Use an iPhone Without a Data Plan

Feb 1, 2012 - 102 Comments

Use an iPhone without a data plan To get the most out of an iPhone you’ll obviously want to have internet access, but for those who live in regions where wi-fi access is ubiquitous, you can potentially save some money on a monthly cell phone bill by not having a data plan.

No, I don’t mean only turning off data on the phone, I mean having a simple voice and SMS plan without any data plan at all. These voice and text plans are quickly disappearing, but they can result in a low bill of around $25 per month with plenty of talk time and text messages. To accomplish this, you’ll need a few things.


  • Unlocked iPhone – the iPhone must be GSM unlocked, either from a software unlock or an original hardware unlocked device. Apple sells the iPhone 4S unlocked for $649 and up
  • A simple cell phone plan and it’s SIM card without data – usually from an older “dumbphone” or a cheap pay-go phone

Depending on how old the data-free plan is, you may need to trim down the SIM card so that it fits into the iPhone 4 and 4S micro-SIM slot. This wouldn’t be necessary for iPhone 2G, 3G, or 3GS though.

Setting Up iPhone With No Data Plan

If you have those two things, setting up the data-free iPhone is easy:

  1. First turn off data by launching Settings, tap “General”, tap “Network”, flip the “Cellular Data” switch to OFF
  2. Now insert the old data free SIM card into the iPhone and wait a minute or so to get service

The first step is important because it prevents the iPhone from attempting to use data, which can inadvertently sign you up for a data plan with some carriers. AT&T has been known to detect and automatically add data plans to smartphones, whereas T-Mobile is reportedly less likely to do so. After the old SIM card is inserted you should quickly get service and be able to make and receive phone calls and text messages.

For using an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S with T-Mobile, you may want to follow our T-Mobile iPhone 4S set up guide to configure MMS, but skip the ‘Cellular Data Network’ section.

Of course, the unlocked iPhone aspect is fairly expensive and can quickly make this whole idea cost prohibitive. If you’re looking for more ideas to lower the monthly iPhone bill though, the next cheapest option – and it includes data – is to set up a prepaid iPhone, which the iPhone is unofficially capable of supporting on a pay-go basis with AT&T, or if you have an unlocked device this can work with T-Mobile too.

Thanks to Anthony F for the tip and information about AT&T.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Dylan says:

    Wow this is pointless… You wanna know how to get the same results but wayyyyy simpler? Verizon has a prepaid smartphone no data plan for 30 dollars a month. Unlimited talk n text.

    • The Combat Wombat says:

      An iPhone without data is pretty useless, you want a data plan with your iPhone in most cases unless you have it for a kid or something. Or if you’re bad with data management, use wi-fi only with an iPhone but no data plan. Smart idea.

  2. Cat says:

    I was given an AT&T iPhone 3gs with a SIM card. I currently have Verizon service with no data. I would like to turn off the data part of the iPhone so that I can use it instead of the Verizon phone I am currently using.

    I tried to follow the instructions on this page, but when I removed the SIM card, the phone would not allow me to turn off the cellular data switch.

    Please help me with this without using too much high-tech lingo. (I am still learning about this end of technology and have not gotten up to speed yet.)

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Pogi says:

    This method does not work. Followed this method to the teeth but it was recognized by ATT in 2 1/2 weeks and added a data plan to my hand me down Iphone 4.

    • Peter says:

      It does work but you must have data turned off. As soon as you transfer any data, through any data network whether it’s EDGE or 3G, they will bill for it.

      • Mike says:

        hey peter…Pogi is correct. I followed this 100%, it worked for the 2 months and just today i got a txt from att slapping me with data charges. The entire time I have data TURNED OFF. This is a hand me down 4s.

  4. Jim says:

    I gave my daughter my old iPhone 3GS (AT&T) with provider Red Pocket with pay as you go plan for $0.10 a minute. No data plan required. No unlocking required. She uses Wifi at home and where available. It’s cheap; I budget her 125 mins. talk and/or texts a month ($12.50).

    • Paul says:

      How does the plan apply to texting? i went and looked at their paygo plans, but talk minutes are the only thing mentioned. also do you have to buy the phone from them, or could you configure your own unlocked iphone to their plan?

