August 26, 2016

Guide to Activating or Switching to a Smartphone with Tracfone

Tips and Advice for Activating or Switching to a Tracfone Smartphone

We get a lot of questions from our readers here at TracfoneReviewer about switching to Tracfone smartphones, and as more and more people make that transition, we wanted to share the best advice and tips we've gathered from our experiences, and those of our readers.

tracfone smartphone activation
How to Activate a Tracfone Smartphone
If you're in one of the following situations, this how-to will be especially helpful for you:
-Switching from a Non-Smartphone to a Smartphone
-Switching from one Smartphone to Another
-Activating a New Smartphone
-Switching to a Tracfone BYOP device.

What we want to share is some information on how to start the transfer or activation process, and our best advice on making the transition as smooth as possible. A number of longtime Tracfone users are making the switch to Smartphones (partially because of the closing of 2G networks) and it can be very challenging and frustrating to try and figure out how to do it.

Let's start with the activation process.

Basic Process for Activating a Smartphone

Here are the basic steps we would recommend for activating a smartphone with Tracfone. Before we start, keep in mind these points about smartphones:

Remember that...
  • You cannot switch from a smartphone back to a regular phone
  • Airtime on smartphones is split into three pools - Talk/Text/Data
  • Not all Smartphones come with Triple Minutes for Life (Tracfone recently changed that)
  • Smartphone-only airtime cards do not triple.
  • Promo Codes can be used with Smartphones (in most cases)
OK, now let's start the process.

Step 1 - Verify what coverage works best in your area

Verify and purchase a phone that will be compatible with your geographical area. Tracfone offers both GSM and CDMA coverage, but some areas only have one or the other. For their GSM coverage, they use AT&T cell towers and for their CDMA coverage they use Verizon towers. If you've already got a phone from Tracfone, check what comes at the end of the name. a 'G' at the end means GSM, a 'C' means CDMA (for example, the LG 306G uses GSM).

how to activate tracfone smartphone
Tracfone Activation Steps
For those planning to bring their own device, check that the phone you are purchasing is unlocked, and compatible with the network you plan to use. Some smartphones can actually be used with either network, like the new Moto G 4th Gen.

If you're shopping for phones, visit our Cell Phone Reviews page or our Tracfone BYOP page.

Step 2 - Gather Necessary Items

To activate a new Tracfone smartphone, you simply need the phone you wish to activate, and the red activation card which includes the serial number.

To activate a phone on Tracfone BYOP, you will need a Tracfone SIM card kit, the phone you wish to activate, and an airtime card (or credit card to buy airtime).

You can get the BYOP SIM card kit from Tracfone, or get it from Amazon or BestBuy for $1. Also available from other sources.

If you're transferring service, you should also have your old phone with you.

Step 3 - Start the Activation Process

You can either call Tracfone or use their website to start the activation process, but we recommend using the website.

Go to and look for the orange button towards the top right of the screen that says "activate/reactivate/transfer" and choose this option.

Follow the prompts, choosing whether you are using a Tracfone Smartphone, or a BYOP device. Then continue to enter the information as prompted.

We've heard from many readers who have been able to activate their device in a matter of minutes. But things don't always go so smoothly, so continue on to the next step.

Step 4 - Check that Everything Works

Once you complete the activation process (which usually takes less than an hour, but may take up to 2 days), make your test calls, test texts, and check that your data works.

If something is not working, start by turning your device off and back on (for most devices this means hold the power button for several seconds until it powers down or asks if you want to turn it off), and then wait at least 48 hours after activating to see if it will start working.

If you still don't have an active device, it is time to contact Tracfone.

There are (at least) 6 Ways to Contact Tracfone:

  • Call Tracfone - 1 (800) 867-7183 (this is their customer service number, available 8AM-11:45PM EST 7 days a week)
  • Text Tracfone - Text 'HELP' to 611611 (we've never actually tried this, so don't know how well it will work)
  • Email Tracfone - This doesn't seem to be available at the moment
  • Use the Tracfone Forum
  • Use the Tracfone Facebook page
  • You can also chat via Facebook
Here is the contact page on the Tracfone website

For most, calling is the best way to get help, although other methods might work better for you depending on your situation. Be prepared to be patient and clearly explain your problem. Tracfone customer service is not the best, but I've always had my problems fixed eventually.

