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old Android phone

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Android Question, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Android Question

    Thread Starter

    Hello all,

    Technological ****** here. Please forgive me for the lack of even a basic understanding of how androids, and smart phones in general, work.

    So recently a neighbor threw away a bunch of things when moving out. Among them were an old, really shitty (cracked screen, etc) Samsung galaxy 2 that she no longer wanted, which my mom picked up when rummaging all the boxes my neighbor left out for trash pickup. So the phone actually still works, except for that you can't make calls with it (no longer has a data plan I guess). Question is, if I were to restore the phone to its factory settings as I've seen in some tutorial videos online, would I be able to create my own login afterwards? Or do you need to have some sort of data plan with a wireless carrier to create a new account and even log in to the phone after a factory reset?

    I ask because, while I'm interested in using the phone for wi-fi only purposes (for whatsapp), I wouldn't really feel comfortable in doing so without first getting rid of all of my neighbor's personal data. Thanks.
     



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  2. As long as the screen is still functional, you could do a factory reset and then connect to your wifi and log into your own Google account.
     
  3. iMytch

    iMytch Newbie

    You can definitely use the phone without wireless service on Wifi. Once you have the phone erase all data, it should boot up as if the phone was in it's new stage. If the device was rooted, you may need to use a different method of erasing the phone as the reset button maybe disabled.
     
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Make sure you do that Factory Reset so you'll have a clean start. You don't know what kinds of problems or quirky issues that your neighbor might have been having. Also on the remote chance your neighbor left a microSD card inside, you should format it so that's all cleaned off too. The S2 is a pretty dated model so I wouldn't be surprised if the battery doesn't hold a charge too well but since the Galaxy S models are so common you can pick up things like a new battery or a charging adapter pretty cheap. Even without an account with a carrier you'll be able to do quite a bit with your WiFi, along with WhatsApp you can use Google Hangouts to make WiFi phone calls. As far as apps in general I can't think of any that are cellular only.

    Galaxy S2 general specs (note there a lots of variations of S2's)
    http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_i9100_galaxy_s_ii-3621.php
    Factory Reset S2
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/reset-reformat-smartphone,review-1719-4.html
    Format microSD card
    http://ccm.net/faq/14771-galaxy-s-ii-formatting-the-memory-card
    Google Hangouts WiFi phone call
    http://www.reviewtechnica.com/2014/11/google-hangouts-free-wifi-calls.html
     
  5. dajjorg

    dajjorg Lurker

    Thanks for the advice svim, so here are the updates:

    ---------------PART A----------------
    1-I was mistaken, it is not a Galaxy S2, it is a Samsung Fascinate SCH-I500 (or is it 1500?) that merely had "Galaxy" printed on the back of it
    2-I found a tutorial online and did a "hard" factory reset
    3-After I did this, I rebooted and was able to access the phone and its built-in apps with all my neighbor's personal data gone. I connected to my home's wi-fi network successfully and was able to do a little web browsing.
    4-I went to the store, and eventually got to Google Play (I'm not sure if google play was already there, or if I downloaded it). But after I logged in with my Gmail account to google play and tried to download some basic (free) apps, it gave me an error message RPC:S-7:AEC-0 and kept doing this for every single app I tried to download.
    5-I google this, read up on some forums, and it seemed like the solution was to clear Google Play's cache and data, and then restore to factory settings (again!). So I did just that, but this time not a "hard" reset but rather a reset from the regular phone settings.

    -------------PART B-----------------
    So after resetting to factory settings a second time, the phone rebooted, but this time it didn't bring me to the regular home screen. Instead, it
    1-makes me choose English/Spanish, then
    2-brings me to a black screen that says "Press 'Send' to active your phone", which upon pressing 'Send'....
    3-brings me to a screen with number-buttons and with an automated operator that says "To activate your phone, press 1"
    4-(and upon pressing 1) asks me to type in the number which I am inquiring about


    So, it seems like I'm stuck here: that the phone does actually need a Verizon number associated with it before it can be activated [which was exactly what I was trying to avoid in the first place, since I'm trying to use it without a number]. Funny thing is, when I did the "hard" reset the first time, it did actually let me back into the phone's home screen after rebooting (except with all the personal data and apps erased), and only when I did the factory reset the second time through the settings ("soft reset"???) did it not let me back into the phone without a number.

    So.......any suggestions? Or is this the end of the line?
     
