Can You Use the iPhone Without Using it As a Phone?

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Apple's iPhone is a powerful smartphone device capable of playing music and videos, accessing email and the Internet and running a spate of "apps" in addition to traditional cell phone functions like calling and texting. You can also connect the phone to your computer using the provided Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable. As a result, it's still possible to benefit greatly from the iPhone even you cancel your service with AT&T or Verizon, travel outside the covered service area or lose your ability to use it as a phone for any other reason.

Reasons for Not Using Phone Feature

  • The iPhone's "Phone" and "Message" capabilities are two of the device's most central features -- and indeed, the two which differentiate it from Apple's similar iPod Touch device, from an operational standpoint -- but using either or both requires an active service plan through AT&T or Verizon, the two official iPhone carriers in the U.S. as of 2011. If you travel outside your carrier's covered service area, you may lose access to these features on a temporary basis.

Wi-Fi

  • One of the primary advantages an iPhone has over a traditional cell phone is its ability to access the Internet, as well as its easy-to-use, intuitive "Safari" web browser. When you have an active service plan, the iPhone connects to the Internet using your carrier's cellular data network. The iPhone also comes equipped with a built-in wireless adapter, however, so it's still possible to access the Internet without phone service as long as you're near another wireless connection.

Music, Pictures and Video

  • The iPhone's multimedia capability is another of its most central features. From its iPod music player, which allows you to organize, store and play songs, to its camera -- which takes still photos and in, later versions, videos -- and associated storage "Roll," the iPhone houses several multimedia repositories which allow you to listen to music and view pictures or video without being connected to the Internet, using your phone or having an active service account. You can transfer files back and forth between your computer and iPhone using the provided USB cord.

Applications

  • Keeping in mind the storage capacity of your particular device, the iPhone can accommodate thousands of different applications, which range from basic dictionaries and calculators to more sophisticated racing and role-playing games. Accessing applications you've already downloaded doesn't require phone service, an Internet connection or a service subscription. Also, if you need to access the Internet to download new apps or make use of one you've already downloaded, simply take advantage of the device's aforementioned wireless adapter. If no wireless connection is available, download apps to iTunes on your computer, then transfer them to the iPhone by syncing over the provided cable. This procedure doesn't require an Internet connection.

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