  5. Shivam says:

    Hi. I have a AT&T unlocked iphone 3gs that i want to give to my son but i dont want to give him a data plan. Does jailbreaking the iphone affect the data plan at all? Also, if i just turn off cellular data like the article says will it actually stop me from getting a data plan? thank you

  6. Connie says:

    I have filed a complaint with the FCC about At&T billing practices and the forced data plans. I encourage you to do the same. I think this practice should be illegal. They are charging me for a service that I did not ask for , nor am I using. When they bill you for the unwanted data, they sign you up for the most expensive data plan when cheaper options are available, here is the website for the FCC.
    It is not complicated. It took less than 5 minutes and if enough of us complain perhaps someone will do something about this!!

  7. Blondie says:

    I’m wondering, will this for sure work with a T Mobile phone. My parents plan on getting me an iPhone 4s as a Christmas present this year, but they do not want to pay for a data plan every month. Can I use these instructions for a T Mobile Sim? (I already plan on cutting my Sim down to a Micro Sim size.)

  8. Andrew says:

    I’ve been doing this for three years on my iPhone 3GS and my bro has been doing it on his iPhone 4. I just recently bought an iPhone 4S to do this again. I don’t know how it worked because neither of my 3GS were unlocked.

  9. John says:

    Ok my sister used to use the iphone 3G, then she got the iphone 4S when her 2 year contract was done and gave me the iphone 3G, my mom says that i can use it if i do it without a data plan (unlock it and such) if i follow these directions, are you guys sure i wont get charged in like a month or two? because my parents would be furious if ATT (which is what carrier i have) surprisingly charged us in a few months. Also i have some other questions, since our plan has unlimited texting would i be able to have unlimited texting like my family? and u guys say i cant download apps, couldnt i just use installous to download them? or is it not the same thing as the ipod, because i jailbroke my ipod before, but it doesnt seem like the same thing for iphone unlocking. also does my 2 year contract have to be over or can i just do it when is not done yet? sorry for all the questions but please can someone help me i would really appreciate it

  10. Philip says:

    PLEASE HELP ME TO SET UP MY IPHONE? I am responding to Walt Scrivens in this message…….thanks

    Walt Scrivens says:
    August 12, 2012 at 5:58 am

    T-Mobile has a prepaid SIM that I have been using for a couple of years. For $100 you get 1,000 minutes or text messages, good for a year. If you don’t use them all, they can flow over into next year. I’ve used this with both iPhone 4 and Android phones.

    Philip says:
    September 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Walt – I have the same as you – and my friend in the park says I can get internet at no cost using that same SimCard from TMobile in my iPhone3 GS……..He does it all the time and his connection is a somewhat limited (but very good) internet connection and NOT a simple Wi-Fi connect.

    He’s unavailable to show me how he set it up. Can you – or anyone else here give a hand?

  11. Street Smart says:

    I was using iphone4 with AT&T & my wife was using pantech. I have a data plan for my iPhone but for pantech we don’t have since it’s not a smart phone. Our 2 years contract has expired & I have requested them to unlock my iphone4. I’m planning to upgrade to iPhone 5 & wife is planning to use the iPhone 4 which I had without a data plan. So one my iPhone 5 arrives I’ll try out this trick mentioned above to move the pantech sim to iPhone 4 & will shut off the cellular data option in the phone before I move the sim. Will let u guys know how it goes.

  12. Melissa Yost says:

    We have smartphones (not iphone though, but thought this would be helpful) and got them through AT&T from a friend whose a manager there. We have 3 lines and don’t have dataplans. He didn’t require us to get them of course when we got them, but if people are getting hand me downs would kind of be the same thing. We renewed our contracts with him to get the discount. Anyways we had Data blocked previously since the internet would connect easily on my previous razor and I was sick of the random $2.00 or $3.00 fees for it trying to connect. So we put a block on it and now use our smart phones with wi-fi all the time with no issue! At&T hasn’t done the automatic detection thing that others mention. We have had our smart phones for 21 months now. It is so great! We have texting blocked also on 2 lines and have added texting on 1 line and so far, that hasn’t effected anything. Data is still blocked so the phones simply cannot connect through AT&T and we download lots of aps with no issues and no extra fees. So, the key is to call customer service and put a DATA BLOCK on your plan before you are using a smartphone, then switch it out after and done! Love it! Free wi-fi, but no data plan and no fees!