  6. dajjorg

    dajjorg Lurker

    Hey all,

    Was able to find a video on youtube about bypassing that "activation screen". Went into the home screen, logged into Google Play this time with a different Gmail account, and was able to download Whatsapp and other applications and use them. Problem solved! Thanks to all for your help!
     
    svim likes this.
  7. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Always nice to read about someone rescuing and successfully refurbishing an otherwise trashed smartphone. Too many old gadgets don't get recycled and re-purposed, and they just end of up in a landfill. Pop in a new battery and a microSD card and you've got a decent media player too.

    If you're curious about the internals of your Fascinate:
    https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Samsung_Fascinate
     
  8. Yep the "phone" function is only a small part of what these things can do. With all the other radios and sensors there are lots of things you can use them for without cell service- media player (both self-contained and streaming), gaming, email, browsing/news/general connectivity via wifi, vehicle data monitor, the list goes on and on.
    You can still make calls using 3rd-party wifi calling apps (Skype, Viber etc) just not through your cell carrier or #.
    So no reason to toss a perfectly good phone just because it doesn't have service.
     
  9. dajjorg

    dajjorg Lurker

    So svim, if this Samsung Fascinate leads me to an "activation screen" and prompts me to enter the number which I'm inquiring about, does that mean it's "locked"? And if so is there any way of unlocking it? It has "Verizon" engraved on the top of the front screen, which I forgot to mention previously.

    I plan on doing a lot of international living in the coming years, for which I was planning on just buying the cheapest non-smart phone (dumb phone) that I can in that particular country and then getting a pre-paid (pay as you go) plan. Such was what I did last year while teaching English abroad in a developing country, with the only problem being that many people their only use Whatsapp exclusively and don't have a actual "real" functioning number. I've read that smart phone plans in other countries are often very cheap but require an unlocked smartphone, which is an expense (both the plan and/or the actual phone itself) which I've never been interested in enduring while living stateside. If this phone was or could be unlocked (inexpensively) then maybe I'd consider that when/if I teach abroad again.

    Thanks...
     
  10. androidmachine

    androidmachine Android Enthusiast

    If it's Verizon, then it's a CDMA phone. Most phones overseas use GSM. CDMA is mostly an American standard.
     
    svim likes this.
  11. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Yeah, I wouldn't put too much effort or resources into extending your Fascinate beyond the WiFi only set up you've got now. It's a pretty dated model anyway so you're going to have updating issues along with reliability (it's a six year old phone so don't be surprised if some component craps out). Also, for the most part it's only Sprint and Verizon that have stayed with CDMA phones. AT&T, T-Mobile, and the majority of cellular services in the EU and Asia use GSM phones.
    https://www.puretalkusa.com/blog/whats-the-deal-with-unlocked-phones/

    http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_fascinate-3492.php
     
  12. dajjorg

    dajjorg Lurker

    So my geographical area of interest is actually Latin America (Central Am, S. Am, and the Caribbean) and in researching it, it seems that there are a decent number of CDMA carriers/companies in the countries of this region:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_the_Americas

    Regarding it being old, that would be rather irrelevant. I would be using it almost solely for Whatsapp access 24/7, as I am not particularly fond of our excessive internet usage and have never owned a smartphone myself. Cost is the driver here: we're talking about a guy who supported himself on approximately $400 monthly last year (when converted from the local currency).

    As such, I would like to let my question stand: if this Samsung Fascinate leads me to an "activation screen" and prompts me to enter the number which I'm inquiring about, does that mean it's "locked"? And if so is there any way of unlocking it?

    Thanks...
     
  13. androidmachine

    androidmachine Android Enthusiast

    If your area of interest is the Americas, and if there are CDMA carriers where you want to be then, yes, you might be able to use it there once it is unlocked. I would encourage you to check the cellular frequency bands used in the countries you are interested in though and compare it to the frequency bands of that phone.
     
  14. dajjorg

    dajjorg Lurker

    How do I know if it's locked or unlocked? I thought after a certain number of years (like after the initial contract ends, so generally 2, no?) all smartphones become unlocked.

    And how would I check the frequency of bands of both the phone, and said countries? [I assume frequency band varies not only from country to country, but also among different companies within the same country...]
     
  15. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    As far as unlocking I'll refer back to one of the links I already posted on the topic. But as that pertains to the U.S. market I have no clue about any details as to how any foreign cellular services operate. Hopefully someone who's dealt with Central and/or South American phone services before will chime in. If anything if there's a Verizon dealer nearby maybe take it in and have them check it out. If their records indicate it's still tied to an open account, since you salvaged it from a junk pile it will be difficult to prove ownership (unless you're still in contact with your old neighbor).
     
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