How To Use An iPhone with Tracfone Wireless

Do you want to use an iPhone with Tracfone Wireless? Well you can and in this article I’ll explain what you need to know.


I just bought an new iPhone SE from Tracfone. To learn more read my article and see my video here Using Tracfone Wireless with the New iPhone SE (2nd Gen 2020)

Tracfone Wireless offers affordable cellular service for customers with modest needs for a cell phone service. Many people would love to take advantages of all the benefits of using an iPhone without having to pay $600 or more per year for cell phone service. With Tracfone, you can have an iPhone or other smartphone with active service for as little as $125 per year or just under $11 per month. This a great option for someone that wants to use an iPhone but doesn’t talk on the phone much and plan to use your iPhone with Wi-Fi to for Internet Service.

If you want to use an iPhone with Tracfone you’ll have a choice to buy and iPhone directly from Tracfone or you can Bring Your Own iPhone to Tracfone.

Buying an iPhone from Tracfone

Tracfone sells as limited number of iPhone models. They usually do not offer the latest model iPhones instead opting to sell less expensive models from previous years. Sometimes you can get a really good deal on an iPhone directly from Tracfone, See my Tracfone Deals Page to see the latest deals and offers available, Tracfone Latest Deals and Promo Codes

Bring Your Own iPhone

Do you want to sign up for Tracfone and use it with your own iPhone? Well, you can and in this article I’ll explain what you need to know.

As of this time there is a long list of iPhone models that can be used with Tracfone including the iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone SE (2nd Gen 2020) the iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5. Note that as of April 2019 I do not recommend the iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, and earlier models for use with Tracfone and these phones do not support 4G LTE networks.

When you sign up for Tracfone, you’ll have a choice you can buy an iPhone directly from Tracfone or you can Bring Your Own iPhone. Tracfone doesn’t have a wide selection of iPhones available but sometimes you can get a really good deal on an iPhone directly from Tracfone. Sometimes you can buy the same brand new iPhone for less from Tracfone than you could if you bought it directly from Apple and sometimes for less than you would pay for a refurbished or used iPhone online from Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist. Each month I post the latest Tracfone deals here, so check that out if you don’t already have an iPhone to use with Tracfone.

How Tracfone and Bring Your Own iPhone Works

Before trying to bring your own iPhone to Tracfone it’s important to understand how Tracfone works. Tracfone doesn’t have their own cellular network, instead they uses either AT&T’s, Verizon’s, or T-Mobile’s cellular towers. When you use Tracfone, your phone will be on one of these three networks. When you bring your own iPhone to Tracfone you’ll need to buy a Bring Your Own Phone SIM Kit in a retail store or online directly from Tracfone. If you already have your iPhone, you’ll need to buy or use the SIM Kit that is compatible with your phone. Most people that bring their iPhone to Tracfone bought that phone from their previous carrier which is most likely AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint.

If your iPhone was from AT&T or T-Mobile it will work with the Tracfone AT&T or T-Mobile SIM respectively without a problem. If your iPhone is from Verizon, it needs to be eligible to use it with Tracfone’s Verizon SIM. To find out you’ll need to check the phone’s serial number on to see if it can be used. Verizon requires that the serial number of any phone that is activated to use their towers. (its a Verizon thing, same for Sprint, but not AT&T or T-Mobile). If your Verizon iPhone was reported lost or stolen you will not be able to activate it. If your Verizon iPhone is currently under contract on a payment plan it will not be eligible.

This works out well because if you are say an AT&T customer with an AT&T iPhone you can use it with Tracfone’s AT&T SIM. The iPhone is compatible with AT&T, AT&T should have service where you use your phone because you were an AT&T customer, and Tracfone most likely has coverage on the AT&T towers in the same area. The same for Verizon and T-Mobile. Where it gets a little tricky is if your iPhone came from one carrier but you want to use it on different towers with Tracfone. For example, you have an AT&T iPhone but want to use it with Tracfone’s Verizon towers.

Your iPhone Needs To Be Compatible With The Network Or Towers You want to use it with

Your iPhone needs to be compatible with the network or towers you want to use it with. That is, the cellular radios in your iPhone need to be compatible with the cellular technologies and radio frequencies that network uses. Some model iPhones that Apple sold are compatible with all four big cellular networks, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Some models are only compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. For example, Apple made one model of the iPhone 6s that works with all four carriers. But they made two different models of the iPhone 7. One that works with AT&T and T-Mobile, the other for Verizon and Sprint (but also works with AT&T and T-Mobile..)

Locked, Unlocked, and SIM-Free iPhones

I get a number of questions about whether or not your iPhone can be locked or unlocked to use it with Tracfone. It depends. If your AT&T iPhone is locked you can still use it with Tracfone’s AT&T SIM card. Same for a T-Mobile SIM iPhone. Verizon iPhones are not locked but you need to check the serial number to make sure it can be used with Tracfone’s Verizon SIM. Ironically because Verizon iPhones are unlocked and compatible with the AT&T and T-Mobile networks you can use the phone with either Tracfone’s AT&T SIM or Tracfone’s T-Mobile SIM.

A locked iPhone is when your wireless carrier set up your phone to prevent it from being used with a SIM card from another wireless company. Sometimes wireless carriers do this to prevent you from taking a phone on a contract or payment plan and using it with another service before you have completed your payments. So even if your iPhone is compatible with another network, it won’t operate with another companies’ SIM card. Most carriers will unlock an iPhone for free after you have met their requirements in their unlocking policy, see Unlocking Your AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint iPhone. If you are unsure whether your phone is locked or not you can borrow a SIM from a friends phone (that uses a different carrier) and try it in your phone. If you can make a call with it, the phone is unlocked.

If you want to buy a brand new iPhone that is unlocked and can be used on any of the four networks in the US, Apple sells what they call the “SIM-free” option of each model phone they sell. The phone is unlocked and can be activated on any service that uses the AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint networks. No other retailer sells SIM-Free models, except for Best Buy that currently sells only the SIM-Free iPhone X.

New Customer

If you are a new customer signing up for Tracfone you’ll have a choice of keeping your current phone number or have Tracfone assign you a new one. If you choose to transfer your current home or cellular number to tracfone you’ll need to make check with Tracfone to make sure your number is eligible to be transferred. In addition to your phone number you’ll need to know your account number and pin for with your current phone company. Your account number may or may not be your phone number. Your account PIN is a password set on your account to prevent someone else from transferring your phone number without your permission. Note this isn’t the PIN code you may have set to unlokc your phone.

Existing Customers

If you are currently a Tracfone customer you can transfer your current phone number and existing balance of minutes, text, MBs, and service days to your new iPhone. Note that when you transfer service to a new phone your new phone may not be eligible for some plan features such as triple minute plans and one year service days add-ons. As of 2019 most tracfone smartphones are not eligible for such features.

Tracfone’s One Year Plan

Note that all Tracfone smartphone plans include a fixed amount of minutes for calls, messages for texts, megabytes (MBs) for data (internet), and service days. The $125 plan describes above comes with 365 days of service, and 1500 minutes of talk, 1500 text messages, and 1500 Mb of data (1,5GB). So while your account will remain active for one year if you use up your minutes, messages, or data you’ll need to buy more.

Tracfone’s Networks or Tower

Tracfone does not have their own cellular network. Instead they use AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile’s towers. If you buy an iPhone directly from Tracfone it will probabally use Verizon’s towers. Before you buy your phone, you can ask their customer service agents which towers the phone will use. Tell them the model phone you want to buy and the zip code where you want to use the phone.

