Switching phones on an active line - best practices

malet

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Feb 13, 2017
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I'm down to one active line now and don't foresee adding more in the near future. I do have two phones I'm deciding between that I'd like to be able to periodically swap out.

Phone 1: Pixel 7, factory unlocked, currently active with a BYOP SIM and tons of units.

Phone 2: iPhone 12 mini, purchased from TF with 30 days of airtime, to which I added a 60 day PIN card to unlock. Service ended a few days ago.

Can I just activate the phone I'm not using (choosing to keep my number) when I want to swap using the SIM cards I have? Do I need a new SIM each time? I'm not talking a daily basis or anything. Basically trying to evaluate which phone to use as my daily driver by using both for a few weeks.

Thanks for any feedback.
 
You can transfer service between phones (and possibly re-use the SIMs), but each transfer always carries a risk of something getting screwed up (losing your balances or number). Some people said they've swapped SIMs without problems, but it's like driving 80mph in a 60mph zone, it's OK until you get nailed, especially now that enforcement has been stepped up.
 
Definitely not going to be SIM swapping, just activating with a transfer.
 
Definitely not going to be SIM swapping, just activating with a transfer.

I am able to transfer devices at will. However, I've only done it between two branded TF devices with the included SIMs and have not tried it where one of the devices had a BYOP SIM.

I can do this transfer of service without the need of a customer service rep. However, it is not an intuitive process so I am documenting the steps to transfer service from one Tracfone device to another via the website:

In the Manage Lines sections of My Account, Click Add A Line button.
Select the current line to receive a code
After entering code, select "Add a New Line"
Select, "I need to activate a device"
Under "New Phone" select Activate button
Select "I want to keep my number"
From the dropdown box, select your phone number
It again asks to send a code to your phone
After entering code, Select Physical SIM
Enter the IMEI of the other device.
That's it.

The service in the old device went to Emergency Service Only. I booted the new device it had the service on it.

You can try this and post if the procedure is any different because one of your devices has a BYOP SIM. Maybe when you transfer to that device, it will want the SIM number entered as well. With a TF branded device, it doesn't ask for that because the SIM is fully tied to the IMEI in their system. But working with a BYOP may be different.

Anyway, that's the procedure. I documented the steps just now in real time so that the list is complete.
 
I am able to transfer devices at will. However, I've only done it between two branded TF devices with the included SIMs and have not tried it where one of the devices had a BYOP SIM.

I can do this transfer of service without the need of a customer service rep.

I do it myself online with BYOP devices if the balance is low or I don't care about losing the phone number. It'll ask for the SIM number and the IMEI number. With my lines with lots of units and several years of service, I used Chat and asked the rep to confirm my balances before the transfer.
 
Until last week, I would have considered that an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, I tried to activate with a transfer of service on 2/28 when Verizon's system was having trouble with activations, so the issues were not really Tracfone's fault. My MIL was without service for three days. And hold times were extremely long on 3/1 -- my two calls were an hour on hold then two hours on hold, but neither agent could fix it until the underlying Verizon problem was solved. Hopefully, it was an isolated problem, but it would definitely make me think twice about a lot of transfers.
 
Sim swapped a Verizon TF sim earlier several hours later no service. Gave up and sim swapped a TMobile TF sim and worked immediately. Same as my experience with ATT.

I am going to miss the other networks when TracFone finally stops serving them for sure. For Verizon everything seems to be harder on purpose.
 
I used Chat today to transfer my TF/Verizon service from my new S23 back to an S22 (just wanted to save the S23 for future use). I have lots of units/days on that line so didn't want to do it online myself. Went smoothly.
 
I used Chat today to transfer my TF/Verizon service from my new S23 back to an S22 (just wanted to save the S23 for future use). I have lots of units/days on that line so didn't want to do it online myself. Went smoothly.

are your S23 and S22 Verizon brand, and came with TF sim cards?
 
Just to add another data point, I then took the VZW SIM and moved it to another phone and it worked just fine instantly. The first phone was originally a TracFone iPhone, so that leads me to believe that its probably married to the original SIM that came with the phone and is what I would need to 'swap' to. Guess I need to keep better records of the original SIM on these sort of devices.