  13. sinan says:

    do i have to unlock my iphone

  14. Dj says:

    On I can’t find the continue to next page or the fake apn? If this worked would it disable mms?

  15. UChic says:

    So Iphones have an unique IMEI that enables ATT to track you down. I’ve been slapped with the “you have been using iphone so we turned on the data” BS.

    Here’s an actual solution:

    So Iphones have an unique IMEI that enables ATT to track you down. I’ve been slapped with the “you have been using iphone so we turned on the data” BS.

    Here’s an actual solution:

    – Put the AT&T Sim card in the already activated iPhone.

    – Connect to wi-fi

    – Navigate to and choose “Continue To The Next Page”.

    – Click Disable Data (Fake APN)

    – Click Install.

    You will see a message like “Could not activate Cellular Data Network; You are not subscribed to a cellular data service.”

    You can now make phone calls and be able to use wifi to access the internet. When you aren’t connected, you should get an error.

    To remove the 3G/Edge block, simply go to your Network settings and removed the Fake APN profile.

  16. Cali says:

    Well I did the same process with a hand me down iPhone 3GS, but I never shot off the enable 3G and other network options. I just installed the Sim card from my daughters old phone and it worked till today. I received an email from AT&T informing me they added a 30.00 data plan. So going to call them to remove it and put sim card in old phone again. Anyone with new updates on this.

  17. UnlockedIphone says:

    I had an Unlocked Iphone 4S. I have cancelled my data plan with ATT (they now call it “Web”). They used to charge me US$ 30 for 3 GB of data. That is very expensive. So I gave back my phone and opted to use my old dumb phone that I have purchased 5 years ego out of the country. Now when I use ATT is still trying to add the data without my knowledge even though its not a smartphone. Their system is still telling them that I have an I phone. Which is really frustrating. For some reasons they are also trying to regulate your unlocked phone. I should be able to add and remove whatever “service” I want as a customer right? Think again!

  18. Logan Besalke says:

    What does the instructions mean when they say have an ‘unlocked’ iphone?

  19. BR says:

    Until someone takes these carriers to courts – nothing will change.

    Charging for something we use is fair. Forcing people to have a data plan, just because it is a smart phone is totally unfair.

    To answer straight – ATT will slap a $30.00 data plan, if you use iphone on their network.

    You will be forced to pay if not today – in future…

    I read some people commenting on forums : “Why do you need iphone, if you don’t want to use data?”.

    Either they are ATT personnel or totally dumb. Most of the people like to get internet through wifi – if there is a choice.

    I hope people complain to FCC and law makers and something changes.

    Did anyone notice pathetic “data share plans” offered by ATT & Verizon?

    That shows how they want to squeeze people.

    Now please don’t say – we have choices. We don’t.

    • FerociousFlower says:

      You are exactly right in your comment.
      Until we CHANGE the offers/contracts of the communications carriers, we are remanded to abiding by their arbitrary rules and pricing …forever!
      Since rules/regulations pricing/plans are crafted in the carrier’s favor (disguised to be in favor of the customer), and we sign the agreement – or else you CANNOT use their service – it doesn’t matter what’s fair or not.
      We have monopolies who are ALL playing this game together, although they would have you believe each carrier offers something “sweeter” or better than the other, crafted just for you/the customer – it’s all BS … a big, stinking pile of BS!
      I am remanded to using an old flip-phone to take advantage of ATT’s gophone pricing of 10cents/minute. I never want internet on a phone, and only use voice calls or TXT msg – $25 lasts me 3-months. I would however love to have a better phone than the cheap $8 flip-phone. But this can never happen because of their FORCED data plans of $30/month. Why in the world would I want to pay three-times what I pay now, and pay 3x’s the price …for something I will NEVER use?
      So, I will remain one of the relics of the past …flip phoning my way throughout the 21st century! …Hey at least I’m a conversation piece, and the butt of everyone’s jokes when I whip-out my “FLIP-PHONE”. At times I’ll even make the Star-Trek “bleep bleep” sound – as was Capt Kirk using his “flip-phone”.
      Good Luck everyone!