If you are going to bring your own iPhone to Tracfone, you’ll have the choice of using their AT&T, Verizon, or T-mobile SIM card. Pick the network that works best in your area and one that your iPhone is compatible with. If you want to use their Verizon towers, you’ll need to make check the serial number of your phone with Tracfone to make sure it that it is eligible to be registered on their Verizon networks. Some model iPhones are compatible with more than one carrier. If your iPhone is locked to AT&T or T-Mobile it should still work with Tracfone’s AT&T or T-Mobile SIM respectively. If your iPhone is unlocked, you may have a choice of which network to use.

More Information

I updated this article for 2019 as I noticed that it was still popular. If you are interested in some of my earlier articles and videos about using the iPhone or another smartphone with Tracfone see the links below.
Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone SIM Activation Kit at Kmart and Walmart
Opening a Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone SIM Activation Kit

Choosing a Tracfone Network

Signing Up For Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone GSM LTE Network

Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone ATT GSM LTE Network Demo

SpeedTest Results for Tracfone’s ATT GSM LTE Network

Adding Data To My Tracfone Account On The iPhone 6

How Much Does Tracfone Data Cost?

Tracfone and Visual Voicemail On The iPhone 6

Looking Up the APN Settings For Your Tracfone Wireless Bring Your Own Smartphone Account

Strange Text Messages From Tracfone

Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone SIM Activation Kit At Walmart

Tracfone Bring Your Own Smartphone SIM Activation Kit From KMart


  1. Edie McFaddin | |

    My problem: I just bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone from Tracfone, because it was said to be hearing aid compatible. Bluetooth has paired my hearing aids, but no sound is streaming from phone calls or even YouTube. I was told by my hearing aid professional to get an iPhone. So the question is, if I buy an iPhone and change the SIM card to be Tracfone compatible, will the iPhone still connect to my hearing aids, or does that change the operating system? Sorry for the long sentence.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You would buy an iPhone either directly from Apple or Tracfone. If you buy from Tracfone, you’d activate the the new phone and transfer your number and balance from the old phone to the new phone. The SIM card is included with the new phone. If you buy from Apple, the process is the same but your need buy a SIM kit for $1. The fact that you are using Tracfone should have no impact on using the iPhone with your hearing aids.

      If you go to the Apple store, you may be able to get them to install the hearing aid app and let you try it. You could also ask a friend with an iPhone to install the app. If you know someone with familiar with Samsung or Android they may be able to get your hearing aids working with your phone.

  2. Libby | |

    I just set up an iPhone 5c that has 10.3 iOS and am getting your phone is updated. However, some apps require at least 12.0. Can’t update through iTunes, what choices do I have?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      iOS 10.3.3 was the last update for that phone. The App Store should show you which apps are still compatible. None of this should prevent using the phone wit tracfone. If you need the latest apps you’ll need to buy a newer model iPhone. Tracfone has a good Dey on the iPhone 7 see There are other options too

  3. Kathi Hodecker | |

    I am interested in learning more about tracfone’s phone models & their compatibility. AT&T provides the best service in the (2) zip codes where my phone is primarily used, however, according to Tracfone, they only offer Verizon based phones in those zips. I am always in roaming mode at my home in zip 01235. Frequently I wait several minutes to send a simple text. Often I get the “retry” prompt, even when my recipient has already replied to my text! Service is sketchy (frequent dropped calls) in 34293. I’ve confirmed with neighbors in both locations that AT&T towers offer the best service. I’ve heard it’s possible to “trick” what Tracfone offers for phones by entering zip codes that favor a certain carrier, but I am at a loss as far as figuring that out! I prefer iPhone options, but would consider android in a pinch. I am looking to upgrade from an LGL52VL that has only 8GB storage, no option to receive group texts, and terrible reliability unless I drive to an area that is close to a Verizon tower. It would seem so much easier if tracfone provided phone options based on GSM vs CDMA, at least until those technologies are phased out. Apparently their business model favors Verizon right now. I sometimes wish I still had my old LG (gsm) flip phone! I hate the thought of going with an AT&T contract, but I’m hesitant to purchase a GSM unlocked phone from Amazon & the BYOP SIM card from tracfone and have the confidence that all will work like it should.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You are correct that most Tracfone’s sold in the MA and NH use the Verizon towers. And I have heard the same claims you have but I’ve never found a way to order a phone from Tracfone that uses the AT&T towers. It’s been my experience that if you buy an iPhone from Tracfone it will work with their AT&T BYOP SIM. They will tell you they don’t, but people do it. BYOP with Tracfone is easy. Finding an unlocked iPhone model you want at the price you can afford can be more challenging if your not buying directly from Apple.
      Which phone did you want? What is your budget? What are you looking for in a plan with Tracfone?

      • Kathi Hodecker | |

        I took a look at what Tracfone offered in my MA zip 01235. My initial inclination would be to get an iPhone, although some of the reviews I read were discouraging. The iPhone 6s at $175 is certainly affordable, but it states in the specs that is not compatible w/existing micro SIM cards. In my case I would most likely want to get Tracfone’s AT&T SIM. I read a review that someone recently had an issue with this. Next best is the iPhone 7 @ $325. If the phone provided the service I needed and would last me 3 years, I could spend that. That would probably be my upper limit. But, reviews indicated Issues w/texting photos – mobile data needs to be on. I’m not sure how big an issue that is. Also there is no VM indication through Tracfone? That seems absurd to me! As far as a plan, I use 500 min/mo on average, don’t do a lot of texting and so far I haven’t used my tracfone to access the Internet that much. I’d probably initially go with the $15 500 min 500 texts 500 MB 30 day plan and do it on auto-refill. I have 1000 min, 10K texts, 11 GB data on my current phone that would transfer over. I had the benefit of triple min on my LG and I know that benefit disappears once I go to another phone.

        Regarding using Verizon vs AT&T towers in my area, I did want to mention to you that last week I was notified that the enhanced calling feature VoLTE service is now in my area. Would that improve my tracfone service so that I’m no longer in constant roaming mode using Verizon towers? I tried enabling it on my LGL52VL, no luck.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          You don’t need to use a micro SIM card, you can transfer your service to a new AT&T nano SIM card, you don’t need to keep a micro SIM. Read through the comments on my article to see what I had to say about using data with the iPhone. Voice mail indicators do work, some people report a problem with it, sometimes it can be fixed. You’d have some flexibility in plans. If you switch SIMs you will lose the 3X minutes option. You can load up before switching though. The VoLTE transition might improve service in your area, its a positive step can’t say you’d see better performance. New iPhone models were just announced, I expect to see the price of the 6 s and 7 price drop soon. Also you should keep an eye on my deals page. For sept you can get the iPhone 7 for $279 with promo code.

          • Kathi Hodecker | |

            Oh boy … I’m in research mode! On eBay I found a NEW Apple iPhone 7 – 128GB – GSM Factory Unlocked Smartphone for $305 + $5 shipping. Optional 2 yr Sq Trade protection $45; 1 yr eBay exclusive Tracfone plan $50 includes 1200 talk, 1200 text, 3 GB data (no triple, but unlimited carryover), Free SIM starter kit, Free Int’l calls. Seller: cordlessconnectionsllc.

