The Guide to Using iPhones Without Wi-Fi & Data

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I’m sure you have several questions regarding using your iPhone and how it works with data plans. In this article, I will explain if you can use an iPhone without service, can you use iPhone with a carrier, can you iPhone without internet, and much more.

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Can You Use iPhone Without Service?

iPhones can work without any cellular service. Carriers such as T-mobile allow for calling and texting via Wi-Fi is your outside of a cellar coverage area. Many applications require no internet connection or cellphone service at all to use. 

Thanks to the availability of Wi-Fi, your iPhone doesn’t necessarily need cellular service. You also don’t need a cellular service if you want to talk to someone over the phone using WhatsApp or calling via numerous social media apps such as Facebook or Instagram.

There are many apps on the AppStore that require no internet connection or cellular service. For example, you can FaceTime anyone in your contacts for communication purposes as long as your iPhone is connected to a hotspot/Wi-Fi.

Here are the things you need to take note of if you plan on using your iPhone without service:

  1. An iPhone can work fine without a carrier, but you can’t make cellular calls without an active service plan from a carrier.
  2. You can connect your iPhone to the Wi-Fi and use apps like Safari, Weather, and AppleStore that don’t require service but only requires access to the internet.
  3. You can also use the pre-installed apps that come with every iPhone that don’t require service or internet at all, like the Calculator, Camera, Clock, and Passbook.

Texting and Calling Over Wi-Fi

Typically, we would need a sim card, a prepaid/postpaid plan from your carrier, and a service to text and call somebody on your contacts. However, you can do all that without a cellular plan.

To give you an idea of what we mean, Facebook has the Messenger app that doesn’t require you to have service but a connection to the internet. It means as long as you’re connected to the Wi-Fi or hotspots, then you can text and call without needing service at all.

Replacing your iPhone battery could transform making your iPhone perform and new, learn more about replacing your iPhone’s battery in my detailed article.

Can You Use iPhone Without a Carrier?

Yes. An iPhone can work fine without a carrier, but you can’t make cellular calls if you don’t have a carrier and an active service plan.

iPhones don’t need a carrier to operate or function. Instead, they can be used as Wi-Fi-only devices where you can still text and call other people, browse social media, or send emails, as long as you’re connected to a hotspot or a nearby Wi-Fi source.

However, there are also downsides to using a phone without a carrier, for example:

  • You cannot text, call, or communicate with other people when you’re not connected to any hotspot or Wi-Fi.
  • You can’t make emergency phone calls with an iPhone that doesn’t have a carrier.
  • Since you have no data and service plans, your iPhone is limited to offline apps if you’re out of range for hotspots and Wi-Fi.

Can You Use iPhone Without the Internet?

iPhones don’t need the internet to work properly. The only time you need an internet connection is when you first set up your device. Your iPhone can work fine without the internet with the pre-installed applications that come with the iPhone. Also, you can set up an iPhone without the internet via using iTunes.

You can use the iPhone without the internet. However, you need to connect to an internet source when accessing your iPhone for the first time so you can log in to your Apple ID complete the iPhone setup. To do this, you need an Apple lightning to USB cable to get the one I use from Amazon here or a USB cable that you can get here.

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Many preloaded apps come with the iPhone, apps you can buy in the Apple Store, and apps in iPhones but constantly need an internet connection to make sure that messages and files are always up-to-date and synced.

Apps That Work With The Internet

Apps that work well with the internet are pre-installed in iPhone devices, including Safari, Mail, Weather, iTunes Store, Stocks, AppStore, and FaceTime.

Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit are commonly used in iPhones that need a connection to the internet.

Apps That Functions Entirely Without The Internet

Apps that don’t require constant updates are usually pre-installed applications like Calculator, Camera, and Clock. These apps work perfectly fine with or without internet access.

Offline Apps That Benefits From The Internet

There are also offline apps on the iPhone, but they’re better used with the internet. Applications like Music, Videos, Photos, Notes, and Reminders are accessed offline. However, if you want to sync your files over multiple devices, all you need to do is connect to an internet source.

Regardless of how you use your iPhone, the bottom line is, your iPhone is okay without the internet. The main uses of the internet for the iPhone are syncing files and checking firmware updates which are done in the future if you aren’t currently connected to the internet.

How Can I Use My iPhone Without Data?

You can turn off data usage in an iPhone with four taps, go to Settings, tap on General, click on Network, and flip the “Cellular Data” switch off, and you should be good to go.

Do you want to save money on your monthly phone bill by not using data in your iPhone? Then it’s entirely possible as long as you switch off the “Cellular Data” option in the settings of your iPhone.

Using data is a lot slower compared to connecting to a hotspot and a Wi-Fi connection. Although both links have a limited range (at least a smaller range than the range of cellular connections), Wi-Fi is way faster than your cellular data speed.

A good option for enjoying the internet on your iPhone is using a hotspot. Please see my guide to learn more about the distances hotspot works in and if the iPhone hotspot is limited.

Can I Use My Phone With WI-FI Without a Data Plan?

A data plan is not needed for the iPhone to run. iPhones can run without even needing a carrier since they can run off of Wi-Fi and hotspot connections.

Having a monthly bill to pay for your data usage can be expensive if you browse the internet daily. However, if you have access to Wi-Fi at your home, maybe unsubscribing to your current data plan can save you a lot of money.

Most of the common uses for iPhones typically need an internet connection from time to time but rarely require you to have a data plan.