  20. zapita says:

    my son started using an iphone 3gs in December 2011 (Christmas). We turned off the data and he used all the internet he wanted and all the apps he wanted when he was connected to wifi. We never paid any data package and life was good…. until I got a 300 dollar phone bill, they detected the the phone he was using was a smart phone and packed on a 30 dollar data plan plus some other charges. I was never notified of any charges EVER. So I took the sim card out of the phone and called them. they said even though he did not use any data and was no longer using the phone the data package would continue to be charged until we provided them(At&T) a emei number of a non smart phone that we would be using. So I got my son a non smart phone from my aunt and now my phone bill is 400 dollars cause I was charged the $30 data package for thefirst part of the month(unknowingly) and the phone he has now connects to the internet ALL the time even though its accidental and we hit end end end end as fast as we can when it starts connecting. Really I think its BULL. So my advice is go ahead and try following these steps, they do work and it could work for a long time, just expect to have a high bill at some point. FYI I didn’t realize you had to have a data plan, I thought it was only required for the duration of the 2 year contract, then we could drop it. Since I got him the phone used and didn’t need the contract I thought it was fine not having the data, and that was the case until 8 months later. VERY DISAPPOINTED an BROKE!!!

  21. Jazzi says:

    Okay so let me get this strait, if you follow the steps exactly as they are and using a gsm iPhone you WILL NOT GET CARGED FOR DATA? My dad would kill me if all of a sudden I had data added to my/his plan. We share a family plan with unlimited text and idk how much voice (I never use it) and cellular data blocked. If I go this rout I won’t get charged for data, is that what our saying with out a doubt. All I want it for is text and pix. I have a 3G currently and it’s jailbroken however I need to restore and rejailbrake. I need a 100% guarantee that I won’t be carved for data, can you give a strait answere? Not the phone and the sim ate on att

  22. JG10 says:

    my friend has an iphone 4 that doesnt have service anymore (she moved to a different carrier) she wants to use for messaging to her friends (like me) who do have iphones, she is able to download and buy apps/songs…so for her to message her iphone friends through imessage can she do it through wifi or does she need a data plan?

  23. Walt Scrivens says:

    T-Mobile has a prepaid SIM that I have been using for a couple of years. For $100 you get 1,000 minutes or text messages, good for a year. If you don’t use them all, they can flow over into next year. I’ve used this with both iPhone 4 and Android phones.

    • Philip says:

      Walt – I have the same as you – and my friend in the park says I can get internet at no cost using that same SimCard from TMobile in my iPhone3 GS……..He does it all the time and his connection is a somewhat limited (but very good) internet connection and NOT a simple Wi-Fi connect.

      He’s unavailable to show me how he set it up. Can you – or anyone else here give a hand?

  24. Lesley says:

    I just switched my sim card to an old (wiped) iPhone, and followed the steps above. However, the phone still has the tiny padlock symbol on the home screen. It still acts like an unlocked iphone, meaning I dont have to enter a passcode to reach the main contents of the iPhone. When I plugged it into my computer, iTunes came up and it says iPhone under devices like normal. However, when I click on it, the page only has the apple symbol, a blank box, and a lock. Is there any way I can fix this?? (everything else within the phone works)

  25. Matt says:

    Up here in Canada, phone companies only sell the iPhone with a ghastly 3 year contract, with the cheapest subsidized plan being 60/month plus tax. Doing the math on this, owning the phone will cost a rather unsightly $2500 over the term.

    So I picked up my unlocked iPhone 4S for 745 including tax from the Apple store, and I’m using a prepaid SIM from Fido… They didn’t ask any questions either, so obviously many others are going contract-free with their iPhones.

    For the last half-year, I’ve been paying 10$/month for voice and text; and I’ve never gone over the prepaid limit yet – but of course, I don’t use the phone for talking much anyways!
    I realize this isn’t a viable option for everyone, but between home, school, and the many coffee shops I stop by, I’m almost always on some wifi network. If I’m ever in need of data, for emergencies or the like, I can add on 10mb

    • Matt says:

      for 1$. Or go the whole month for another 10$ for 100mb – not exactly great for streaming Netflix on the go, but at least it’s 3G and not EDGE speeds.
      Anyway, $10-20 a month works really well for me (not to mention the savings over an equivalent 3 year term on a subsidized iPhone) but I realize I’m not a heavy user- far from it. As a student, I can’t imagine paying the 60-100$ a month that my parents pay, and they don’t even use half of what they pay for.

      Just my 2¢ on this topic.