            I’m hesitant to buy the iPhone 7 for $279 (or less) from tracfone because I know it will come Verizon CDMA. I don’t want to take the chance that a VoLTE enabled phone would improve my service. I need and want AT&T. I’ve just about convinced myself (with encouragement from you) that Tracfone’s BYOP program shouldn’t be an obstacle to purchasing a GSM unlocked phone … it will work … and I’m not throwing $300+ Into the wind. This is a giant leap of faith for me! Also, the eBay phone is 128 GB vs Tracfone’s 32 GB. Of course my current phone is 8 GB … 32GB is already a huge improvement! With 128 GB & iOS 12, it just might be the last phone I’ll ever have to buy!

            Any additional insight? Thanks for the tip about loading up on my 3X SIM if and when I decide to pull the trigger on an upgrade.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Kathi,
            You are on the right track with all the research you are doing. A few things to keep in mind. The price of the iPhone 7 will continue to drop now that Apple no longer sells it themselves. The least expensive iPhone from Apple is now the iPhone 8 and $449. So keep checking prices as it takes a few weeks for them to start to drop after the new iPhones are released. I’m assuming you don’t need to make an immediate purchase.

            Tracfone only sells phones with the lowest storage capacity to keep the selling price low. I agree with you that the CDMA to VoLTE transition will not likely improve Verizon service in your area. In my experience, you can stick a BYOP ATT SIM in these phones and it will work. They will tell you no, but I have readers that have done it. I’ve even use iphones from other tracfone brands with tracfone ATT SIMs.

            Keep in mind that there are two different models of the iPhone 7, one( A1778) that only works with ATT and T-Mobile, the other(A1660) with Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
            I don’t know which eBay listing you were looking at but I found this one. I do have a couple concerns about this seller and this listing. The phone is listed as new, but it does not come in a new Apple retail box. and says it does not come with an Apple branded charger. I assume it includes the cable. A lot of these eBay sellers, sell phones like this stating they are new, and they “come like this from the carrier”, but I’ve never seen an adequate explanation of why this is, It doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Also, make sure to check the seller’s feedback, this seller has 9 negative feedback reports for phone sales in the last 30 days. I’ll look at some other eBay listings later. I’ve been meaning to write an article about this.

  4. John G | |

    I took the BYOP AT&T SIM, which I had tried in the TracFone iPhone 6s but did not work, out of my spare 5s where it had been successfully activated, and put it into the 6s again. Success!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Cool. I think the 6s needed a moment.  . Do you need the old number and balance from the old 3G phone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Cool. I think the 6s needed a moment.

  5. John G | |

    I had a 3G TracFone that used the AT&T network and worked well in a number of locations. I purchased an iPhone 6s from TracFone, but was unable to activate it at my current location, one bar (or none) when I am used to 3 bars when on AT&T. I began to suspect that it was trying to use Verizon which has poor service at this location. That was confirmed by a TracFone rep after I provided him with the 6s IMEI, also by taking the phone to a neighbor’s home where there is a Verizon mini-tower, and it did work. However I needed service here so I ordered an AT&T BYOP SIM from TracFone and installed it into an AT&T iPhone 5s I had on hand, and that does work. I did try that TracFone BYOP SIM in the 6s they sent and got only the “no service” message. Shouldn’t it be possible to use the TracFone BYOP AT&T SIM in the 6s?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Tracfone only allows the iPhones they sell to be activated on the Verizon network. That said, it’s been my experience that when you put an Tracfone AT&T BYOP sim in one of their iPhones it will work. It is possible this no longer the case. The iPhone 6s is compatible AT&T though. On the iPhone 6s I’d go into settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and see if it works after that. Give it a try and let me know.

      If you haven’t done so, you can transfer the number and service balance from the 3G tracfone to the iPhone. Try my suggestion above first.

  6. Sheryl Nissen | |

    I have a tracfone smartphone now and want a iPhone, will my service plan transfer to the iPhone? My plan is good until April of 2020. Does it cost more using the iPhone verses the smartphone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes. You can transfer your number and remaining service balance.
      Your old phone may offer different plans that your new iPhone does not.
      Older tracfones offered 2x or 3x minute plans, newer phones do not.
      Your current phone may qualifty for the $50 365 service day add ons.
      If you buy an iPhone from Tracfone, it should also.
      If you bring your own iPhone, it will not.
      I post the latest tracfone iPhone deals each month year.

  7. Ay Be | |

    Word of advice–don’t just jam one of these sim cards into your iPhone. It may be difficult if not impossible to retrieve it without “expert” advice. Oftentimes they will need trimming. Guy at the Apple Store told me that they (the Apple Store) will give you a sim card at no charge. First you need to pick a provider.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      All iPhone models since the iPhone 5 use nano SIMs. Tracfone offers nano SIMs. In 2019, no one should be trimming SIM cards. In my experience you can get an AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile SIM at the apple store for free. As far as I know, they don’t have Tracfone SIMs.

  8. Laura | |

    Hi, so my hubby and I use straight talk & have always had the Unlimited talk,text& data with hotspot!
    My phone from Walmart broke and when we purchased it we got the squaretrade insurence so we were able to send the phone into Square trade and got a gift card in an email to use for Walmart online, so my hubby got me the iPhone se rose gold, it came with a red pamphlet to use for bring your own or switching to another network I am assuming, my straight talk unlimited works off and on and my hotspot doesn’t work at all it’s in grey!My friend has an iPhone 6s and her husband has iPhone 6 and they both can use their hotspot! I am confused on what’s going on and how I can be able to use my hotspot on my iPhone se, Also my network says tfw that’s it, when I got my phone set up the first initial time we did 2 APN’s were popping up and my hotspot was working! Please help me if possible! My hotspot is our only way to watch tv (Netflix) and my children’s homework that they have to do online. Thank u in advanced

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I’ve written about this is detail and made some videos about it. You won’t like the answer, but Using Personal Hotspot with Straight Talk. Read the article, watch the video, and read the comments and if you have further questions feel free to ask.

  9. Geraldine Lyons | |

    New Apple owner and Tracfone member and want to change my plan to the $125 a year (I’m a senior) but need to know whether my automatic payment was just made on my old plan If so, do they deduct time use even a few days or just take a loss. thanks

    • Bob Thompson | |

      To see you account balance and latest payment information. Login to My Account on or install the Tracfone My account app from the App store. I don’t fully understand your question about loss and / deduction but if you change your plan to the yearly plan, it will simply add 365 service days to your account and the appropriate number of minutes, texts, and megabytes. If you already have a enough minutes to last you. check to see if you can just buy the $50 one year of service days.

      Add 1 Year of Service to Your Tracfone Account

      Not everyone has the option, but some still do.

  10. Evan Jackson | |

    I just got an email (May 20 19)from Tracfone saying they were going to a new network by the end of the year and my previous Verizon phone with a Tracfone SIM in it that is working fine now will not work at the end of the year.

    My Model A1532 phone does NOT say 4G in the upper left corner. It simply says TFW.

    I’m trying to make sure Tracfone is not simply trying to make money by selling me a new phone.


    • Bob Thompson | |

      It’s legitimate. Your phone is using Tracfone’s Verizon towers. Verizon is shutting down their CDMA network and moving entirely to LTE. This means any iPhone older than the iPhone 6 will no longer work on their network. All phones on the Verizon towers will need to use something call Voice over LTE which your phone can’t. I track the latest tracfone phone deals here, You can currently get the iPhone 7 for $240. A good deal. Compare those deals to whatever deals Tracfone may have offered you.You can buy a phone somewhere else too if you think you can get a better deal.
      If you switched your iPhone5c(?) to the Tracfone AT&T towers you might be able to use your phone for a little while longer, but your coverage would change. So it depends on what works well where you live. You have to transfer your service to a new SIM. Tracfone won’t help you with this, but it should work. You’llneed to decide if it is worth trying that or time for an upgrade.

