TextNow Guide
Tips & Tricks

SIM activation not working? Try this




April 19, 2022

SIM activation not working? Try this

If you recently purchased and received one of our SIM cards, but find yourself having trouble getting it started, and/or activated, follow this easy tutorial:

Are you using it the right way?

Turning on your service can be a confusing process sometimes, so before delving into any more technical troubleshooting tips, let's start with the easy checks. You put your SIM card in your phone, and tried to open up Instagram, Maps, or search something on the internet and weren't able to without WiFi. Before you can do all that, make sure you do this first:

  1. Open up the TextNow app on your phone. If not installed, connect to WiFi and download it from your app store.
  2. Sign into your TextNow account, and tap on the "Activate SIM card" option in the menu (can be opened by tapping on the three lines on the top left of your homepage)
  3. Follow the instructions listed in the app
  4. Once the steps are completed, make sure that you have Mobile Data/Cellular Data toggled on in your phone's main settings

When you first complete your activation, you will now be on our Nationwide Talk & Text service, which allows you to use the TextNow app for all your calling and texting for free, even without WiFi.

Should you wish to use any other apps or the internet without WiFi, you will need to add on data, which will now become available to you in the menu of the TextNow app (Just tap on "Add Data" to see the options and purchase the one that makes the most sense for you!)

Are you still not able to do anything without WiFi?

If you went through the whole activation process, and have your mobile data toggled on in settings, but still can't even make a call or send a text through the TextNow app without WiFi, let's try these steps next:

  1. Check that you have coverage in your area

While we encourage that you do this before purchasing the SIM, it doesn't hurt to double check and make sure there is good network coverage where you are currently located. Just follow this link and put in your address to find out!

  1. Check that you have your APN settings set up

In order for the data network to connect, there is a specific Access Point Name (APN) that needs to be set up in your phone's settings, so your phone knows which network to connect to. The full instructions on how to do this (including a video tutorial!) on both an Android phone and an iPhone can be found here. More often than that, it's as simple as just completing those to get the service working.

If you have tried all of these steps, and still have connection issues, feel free to reach out to our live chat support team! Head over to our live chat support on help.textnow.com between 10am-5:30pm EST. You'll find a chat icon on the bottom right hand side, and between those business hours, the chat bot will provide you with a "get in touch" option that when selected, will re-direct you to a live representative.

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