  26. TanyaB says:

    All right. I am doing the research. Called Apple store. They say that they won’t guarantee that it will work and to call carrier. So I called AT&T. They got all huffy and said that they would slap me with a data plan as soon as I turn on the phone. So now I am confused. All I want to do is make phone calls, buy a few apps, and use wi fi at home and around town at free wi fi locations. I have a good plan with AT&T and don’t want to switch plans. Heck I never even use text messages. Had it turned off years ago due to prank texts from a relative that ran up a big bill. I don’t even know how to send a text message if I had that feature turned on and I don’t want it. I love my iPad and I bought the one that does not have the option to hook up to a data plan, wi fi only. That is what I want my phone to do. Just don’t want to buy an expensive phone (2 since I need one for my husband) and then this won’t work. Reassure me that this does work, but AT&T just doesn’t want us to know about it.

  27. Miguel says:

    I have 2 old phones (tmobile) on family plan w no data, i want newer phones, pref jailbroken w no data plans. Can i use Blackberrys or iPhones? If so, what steps should i take?

  28. Abus3409 says:

    How do you have an iPhone unlocked? Can you do it yourself or do you have to go through the AT&T? Will AT&T do it without too much hassle?

  29. Tommy Swims says:

    Just so everyone knows, this can’t work on Verizons network. Verizon uses a CDMA network, which doesn’t use SIM Cards. Yes, we do have SIM cards but they’re only for international plans and 4G devices. These SIM cards are not the same as AT&T SIM cards.

  30. Mpaul says:

    I followed above instructions. Had my iPhone unlocked by apple/AT&T. Used another sim that had data plan opted out.

    Today AT&T Website shows that it’s an iPhone but did not automatically upgrade to data plan. I hope this remains this way.

  31. gunste24 says:

    This is a most valuable discussion,because I want to get an iPhone 4 with its noise reduction Audience chip to hook into my hearing aid transmitter (Phonak TX) that sends the voice info to my hearing aids by FM. I also need one app,which I could import by using someone else’s SIM card for a few minutes.
    – I do not really need to use the iPhone as a phone or messaging at all but am going this route only because Audience will not sell me one of their earSmart chips, and the app I need (HearingAid by TiAu) is for iPhones only and it is needed to activate the built-in mic.
    Tried this out on borrowed equipment (with normal AT&T SIM cards). Idea came from a NYTimes article:
    Reference: New York Times, May 5, 2012 – By ANNE EISENBERG – Technology – “For Hard of Hearing, Clarity Out of the Din”

    Any suggestions will be welcome

  32. Question says:

    I see that some people are getting charged against their will for a data plan since ATT has found out they are using an iPhone.

    If I am using the .10c/min prepaid plan that isn’t compatible with data plans, I’d be safe right? Or would ATT upgrade my plan to a $25 monthly prepaid plan and THEN add on a data plan?

  33. victoria nguyen says:

    if i just turn off the cellular data, i wouldnt need to pay the extra and just pay what i usually do for my regular phone right?

    • Mark says:

      For people still saying they are being charged or don’t understand, make sure you followed the steps exactly. Here is a summary from the post (for ATT):

      1. Take your iPhone and shut off “Cellular Data” which is in the “General Settings” and then “Network”. Now, shut off the phone.
      2. Take another phone on the same network that is NOT a smartphone and shut it off and remove the SIM card.
      3. Remove the SIM card from the iPhone and insert the card from the non-smartphone.
      4. Turn on the iPhone.

      Are people following THESE steps and still getting charged for data?

      • Mark says:

        Just to further clarify, just turning off cellular data and not putting in a non-smartphone SIM is NOT enough. ATT doesn’t care if you use data. Their policy is if you connect to their network with a smartphone, you agree to pay for a data plan. Inserting the SIM card simply identifies the phone differently on their network so it doesn’t appear as an iPhone. Technically, if they still identify the iPhone, they can add a data plan. I know some have argued here they can charge you for a service you didn’t sign up for, but actually, you did. When you accepted ATT service agreement, you agreed to their terms.

        That being said, I don’t think anyone here thinks this makes any sense. Why should I be charged a penalty when I don’t use data? For that matter, why should they take on an overage charge as soon as I go over my limit but not give me a credit when I’m under?

