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How to convert old iPhone 3GS to iPod Touch

18904 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Oct 23, 2012 6:43 PM by Chester-X RSS
Chester-X Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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Oct 9, 2011 10:24 AM

Ok, so I've been researching this for a while and I've found some answers, but not all.  So...any additional information would be nice.  First of all, I know Apple has this article: but it's not helpful for me.


Here's what I want to do

I'm upgrading my phone from the 3GS to the 4S.  I want to be able to give my 6 yr. old daughter my 3GS so she can play games and such.  I don't want to ever upgrade the iOS and I don't want the phone to work.  I just want WiFi for her to download App Store games using my itunes account.


So, here's what I think I need to do.  I think I ust need to sync my 3GS and back up for when I receive the 4S.  Once the 4S is up and running...I think I can just remove the SIM card from the 3GS and turn off all settings for "cellular network".  This way she won't be able to use the phone and the phone won't try to connect to the network.


Is this correct?  Apple's support link (above) is confusing to me because I don't understand why I'd need the SIM card in the old 3GS.


Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

iPhone 3GS, iOS 4.3.3
  • bencote1706 Calculating status...
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    Oct 9, 2011 11:00 AM (in response to Chester-X)

    Just remove the Sim Card...

    No calls, no messages, etc.

  • CTJon Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
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    Oct 9, 2011 11:54 AM (in response to bencote1706)

    Sorry to steal thread but I plan on doing similar.  If you've moved the phone and data service to a new phone - what happens if you don't remove the SIM?  Or will I have to to move the service to the new 4s?

  • bencote1706 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
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    Oct 9, 2011 11:56 AM (in response to CTJon)

    if you move the voice / data service to a new phone, you can keep the sim in the old phone, it will be inactive until you call your service provider to get a new plan for that sim card.

  • CDA15 Calculating status...
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    Oct 14, 2011 11:09 AM (in response to Chester-X)

    thanks for posting.  I would like to do the same, upgrade my 3gs to 4S and then give my 3gs as an itouch - no phone/ texting, to my 9 y/o.  I agree the apple support post is confusing regarding the SIM card. I'd be interested to know if it worked.   

  • CrazyOkie Calculating status...
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    Nov 25, 2011 1:27 PM (in response to Chester-X)

    Has anyone gotten this to work? Because I'm having problems. I upgraded to the 4S. I'd like to give my 3GS to my daughter as an iPod touch to replace her 'old' one. It still has the sim card in it and it says "no service". We connected to the wifi, but when we open safari it doesn't seem to be working properly - it seems to connect but it can't pull up a website, it keeps giving us our ISP search engine ( If you try to connect to iTunes or the App Store it doesn't connect. Any suggestions?

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (24,530 points)
  • chris from santa monica Calculating status...
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    Dec 26, 2011 2:03 PM (in response to Chester-X)

    This is exactly what I want too. I bought the new 4s, got everything moved over fine, then I wanted to gift the 3gs to my son to use as an iPod Touch.


    The part about activating doesn't seem to make any sense to me. My 3gs still has the sim card in it that it came with, it seems to be "activated already" -- but I couldn't seem to connect wirelessly either.


    Turning the phone to airplane mode, and then turning wireless on seems to have done the trick.



  • RadioFNI Calculating status...
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    Oct 1, 2012 12:34 PM (in response to Chester-X)

    My stepson gave me his old 3GS when he upgraded. It still has his SIM card in it. I turned ON Airplane Mode and turned ON WiFi. Works great. Here's the problem though: I appear to be HIM. How do I purge the device of being him and switch it over to me being ME?
    I feel I need to do this BEFORE I start deleting apps, since I'm afraid I will delete his apps on his account/new phone. This seems to be a serious question that hasn't been answered that I can see.
    Hayelp, please.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (24,530 points)
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    Oct 1, 2012 12:43 PM (in response to RadioFNI)

    Settings/General/Reset - Erase all content and settings. This will set it up as a new phone. Then see the link in my message above. Using an iPhone without a wireless service plan

  • RadioFNI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 1, 2012 1:32 PM (in response to Lawrence Finch)

    Lawrence, unfortunately, that STILL leaves out one major point. The URL you keep referring to has the step to put in the NEW SIM CARD and verify. I've NEVER used an Apple product before now, so I am in the dark as to that. I'm a Verizon customer on cell phones and their phones do not have SIM cards.


    I don't have a new SIM card. I just have the one that was in the phone when he gave it to me. After I reset the card, do I put it back in or leave it out. I get incredibly mixed messages from folks as to that, everywhere I look. Some say needs SIM card, others say leave it out.


    I do know that I no longer want the phone to say it is his or him, as I don't want to start something and mess up what he is currently using on his new phone. THAT is the thrust of my effort here.
    1. Will leaving the original SIM card in and resetting the phone to ground zero let me use it as a Touch as MY device? Or

    2. Should I leave out the SIM card and resetting the phone do the trick.

    Is it a ONE or a TWO in this regard?


    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (24,530 points)
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    Oct 1, 2012 1:40 PM (in response to RadioFNI)

    Leave the original SIM card in. I'm assuming it has been deactivated because he registered a new phone, but it is needed to restore the phone after clearing it. After the phone is activated you can remove the SIM or leave it in; it doesn't matter.


    BTW, it does not say to put in a new SIM card. It says:


    1. Insert the SIM card from your new, activated iPhone or one that was previously used to activate the original iPhone.

    Nowhere does it say to put in a new SIM card.

    Macbook Air, iPhone 4S, iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.4), iOS 5.1.1
  • RadioFNI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 1, 2012 2:37 PM (in response to Lawrence Finch)

    Thanks, Lawrence, for clearing that up for me. This is all very new, uncharted territory for me.

  • Shoebox52 Calculating status...
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    Oct 8, 2012 4:30 PM (in response to Chester-X)

    Chester-X, I just bought an iPhone 5 and wanted to use my 3gs as an iPod Touch.  The next day after activating my iPhone 5, I noticed that the 3gs's battery goes down really fast to about 40% in one day.  Didn't do that before.  I had closed all running applications and it doesn't seem to matter.  I had turned the cellular service off under settngs.  Did this happen to you?  Also, messaging doesn't work but everything else does.  Any ideas?  Thanks much!


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