Anyone who has an iPhone, likely remembers the activation process in iTunes, which asks for an iTunes account, etc. This is generally not an issue for most people, as the phone they are activating will be associated with that account, to sync content. In some situations, this activation method doesn’t work well. I ran into it the other day. A small company I do some work for decided to supply several employees with iPhones, and needed them all activated, as most of these employees work remotely.
I started out doing the usual thing with iTunes, and then remembered the iTunes account part. The problem is, I didn’t have all their iTunes accounts, and I wasn’t going to use mine. I then wondered how this is done in bigger companies, who may have to activate many iPhones in a short period, or what Apple stores do when they swap out a broken phone.
Enter the iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide.
This guide contains all sorts of information related to using iPhones in large organizations. For me, the piece of interest starts on Page 59. Assuming you have iTunes installed, you can change iTunes into an Activation Only mode, which quickly and easily activates any iPhone you connect, without needing any account information.
1 Make sure iTunes isn’t running, and then open a Command Prompt window.
2 Enter a command:
- To turn activation-only mode on: “C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe” /setPrefInt StoreActivationMode 1
- To turn activation-only mode off: “C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe” /setPrefInt StoreActivationMode 0
1 Make sure iTunes isn’t running, and then open Terminal.
2 In Terminal, enter a command:
- To turn activation-only mode on: defaults write com.apple.iTunes StoreActivationMode -integer 1
- To turn activation-only mode off: defaults delete com.apple.iTunes StoreActivationMode
The process (once you enable activation-only mode):
If you’re activating an iPhone, insert an activated SIM card. Use the SIM eject tool, or a straightened paper clip, to eject the SIM tray. See the iPhone User Guide for details.
Connect iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to the computer. The computer must be connected to the Internet to activate the device.
iTunes opens, if necessary, and activates the device. A message appears when the device is successfully activated.
Disconnect the device.
You can immediately connect and activate additional devices. iTunes won’t sync with any device while activation-only mode is on, so don’t forget to turn activation-only mode off if you plan on using iTunes to sync devices.
It’s that easy. I am really glad Apple has this built-in solution.