        Your only option is to look for another carrier. I have an old 3GS and will try this but if I have issues, I will be looking into a Virgin Mobile plan. They are going to sell iPhones and if you have a payment plan, can get 300 talk minutes and unlimited data for $30/month ($35 – $5 for automatically charging each month). There is no contract but you do have to buy the phone. And no, you can’t use one from another network so an iPhone will run $550 or $650. ouch. But, it is cheaper in the long run.

        • Frugal says:

          Are you retracting, then, your earlier post and carefully reiterated steps? From your latest post (June 12, 2012 at 8:50 am), it appears that the crux of the matter is: Can AT&T — or Verizon or other phone service companies — detect the iPhone as a SMARTPHONE with the new (non smartphone) SIM card? Well, can they? Can ALL companies — Verizon, etc. — or just AT&T? Is a functioning SIM card in every non-smartphone? I currently have service with Verizon and have a dumbphone. Can I buy a (any model) Verizon iPhone and take a SIM card from my current dumbphone and insert it in a new (any model) Verizon iPhone, and not get “detected” as a smartphone?

        • Willy says:

          This is not correct Mark!
          If you use I-phone on the prepaid plan you will not have the data, although AT&T provides other smart phone users on the same plan with data at no extra charge.
          AT&T imposes extra charges on I-phone users as the result of their “bait and switch” approach design to lure customers who then pay through the nose for their “free” I-phones. Evidently, the approach will not work if an I-phone owner can cancel expensive “upgrades” he/she does not use and does not need. AT&T people will tell you that I-phone needs data plan to work because otherwise you cannot download applications and upgrades, which of course is a lie.
          So now you know why they refer to you as “valuable” customer.

      • Nate says:

        Just wanted to clarify re: Mark’s June 12, 2012 at 8:37 am post.

        Is the key here that you *must* swap place a non-smartphone SIM card into the iPhone after disabling cellular data?

        Can anyone confirm that this is indeed working in the wild?

  34. HHIJim says:

    Can I use a prepaid Verizon plan with an iPhone voice & wifi only?


  35. Maggie says:

    So I recently bought a Iphone 3GS, and since I’m using it with T-mobile it makes it more difficult.
    Firstly, I do not have internet on my plan included,
    and even with my Network cellular data shut off, it’s still charging me for internet, even though i use only WiFi

    Will this work for me?
    I’m so lost :/

  36. M Lee says:

    Will have to look into this. AT&T just sent my daughter (today) a text saying a data plan was added to her account. Of course they added the $30 plan instead of the cheaper $20 plan. Ugh.

    The phone was a hand-me-down from her dad, an iPhone 4. What irks me is that the store where he bought his 4S didn’t care there was no data plan and now 2 months later we get charged. As a pre-teen, she does not need the data plan. Wifi is just fine.

    We still have the sim for her old Samsung Impression. After cutting it down, should it work in the iPhone? (BTW, 3G, cellular data, etc. was turned off at the time AT&T added the data plan.)

    • Michael says:

      Same thing here. There arent any decent messaging only phones. I’m setting here with an iphone 3GS that i own, and ATT wont let me use it as a messaging only phone. Instead, I have to resort to these cheap made messaging phones. Even with data turned off, and the APN changed so that using data on ATT network is impossible, I am still charged. I wonder if there would be that much of a fuss over another brand smartphone?? Anybody tried this with a droid, palm, or blackberry smartphone?

  37. Bryan says:

    I bought an Iphone 3gs ATT(not hacked) from ebay. Followed instructions, bam! Worked like a charm. Thanks for the info peoples. Blessed.

  38. James says:

    Can this work on a verizon plan?

  39. Brandon T says:

    Can this method also work using a t mobile SIM card?

  40. Anise says:

    I bought an unlocked iPhone from Apple store then buy a pay-go micro sim from AT&T. They put the sim and activated it at the shop. That’s it. I use WiFi at work and home. I rarely use SMS but use iMessage and Whats App. So basically I use the pay-go for making and receiving calls only. It’s just 10 cents per minute. For a long chat, I use FaceTime or Skype or Viber. Last year I spent about $100 on the top-up while my husband bought his iPhone and tied in a contract with AT&T and pay $70 every month. In his 2 years contract, he would spend almost $1000 in total more than I spend.