  11. Judith | |

    Bob! Thank you! You explain these things so that I can understand them.

    ???Which iphone, unlocked, should I purchase if I want the ios to be update-able???

    ???How long before android oreo becomes outdated???

    Still using LG Ultimate II…I love it, but Tracfone says its done the end of 2019.

    Thank you!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      All iPhones get software updates from Apple regardless of whether or not they are locked. Only Apple sells new unlocked iPhones. Tracfone has some good deals on iPhones see, Tracfone Deals and Promotions for May 2019. Tracfone sells locked iPhones. The iPhone 7 is a good choice it will get upfdates for a number of years. Tracfone has told you to replace your LG because it uses Tracfone’s Verizon towers, and Verizon is making changes to their network which will make older phones no longer work. Android phones get updates from the wireless carrier, not the phone maker.

      You’ll need to decide if you want another LG/android phone or switch to iPhone. See Tracfone Latest Deals to see the best tracfone deals on the iPhone and other phones too.

  12. Jack Kramer | |

    I got a new IPhone. Trying to get it set up. How do I find out how many minutes,I have left on my TracPhone?

  13. Cami | |

    Hey! Thanks for publishing this article. it was really helpful! I have two questions:

    1.) Is there a way to imessage on my iphone 6 with my tracfone SIM card? You mentioned the data was unusable.

    2.) If there is no way to use my data on my iphone with tracfone SIM, I may consider using a different carrier. Who would be my best option? I want something that is like tracfone: no contracts, no family plans, etc. as I am the only one in my family using an iphone. They all have tracfones and we do not have in-home wifi.

    Thank you for your time!!!


    • Bob Thompson | |

      Your iPhone will work with cellular data and iMessage with Tracfone service. I briefly re-read the article and I don’t see when I said the data was unusable. If you point out where you saw that I edit the article to make sure it’s clear and accurate.

      Tracfone includes minutes, texts, MB of data, and service days. If your data needs are modest, you can pay $10 per GB of data and your data remains active until used as long as you have service days. If you need unlimited talk and text or plan to use a lot of data. Consider Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, or Total Wireless. There are a numerous articles and videos on the web site and my youtube channel describing the details.

      • Cami | |

        Yep… My bad! It must have been a different article that I read that said that; I’m sorry. Which poses another issue, because my data doesn’t work, and I’m not sure why. I turn it on but when I try to refresh something it tells me there’s no internet access. My calls and texts work perfectly.

        Thanks for the advice; I’ll check them out!

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Are you using Tracfone with and iPhone 6? What happens when you try to use data? If its not working, it can be fixed.

          • Cami | |

            Yeah- Tracfone, iPhone 6. I turn it on, and the signal bar is green, it says LTE with 2-3 bars in the upper left. Then when I open an app (say Instagram) to refresh my feed, the red banner appears across the top saying there is no internet access. Or when I attempt to use iMessage, it says “iMessage unavailable. Turn on cellular data or use Wifi to set up iMessage.” I have used iMessage before, just only when I was on Wifi.

            One thing that may be contributing to this and will make me look really stupid if this is the reason and I couldn’t figure it out haha: I do not have my personal hotspot set up. Under Settings, Cellular, I can turn my data on, but the Personal Hotspot option remains unaccusable with a loading circle. Sometimes it will turn blue, but as soon as I go to tap on it, it goes back to loading.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            first, using cellular data to connect the the internet with apps on your phone is not the same as hotspot. They are two different things. Hotspot lets you connect your laptop, tablet, or other wifi device to the internet using your phone’s cellular data connection. If your cellular data doesn’t work, hot spot isn’t going to work.

            1. Make sure your account has data. See Checking My Tracfone Account Balance. Install the tracfone app.
            2. Ask Tracfone which towers your phone is using, AT&T or Verizon. If you don’t know ask Tracfone via their online chat. Just say “hi, my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX, can you tell me which towers my phone uses?” see
            If you can tell me the answers to these two questions I can tell you the next step.

          • kailey | |

            is there a way you can contact me with help I hav put a 6s on TracFone I switched it from straighttalk it is making calls and receiving messages however I cnnot send messages or use any data whatsoever. my lte doesn’t show up top and ive been on the phone with customer service for 3 days to no avail

          • Bob Thompson | |

            How did you switch it? Did you buy a tracfone BYOP kit? which sim did you use? ATT, T-Mobile or Verizon?

  14. Stef | |

    Hi Bob,
    I want to bring an iPhone 6 to Tracfone. I’m currently using H20 Wireless and they do not support texting pictures from an iPhone to an Android phone (texts work fine). Do you know if there are any issues with this at Tracfone? I called them and the agent said I have to turn off iMessage to make it work. Then how could I text? He was reading from a script half the time and kept switching it to Android to iPhone texting so I am not confident in his solution. Thanks for any help you can give!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      It was a problem with many prepaid wireless carriers and the iPhone for a long time. The problem is you couldn’t directly set the APN information needed for picture messages and group texts to work. (MMS). The issue has been resolved for the tracfone brands (tracfone, straight talk, net0, total wireless, simple mobile..)

      It should work. I have an iPhone with Tracfone’s AT&T SIM and use both iMessage and picture messages to android without issue. I actually started this website, because of that issue.(I had a fix for it for Straight Talk…) I don’t here from people having that problem anymore.

      H20 still has this problem, so I don’t recommend it for iPhone users. What are you paying for H20? Do you need unlimited calling? How much data do you need?

  15. Suzanne Stalker | |

    I’m an existing customer with tracfone for 10 years and have a LG Optimus Dynamic II phone. I normally purchase 365 days with 400 minutes, etc and with a bonus triple coupon for 1200 minutes for $99.00. Can you please clarify In your Existing Customer Section you mentioned that if I transfer service to a New Phone I may not be eligible for 365 days/triple minutes. Does that mean I can no longer get my cheap service of $99.00 or $125.00?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      For years, Tracfone sold phones and Bring Your Own SIM kits thar offered 3X minutes for life. Now if you buy and iPhone from Tracfone or the current BYOP SIM kit those devices do not include 3x minutes. When you transfer your service to the new tracfone iPhone or BYOP iPhone you may lose the option for 3x minutes. All of the tracfone accounts I personally have transfered to iPhone have 3x minutes because I switched them before this change. So you you your iPhone would definitely qualify for the smartphone only plans, but maybe not 3x minutes on the pay as you go plans. See, I compared the plan prices a while ago here Tracfone Plans and Refills for Smartphones and here More About Tracfone Plans & Refills for Smartphones. Take look at the plans and tell me if you think about the smartphone only plans.

      Some people report that they still have 3x minutes after transferring their service, but I can’t confirm anecdotal reports especially if I don’t know they just recently transferred their service.

      Also recently all my BYOP iphone accounts lost the option to add 365 service days for $50. Tracfone Discontinued $50 One Year Service Days Add On. Some readers readers with iPhones they bought from Tracfone report they still have the option.

      If losing either 3x minutes or the 365 service day options, you could always “load up” before transferring your service. hope this helps.

  16. Kristie | |

    Can I use the sim from my iPhone 6plus for new unlocked iPhone X?

  17. Ade | |

    My daughter upgraded her AT&T iphone. I am a TracFone Customer and want to use her iphone7plus but heard that data can’t be added to it. Is this true?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You can transfer your current number and remaining tracfone service balance to that iPhone 7 Plus using a BYOP SIM kit. Going forward, you’ll need to purchase their smartphone plans. All those plans include data. You can also by 1 GB data add-ons for $10.