The new phone I swapped to has never been on TracFone VZW. It works fine now, but I am guessing I now paired the new IMEI with the old SIM. In any way, this is a long way of saying that sim swapping on VZW can work but its not recommended. It makes a mess.
 
are your S23 and S22 Verizon brand, and came with TF sim cards?

No, they're Fi phones (basically USA unlocked "U1" models). I use them with BYOP TF/Verizon SIM cards.
 
Makes life simpler. Went from a Tracfone branded Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit (2017) to an unlocked Galaxy A53 5G (US version) and it immediately worked upon reboot with number. Transferring everything over was harder.* I still ordered a BYOP Verizon SIM card because I suspect the 5G part isn't working.

*Note for any "internet unavailable" messages, make sure date and time is correct on both phones.
 
Makes life simpler. Went from a Tracfone branded Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit (2017) to an unlocked Galaxy A53 5G (US version) and it immediately worked upon reboot with number. Transferring everything over was harder.* I still ordered a BYOP Verizon SIM card because I suspect the 5G part isn't working.

*Note for any "internet unavailable" messages, make sure date and time is correct on both phones.

5G is not in every part of US. You should get at least Verizon's 5G nationwide coverage, but you need to look at the Verizon maps to check that.

I know my phone jumps between 4G and 5G a number of times.
 
I just did a swap of a number with balance to another phone today. Both phones were unlocked phones (non-TF branded).

The first try was told I can't move the current active TF SIM to a new phone. This was done with a chat.

Then I dug up an old TF SIM and use it for the swap on the second try via a chat again and all went well. BTW, I have the TF Verizon service.
 
I just did a swap of a number with balance to another phone today.

Then I dug up an old TF SIM and use it for the swap on the second try via a chat again and all went well. BTW, I have the TF Verizon service.

Please clarify what you meant by "a swap". Taking a SIM card out of one phone and put it into another phone?
 
Please clarify what you meant by "a swap". Taking a SIM card out of one phone and put it into another phone?

That's what I was trying to achieve by "a swap". But that was a no go.

I have to find another TF SIM to transfer to it for another unlocked phone.
 
I moved a BYOP VZW SIM between phones and it worked just fine. I did notice that my rewards account showed the old line being inactive and a new 'line' being set up with the new IMEI (reactivation on the date I did a SIM swap).

EDIT: All phones involved are not TracFones (unlocked)
 
Can you still add an inactive phone to an account? (With chat help.)
Does that make it easier to activate that phone with a transfer from another phone number in that account?

I just tried a transfer online and the website froze on me before the transfer went through. Thankfully the old phone is still working as usual, my number and service is not lost in the void.

I suppose I could just use chat help to do the transfer.
 
I have a new phone, an iPhone 13 mini that is refurbished and unlocked and I thought it was ready to go.
I have an iPhone7 with a Tracfone ATT sim. I wanted to move my number and service from the 7 to the 13.
I have a new SIM or maybe could use an eSIM...

The TF website could not do either, TF Chat could not do either...
"Unfortunately, we can support eSIM activation only for iPhone 12 and later models."

WHAT!? 13 IS a later model...

I got transferred to upper level CS. They said the phone (13 mini) is likely with another carrier.
To my knowledge it is not. I am checking. It is like a new unlocked phone.

Buuut, maybe TF thinks there is a carrier because the iPhones (the 7 and 13m) talked and the new phone cloned the old phone.
The new phone rings when the old phone gets a call, etc.

Since I have a Tracfone ATT SIM in my old phone, and the new phone thinks it is the old phone, I hot swapped.
It is working fine.

I hope to get this all working through legit channels, but in the meantime... I hope it just keeps working.
 
I have an iPhone7 with a Tracfone ATT sim. I wanted to move my number and service from the 7 to the 13.

Buuut, maybe TF thinks there is a carrier because the iPhones (the 7 and 13m) talked and the new phone cloned the old phone. The new phone rings when the old phone gets a call, etc.

I don't know enough about iPhone to understand how an iPhone can be cloned to another iPhone including phone number and service. With Android phones, especially Samsung phones, one phone can be "cloned" to another including settings, call logs, texts, files, apps, but the service and phone number does not get cloned to the new phone.

Anyway, if the new phone rings when the old phone receives a call then basically that's what you want to be the end result, isn't it? Nothing further needs to be done.
 
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