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Question: Can I use iMessage without a SIM card?

I try to activate iMessage but it doesn't let me it says Waiting for Activation... but nothing happens I try change my Apple ID but still it says an error occurred. P.S: I don't have a SIM card and no phone number I hope I can use iMessage with my Apple ID.

iPhone 5s, iOS 10.3

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 2:03 PM

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Oct 7, 2017 10:52 AM in response to Gi4ul In response to Gi4ul

Hi,

I know this post is a little old but I believe I have information that might help. I have an old iphone with no working SIM card, and a current working iphone with a SIM card. I wanted to get imessage working on my old device. Here's what I discovered:

If iMessage says "waiting for activation," you can still send iMessages. These iMessages will go through the email listed in the "send and receive" field. However, they will not be going through your appleID, so they will not sync across devices. By taking my SIM card out of my current phone and putting it in the older model, I was able to activate iMessage fully with my appleID. However, upon removing it and using it with my current device, the old device would go back to "waiting for activation", even if I had it in airplane mode when I made the SIM switch.

TL;DR, you can iMessage with an old iPhone without a working SIM card, but you cannot iMessage through an older phone with your appleID if you don't have an active SIM card. I think this is a pretty stupid way for iMessage to work, because these problems naturally don't exist with iPod touches or Macs. Maybe Apple will fix this in the future. Maybe I'm wrong, but if anyone has the answer to using an appleID to iMessage on an older device, that would be great.


If it says "an error occurred during activation", sign out of your appleID in iMessages and try it again. It'll work that time as long as you have that working SIM card. For activation to occur, a SIM card must be present, as a hidden SMS is sent to the device. I have no idea why changing the SIM card deactivates iMessage and makes it go back to "waiting for activation", but it most definitely does, as I've done it about 3 or 4 times in different ways.

Oct 7, 2017 10:52 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Oct 7, 2017 10:52 AM in response to Gi4ul In response to Gi4ul

Hi,

I know this post is a little old but I believe I have information that might help. I have an old iphone with no working SIM card, and a current working iphone with a SIM card. I wanted to get imessage working on my old device. Here's what I discovered:

If iMessage says "waiting for activation," you can still send iMessages. These iMessages will go through the email listed in the "send and receive" field. However, they will not be going through your appleID, so they will not sync across devices. By taking my SIM card out of my current phone and putting it in the older model, I was able to activate iMessage fully with my appleID. However, upon removing it and using it with my current device, the old device would go back to "waiting for activation", even if I had it in airplane mode when I made the SIM switch.

TL;DR, you can iMessage with an old iPhone without a working SIM card, but you cannot iMessage through an older phone with your appleID if you don't have an active SIM card. I think this is a pretty stupid way for iMessage to work, because these problems naturally don't exist with iPod touches or Macs. Maybe Apple will fix this in the future. Maybe I'm wrong, but if anyone has the answer to using an appleID to iMessage on an older device, that would be great.


If it says "an error occurred during activation", sign out of your appleID in iMessages and try it again. It'll work that time as long as you have that working SIM card. For activation to occur, a SIM card must be present, as a hidden SMS is sent to the device. I have no idea why changing the SIM card deactivates iMessage and makes it go back to "waiting for activation", but it most definitely does, as I've done it about 3 or 4 times in different ways.

Oct 7, 2017 10:52 AM

Reply Helpful (6)

Oct 7, 2017 4:14 PM in response to Connor24601 In response to Connor24601

No that makes no sense at all. On any device, iOS or OS X, iMessage requires a valid AppleID. It is the AppleID that in fact creates the account with Apple’s iMessage Service. You absolutely need an AppleID for every single service Apple offers - iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, the iTunes, App or iBook stores, the Mac store, these forums. Every Apple Service requires you sign in to that service with a valid AppleID.


With an iPhone, because the iMessage service recognizes that device and tries to associate its cellular telephone number with the service, requires a SIM card to activate that service.

Oct 7, 2017 4:14 PM

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Oct 7, 2017 4:56 PM in response to Michael Black In response to Michael Black

I did not ever say a valid appleID was not required. Nevertheless, the imessages will not sync with an appleID unless the iphone has a SIM card. I called apple support about this last week and have experimented myself. If you have 1 active iPhone and 1 iphone with a deactivated SIM card, please try it yourself. To clarify: you know how a Mac will be able to send and receive iMessages, and you can view those sent and received messages on either your phone or mac? The same does not hold true for an iPhone with a deactivated SIM card.

Oct 7, 2017 4:56 PM

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Oct 7, 2017 6:05 PM in response to Michael Black In response to Michael Black

Michael Black wrote:


You cannot set up iMessage at all on an iPhone without a SIM card that is active and has active SMS account services with a carrier. The OP was trying to activate iMessage on an iPhone without a SIM card, and that cannot be done.

Thank you for confirming I still have some grip on reality.

Oct 7, 2017 6:05 PM

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Oct 7, 2017 6:15 PM in response to IdrisSeabright In response to IdrisSeabright

Yup, the process with iPhones is distinctly different from iPod touches or iPads or Macs. The activation process clearly identifies the type of device, and with an iPhone it is going to insist on using the SMS message activation.


We had a recent poster trying to reactivate an older iPhone as an iPod Touch and ran into the same problem. To activate iMessage on an iPhone one needs a SIM with an active number and account with SMS enabled on the account.

Oct 7, 2017 6:15 PM

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Dec 29, 2017 11:11 AM in response to dougpy In response to dougpy

dougpy wrote:


By that logic, I would need a SIM card in my Mac to use iMessage. I’m so tired of Apple’s games.

A computer and a phone are not the same type of device. An iPhone sends iMessages both by phone number and by Apple ID. It requires a different type of activation than an iPad, iPod Touch or computer, none of which use mobile telephone numbers to send messages.

Dec 29, 2017 11:11 AM

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Question: Can I use iMessage without a SIM card?

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