  18. Lauren | |

    I bought my Samsung TracFone from HSN and it has 3X the minutes for life. I’m planning on buying a iPhone 6 that is unlocked but before I do, I would like to know, if I move my plan to the iPhone will I still have my 3X the minutes for life plan?

  19. Rhonda Olds | |

    I have a 4s I phone iMessage #99 000185 422538 0. When I check to see if I can bring it to trac phone it says it is not compatible. I used this phone on Verizon and it has not been unlocked. I there a way to use this phone?

  20. Rixanne | |

    Hello, I need help. I bought a refurbished unlocked iPhone 6s (verizon) to use with my current Tracfone account. I checked the IMEA with Tracfone and it passed. I transferred the phone number successfully and the phone works. The problem is that I don’t get good reception at home, so I wanted wi-fi calling. Tech support says it is possible, but I can’t find the command in Settings to enable it. Under Phone (iOS 11,4,1) I look for Enable Wi-Fi Calling” and it isn’t there. How can I turn it on??
    I called tech support several times. the first guy said that I needed a T-mobile used phone that would take a micro-sized SIM to use wi-fi calling. Have you heard of that?
    I called back again the next day to confirm that before I buy a new phone, but the second techie said that the size of the SIM did not matter, but it had to be a T-mobile or ATT phone. Is that correct? Even if the T-mobile phone uses a nano-sized card?
    As you can tell, I’m very confused and still don’t have wi-fi calling.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      support for Wi-Fi calling on the different tracfone brands is spotty. Officially, they claim you need to be on their t-mobile network with a T-Mobile phone. They don’t list the phone models that support Wi-Fi calling. I have not been able to get Wi-Fi calling to work on any of the Tracfone brands when using the Verizon towers(Straight Talk, Tracfone, Total Wireless, etc). Recently I was able to use Wi-Fi calling with the ATT towers on Straight Talk but it doesn’t seem to work for Tracfone’s ATT towers.

      Your iPhone 6s is fully compatible with T-Mobile (even though it isn’t a t-mobile phone). You can get a Tracfone T-mobile nano SIM and transfer your number to it. You may find that wi-fi calling then works. You may need to enable it both on your phone and with tracfone Keep in mind if you do this your phone service will use the t-mobile network rather than the verizon one. I have no idea which towers are better in your area.
      You can pick up a SIM kit in best buy or target for a dollar or order a sim online. You just need to activate the SIM by transfering your service to it online. its easy. I haven’t tried a tracfone t-mobile sim in my iPhone myself so I don’t know that wi-fi calling will work. You could activate the SIM on a new number with the cheapest possible plan to check if it works.

      Some readers have reported that a phone on tracfone’s Verizon network can use a verizon signal booster like this

      If you are willing to switch wireless carriers, I reviewed Simple Mobile (also a tracfone brand) it uses the t-mobile network. It supports wi-fi calling and is a pretty good deal at 20 per month see Check out my youtube channel to see my videos about it.

  21. Anna | |

    Hello I was wondering if a refurbished unlocked iPhone 7 would work with TracFone, Thank You!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      With the Tracfone’s AT&T or Tracfone T-Mobile network yes. To use Tracfone’s Verizon network, it needs to be a Model A1660 and you still have to check the phone’s serial number to make sure it is eligible.

  22. Justine | |

    hi bob!! so i have an iphone 5s with tracfone and i’m using the at&t sim card. and i was wondering if i got a iphone 6 and it was at&t refurbished if i could just transfer the card to it? how would that work? and also if i got an iphone 6 and it was at&t refurbished would it work with the tracfone byop program? thank you!(:

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes it will. You remove the SIM card from the iPhone 5s and put it in the iPhone 6 and the tracfone service will work. You still have to backup the iPhone 5s and restore it to the iPhone 6 using iTunes or iCloud to transfer all your stuff, but that doesn’t have anything to do with tracfone.

      Personally, I wound not choose the iPhone 6 in 2018. I’d consider either the iPhone SE or the iPhone 6s. Both are way better phones, way better. You can get a new iPhone SE from tracfone for at least $150 less than the MSRP from Apple. Also, realize that if that used iPhone 6 did not have a new battery installed the phone may be running way slower than it did new. If you go with the iPhone 6 take a look at Apple’s $29 battery replacement program. Its a killer deal.

      The iPhone 6 isn’t a bad phone, it just that it is a few years old and specs for the camera, processor, and memory in the SE and 6s are a significant improvement.

      • Justine | |

        ok thank you so much!! sorry about asking so many times

        • Bob Thompson | |

          It’s ok. Believe it not sometimes I get two people with the same first name asking questions at the same time and I get confused.

      • Justine | |

        one last thing, a GSM unlocked phone would work as well, right?

        • Bob Thompson | |

          An unlocked phone is always a better option. An ATT locked phone will work with Tracfone’s ATT network, but not their other ones.

          • Justine | |

            ok, thank you so much for your help!(:

  23. Elizabeth Ciske | |

    I hope its okay to ask my questions here as I am still a bit confused, you may not remember me but you helped me transfer my husbands old Tracfone triple min android to an old iPhone 4s A1387 3G I helped me with an email address back then and even helped me draft the email to get it all sorted out, I didn’t need any sim in that one at all and still have an unopened second tracfone smartphone sim kit (if its still accepted to use) that is still the triple min one…well our neighbor gave us her iphone 6 that she just couldn’t get used to as shes 88 and got an android instead, both are thru straight talk and her service will end the 14th. for the iPhone. I am confused to which sim I would use.
    I say its the CDMA LTE NANO SIM but could be wrong as always, lol…if you have a chance to let me know which nano one it would be I would be so appreciative once husband has like 6000 min, text and data on the old iPhone…(I was the one who bought the iPhone SE that I was going to go tracfone but my sister put me on her plan, hubs could be too but does not want to loose all those min)
    any info would truly be appreciated!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Yes I do remember. The old SIM kit should still be fine. That kit should have both ATT and VERIZON (CDMA LTE) SIMs. First you need to decide if you want to use the ATT SIM or the Verizon one. The ATT SIM will work in that iPhone 6. The Verizon one might work. You need to check phone’s serial number on So, do you have a preference for the ATT or Verizon network, does one work better than the other? Oh. and do you know does your husband get visual voicemail on his iPhone?

  24. Paul Volker | |

    I would like to purchase a certified, refurbished iphone 6, 64GB, Unlocked GSM model from Gazelle. I currently use an iphone 5 with Tracfone service and have been very happy. But the phone is having some issues and I want to move to the iphone 6. When I check the network compatibility chart on Gazelle’s website it says Tracfone is not supported. I contacted Tracfone directly and they told me the unlocked GSM iphone 6 will indeed work on Tracfone as long as it is using bands 850 – 1900 Mhz. According to iphone 6 spec sheets all GSM iphones work within 850 – 1900 Mhz, so I’m assuming it will work. I’ve researched for hours but can’t definitively find an answer. Gazelle says “no”, and Tracfone says “yes”. Can you provide any guidance on whether it is safe to order the iphone 6, unlocked GSM from Gazelle and use it on Tracfone? Thanks!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I haven’t tried it myself, but those iPhone 6 should work with Tracfone’s ATT network. You won’t know if it will work with Tracfone’s Verizon network unless you check the the MEID or Serial number of that specific phone on I’d say Gazelle is just being conservative, saying the phone will only work with AT&T. It’s definitely compatible and even if the iPhone 6 came from ATT and was locked it would still work with Tracfone’s ATT network.

