Activation Kit – TextNow : Activating your TextNow SIM Card
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.
TextNow can use unlocked GSM Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. For Android devices, we support devices on Marshmallow 6 or above, and for iOS we support iOS 13 and above. To find out if your particular device is compatible, head on over to our Get Started page!
If your tablet is GSM capable, we should be able to use it with one of our SIM cards. For Android devices, the tablet should be Marshmallow 6 or above, and for iOS it should be iOS 12 or above.
How do I unlock my device?
In order to use TextNow with your 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.
Do I need WiFi to use my Activation Kit?
You will need a stable wifi connection to activate the SIM card in the kit. 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 on the network we use, 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.
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.
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.
How to Switch Devices
Want to move your TextNow service to another eligible phone or device? It’s easy! Below we’ll go over how to change devices for WiFi-only accounts and wireless accounts that require SIM cards.
If you’re on a free, WiFi-only account, all you’ll need to do is download the TextNow app on your new device and log in with your account information, then you’re ready to call and text anywhere that WiFi is available!
If you have another unlocked phone that is GSM compatible (you can use our device checker to find out!), download the TextNow app on your new device and log into your account, then take your SIM card out of your old phone and put it into the new one.
You won’t need to activate your SIM card again, but you will need to manually set the APN settings on your new device.
SIM Card Sizes
Some phones have different sized SIM card trays, so you may have to use the SIM card sizer tool that came with your TextNow SIM or purchase one online if it doesn’t fit in your new device.
There are three SIM card sizes:
- Standard (largest)
- Nano (smallest)
Open your phone’s SIM tray and find the SIM size that fits your device. For standard sized SIMs you’ll need to use all three pieces together, for micro sized SIMs you’ll need to make sure the nano SIM is inserted into the middle piece, and for nano SIMs you’ll need to pop out the smallest piece to use on its own.