What happens during iPhone activation?
September 20, 2012 3:37 PM   Subscribe

AT&T/iPhone: I bought an iPhone 4 on craigslist. I plan to cut down my 3G's sim into a micro-sim and put it in the 4. However, before I got started I factory reset the 4 and now it wants to go through an activation process. What does "activation" mean, in this context?

I have an old "unlimited" data plan from AT&T and would like to keep it. Does the activation process trigger anything on AT&T's side, or is it simply reading the data from the sim?
posted by homodachi to Technology (6 answers total)
Why would this matter. I'm not aware of AT&T cancelling the grandfathered-in unlimited data plan just because you got a new phone.
posted by phaedon at 3:58 PM on September 20, 2012

Response by poster: @phaedon, the consumerist (site down; sorry) was advising people with unlimited data plans to wait a week or two before upgrading to the latest iphone b/c certain factors (at&t store staff unused to new workflows; "activating" via itunes in a previous model; etc) could cause a new plan/contract to take effect, removing the unlimited plan. I'm looking for reassurance that my bases are covered.
posted by homodachi at 4:03 PM on September 20, 2012

Okay, I just bought a new iPhone yesterday, and went through the activation process. The guy did mention that there were a bunch of new work flows happening in preparation for today, and even though I was buying a 4s there were still new things happening on the screen that he hadn't seen before. That said, when we got to the point of doing the activation, there were clearly two options - for customers who already had an activation and just needed to apply it to that particular phone, and for brand new customers. Does that help?
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:35 PM on September 20, 2012

AT&T told me a couple months ago that if I upgraded to any new phone through my contract, my unlimited data would be removed. However I have started using a new phone I got elsewhere with my SIM and nothing changed. I think you'd be safe, because the risk is that when your account gets a new phone and so renews your contract, that would screw it up. 'Activating' the second-hand iPhone is unrelated and I am confident that it doesn't affect your ATT account.
posted by jacalata at 6:40 PM on September 20, 2012

Best answer: I've activated phones using an already-active SIM many times. You won't have any problems. In this case, it is simply activating the phone. When it first communicates with the network, it will see that your SIM is already active, and nothing will change on that front. You won't lose your unlimited data.

Think of it this way: any time anyone restores an iPhone to factory settings, it has to go through the same activation process again. You'd hear howls of dismay if people who had to restore their phone also lost their unlimited data.
posted by Nothlit at 7:23 PM on September 20, 2012

Just an FYI

You can go to any AT&T store and request a micro sim (make sure you get micro not nano). They have to give you this. It will not affect your contract in anyway, it's just a new simcard.

Not that cutting down your mini sim to a micro won't work, just that IMO getting a new sim from AT&T is easier.
posted by Patbon at 6:50 AM on September 21, 2012

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