One of the most commonly asked questions here is: “Can I use Apple’s SIM-Free Unlocked iPhone with Straight Talk prepaid wireless service?”
Yes. You can, but here are the things you need to know.
You can buy an iPhone directly from Apple without signing up for a cellular plan with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint. When go to buy an iPhone from Apple, you’ll see the option “SIM-free – activate with any carrier later.” When you choose this option, you can buy that iPhone model that will work with any of the four major carriers in the USA, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint. This phone will not include a SIM card. You’ll need to purchase that SIM yourself from the wireless carrier you want to use.
You can buy a SIM directly from Straight Talk for $1. Straight Talk sells three different SIM cards, a Verizon-compatible, AT&T-compatible, or T-Mobile compatible SIM card.
Choose the SIM card for the network you would like to use. I recommend you pick the network that has the best coverage where you want to use your iPhone.
Note, if you choose the AT&T-compatible or T-Mobile-compatible SIM, you host need to activate the SIM from straighttalk.com, insert it in your iPhone, and you are good to go.
If you want to use the Verizon-compatible SIM card, there is one more additional step. You need to check the iPhone’s serial number with Straight Talk to make sure that your specific iPhone is “compatible” with Straight Talk.
You can check your iPhone’s MEID / iMEI here.
If the iPhone is compatible you’ll be able to activate it, if not you won’t be able to activate it.
For iPhones, to find your Primary IMEI Go to Settings > General > About. (For Android phones, dial *#06# on your phone)
In the rare case, that Straight Talk says your iPhone is not compatible, you can contact customer service and have them double check the MEiD / IMEI again. If they still say the phone is not compatible, you can return the iPhone to Apple within 14 days of purchase for a refund.
Note that this is very rare that Straight Talk says a brand new SIM-Free iPhone is not compatible. That iPhone is compatible with the Verizon network, its just that when they check the numbers with Verizon it comes back as “not eligible” for activation.
For all current iPhone models sold by Apple: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 11, iPhone Xr, and iPhone SE, Apple sells only one verision of the phone compatible with all four US networks. For many older model iPhones, Apple sometimes had two versions. One model was compatible with the AT&T and T-Mobile network, and the other was compatible with the AT&T, t-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint networks.