There are various ways of activating an iPhone without using a SIM or a Wi-Fi connection, and we cover them all in this article. Not all methods are guaranteed to work for you, so be ready to try a couple of them.

Remember that your iPhone might be locked to a certain carrier. For the purposes of this tutorial we will assume you've got an unlocked iPhone or have a way of using the phone with a carrier-specific SIM once it's activated. If not, find out how to unlock an iPhone so you can use any SIM.

This guide covers all handset generations from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Activate your iPhone in iTunes

How to activate an iPhone without a SIM or Wi-Fi connection: iPhone unlock

If you've got access to a computer, the first point of call to activate an iPhone would be through iTunes. It's by far the most straightforward method of activating an iPhone.

If you haven't already got iTunes, download it for free through Apple's website.

Once you've installed it, connect your iPhone to your computer.

You will now see an onscreen prompt in iTunes explaining what you need to do and the details you need to fill in to activate your iPhone.

Once activated, you'll be able to use your iPhone. If for any reason you get the 'No SIM card error', you will need to check if your SIM is damaged or locked. You can follow the steps on Apple's website.

Use the emergency call feature

If the iTunes method doesn't work for you or is for other reasons unappealing, you can try this more unusual strategy. Some users have reported that it doesn't work any more, having been patched, but you might still find it a viable option in activating your iPhone.

How to activate an iPhone without a SIM or Wi-Fi connection: iPhone unlocking

Please note that we do not condone actually calling an emergency number for the purposes of activation, which would be a frivolous waste of important public resources.

If you use this little trick carefully you won't actually call an emergency number. And for an unknown reason it has been known to activate your iPhone without a SIM or Wi-Fi connection.

  • Wake up your iPhone and press the Home button (you shouldn't have any fingerprints stored in Touch ID yet, so this shouldn't be a problem) to bring up the passcode entry screen.
  • Tap Emergency to make a 112 or 999 call.
  • Press the power button on your iPhone straight away.
  • Tap cancel on the pop-up window to stop the call.
  • Your iPhone should now be activated.

Jailbreak your iPhone

If all else fails you can always attempt to jailbreak your iPhone. This does void your warranty, but if you've got an old iPhone that's carrier-locked, it might be the best way to get it working again.

We've got a full guide on how to jailbreak an iPhone or iPad, which will go through the ways to jailbreak your iPhone and hopefully allow you to activate and unlock it.

Let us know in the comments below what worked for you or if you've got any new methods you've discovered.