Using SIM Free – Activate Later iPhone with Prepaid Wireless Carriers

For customers that want to buy an iPhone directly from Apple to use with prepaid wireless service, choose the SIM Free – activate with any other carrier later option under Choose Your Carrier . This phone is unlocked and is compatible with the AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint networks in the United States. Party much all of the prepaid services in the United States use one of these four networks. At this time iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE (2nd Gen) are all available with the SIM-Free – Activate with any carrier later option

Some prepaid carriers offer SIM card for more than one of those networks so make sure you know which network your want to use.

For prepaid services that use the AT&T or T-Mobile towers, you usually will just need to activate the SIM card for your service and install in your new iPhone. If you already have a SIM (AT&T or T-Mobile towers only) you can move the SIM from your current phone to the new iPhone. That is provides your SIM fits in the iPhone. (The iPhone uses a nano SIM).

If your prepaid wireless service uses the Verizon or Sprint towers, you need to check your new iPhone’s serial number with your carrier first. The serial number is called the MEID or iMEI. Any new SIM-free iPhone purchased from Apple should be eligible for use. Check your carrier’s Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) section for details. You should be able to enter the MEID / IMEI there directly. If for some reason, the website says your SIM-Free iPhone is not eligible, contact their customer service department to have them verify this for you.

If your prepaid wireless carrier confirms that your iPhone isn’t eligible for use on their Verizon or Sprint towers, you can return the iPhone to Apple for full refund for 15 days after purchase.

Additional Details

  • Some prepaid wireless carriers maintain a list of phones that are eligible for use with BYOP plans, most do not. Metro by T-Mobile and Boost are two examples.
  • In my experience carriers that use the Sprint network are the most restrictive about which phones they allow to be activated on their networks.
  • You may find moving a Verizon SIM card from your current phone to your new iPhone works. but I don’t recommend it for long term use.