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How To Use an Old iPhone as an iPod, Camera & More



Here are the ways you can use an old iPhone as an iPod or Camera without paying for service.

The iPhone is a device that changes every generation and consumers are finding themselves often with extra phones after a few generations of upgrades. More often than not, these phones are sold on Craigslist or eBay — but that’s not always the case.

There are many uses for old iPhones and fortunately easy ways to repurpose them for your daily needs or to give to a kid or family member without paying for phone service.

How To Use an Old iPhone

Here is a guide on how to get your old iPhone activated again and use it for whatever you need.

Watch the video for steps on how to get an older iPhone working again and ready for use.

Activate with a SIM card and Restore

In order to use the iPhone you will need to activate it with a SIM card. This does not have to be a working SIM but one that is correctly fitted for the device both physically (mini SIM, micro SIM) and must be for the carrier the phone is bound to (unless unlocked). You will only temporarily need the SIM to get the phone up and running then you can discard it.


I used my current working SIM card for my iPhone 6 plus to activate an older iPhone 5 yet you can use any old SIM card regardless of it being active. The phone will need to be restored before you can use it so plug it into iTunes and perform a Restore of all content and settings.

Activation Lock and How To Remove It

When the phone is finished restoring its software, the device may prompt with a screen stating the phone is in Activation Lock. This is what happens if you still have the device associated with an iCloud account (Find my Phone) and it is restricting the phone from being used.

This can be resolved by typing in the credentials for the Apple ID on screen if you are the owner of the device. Or log in to and remove the device from your list in Find my Phone.

If you do not recognize the Apple ID, you may be in trouble. The device must be removed from for Activation Lock to not show and if you bought the phone secondhand without the original owner doing this, there is unfortunately only one way around it.

If you are able to contact the original owner, they may be willing to log on their computer and remotely remove the device. If they are not contactable though, there is only one other option.

In order to get the Activation Lock removed you must present an original proof of purchase at an Apple Store and you likely do not have access to that.  It is important to inquire about Activation Lock status prior to purchasing any device online.

Using the iPhone Without a SIM

Once you get the iPhone to move to the Enable Location Services page, you can remove the SIM card and continue setup on the WiFi connection. This tab is the one immediately following the activation phase so if you see this screen, you have successfully gotten the iPhone to activate.

Once you are finished with the setup process, you are able to use the old iPhone for whatever you want! You will be slightly limited in terms of on the go internet connection but as long as you are in WiFi, your phone will be completely usable.


Common uses for older iPhones are Music players, cameras, gaming devices, iOS beta testers and so much more. It is a good idea to hang on to older devices especially if you see yourself expanding in your needs for media storage or just another backup device for piece of mind.

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