what is the functionality of an iPhone without cell service

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by saltyzoo, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. saltyzoo macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    When the iphone 5 comes out, I'm considering buying one, but keeping my iPhone 4 to use for applications besides cellular.

    Is it safe to say that an AT&T iPhone with no cell contract, will act like an iPad with cellular data services disabled? Will the GPS, wifi, and other functions still operate as expected?

    I'm assuming so, but just checking to see if there's a gotcha I'm not seeing.
  2. batting1000 macrumors 604

    Sep 4, 2011
    It would work like an iPod touch or wifi iPad.
  3. sulpfiction macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2011
    Philadelphia Area
    No catch. It'll be a wifi iPod touch. Simple as that.
  4. Sedrick macrumors 68030


    Nov 10, 2010
    An expensive iPod touch. You might consider selling it for a few hundred, buy an iPod touch and pocket a couple hundred. Or donate it to a family member.
  5. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I agree - what you are describing is basically a thicker ipod touch. In theory, you could use imessage/whatsapp to replace text messaging and FaceTime on 3g for calls (turning video off to save on data usage), but really, what's the point?
  6. greygray macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2009
  7. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    If you've already ended your two year contract, you can get it unlocked and use it with pay as you go when you travel outside the US. It's so much better than using a roaming plan.
    When you're in the US, remember to take out the sim card and/or put it in airplane mode. Personally, I'd do both. You can still activate wifi afterward.
  8. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    Sometimes it is nice to have a back-up iPhone just in case something happens (God forbid) to your primary one.

    Having to use your prior activated iPhone4S in place of your then new iPhone will take some of the sting out of the experience.

    A few months ago I had an issue with my 4S and had to use the original iPhone as my fall back iPhone and each time I did so was reminded how overall sad the total scenario was.

    Other than that possibly I agree with others: sell to help finance bigger and better Apple things.
  9. saltyzoo thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    I'm considering using this: http://www.igills.com, but
    1) I'm not sure I want to take my primary iphone underwater
    2) I doubt the case will work with the iPhone 5 and I don't want to have to upgrade it.
  10. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    It will be a thicker iPod touch with a usable camera, and a gps unit. It's actually better than using an iPod touch.
  11. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2011
    Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
    For a while, I used an old phone as a music player. The main reason was that old phone had 32 GB of storage and my new one at the time only had 8GB. If you are upgrading an iPhone to another one, there may not be too much use of your old iPhone. At best, you can use it as a music player (or other iPod Touch function) so as not to drain any battery power from your new iPhone.

    Personally, I don't see much use for an old iPhone to be worth actually carrying it around. I guess you can use it as a dedicated music player, so the music won't be interrupted if you say get a call.
  12. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    May 1, 2003
    I hand them down to my kids for use as iPod's. They can still do net stuff via wifi, play music etc. I also use an old one on a handle bar mount on my motorcycle for music. (Stereo on the bike has an aux jack). I figure that way if it ever falls to it's death on the highway, at least it's not my "good" phone. :D
  13. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    How is it any more expensive than just buying a new Touch? Assuming he bought it subsidized as most people do, he paid the exact same price as a Touch (less if it's a 16 GB model as $199 only gets you an 8GB Touch). An unlocked iPhone 4 is not selling for a premium so why bother selling it as there's little to no profit to be made unless you want to get a previous generation iPod Touch. Also, no GPS in an iPod Touch.

    This is exactly what I do as well. Plus, as previously mentioned, nice to have a backup just in case.
  14. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    It seems it's much easier in the Uk with networks and pay as you go on iPhones.

    I really don't get a choice when I purchase my iPhones outright. One of my grown up children are always waiting in line for my older model !
  15. xnickitynickx macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    As opposed to the non-wifi ipod touch? :p
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    It's much better than an ipod touch.

    1) You can use it as a voip phone, ipod touch requires a headset.
    2) It's much faster than a ipod touch - double the RAM
    3) The screen is better than the touch even though the resolution is the same.
    4) You get a silent/ringer switch
    5) You get GPS on maps
    6) The cameras are better for video chat and snapping photos
    7) It may have more storage memory depending on configuration.

    The only disadvantage is that it's thicker than an ipod touch and can break more easily.
  17. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    In my opinion it's a waste of technology.

    Sell it so someone else who can enjoy it fully and use some of the raised funds to purchase some model of iPod.
  18. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    How so? It's fully functional on wifi. An iPod would mean no gps, slower, no camera (usable one), no retina display, etc

    I would rather use an iPhone 4 as an iPod than then iPod touch.
  19. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    An iPod touch DOES have retina display, but it's just a lower form of it. Same resolution, worse contrast and colors. Honestly I just don't see the reason in keeping an iPhone 4 around, isn't it a hassle to have two devices anyways? Why not just use the new iPhone..
  20. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    I dont see the point either. But generally speaking, the iPhone makes a better iPod touch because of the extras.
  21. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    GPS will work, other than that, it is just an iPod Touch with GPS.
  22. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    Except an iPod Touch is slower, the camera is not as good (I think?) and no GPS which is something the OP wants to keep using and mentioned first in his list of things. Also, iPods need BT headsets if you don't want people listening on your skype or google conversations I think.
  23. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    he is already gonna have an iPhone 5 with all those features and more. kinda pointless to hold onto IMO.
  24. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Of course. Those features aren't suddenly disabled without cell service. Anything that doesn't require cell service will continue to work. The GPS receiver will work just fine as it doesn't rely on cell service. Now, your GPS app, on the other hand may require data. It all depends on what app you're using.

    The iPod Touch comparison is a good guide as to what to expect. You can also enable airplane mode and then enable WiFi to get an idea of what to expect if you don't have an iPod Touch or iPad without cell service.

    "The point" is always highly subjective. It's really the OP's opinion that matters.

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