Can You Use Wi-Fi On A Deactivated Phone?

If you were wondering if you can use Wi-Fi on a deactivated phone, you’ve come to the right place. To give you the short answer right from the start – Yes, you can. This article will explain how to do it, what you can use it for, as well as some downsides of using Wi-Fi on your deactivated smartphone.

What Is a Deactivated Phone?

A deactivated phone means that your SIM card can no longer communicate with the mobile phone operator. Your smartphone can’t perform its primary function of making and receiving calls and SMS through the GSM network.

It’s been cut off from service. That being said, your smartphone is still a small computer with all other functionalities intact, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and infrared.

Deactivated Phone

Many research shows that most people change their phones every two years. Some operators will then trade in your old phone and give you a new one with a discount, while the others won’t bother, and you will end up with the two-year-old phone that you can’t use for calls, mobile data, and messaging anymore. 

However, that phone is still more than a capable piece of hardware even without the SIM card, and there are a couple of handy ways you can utilize its features.

But, before we dive into that, let’s explain how to use Wi-Fi on your deactivated device.

How to Use Wi-Fi on a Deactivated Phone?


Using a deactivated phone just for Wi-Fi is easier than you think. You have to stop the phone from searching for mobile service and displaying mobile service error messages. You can do that by using it in airplane mode. Here is what you need to do:

  • Charge the phone 
  • Turn on the device
  • Switch on airplane mode: this will stop the phone from searching for mobile operator services. You can activate the airplane mode by pressing and holding the on/off switch when the phone boots up. 
  • Turn on Wi-Fi: this is usually found under “Wireless & Networks” or similar. You can also find this setting in your phone’s shortcuts menu when you swipe down on the home screen.
  • Search for the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to and select “connect.” If it is a password-protected network, you’ll need to enter the network password as well. 

At this point, you are set to go and use the phone on the Wi-Fi only. Just keep in mind you’ll have to repeat the process every time you switch the phone off. 

Top 5 Uses for a Deactivated Phone with Wi-Fi

As we mentioned before, the smartphone is a small, mobile computer, and it can do a lot even without its SIM card-related features. Here are our top five uses for deactivated smartphones.

Mobile Media Player

You can use Wi-Fi or USB cable to store a lot of audio and video material on your phone and turn it into a mobile media player. Even if you run out of storage, you’ll still be able to stream videos and music from YouTube and similar services. This can be a great solution if you need to keep your kid entertained around the house or on a trip, but you don’t want to risk giving a more expensive device to a child.

Mobile Storage Device

Most mobile phones made in the last couple of years have upwards of 6 GB of internal memory storage. This is more than adequate storage capacity for most needs, and it would be a shame to go to waste. Yes, the USB storage is not expensive, and it is more compact, but if you already have a deactivated phone laying around, why not use it?

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Smart Home Remote Controller

Since you’ll still be able to use most of the apps on your deactivated mobile, you can turn it into the dedicated smart home remote. Install Google home or any other app you need to control your smart devices on your deactivated mobile and leave it in the area where you spend most of your time. That way, you’ll be able to control everything, even if your active phone is charging or not in your hands.

Personal Organizer

Since most mobile phones come with preinstalled personal organizer apps and tons of free similar apps to download from app stores, you can turn deactivated mobile into the personal organizer. Set your schedule, events, alarms, and other things you need on a daily basis.

Yes, you can do this on your active phone, but you are using your active phone for many different things and having a dedicated device just for this is sometimes a good idea.

Handheld Gaming Console

There are thousands of free games to download and play on a mobile phone. However, games can drain batteries pretty fast. So, if you care about your battery life but still want to play a lot, it might be a good idea to turn your deactivated device into a dedicated gaming device. It will keep you entertained while preserving the battery on your active phone for the important things.

Two Biggest Downsides of Using Wi-Fi on a Deactivated Phone

Just like there are many good things you can do with your deactivated phone with Wi-Fi, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when using a phone without an active SIM card.

Mobility and Wi-Fi Connectivity

Most users set up their phones to switch to mobile data when there is no Wi-Fi to use. And this is fine. But, since you no longer have this backup, you’ll need to be careful not to lose a Wi-Fi connection when you’re doing something that requires an internet connection. In other words, you’ll have to stick around the area with Wi-Fi every time you want to do something online.

Phone or SMS Verification

There are some apps and services that require phone verification to activate. They will either give you a call or send you a text message to verify your phone number. You won’t be able to start any of them on a deactivated phone.

However, you can always check if there is an alternative verification method since many of those apps and services can also use email verification. 


There is no reason why you shouldn’t get a bit more out of your deactivated phone. It is a small computer with many useful features, even when taking the SIM card out of the equation. To make a deactivated phone, use Wi-Fi without annoying error messages, turn it on, and switch to airplane mode. 

Once in airplane mode, search for available Wi-Fi networks and connect.

Deactivated phones can be used for many things, especially as media players, portable gaming devices, or memory storage.

Just keep in mind to stay close to the Wi-Fi router since you don’t have mobile data as a backup internet anymore.

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