      That said, I wouldn’t buy an iPhone 6 myself. You’d be so much better off getting an iPhone 6s. Or consider getting a new iPhone SE directly from Tracfone. See Tracfone Is Selling the Apple iPhone SE for $159. The SE is currently $199 but if you bundle it with a plan and use the code TRACEFONE15 you’ll save 15%. With a $15 plan the phone goes from $199 to $184. The iPhone SE has the iPhone 5S body but many of the internals match the iPhone 6s.

  25. Arlene Nelson | |

    I have a Canadian Iphone 5s. For several years when in the US, I have used Tracfone. Last year the tracfone battery started leaking and I was told to throw the whole telephone away, therefore I am in need of a replacement phone. Instead of buying another phone, I had my iPhone 5s unlocked so I could buy a SIM card from tracfone and use this in my iphone 5s. On the iPhone box it states that it is compatible with GSM, UMTS, and LTE cellular technologies. Do you know whether or not this will work?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The phone is compatible with the US networks. It does need to be unlocked though. Try borrowing an AT&T or Verizon SIM from a friend and try it in your iPhone and if it works the phone is unlocked. you can also check with your Canadian carrier and ask them to unlock it. Tracfone uses either the AT&T or Verizon network, ask people you know in the US which network works better.

      If you spend more than 50% of time in the US you can find some prepaid services that work in both countries too.

  26. Vivian Zollman | |

    Will an iPhone SE work with Tracfone

  27. Steve | |

    Hi smartphone matters. This atricle and accompanying youtube video, got me using tracfone for my needs exclusively once my phones are paid for. Thanks for this very informative piece of information.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for the comments and I am glad my articles and videos have helped you out. Keep an eye out for more reviews and updates for 2018.

  28. Tyson Racicot | |

    Does it work with the Iphone X???????

  29. Keith Gatling | |

    Hmm…I’m getting the impression that all the problems I’ve had switching Tracfone service from one iPhone to another has to do with the fact that we’re using Verizon phones/SIMs, and that it would be much more straightforward if we used AT&T phones and SIMs.

    The only reason we have Verizon models in the first place is because that’s what my sister originally gave me when she gave me her old phone. But if there’s no reason to continue with Verizon models from here on in, when it comes my turn to buy a new iPhone, I’ll go straight for AT&T. Does this make sense?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes. that is sometimes as issue, but I’d say I hear about less problems lately. Some phones are compatible with either network and can be switched. What model phones do you have?

      • Keith Gatling | |

        First case, back in September, which was ultimately solved: going from a 5 to an SE.

        Second case, ongoing (in fact, I’m about to call Tracfone back now): going from a 5s to an SE.

        Sometime in the spring, I’ll be upgrading from my 5s to an SE, and want to avoid this problem.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          If you are having problems using an iPhone SE with Tracfone’s Verizon network you can switch the phones to their AT&T network. You’ll need some new nano SIM cards. In the past, the data on tracfone’s Verizon network had a max download speed of 5Mbps, but not any longer. Keep in mind that you may have visual voice mail with tracfone’s verizon network but won’t get it with their att network.

          • Keith Gatling | |

            Thanks. The problem was finally fixed. I can’t wait to go through this again, when it’s my turn to get a new phone.

  30. John McElroy, Jr. | |

    I can confirm that an iPhone 8 Plus works on the Tracfone network. I purchased a new “unlocked” iPhone 8 Plus from the Apple store on September 26, 2017 (i.e., Model A1864 (GSM phone)). I then purchased Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Smartphone Sim Kit from Target ($1). I inserted the AT&T Nano SIM card from that kit into my iPhone and then transferred my existing Tracfone flip-phone cell phone account to my iPhone 8 Plus via Tracfone’s “Activate your Phone” (I’m Bringing My Own Smartphone) web page. I entered my SIM card number and answered a few questions and that was it. My Tracfone account was transferred to my iPhone within one day. My iPhone 8 Plus is working perfectly with no problem. All of my minutes were transferred, but I did have to purchase data ($10 per 1 GB) and text ($5 per 1,000 text messages). The data and text were purchased on the Tracfone website and were added immediately to my iPhone.

    • John McElroy, Jr. | |

      My “days of service” were transferred as well.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      thank you for sharing this with everyone. The comments and replies here help out others that read these articles!

  31. tim | |

    Lots of great advice here. Just wondered if you knew for sure if “days of service” also get transferred from an existing Tracfone, non-smartphone to a BYOP smartphone, along minutes and texts…? (I realize I would have to purchase separate data for the new phone.) Thanks.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes it will. It did for the few I transfered for people. The only thing I am not currently sure is what refill options they will offer for your new phone. Not sure you will have triple minute plans available. possible just the same plans they offer the same plans you see when you add it the phone into the cart.

      • tim | |

        thanks, Bob.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          You are welcome. Let me know how it goes.

  32. Lori | |

    Can an iPhone 7 Plus be used with tracphone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes you should be able to use your iPhone 7 Plus.. it can take a look at the links to the articles and videos on the page you commented on. Let me know if you have any questions afterwards.

  33. Nakeyo Burke | |

    Can I switch a tracfone iPhone 6 over to my T-Mobile account

    • Bob Thompson | |

      If you have the phone try the sim and see if it works. If you are looking to buy the phone and there is a good chance it’s SIM or activation locked.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I assumed you tried logging in to iCloud then… If the phone is from someone else it may be looking for their id and password if it wasn’t removed from their account. you’ll need to check that. You can also request tracfone unlock the phone if it was used for 12 months on their network. Are you sure the phone is from tracfone and not straight talk (also a tracfone company)

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I took a look at your screenshot. I am not familiar with but it looks as if it is saying your phone is locked. I don’t cover 3rd party unlocking services, jail breaking, or rooting phones on I do get several questions a week about buying inexpensive iPhones from Straight Talk/Net10/Tracfone to use with other services. Many of these readers report that the phones are activation locked and they are unable to use them with another service. Recently these carriers have been offering attractive prices on the iPhone 5s, SE, and iPhone 6 to lure it new customers so more people are asking about this.
      I don’t recommend buying the phones for that use. Sometimes it is possible to buy a phone from one of these carriers and use it with another but I have found that is usually when you have paid full price for the phone. And you never can be certain it will work until you try it.

      If the phone you have was used on Tracfone for 12 months you may be able to get tracfone to unlock it for free.

  34. Leah Twirler | |

    Will I be able to transfer a tracfone account and number with the same SIM card to a used AT&T iPhone 4?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      If you have a tracfone micro SIM card that uses the AT&T network put it in the iPhone 4 and if it works you are all set. If the SIM is from a basic phone and doesn’t work or isn’t a microSIM you’ll need to transfer the service to a new SIM card which you can buy in target or bestbuy for $1. If you are planning on buying this iPhone 4 I’d consider the cost vs a newer model. The iPhone 4 doesn’t support LTE and Apple doesn’t provide software updates anymore.

      • Leah Twirler | |

        Thanks for the advice! The 4 is just temporary until the new iPhone releases in September

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Ok. wanted to make sure someone wasn’t trying to sell you an iPhone 4.

