Using Tracfone Wireless with the New iPhone SE (2nd Gen 2020)

One of the most popular articles on smartphonematters.com is about using the iPhone with Tracfone. So many people have comments and questions about it.
In October, I bought the new iPhone SE from Tracfone with a $25 monthly plan for only $305 plus sales tax. A great deal. The deal for November is even better, $288. Just add the phone and plan to the cart, and apply promo code NOV25 to save 25% off the price of the phone. To find the latest Tracfone promo codes and deals, see Tracfone Latest Deals and Promo Codes

I posted a video to YouTube about it, you can check it out below. I realize that not everyone wants buy an iPhone from Tracfone, so I’m working on another video to show you how to sign up and Bring Your Own Phone, or BYOP.

So let me tell you about my sign up experience. Tracfone shipped my new iPhone using FedEx and I had it in a couple days. I was not required to sign for the package, and was a little surprised because they usually require a signature.

Inside the box was the iPhone SE with a SIM card taped to the back of the box. The SIM card was for Verizon’s towers. As far as I know, all the iPhones that Tracfone sells use their Verizon towers. If you need to know, ask customer service before ordering. The best way is over online chat. Give them your zip code, tell them the iPhone you are interested in, and ask if it uses the Verizon or AT&T towers in your area.

One surprise for me is that there was no $25 plan card in the box. Instead their was a piece of paper saying that if I bought a plan it would be applied when I activated the phone.

Activating the iPhone was a breeze. I even did it from the new iPhone SE itself. Once out of the box, I powered up and set up the iPhone. I did not need to put the SIM card in it. I connected the phone to my home Wi-Fi network and used Safari to visit tracfone.com. One their I followed the steps to activate my service. I requested a new phone number. I did not transfer in a number. I put the SIM card in the phone, restarted the iPhone and was ready to go.

Note that these iPhones are locked to Tracfone. You cannot use them with another cellular service. The phone operates normally without a SIM card in it. But if you put another SIM card in you’ll be asked to activate the phone again and it will not work. Tracfone has a unlocking policy. The claim is that if you have the phone active with service for 12 months they will unlock it. I guess I’ll find out next November for sure.Tracfone has an unlocking policy page.

Once I activated the iPhone I checked to make sure that I could make and receive calls. I was able to send and receive text and picture messages using SMS, MMS, as well as iMessage. SM S is they way phone companies exchange text messages. MMS is the way phone companies exchange both pictures and group text messages. This is the way that iPhones exchange messages with people using Samsung or other Android phones. If you see your messages in a green bubble, you are using SMS or MMS. The iPhone also can use your internet connection to exchange messages using Apple’s iMessage when you exchange messages with other iPhones, iPads, or other Apple Devices. These are the blue bubbles you see. iMessage works using your phone’s Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

I was also able to access the Internet using Safari with cellular data.

I also verified that Visual Voicemail worked too. but I did not get voice transitions.

Unfortunately was not able to get Wi-Fi calling nor Mobile Hotspot to work either. It does not appear these features are supported.

One of the things I was interested in finding out was which plans I could use with this iPhone. I activated it with a Tracfone $25 month plan with unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data. However, not everyone interested in using Tracfone wants to sign up for their monthly plans. From my Tracfone account, I checked what plans I could add to the phone from their tracfone.com or from the Tracfone my account app. I found that I had the choice of either the monthy plans or the classic 30, 60, 90, or 365 day smartphone plans. The basic phone plans were not listed. I also saw that the options for adding extra minutes, texts, and data were available. This phone also qualifies for the $50 365 service day add-on. That option is a favoritisms of mine. It appears they removed it from my BYOP iPhone but it’s still available if you buy your phone from Tracfone. Nice.

I’ll update this article over time, when I try out and find out more things about the phone. For now, check out my video below. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave a reply below the the video.

2 Comments

  1. PAUL | | Reply

    Can I buy a Iphone SE from Tracfone and transfer my current phone number, minutes and time remaining from my Tracfone Moto e5?. Do I still need to buy a one month plan when I purchase the Iphone SE?
    Thanks Paul

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Paul,
      You cannot buy the phone without buying the plan. Even if you could, you wouldn’t wouldn’t be able to use the promo code then. Regardless, you are getting the phone with the $25 plan for $288. That is $111 less than buying the iPhone from Apple directly.

      You can transfer your current number and service to the new iPhone. When the $25 plan is added, you should end up with 30 days of unlimited talk. When that expires, you should then return to you remaining balance of minutes. The data from the $25 plan should carry over until used. I haven’t tried that myself, a couple of my readers told me that part

      You could buy now or wait to see if there is a better deal for black friday, but in my experience the phone do go out of stock.

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