wet
    Illinois apple store list

    Chicago, Lincoln Park
    Chicago, North Michigan Avenue
    Deer Park, Deer Park
    Naperville, Main Place
    Northbrook, Northbrook
    Oak Brook, Oakbrook
    Orland Park, Orland Square Mall
    Schaumburg, Woodfield
    Skokie, Old Orchard


    i went to the apple store once for a sim card

    i forget why i needed one

    and they went to their backroom and gave me one for free

    the AT&T store is different
    AT&T will give you a sim card for free, but you have to bring your device in and agree to activate it in the store.

    so that would mean like bringing in a cellular ipad and agreeing to pay $15 for 250 mb for a month, and then as soon as you leave the store , you stick the sim in your iPhone

    it would work
    but thats a last resort thing and should not be required for you to stoop that low


    another werird policy thing that happened to me recently was that anytime you buy a used iPhone you get 90 days of free telephone support

    of course they won't repair your gadget but you can call 1 800 apl care to bug them

    you just tell them over the phone, i bought this iPhone, it won't activate, " i recently installed iOS 8 " is always a great exemption, and they won't charge you for the call ( usually $29) and they will even give you 90 days of tech support

    and if your really lucky, you will get your own personal iPhone expert's email address that you can email anytime and get answers!
  3. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Any iphone that's restored or reseted by erase all will need to be activated in order to get into the home screen.
    Without a sim you will not get passed that screen.
    If the iphone is unlocked any gsm will do it even sims that are deactivated or with no service.

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