I've been given an old iPhone. Now what?
April 26, 2013 8:47 PM   Subscribe

A friend gave me her old iPhone 3 after she upgraded to 4. Her old SIM card is still in it. I'm wondering what to do next.

I've been a Sprint customer since 2000, and I currently have a Kyocera Brio (which is basically a Blackberry knockoff). I have a pretty cheap unlimited texts-and-minutes plan which I like, and I want to keep my costs low in this regard. I found some sites which suggested "jailbreaking" the phone and using it as an iPod Touch, which sounds appealing, but these sites are all from several years ago and I don't know how realistic an option this is now.

Anyway, help! I'm a Mac person but pretty iPhone dumb. Any suggestions or helpful tips, guys?
posted by suburbanbeatnik to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unless you're desperate for a horrible first gen iPod touch, why would you want to do anything with it? You can never use it on Sprint. If you need an iPod touch I'd be happy to give you my third gen one for free.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:21 PM on April 26, 2013

Is it a 3G or 3GS? If it's the 3G, you can't update iOS past 4.2.1, and you don't get multitasking, which limits what you can do with it. The 3GS is a lot more capable, and can be updated to iOS 6, although without access to a lot of that version's features.

Either way, you're not going to be able to use it to make calls on Sprint, as it's a GSM-only phone. You could conceivably put an AT&T (or perhaps even a T-Mobile) prepaid SIM in it.
posted by holgate at 9:24 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It's a 3G, model A1241. As I stated earlier, I don't want to use it on Sprint, it would cost a bomb, and I have a perfectly good phone already. And of course I accepted it when my friend offered-- it was free, and it was generous of her to give it to me.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:40 PM on April 26, 2013

Get the $30 unlimited data tmobile plan(check here, scroll down and look on the left. Small text), put the whited00r custom firmware on it and rock out.

It's honestly not "awful" or "outdated" like a lot of people have said, especially if you haven't had a smartphone before. Whited00r will help you get software that will still run, which is a LOT. Many games, emulators, and apps still work great and that custom OS will help you get the most out of it.

There's plenty of people still using these phones. They're really still pretty great, it's just that the new ones got even better.

Another thing is these still go for around $80-100... And you can get a 3GS for that much as well. You might want to trade up if you're willing to deal with Craigslist buttheads.
posted by emptythought at 10:06 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have you connected it to your Mac yet? You should be able to wipe and re-activate with that old SIM, then pop it out. That would give you the default apps without a jailbreak and whatever you can find in the App Store that still supports it.

I used a borrowed 3G when travelling a couple of years ago, and it's perfectly capable.

The problem you'll face is that developers often pull app support for older versions of iOS from the versions on the App Store, so you'll end up having to seek out .ipa files for older versions from, um, unofficial places, and installing them will require a custom firmware.
posted by holgate at 10:14 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just use my old iPhone as an iPod for my car, no need to jailbreak it, as holgate says. Stick it in a case like this one and feel confident about leaving it out in plain view without anyone stealing it. If you park within range of your home wifi base station, you can push fresh podcasts or driving music to it from inside.
posted by mumkin at 10:41 PM on April 26, 2013

Wipe it and list on ebay.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:26 AM on April 27, 2013

I have an iPhone 3 my office gave me. After the cell service ended, I kept it and thought about using it as an iPod Touch, to play apps and stuff. I never have, to be honest. I'm really happy with Android and would never switch to an iPhone, but if there's ever a Mac-only app I want, I can get it. When I first got the phone, that's mainly what I used it for. There's this game called Mr. AahH! that I really liked playing on my iPhone, since it's not available for Android. If your cell phone isn't a touch phone, you could get games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds and other touch apps over wifi and play them. I just think iPhones cost far too much every month and the way it handles (or rather, does not handle) multiple email accounts drives me nuts.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:02 AM on April 27, 2013

You'd have to sign up with a different provider to use that phone, and if you're going to do that you might as well let them give you a newer phone than that.
posted by w0mbat at 9:49 AM on April 27, 2013

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