  41. Kris says:

    I just want to let people know that this is working for me so far. I wanted to upgrade my dad’s phone to an iphone so I purchased an iphone 3gs on ebay and put a sim card in it. At&t does see his phone as an iphone in my account, but they have not added a data plan to it. I have turned off cellular data as recommended and no problems so far. If at&t decides to try and add a data plan then they will surely get an earful from me. Also, on the today show this am they were recommending long time customers can call at&t or verizon to ask for some sort of discount. Both companies are offering $10 a month or $100 discounts to long time customers. The $10 a month is for the life of the plan.

  42. sarina says:

    Does this really work? I wanna try it but if i get charged the plan my mom will kill me. So does this actually work like i won’t get charged?

  43. MountianGirl says:

    Hey did it on my iPhone and worked great. Im just afraid to install apps because of what Gadgetstar said. Will I be ok?????

    • Mbeach says:

      I have nation 450 rollover plan 39.99 without data using a regular Nokia phone. Installed the sim to an Iphone without knowing that ATT detects them and got a txt that they are adding the $30 data plan automatically. Plugged the sim card back to Nokia and called them to remove the data plan. They did. Turned off that cellular data on my iphone and installed the sim again. Seems to be working ok without the cellular data innactivated. No problem updating apps from apps store via wifi so adding apps shouldnt be a problem.

      • Michael says:

        I did the same thing with a 3GS, and they removed the plan, then about a month later, I got the text message 5 days after they added the $30 plan. I have even switched the APN so that the phone couldnt access data even if the data was turned on. Funny thing is my wife tried a 3G and accidentally used up 1/2 g of data which ran up a $50 bill, and she still didnt get the plan added to her phone. I wonder if they view the 3G and 3GS differently? Anybody know the answer to that?

  44. Sun says:

    I have a family plan with ATT. Me and my wife have iPhone 4, my daughter uses an old LG Vu ($9.99 addl line). If I buy an iphone 3gs from CL (locked or unlocked) and transfer the sim card from LG vu to it, will it work, assuming I turn the data off first? She can use the wifi at home and at her school to connect to internet. By doing this, i assume I don’t have to pay the $20 per month (300mb) for the data plan for her line. Right?

  45. Peaceout says:

    Does this work?

    • Matt says:

      Yes, we wouldn’t have written the post if it didn’t work. You do not need to jailbreak, you do not need to unlock. Read the post for instructions.

      • Jason says:

        Erm, but the op says it needs to be unlocked, unless you were referencing a different set of instructions that I missed. Which is it?

  46. MountianGirl says:

    Also is unlock and jailbreak the same thing? Will it work for this strategy?

  47. MountianGirl says:

    Hi, I have a dumb phone with an AT&T sim card. Do I need to unlock my hand-me-down iPhone to have it without a data plan. If so how should I go about unlocking it.


    • Matt says:

      No, if the iPhone is AT&T and the dumbphone is AT&T, plug the AT&T sim card into the iPhone and it will work.

      • MountianGirl says:

        WOW Thank You!!!!!! Why didn’t I do this years ago!!! So simple. Thanks for the quick reply appreciate it!

    • Chey says:

      Nope I did the same thing just put the sim card in the iPhone and a message will come up that says iPhone activated. You can use it without a data plan but you can’t send MMS or buy apps.

  48. Dude says:

    BTW, Patrick, where the heck did you get service for a RAZR for $10 per month?

  49. Dude says:

    Re: activating a RAZR and moving the sim to an iphone

    1. Does this work, anyone?
    2. Must it be a RAZR sim?

    Look, I know I’m not alone in thinking that even my dumb-phone-pre-pay at $30 to 40 a month is too damn expensive. For those of us who have an iphone (I have a 3gs jailbroken with no service that I use for wifi) and only want voice and sms and wifi; possible? Some people say that it can’t be done yet some say that it can. Those in the latter group have vastly differing techniques and caveats.

    Can someone point us to an article somewhere that gives us the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

  50. Patrick says:

    I did this simply by activating my old razr & moving the sim card to my iPhone 3GS & handing it to my daughter. $10/mo for an iphone – she was stoked! Wifi works fine for iPhones for a teenager :)
    My questions is… Can I do this with a Verizon phone in the iPhone 4S? Is there a dumb-phone I can purchase with verizon that doesn’t require a data plan that will let me swap sim cards? Anyone?

