How to Activate Your iPhone X - dummies

How to Activate Your iPhone X

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

You will typically activate the iPhone X where you bought the thing, just as you do with other cellphones. However, if you buy your iPhone from Apple’s online store, the folks there will ship it to you and you activate it yourself, through iTunes, just like the old days, or through iCloud. If you’re already a customer upgrading from an earlier iPhone or a different phone, you can convert your plan during the ordering process.

There are a ton of wireless options. Suffice to say that plans vary by wireless carrier and are subject to change. Ironclad two-year contracts were rapidly becoming far less, well, ironclad. Of course, you’re still obligated to pay what you owe your carrier. Indeed, the carriers all are moving away from contracts to installment pricing.

Unlimited data plans have become common, thanks to industry competition.

Many “unlimited” plans are subject to data-speed throttling after a customer reaches a certain threshold of data, though such levels are being raised in the consumer’s favor.

You may also have to spend extra for a plan that includes tethering, or the capability to use your iPhone as a broadband modem for other devices you might carry, such as laptops and netbooks. But tethering is sometimes included in your plan.

iPhone Xs are available also from smaller regional carriers such as C Spire and U.S. Cellular.

Three prerequisites for enjoying the iPhone X are in place:

  • One, unless you’re already in the fold, there’s the aforementioned business of becoming an AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile subscriber or a customer of any other company that subsequently sells the devices.
  • Two, you may have to free yourself from any wireless contract that you’ve already entered into. Such contractual obligations are getting liberalized and ironclad two-year contracts are disappearing in favor of installment pricing. Heck, your new wireless company may even pay any early termination fees due your old carrier.

    A number of retailers will at least give you a credit for your old iPhone that you can use toward a new model. The amount of the credit depends largely on the condition of the device. You must pay off the phone over a set period, again typically two years. But at least you’re shifting to the latest models.

Under its own trade-in program, Apple’s own estimated trade-in values as of this writing range from $35 for an iPhone 5c to $375 for a 7 Plus, again depending on condition. Keep in mind that you may get a better trade-in deal elsewhere.

Apple has its own in-store upgrade program, based on a 24-month installment. As this book was going to press, you could get a 64GB iPhone X from Apple for $999 or for $49.91 a month, and a 256GB model for $1,149, or $56.16 monthly. The same two-year term applies. You get to choose your own carrier. AppleCare warranty protection is included. You also have the right to upgrade to a new iPhone every 12 months.

  • Three, make sure you download the freshest version of iTunes software for syncing with your PC or Mac. Apple doesn’t supply the software in the box, so head to if you need to fetch a copy.

The uninitiated might not know that iTunes is the nifty Apple jukebox software that iPod, iPad, PC, and Mac owners use to manage music, videos, and more. iTunes is at the core of the iPhone as well because it has a built-in iPod, under what is called the Music app instead. You employ iTunes to synchronize a bunch of stuff on your computer and iPhone, including photos, podcasts, videos, and (of course) music — that is, unless you eschew your computer directly and manage all this stuff through iCloud.

Although iTunes is no longer required for the initial configuration of your iPhone, you should fetch it anyway, even if you don’t intend to use it for syncing with a PC or Mac.