Want to use iMessage without a phone number on your Apple device, and are wondering if that’s possible? Take a breather—it is, but it has some conditions. We will explain those, demonstrate the transition, and show you how to switch between them at will. However, we will preemptively warn you that only because you can do something doesn’t mean you always should. Thus, for the sake of your contacts, you should stick to one method of getting an identity on the messaging Apple feature. You’ll know what we mean when we answer the question, “can you use iMessage without a SIM card?”
What is iMessage?
iMessage is an instant messaging service for the Apple ecosystem that connects devices using macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS. It lets users send text, images, video, audio, and other media and utilize other Apple features. The most significant advantage of iMessage is the ability to sync your contacts and conversations across all devices. On top of having a feature set similar to WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber, it also integrates with the SMS messaging app on Apple devices. However, thanks to its privacy-oriented efforts, iMessage also lets users avoid using and giving their mobile numbers.
Can I use iMessage without a SIM card?
Yes, you can use the iMessage service without an iPad or iPhone SIM card and a corresponding mobile phone number. That lets you text with no SIM card. iMessage users can add a phone number, Apple ID account, or use both options interchangeably. However, the second method requires you to sign in to iCloud/Apple ID and use Wi-Fi wireless connectivity or your mobile data. If Internet access is blocked, iMessage will only work with a SIM card and an active phone number.
Is there a difference between cellular and Wi-Fi iMessage use of iMessage?
No, there is no noticeable difference in the use of iMessage between Wi-Fi and a mobile network except that you use your mobile phone number for the first one, and an Apple ID account for the second. You can use a full host of features, including sending files, texts, documents, links, and photos in both cases. Apple even lets you add or remove read (“seen”) receipts and use FaceTime with no SIM card. The expected distinction is that you cannot send an SMS or MM over a cellular network with no SIM—only texts over the Internet.
Advantages of using iMessage with no SIM card
Here are some pros of iMessage use without a SIM card:
- Privacy. Although still personal, you can choose to give an Apple ID account address to people you don’t want to know your phone number, yet continue talking to people who added you using it. A neat example is distinguishing personal and business contacts.
- Versatility. Apple makes it easy to switch from a phone number to Wi-Fi and vice versa. Thus, you can rely on both depending on the situation or use one as a primary utility.
- Ease of use for multiple users. There’s no need to remove iPhone SIM cards or even know where the iPhone SIM card is if more people use the same device. You merely have to sign in and out of Apple ID accounts.
Disadvantages of using iMessage with no SIM card
Here are some cons of the iMessage use without a SIM card:
- You can’t send regular SMS or MMS. Sending texts over a Wi-Fi network is possible. However, you can’t forward SMSes or MMSes over a mobile network since you lack a SIM card.
- You’re dependent on a Wi-Fi network. Users require an Internet connection to transfer data via iMessage, meaning they must rely on wireless networks.
- Users may have to authenticate Apple ID with a phone number once. The first time you link iMessage to Apple ID, you usually have to enter a verification code sent as an SMS. Thus, you might have to use any active SIM card only one time.
How to use iMessage without a SIM card on iOS and iPadOS
You can start using iMessage on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by following these steps:
- Double-check that you’re connected to iCloud via Apple ID. The easiest way is to open Settings and see if there’s an account name and e-mail address at the top. If not, tap the Add account button and sign in.
- While still in “Settings”, tap the Messages menu option.
- Tap the toggle button next to the “iMessage” option, so it turns green. Leave it if it already is.
- If that’s your first time enabling the service, you’ll see a “Waiting for Activation” message that may last up to 24 hours, although you can still use iMessages. You can enable or disable the iMessage options below meanwhile.
- Tap on No Addresses next to “Send & Receive”.
- You will see the Apple ID you’re logged in to and the phone number of the SIM card in your phone. If that isn’t the case, tap the Use your Apple ID for iMessage option to add it.
- Tap on the Apple ID so that the checkmark below “You can receive messages to and reply from” is in the front.
- The operating system should let you switch to Apple ID for iMessage without issues. However, you may have to receive a single SMS to the listed phone number for authentication. Thus, you may need a SIM card for one-time use.
- Restart your Apple mobile device and iMessage starts using Apple ID instead of a phone number.
Instructions to switch from Apple ID to a phone number in iMessage
If you need to temporarily use your SIM card for iMessages, do the following:
- Launch Settings.
- Go to Messages.
- Tap on Apple ID under “Send & Receive”.
- Tap the phone number and a checkmark appears in front of it.
- Restart your Apple smartphone or tablet.
Note. If you disable or remove a SIM card, and you have verified your SIM, iOS and iPadOS should automatically switch the option to Apple ID.