  35. D Lauer | |

    How can I text on my iPhone 4s using tracfone plan

  36. Rhonda Shaikoski | |

    Hi, I stumbled upon this discussion looking for an answer to a similar question, so wondering if you might have an answer to help us out. First, even though we live in no-where-land, Iowa, we always had good cell reception with tracfone and we’ve had assorted tracfones for over 15 years. UNTIL we decided to upgrade our android phones (LG and Huaweii) to iPhone 5s we bought through the tracfone website. We know we were on the Verizon system with the androids, but now, apparently, are on the AT&T system due to the iPhones. So, we have “NO SERVICE” continually displayed on our phones when at home, even though both tracfone and AT&T claim to have good coverage here. We have talked and talked to tracfone, done all their resets on the phones, etc, but, of course, since customer service is iffy with them, have had no resolution to the problem. So, down to the question… there a way to change the iPhone 5s’s we bought through tracfone to the Verizon (CDMA) system and get them off the AT&T (GSM) system? Even though customer service stinks and we’re having this issue, we prefer to stay with tracfone, as we don’t use the phones enough to warrant the $40 – $50 per month per phone to switch to a Verizon or US Cellular prepaid. Thanks for any help/advice you can give us!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Rhonda,
      The only option I can think of is to check the serial number(MEID) of your phone with tracfone wireless to see if you can activate the phones as BYOP on their ?Verizon network. Look at the latest video on my youtube channel about the G5 to see what I am talking about. If it says your phones are eligible, transfer your service from the AT&T SIM to a tracfone Verizon SIM card. Its possible the phones might be eligible. Check and let me know. If not, consider selling the phones on eBay and replacing the phones. I always recommend that you check with tracfone support to find out which network there phones use before buying if you live in an area where you don’t have service on either ATT or Verizon. Sometimes this happens the other way too. People buy a phone from Tracfone that uses Verizon towers and later find out that really wanted a phone for the tracfone ATT network.

      If you’d like to upgrade from tracfone, consider Total Wireless. It is owned by Tracfone, uses the Verizon network. You can get an amazing deal in the iPhone SE. You can get unlimited talk and thext for $25 per month and add data as needed. Or a shared family plan 2 lines for $60 see my video I don’t know how much you are spending on tracfone per year so Total Wireless may be too much.

      • Rhonda Shaikoski | |

        Hi & thank you for the information. Nothing worked, but it was worth a shot. At one point, even Apple tried to help us make a switch! Tracfone will not refund the phones even though they are the ones that said they would work, but now say ‘of course they won’t work-you have no AT&T coverage in your area.’ We’d change to someone else if we could afford it, but that’s not an option right now.

        What do I need to look for specifically to know whether the next phones we get will be on Verizon towers/CDMA? There are some iPhone 5s on that say ‘unlocked’ and have no apparent tie to any cell provider, but want to make sure we don’t mess up again.

        Thank you for your help!

        • Bob Thompson | |

          You checked the MEIDs of your phones? Can you email them to me so I can check? bob at the name of my website.

  37. Debbie | |

    Can I do just a contract for a iphone 6 but as a trac phone without setting up service through a company. Then just make monthly payments on the phones?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Debbie,
      Are you saying you want to buy an iPhone 6 on lease or a payment plan? And that you don’t want to do it though a company that requires you sign up through a cellular service plan?

  38. marcia shiffler | |

    I GOT A SMART PHONE FROM SAFE LINK AND I KEEP HAVING TROUBLE WITH IT ,IT KEEPS SAYING CELLULAR NETWORK NOT AVAILABLE. WHAT CAN I DO TO GET IT WORKING? safe link says its activated but i got a letter to activate it or they will cancel me. please help.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      if the SIM card in the phone?

      • marcia shiffler | |


      • marcia shiffler | |


        • Bob Thompson | |

          I’ve never used safelink myself. Where there activation instructions in the box? Do you see signal bars in the top of the phone?

          • marcia shiffler | |


          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hmm. Is it possible that T-Mobile doesn’t have service in your area? Safelink uses the T-Mobile network? You many need to talk to their support team. I know they told you it was active.. ask them to call you on your safelink number then…

    • Bob Thompson | |

      does anything work? calls? text messages?

  39. Tony Barberi | |


    Why is the iPhone 6 the latest model that can be transferred to the TracFone service? I’m currently using the tracphone service without a smartphone. I would like to purchase a new iPhone, possibly the iPhone 8 when available, and transfer my existing TracFone service to the new iPhone. So, guess I need to understand what the reason is that newer iPhones cannot be transferred to the TracFone service. Is it conceivable that this will eventually be possible? Please advise. Thank you.


    • Bob Thompson | |

      Ah.. ok. now I understand your question. This article was before the iPhone 7 and SE, but I didn’t mention the iPhone SE. While I generally update articles on from time to time, I usually don’t update reader responses. Good news for you is the iPhone 6s / 6s Plus, iPhone SE, and iPhone 7 / 7 Plus work too.

    • Tony | |

      Thank you for this encouraging response. I’m a senior and using the TracFone service for years without a smartphone has resulted in several thousand minutes accumulated. I’ve read that minutes auto xfr to data usage so I’m assuming that if I use smartphone fearures mostly on wifi, the banked minutes should allow for a seamless transition with no change to my annual subscription renewals. Also, I live in the 95051 zip code area and curious if the network used by TracFone is suitable for smartphone services. Also, any advice as to how/where and which iPhone 7plus to purchase. Thank you again for your assistance.

      • Bob Thompson | |

        If you have a balance of unused minutes they will transfer to a smartphone but I am not sure they will can be used for data. The used count a text message or MB of data as a minute or a fraction of a minutes. These days the plans come with separate minutes, texts, and MB of data. Regardless, you can add data to your account for $10 per GB and it doesn’t expire so long as your phone is active. Its relatively cheap to add data. Also did you know that when you buy a refill online, you can add 365 service days for $49. in the future you can buy the least expensive refill and add a year of service days.
        I think I’ll do a longer video response to your question in the next couple of days. as a lot of people might be interested. For now, check out SIM-free iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Available For Order and Unboxing My New iPhone 7 Plus. The apple store is the best place to buy the a new iPhone 7 Plus from. You may also want to consider waiting until September as supposedly there may be big changes to the iPhone.
        I’ll reply again after I have posted my video response.

  40. Rubs skie | |

    Can I use new at&t locked iphone6/6s with tracfone BYOP? I have an existing tracfone phone and number with them and I have plenty of minutes/data/text with it.
    Can I transfer all of my minutes with the new one?How? I wanna retain my number, is that possible? Or do I need to buy a sim card?
    I hope you have time to answer my questions. Thank you

    • Bob Thompson | |

      A locked AT&T iPhone 6 or 6s will work with Tracfone’s AT&T network. If you current phone has a nano SIM, you should be able to move it to the iPhone. If not, the sim will be too big or too small to fit and you’ll need to transfer your service to a new SIM. Your number and balance will transfer. I did this for someone back in Jan 2017 with no problems.

      • Rubs skie | |

        Thank you so much for the response. I didn’t buy the phone yet coz I wasn’t sure but that would be the next step
        Thank you again…

  41. Chris | |

    I have a Verizon iPhone 6 currently without service. I went to the Tracfone site, gave it my IEMI and it verified. So far so good – they are sending me a SIM. Can I do a reset on my iPhone before activating the new SIM? What about if I later decide I want to reset the phone. Will it be “good” and active afterwards?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Resetting your phone will have no impact on whether or not it compatible with Tracfone. If you want to reset the phone, go ahead.

      • Chris | |

        Thanks Bob.
        I think what I am concerned about is the what-if it doesn’t work maybe. Currently the phone has value to me as an Internet device for instance, using it for a quick look at my security system through an app. Once I reset the phone, it will no longer function until it is again activated. That is what makes me nervous.
        Currently I am thinking I’ll leave it as-is. Get it activated with Tracfone and make sure all is good. Then reset it. After resetting the phone, how hard is it to reactivate?