    • Sidney says:

      Yes Patrick, but the unlocked iPhone 4S you buy from apples website will not support Verizon, just get a Verizon version of the iPhone 4S and get a dumb phone with a Micro SIM. It is very important that you get a micro sim because the iPhone 4S will usually only support micro sims unlike the iPhone 3GS

      • Tess says:

        I have a regular AT&T SIM that I took out of my Samsung AT&T phone and cut it (found out online that you just cut the SIM card to fit the micro SIM card for iphone 4 or 4s). It worked. I made sure that the data plan & 3G is off on my iphone first though before I put the now small SIM card that I cut so I wont get charge extra. I’m just paying $10 coz my phone was added as a family plan with my sons. I use the wi fi on my iphone when I’m at home or somewhere where I can get access to wifi.

        • Christina says:

          Hey Tess,
          How did you switch over your Iphone 4’s ESN number without Verizon forcing you to put data? Did you do it over the phone, online, store? I was told by the Verizon customer service rep that Verizon’s systems read the ESN and FORCES the account to have the data package. (ridiculous if you tell me) but I would like to know how to switched your ESN….

        • Farid says:

          I tryed that, but the cellular option is gray and it says No SIM, I can not change it to off, how can I changed it to off

    • Eloy says:

      was your daugter’s Iphone unlocked or jailbroken before you did the sim change?

  51. Paula says:

    I have an iPhone 3G from AT&T that I want to use for talk/text only. I’m no longer in a contract…do you think I can dump my data plan?

  52. Evan says:

    Hello everyone! I really want to try this out, but I dont feel like getting a $50 bill at the end of the month. So if anyone tried this I would love to know if it worked!

  53. Hans says:

    I would recommend checking out Simple Mobile. I’ve been using it for months now with a Factory Unlocked iPhone 4s. I pay a flat $40 a month (including taxes and fees, etc.) and have unlimited talk text and web. They even provide instructions on their website to configure your iPhones for MMS. The only downside of course is that they use T-Mobile’s network, which means you get Edge for data.

    • Archie says:

      For $45 a month I use StraighTalk. It’s an mvno of AT&T so the iPhone does not need to be unlocked. And data is unlimited and 3G speed. Also unlimited talk and text included.

      • Sven says:

        Umm, with taxes and 911 charges, this is more like $50. And data isn’t really unlimited either as they’ll cut you off if you “use” too much. Just sayin’

  54. Gadgetstar says:

    In theory this ‘fix’ will work, however be careful. We gave our kids a hand-me-down iPhone each and bought PAYG sim cards without data plans. The first day of use and we got a text message saying the credit had been used up and they hadn’t even made a call.

    They had sent a couple of MMS messages to each other (thinking these went through iMessage) and that was it. What they had also done was open Game Center. Even though data was turned off in settings we got banged for a daily data charge because it would seem that Game Center was still connecting! I called Orange and they said that some apps may ignore the settings which seems crazy.

    I think there is a third step to ensure you don’t get charged for daily data and that is to use a non existent APN, so even if the phone/app tries to connect it can’t.

    If anyone else has seen this behaviour I’d be interested.

    • Anderson C says:

      This tutorial above doesnt work anymore. It wasnt your kids fault. ATT scans the network and checks wether you have an iPhone…and when you do , it AUTOMATICALLY adds a data plan to your existing plan…Tried and Tested..

  55. Will says:

    After setting this up sans the data plan, couldn’t you go back and turn on data and just use it via WIFI only? If no connection then you don’t get data…simple as that.

    • Paul says:

      Possibly, but we recommend leaving it off to avoid any accidental charges.

      • Anderson C says: can..there will not be any accidental charges…Since the SIM doesnt have a data plan on it, It wont connect to data…

        But why >?? why turn on data when you DONT have data…You can jus simply turn on and off wifi and keep your cellular data on. Plus you save battery as you are not on a 3G or 4G network….!.

      • ryan says:

        does this process really work?

  56. Scott says:

    Personally I would go the pay-go route with AT&T because they can tell it’s an iPhone by the IMEI and will want to charge you for it. You’ll get a text message saying data has been added to to the account for about $15 a month. Using the GoPhone SIM is effective and gives you EDGE data. T-Mobile is the same thing. Either price is about $50/month for minutes, data, sms.

    • Ken says:

      If you use a GoPhone, and just switch the sim card, and shut off the data, will at & t still be able to tell if your using an iphone? Also, if your at a wi-fi hot spot, couldn’t you just get data from there? or would you still have to pay?

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