What do “GSM” and “CDMA" mean?
What devices can I use with an Activation Kit?
Can I use a tablet with TextNow?
How do I unlock my device?
Do I need WiFi to use my Activation Kit?
Do I need to buy an Activation Kit in order to use my own device?
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! The SIM card in my Activation Kit is incorrect!
Help! The SIM card in my Activation Kit 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!
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 CDMA Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. For Android devices, we support devices on Marshmallow 6 or above, and for iOS we support iOS 12 and above. To find out if your particular device is compatible, head on over to our Get Started page!
If your tablet is CDMA 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.
In order to use TextNow with your GSM or CDMA 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.
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 Nationwide Sprint® 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.
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 phones or GSM phones, we’ll ship you an Activation Kit with the right SIM card to use with TextNow.
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.
I'm afraid not. Our TextNow service runs off the Nationwide Sprint® 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.
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.
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.
No problem! Contact us at TextNow Support and we can send you a replacement.
We're sorry to hear that! Please contact us at TextNow Support and we can assist you with a replacement SIM card.
If you require the PUK (or Personal Unlocking Key) code, please contact one of our chat agents on any of our Support pages.
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.
You may need to perform an SCRTN (aka a carrier reset) on your phone to reconnect back to the Nationwide Sprint® Network*. See our article on how to do an SCRTN here.
*Although TextNow provides its subscribers access to the Nationwide Sprint® Network and to its wireless services, TextNow is responsible to its subscribers for the service. Please call TextNow with any questions or comments about services. Sprint is a registered trademark of Sprint.*