        • Bob Thompson | |

          You can do that but it shouldn’t be a problem. You should be able to activate the phone with ANY sim. Even an inactive one. The phone isn’t on contract and its unlocked so it should be ok. If for some reason you have a problem, just borrow and active Verizon SIM from someone.

  42. Geoffrey | |

    Can You use an Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G with Tracfone’s BYOP program?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Not as a phone. The data should work. If you have an AT&T phone sim try it in your iPad if it works the tracfone ATT sim should work too. You’d have to do the math to see if cost wise it would work out to be a worth while deal. You could buy 1GB of data for $10 that will continue to carry over while the account is active. But, you’d need to add minutes to the account to keep in active.

  43. Bob Wills | |

    I have an iPhone 5 from Bell Canada, and would like to use it for my tracphone account which I already have. Can this be done keeping my tracphone number? I want to use it while in Florida for three months.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      To use that iPhone with tracfone it needs to be unlocked. I am not sure if it shipped locked. It looks like Bell charges a $50 fee to unlock the phone if it is eligible. You can check if the phone is locked by borrowing an AT&T or T-Mobile nano SIM from someone. Put it in your phone and if you can make a call its unlocked. If you can make a call, you then should be able to transfer your service to a tracfone sim and keep your number and remaining service balance. You’ll have to decide if you want to use tracfone’s AT&T or Verizon network. If the phone is unlocked the AT&T SIM should work. If you want to use the Verizon SIM you’ll need to check the MEID of the phone with tracfone to see if it is eligible.

      I am not sure if Bell Canada used the GSM or CDMA iPhone 5. Whats the model number?

  44. Janae | |

    Does this work with the iPhone 7?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Yes you can use the iPhone 7 with tracfone. If your buying a new phone, the best option is the SIM-Free option from the Apple Store. It’s compatible with the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks that Tracfone uses. If you want to use Tracfone’s Verizon network, you’ll still need to check the MEID (serial number) of the phone to make sure your can use the phone. The SIM free model should be ok.

  45. TCBeahes | |

    Waiting on some foreigner on the other side of he plantet to provide an indecipherable answer to my simple problem .

  46. TCBeahes | |

    Are you going to answer my question or send me to you raise of faq’s that have nothing to do with my problem?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      TCBeahes, is a privately owned website. I write about prepaid wireless with a focus on BYOP plans. I don’t work for tracfone nor can I fix your problem. My best suggestion for you would be to send a clearly written email to tracfone support at Tell them what the problem is. Ask them why your phone stopped working if you haven’t used up all your minutes or they haven’t expired. Include relevant details. Like your account / phone number, when you added the minutes, and the service pin used if you had one. It’s best to omit the types of comments you left here about things like off-shore support or FAQs that did not help you as that won’t aid in resolving your issue.

  47. TCBeahes | |

    I bought this tracphone a fe w yours ago

    Irecently added 450 minutes. It no longer works. I cannot make a call or send a text. Can yo guys fist they?

    I just bought sigh phone a couple of years ago added 450 minutes it no longer makes a cll or sends a texas. How about fixing this for e?

  48. Gary Baker | |

    Thanks for your helpful information! I’ve got an available Verizon iPhone6s. My wife is currently using a GalaxyS3 on Tracfone BYOP. I’d like her to switch to the iPhone. I’ve already tested the IMEID at Tracfone and it is compatible.
    1) Can I just move the sim from the Galaxy to the iPhone? (other than the size difference)
    2) Size: GalaxyS3 is micro-sim and iPhone6s is nano-sim. I’ve seen articles that show how to cut down a micro-sim to nano-sim size easily. I’m okay doing that, but should I just order a new sim? Is the process of getting/activating a new sim for an existing BYOP a hassle?
    3) Are you sure that newer Verizon iPhones are “unlocked” or do I have to get Verizon to it unlocked first?


    • Bob Thompson | |

      3. All Verizon iPhone models are unlocked, starting with the iPhone 5.
      1-2. While it’s possible to cut a SIM, I no longer recommend it. Order a new SIM online or check Best Buy or Target for a Tracfone $1 sim kit. You really dont want to move the SIM.

      FYI – tracfone offers service on either the AT&T network or the Verizon network. You did not mention which network the S3 is currently using. You can use either their AT&T or Verizon network with that iPhone 6s. You’ll need the current nano SIM for the network you want to use. And, if you want to use the verizon network, that is when you need to enter the MEID / IMEI of the phone into their website. Pick the network that works best in your area. Data service on their Verizon network is at speeds up to 5Mbps. Their AT&T network does not have that restriction.

      • Gary Baker | |

        Thanks for the reply!
        The Galaxy-S3 is on Verizon as well. She is not a big data user so that restriction is not a big deal. Thanks for pointing it out.
        So you feel that getting a new sim is not much of a hassle? After obtaining, would I then just go on the website with the new sim and transfer to the new phone? Would I be forced to add more time to the plan at the same time? I’ve got alot of time/data left on her current plan. Was hoping to avoid that.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Gary,
          Your wife’s phone number and remaining balance are transferred to the new SIM.

          I wrote an article about doing this for another tracfone brand, straight talk. The process should be pretty similar. If by chance something doesn’t go smoothly you can email tracfone support and they can straighten it out.

          Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM

          I also did this for tracfone a few years ago Using an iPhone for $7 a Month – Part 2. That video is a little outdated now.

          If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

          • Gary Baker | |

            Bob, sorry for the late reply, but the iPhone6s was a Christmas present so I had to wait to activate. I purchased the $1 Best Buy LTE Sim kit and used the nano-sim from that. Anyway, process could not have been simpler. I went to and was able walk through the questions:
            new Sim card number
            new phone IMEI and CCID
            Number I wanted to move to new phone
            Old device IMEI
            Then the transfer took only 5 minutes. When the old phone stopped working, I put the new SIM in the iPhone and went through the setup process on the phone. Everything worked great and the carrier info at the top line of the phone says “TFW” 🙂
            Thanks again for the help!

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Gary,
            Great news. I am glad to hear the transfer went smoothly and made the 6s a great Chistmas gift. Five minute transfer time too! Thanks for taking the time to share an update. The comments on are a great resource for others.

            Happy New Year!!!

  49. Crystal Day | |

    My daughters both got hand me down Verizon iPhone 5s phones. They transferred their text, data, and minutes to their “new” used phones. Despite getting the OK from Tracfone before hand, their phones will not access the internet using their data and get error messages when they try. They only work via wifi. Apparently there is a glitch in the matrix. Tracfone has no idea how to make either phone work with their service plan data.

  50. Marilyn Lopez | |

    I’m a Verizon customer but thinking of using my IPhone 5s as a tracphone. I want to see about triple minutes for life. Will I be able to do this?
    Thank you

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Marilyn
      For BYOP smartphone plans, tracfone seems moving away from the double and triple minute plans. And, I think this might be a good thing because after a while it gets a little confusing to figure out how many minutes you are getting for your money. we could talk more about this, but I’d start off by asking how many minutes do you use a month? how many text messages to you send, and how much data do you need? Once you know this it becomes easier to pick a prepaid wireless plan that meets your needs.

      Take a look at the rates on this page
      expand all the options, and try to compare the prices for the one year and pay as you go plans to the smartphone plans. Now in some cases the One Year and Pay As You Go plans double or triple but the smartphone plans don’t.

      gets confusing quickly doesn’t it.

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