September 7, 2022

Buying a smartphone to use with TextNow? Read this first!

Written by kevin-c

Tips & Tricks

So, you’ve decided to get free phone service from TextNow. Good for you!

First, make sure you’ve downloaded the latest version of the TextNow app. After that, with the purchase of a TextNow SIM Card for only 99¢, you can take our app anywhere and enjoy service on the largest 5G/LTE network in the US. It’s ad-supported, so you’ll never have a phone bill, and can choose to add features like high-speed data with no contracts or commitments.

But to use the SIM, you need a phone. And you might be wondering if you need a specific type of phone to use with TextNow. We’ve got you covered:

What phones work with the TextNow SIM Card?

It must be a smartphone. TextNow runs through an app, so flip phones or other devices won’t work. Also, the smartphone needs to be running either Android 7 and up, or iOS 14 and up, and it must be compatible with the GSM network. CDMA phones aren’t compatible with us.

The phone also needs to be unlocked. You can read more about unlocked phones here.

Also, if you know the IMEI number of the phone you want to use, you can pop that number into our device checker to see if that phone is compatible.

Oh, and one more thing: The phone needs to have a physical SIM card slot. We don’t have eSIMs yet, but we’re working on it.

Where can I get a good deal on a phone?

We partner with Swappa, an online marketplace for the buying and selling of all manner of electronics – computers, tablets, cameras, and of course phones. You can check out their current stock of unlocked phones here.

And if you’re thinking of getting a brand-new phone, the venerable Tom’s Guide has excellent buyer’s guides reviews, best picks, and plenty more.

For even more phone reviews and to stay up-to-date on all the latest and greatest, we are big fans of Marques Brownlee’s phenomenal YouTube channel. If you can't wait to learn about the latest devices, follow along with MKBHD.