Our DNA is written in Swift

Radar: Unlocked iPhone should not require SIM Card to be activated

The following hassle became apparent when I restored an iPhone 4 to a iOS 7 BETA version. You are supposed to file issues for everything, even something that annoys you as infrequently as this. This one has been annoying me for several years now.

So I finally logged it as rdar://14425938  and on Open Radar.

Unlocked iPhone should not require SIM Card to be activated


As a developer I have a ton of iOS devices around for testing purposes. To avoid hassles I bought most of them directly from Apple or paid a fee to have the SIM lock removed.

However when restoring an iPhone you still are required to put a SIM card into a phone or otherwise you get an “Activation Failed” message.

Steps to Reproduce

  1. Remove the SIM card from a sim-unlocked iPhone
  2. Restore iOS (e.g. any 7 seed)
  3. After choosing your country and WiFi, try to activate

Expected Results

  • A SIM-unlocked iPhone should activate over WiFi without requiring a SIM card

Actual Results

  • Activation Fails with an “Activation Failed” error message
  • You have to start over after placing any SIM card into the phone to activate it


This problem existed since forever.


This is a big hassle and worry for me because I don’t have as many contracts as I have iPhones. Also for most testing purposes you don’t need any cellular data in iPhones, but just WiFi. Also some day I might have only Nano SIMs left if everybody is on an iPhone 5 and then I wouldn’t have any SIM card available to activate older iPhones.

If I buy a SIM-unlocked iPhone from Apple or pay to unlock any iPhone after contract I should never again be forced to put a SIM card into this phone.

Categories: Bug Reports


  1. It’s there to deter thieves, and allow remote bricking

  2. That’s why you don’t throw out old SIM cards bonehead. I keep one from every carrier.

  3. i want to activate my iphone 4s ….after restore .my iphone have country code ….so tell me how to i can activate my iphone without sim card???????????/ plz