Break Your Phone? Verizon Won’t Let You Activate That Old Backup iPhone Anymore

January 3, 2020, 5:51 PM UTC

When it comes time to upgrade their iPhones, some people trade them in, but others toss the older models in a drawer—an insurance policy of sorts, in case they lose or break their new phones. As of Jan. 1, though, those backup phones have become useless for select Verizon customers.

The carrier has announced a new policy covering which devices it will activate for new lines or reactivate for existing lines. And any iPhone from the iPhone 5S and before is now a paperweight. (Certain Android devices are similarly affected.)

Specifically, the carrier says it is no longer allowing 3G or 4G non-HD voice devices be activated. And starting next Jan, the company will limit support and service requests for CDMA devices.

It’s a move that likely won’t have a significant impact on users, but it does take away a safety net many people took comfort in. The majority of the carrier’s customers already utilize the HD Voice LTE network. Verizon, of course, is in the midst of a transition to an even speedier 5G network at present.

AT&T doesn’t plan to shut down its 3G/non-HD networks until 2022.

While the older phones won’t help you make calls on Verizon to anyone anymore, they’re not completely useless. Outdated smartphones can still be used for a variety of purposes, including a remote control, surveillance system and data storage device.

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