SIM Card FAQ

What do “GSM” and “CDMA" mean?
What devices can I use with a TextNow SIM card?
Can I use a tablet with TextNow?
How do I unlock my device?
Do I need WiFi to activate my TextNow SIM card?
Will I need another SIM card to use my device with TextNow?
Can I pull my TextNow SIM card and use it with another device?
Will I be able to use my TextNow SIM internationally off wifi?
The website is asking me for my MEID number. Where can I find it? 
Help! My phone is telling me the SIM card is invalid!
Help! I ordered the wrong SIM card!
Help! My activation button is greyed out!
Help! My SIM card is broken or lost!
Help! I locked my SIM card and I need a PUK code!
Help! My SIM card isn't being recognized by my phone! 
Help! My phone reads the SIM card, but I can't connect!


What does "GSM” and “CDMA” mean?

GSM and CDMA are types of wireless networks. (GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, while CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access). GSM is used worldwide, while CDMA is used primarily within the US. T-Mobile and AT&T run GSM networks, with Sprint and Verizon using CDMA networks.


What devices can I use with a TextNow SIM card?

TextNow can use unlocked CDMA or GSM-enabled Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. For Android devices, we support devices on KitKat (4.4) or above, and for iOS we support iOS 9 and above. To find out if your particular device is compatible, head on over to our SIM Card activation page!


Can I use a tablet?

If your tablet is either CDMA or GSM capable, we should be able to use it with one of our SIM cards. For Android devices, the tablet should be KitKat (4.4) or above, and for iOS it should be iOS 9 or above.


How do I unlock my device?

In order to use TextNow with your CDMA or GSM device, your device will need to be unlocked. Each carrier will have a slightly different method of unlocking your device if it is currently locked to that carrier; contact your carrier for more help on how to unlock your specific device.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also has a helpful FAQ with regards to unlocking your device.


Do I need WiFi to activate my TextNow SIM card?

You will need a stable wifi connection to activate your TextNow SIM card. Once it's activated, you won't need wifi to place calls or send texts as your phone will be able to access the data network, while still also being able to use wifi whenever wifi is available.

If you're activating your TextNow SIM card over a public wifi connection (i.e. at a cafe or library), often there will be an additional step after you connect in order to access the internet. If you're having difficulty activating while on a public wifi connection, try opening your browser on your device as you may have to complete an additional step through your browser before your device fully connects.


Will I need another SIM card to use my device with TextNow?

That depends on your device. Certain specific CDMA phones from Sprint, Boost and Virgin Mobile we can activate directly onto TextNow without the need for another SIM card. For all other unlocked devices, we’ll ship you a SIM card to use with TextNow - click here to check your device and order a SIM card!


Can I pull my TextNow SIM card and use it with another device?

If you have another device that is compatible with the type of SIM card you have from TextNow, and it's a phone we can activate on TextNow, we'll be able to swap the service to that new phone for you! Contact us at TextNow Support and we'll get it set up.


Will I be able to use my TextNow SIM internationally without wifi?

I'm afraid not. Our TextNow service runs off a national US CDMA network, which is unavailable outside the US. You can, however, use your TextNow activated device over wifi outside of the US to call and text numbers within the US and Canada, as well as use your international long distance credits to call numbers outside the US and Canada while on wifi.


The website is asking me for my MEID number. Where can I find it?

Depending on the device you're using, the MEID number might be listed as the ESN or the IMEI. Generally, the MEID number will be a 14-digit string, and may contain both letters and numbers.

On an Android device, you can find your MEID/IMEI number under your main Settings app > About Device > Status. On iOS, you can usually find it under the main Settings app > General > About.

If your phone has a removable back and battery, it will also often be on a sticker in the bay underneath where the battery sits. On that sticker, it will often be listed as the ESN number.


Help! My phone is telling me the SIM card is invalid!

If you're getting a "SIM card invalid" message after inserting your TextNow SIM, there's a good chance your phone is still locked to a carrier. Contact your carrier to ensure your phone is unlocked for use.

The Federal Communications Commission has an excellent help article that goes over unlocking regulations for US carriers, which has more information about unlocking mobile devices.


Help! I ordered the wrong SIM card!

No problem! Contact us at TextNow Support and we can send you a replacement.


Help! My activation button is greyed out!

If you've inserted your TextNow SIM card into your CDMA device and you find your activation button has been greyed out, then the SIM card from us may be the incorrect model. Contact us at TextNow Support and we'll send you a replacement card.


Help! My SIM card is broken or lost!

We're sorry to hear that! Please contact us at TextNow Support and we can assist you with a replacement SIM card.


Help! I locked my SIM card and need a PUK code!

If you require the PUK (or Personal Unlocking Key) code, please contact one of our chat agents on any of our Support pages.

Please note that PUK codes are only available for SIM Cards purchased separately from TextNow, and not for SIM cards that come with our TextNow devices.


Help! My SIM card isn't being recognized by my phone!

Eject the SIM card from your phone and ensure it's seated properly in the SIM slot. You may have to refer to the manual for your device for more specific information about the location of your SIM card slot, and what size of card your phone accepts.

Note that on some older Android devices, you may need to restart your device after inserting your SIM card. If your card isn't being recognized, try holding down the power button to bring up your Power Off menu and tap Restart.


Help! My phone reads the SIM card, but I can't connect!

You may need to perform an SCRTN (aka a carrier reset) on your phone to reconnect back to our network. See our article on how to do an SCRTN here.

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