Do I need to take new iPhone out of the box and turn it on to complete the activation?

ChristInMe

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
652
Carrier(s)
TracFone (VZW), Red Pocket (TMO), Cricket (ATT), FreeUp (ATT)
Device(s)
Galaxy S22 Ultra, Pixel 7, iPhone 11
I activated a new TF-sold iPhone11 to get it unlocked after 30 (or 60) days, but didn't take it out of the box because I want to sell it as new-in-box. I provided the IMEI to TF and it got assigned a phone number. The SIM was not inserted into the phone.

Questions:
1. Do I need to take it out of the box and turn it on to complete the activation?
2. Can the phone get unlocked if it never gets taken out of the box and turned on?
3. Also, when I sell it, do I need to do anything to get its Activation/SIM unlock status out of Apple's server? I never created an Apple account for it.

For Question 1 and 2. I don't know. It's possible it'll get unlocked without going through actual activation. Some people on SD mentioned unlocking without taking it out of the box. You can be the first verified data point. For my Tracfone iPhone SE2, it auto unlocked on Day 59, but I actually use it with service. It needs WiFi or data to call home and update the status.

For Question 3, you can check the current unlock status on sickw.com or imei24, might be others. Just need the IMEI. Sometimes it's not free. You can also purchase a "GSX report" for one dollar on eBay. It's like the iPhone version of a CarFax, with the phone history, unlock status, warranty info, etc...

First time set up/(OOBE) Out of Box Experience needs a data connection. You cannot proceed without it. It absolutely has to call home. If you're selling it, that's up to the buyer, you don't need to do anything. Give the buyer a GSX report to show it's brand new and unlocked.

You don’t need to do anything to it. Whenever it gets activated, by you or a buyer, it will query the Apple server for its SIM restriction (unlock) status.

The only outstanding question in my mind is whether the TF system will require any usage on the network, but it doesn’t seem like that’s a requirement.


I also have similar questions to hpham's. In fact, I started an experiment 6 weeks ago to confirm these questions. Midway through I abandoned the experiment because every time I checked the Apple servers, the device came back as unactivated and unregistered. I suspected that you needed to put open the box and connect to Apple servers through a data/WIFI connection for the device to be registered as activated by Apple.

Question 3 is moot if you never linked the device to an Apple ID when it was activated. Once the device gets unlocked, you can simply do a factory reset and sell it. The unlocked status remains intact and the device is not linked to any Apple ID. I can personally confirm this.
 

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I know that after I first turn on the phone and set it up applying a quick back up to the phone from the iCloud (there are a list of backups I can choose from other phones) as well as updates which can take a few minutes then the phone will start to give a pop up message "waiting for activation" every 10 minutes or so which you can dismiss.

Then when I activate the phone with the rep, and restart the phone to get it going, finally another message appears stating "phone has been activated" (or something like that) and at the point the phone has truly been activated and usually works properly. The tracfone welcome text usually quickly follows. I don't think I've ever not seen that message when the phone activated.
 
Data point.
No, you don't need to take new iPhone out of the box and turn it on to complete the activation. All you need is the IMEI of the phone (plus 1-month service) to complete the activation process. A phone number will be assigned. You can set up the iPhone months after it was activated with Tracfone. I did this without inserting the TF SIM and the phone was registered with Apple server as 'No SIM restrictions'.
 
With the replies so far, my take is that to get a locked Android device unlocked a code has to be entered into the device itself. Apple does it through a database of locked/unlocked IMEIs. I guess Apple does it that way to prevent their devices from being physically/electronically hacked to unlock. When an Apple device is unlocked, then the provider sends a request/update to Apple to have the IMEI updated in the database.

As far as its activation status, for the purpose of getting it unlocked and AAL points vested, as long as TF recognizes it as an activated phone, that's all that matters to me. Whether Apple knows/records its activation, I don't care.
 
Data point.
No, you don't need to take new iPhone out of the box and turn it on to complete the activation. All you need is the IMEI of the phone (plus 1-month service) to complete the activation process. A phone number will be assigned. You can set up the iPhone months after it was activated with Tracfone. I did this without inserting the TF SIM and the phone was registered with Apple server as 'No SIM restrictions'.

Thanks for the confirmation. Now we know that once the iPhone is activated by TF you don't have to open the box to get it unlocked. You only have to wait 60 days for TF to 'inform' Apple that the device is carrier-unlocked so that the latter's database can properly register the device as "No SIM Restrictions."
 
Thanks for the confirmation. Now we know that once the iPhone is activated by TF you don't have to open the box to get it unlocked. You only have to wait 60 days for TF to 'inform' Apple that the device is carrier-unlocked so that the latter's database can properly register the device as "No SIM Restrictions."

Yep, you can check the unlock status at 60 days without ever opening the box. I've sold them on Craigslist and Offerup as new in sealed box. They sell quickly that way for more than the trade-in sites will pay. And yes, unfortunately, the Androids have to be opened to manually enter the unlock codes.
 
They sell the nib 11 for $249. So the risk is waiting 60 more days for unlock and what the price will be then. What are people getting for those?

Basically the writing is on the wall to cash out reward points while you can...
 
They sell the nib 11 for $249. So the risk is waiting 60 more days for unlock and what the price will be then. What are people getting for those?

Basically the writing is on the wall to cash out reward points while you can...
I’m in So-Cal if market matters, sold a unlocked iPhone 11 opened box for $320 on CL but my second one I sold to WCT for $248 because it was less hassle.
 
I’m in So-Cal if market matters, sold a unlocked iPhone 11 opened box for $320 on CL but my second one I sold to WCT for $248 because it was less hassle.

I've sold several like-new Samsung S22's to WCT for $306-$311. I probably get $60-$100 more for each selling on CL, Swappa, etc. but I no longer want to deal with individual buyers after a bad experience on Ebay.
 
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