Uses like:

  • Traditional Phone Use – Calling and texting other people through mobile networks.
  • Email Access – Sending and receiving Emails through internet connections.
  • Music and Video – Watching videos and listening to music online.
  • Camera Functions – Take pictures and videos with your iPhone.
  • Navigation & Maps – Use GPS and navigation systems that come with your iPhone.
  • Social Media and Web Browsing – Checking on the latest news posted online or browsing your social media newsfeed.
  • Reading – Reading E-Books or novels online can also be possible with the help of the internet.

Are some of the common uses of iPhones, and most of them require a connection online. Regardless if you have a data plan or not, as long as you have a link to the internet, it doesn’t matter.

You’re going to save a lot of money if you decide to unsubscribe to your current data plan and entirely rely on Wi-Fi and hotspots. However, there are a lot of disadvantages if you choose to do so.

Wi-Fi’s Range. Not having a data plan will make you tied to the Wi-Fi range. The average range of a Wi-Fi network should be around a 100ft range indoors and 390ft outdoors for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz router speeds.

A great way to improve your Wi-Fi strength and range is using a Wi-Fi extender. Using it turns slow Wi-Fi into a decent connection. I’m sure it will improve the reach of your iPhone mobile hotspot. You can get the one I use at an unbeatable price from Amazon here.

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Slower Download & Upload Speeds. Compared to Wi-Fi or hotspot connections, you’re bound to get slower speeds in data plans. Some carriers even have service plans with data caps, and you have to ensure you have an unlimited data plan (or at least over 100 GB per month) of storage in your data plan.

More Accessibility to the Internet. The advantage of having a data plan is that you get to access the internet even if you’re not in the Wi-Fi range; all you need to do is go to Settings, click on Network, and flip the switch on Cellular Data

How Do I Force an iOS Update Without Wi-Fi?

  1. Go to your “Settings” Menu.
  2. Click the “General Tab.”
  3. Look for “Software Updates.”
  4. Choose “Install Now.”

You can wait until your iPhone suggests updating your iOS if you want to force the update. Many iOS updates can be rescheduled or set to start during a designated time automatically. Figure out which time works for you. Ensure you have a stable connection to the internet and good battery life to ensure the update process starts and finishes uninterrupted.

By the way, are you using your Apple iPhone for quite some time and thinking whether or not it needs to be replaced. Then I highly encourage you to check out my detailed article about the seven signs your iPhone needs to be replaced.

Is The iPhone Update Only on WI-FI? 

You can update your iPhone without Wi-Fi, regardless of the update size. You can use your cellular data for the iOS software, but you should use Wi-Fi whenever it’s possible. Wi-Fi will update your iPhone faster, but cellular data can work if it’s your only option. Just be mindful of the data usage.

On iOS, go into Settings and scroll down to iTunes & App Store. Here you will see Auto-update apps at the top of the screen. Tapping on it will give you the option to update via Wi-Fi only or do it at any time.

Security is one of the main reasons why people prefer to update through cellular data over Wi-Fi. If you’re in a public place and connected to a public Wi-Fi address, you wouldn’t want to open your iOS to potential hackers who can sniff into your device and steal information.

A fantastic way to keep yourself protected using public Wi-Fi in places like restaurants or the Airport is using a VPN. I’ve used Express VPN for years. It not only protects my information from the hands of hackers, but it also allows me to watch any country Netflix plus much more!

Please take a look at the best VPN money can buy on their website.

We are all clumsy at times, and most of us prefer using our phones without cases. Read my article to find out if dropping your iPhone causes internal damage.

How Do I Download iOS Update Over Cellular Data?

  1. Click “Settings.”
  2. Navigate to the “Cellular Data.”
  3. Allow the iPhone to “Update over Cellular Data.”
  4. Force the update through the software update tab or approve it when prompted to do so.

It’s best to close all of your apps and make sure you have enough storage before you decide to install a newer update. The iOS updates (depending on the last time you updated your iPhone) range from 1GB to 6GB of data needed for a software update.

I also highly recommend you charge your iPhone beforehand. Around 50% and above battery life should be enough to complete the updating procedures. Expect your iPhone to be rebooting, and since you are using Cellular Data, the process can take longer than usual.

Why Does Apple Update Require Wi-Fi?

Apple requires Wi-Fi to update because iOS updates are huge (iOS 15 is 2.2GB). Updating via cellular data takes a long time and consumes a lot of cellar data. Wi-Fi offers a faster connection. In addition, you can use your device normally while downloading an update.

Updates are recommended to be done through Wi-Fi because these iOS updates were huge and would consume a month’s worth of data allocation all in one update.

Although you can update your iOS device through cellular data, I still highly recommend using Wi-Fi if possible. Wi-Fi is much faster, more stable, and can save you money on your monthly phone bill.

But do you know that iPhones DON’T requires Wi-Fi to be updated? Check my article Do iPhones Need Wi-Fi To Update? The Complete Guide to have all your questions answered.

Other than downloading the iOS update over Wi-Fi and cellular data, there’s another way you can do it. It’s by using iTunes on your PC to download the software updates for your iPhone.

How Can I Download the iOS Updates Using iTunes on my PC?

To download the latest software updates to your phone from your PC, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Download iTunes for your PC.
  2. Install iTunes and run it.
  3. After the installation, connect the iPhone and PC using the USB cable.
  4. Navigate through the left panel and click on “Summary.
  5. Now click on “Check For Update.” 

This process is great if you don’t have access to wireless networks but have a Laptop/PC that does have an internet connection. You can download the iTunes application both on MacBook and Windows computers if you plan to install updates this way.

How Can I Use My Old iPhone Without Service?

You can use your old iPhone as a Wi-Fi-only device. Cellular service is not required.

Contrary to what many people think, you don’t need cellular service to use an iPhone. Instead, it will work as an iPod touch; all your favorite applications, including Facetime and iMessage, can all be used with Wi-Fi only.

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