The majority of people have no issues and smoothly activate their new phone or transfer their number and minutes. But a small percent seem to run into issues, anything from Tracfone sending the wrong SIM, to ill-informed customer service. Based on years of comments and reports from our readers, these issues just sometimes happen, and you will need some patience and determination to work through it.

Leave a comment with your preferred method of communication, and any other feedback on contacting Tracfone in the comments below!

Additional Tips and Advice for Actuating a Tracfone Smartphone

Here are some extra tips and helpful information we hope will make for an easier activation process and answer some of your questions.
  • Double check your coverage area. One way to check what service you have in your area is to enter your zipcode on the Tracfone website when shopping for a phone. If only CDMA devices show up, you live in an area best suited to CDMA. But, that doesn't mean GSM won't work in that area. We've heard from several readers who reported using a different zipcode to activate their phone and the device still works in their home area.
  • Buying Tracfone smartphones from other retailers like Amazon, eBay, HSN, QVC and retail stores, can often be much cheaper than buying directly from the Tracfone website.
  • Most unlocked smartphones will work with Tracfone BYOP. Occasionally they don't, but with enough persistence they might. 
  • You can check your device's IMEI or ESN number on the Tracfone website to see if it is compatible, although they are occasionally wrong.
  • Get a BYOP SIM card kit from Amazon or BestBuy for $1. This includes all the SIM cards you will need (Nano, Micro and Regular) and a network activation code.
  • If you're having trouble with getting help from customer service, try escalating to Tracfone's Florida help center number: 1-800-876-5753. But if the lines are busy, you'll be directed back to regular customer service. 
  • Try to be clear and patient with customer service. They are not the easiest to understand, nor are they always correct, but they do try to sort things out. If you're not making progress, ask for a supervisor or hang up and call again.
  • Turning your smartphone off and back on will often solve problems. Doing a full reset may also solve issues if you can't find a different solution.
  • If you are transferring from one smartphone to another, you should be able to log into your Google account on the new phone and automatically load your apps, contacts, and other information.
  • If your Data or MMS is not working, you can try updating your settings here.
  • In some cases it is possible to take the SIM card out of an existing Tracfone device and put it into a new phone with no need to make any other changes. Some users have found that if a phone isn't being recognized by Tracfone, inserting an active SIM can help resolve the situation. 
Over the last several years Tracfone has become much better at activating smartphones and BYOP devices. Those that tried activating smartphones when they were first released probably remember all the issues. But many problems have been fixed, the BYOP program has been expanded to almost any smartphone, and the activation process is generally fast and easy.

We hope these tips will help make your activation process easier, or give you the confidence to give it a try. Leave a comment with further questions, or any tips we missed! (FYI - comments are posted after they are moderated, as we get a lot of spam)

Join our Facebook page where you can post questions, and see the latest news and information about Tracfone.

If you're looking for a new phone, see some great Deals and Discounts we recently posted!

Also, take a look at our update to 4 Ways to Check your Airtime with Tracfone if you like to keep track of your minutes balance.

Thanks for visiting!

August 17, 2016

Tracfone iPhone 5S Now Available for $199

Apple iPhone 5S for Tracfone Available from Target

Below we share details on  the Tracfone Apple iPhone 5S. TracfoneReviewer is a blog dedicated to sharing news, info and reviews about Tracfone Wireless and we hope the information here is useful for you! 

UPDATE: The iPhone 5S is now available from the Tracfone website as well as Target retail stores.

Additionally, Tracfone now also offers the iPhone SE, 6, 6S and 7 on their website.

The Apple iPhone 5S is now available for Tracfone at both Target retail stores and the Tracfone website.

Tracfone iPhone
Apple iPhone 5S for Tracfone
We've known about Apple iPhones coming to Tracfone for several months now, but the 5S at Target is the first sighting of what will likely be a full lineup of Apple devices available to Tracfone users.

The iPhone 5S features 16 GB memory, a stunning 8 MP camera and a somewhat small 4" touchscreen. You also get access to the Apple App Store and iOS, the Apple operating system.

Many Tracfone users know that Apple phones have been available to use on Tracfone's prepaid network for more than a year, but only through the BYOP program, where there's no guarantee of compatibility. So this is a deal for those who want an iPhone through Tracfone.

What might be more surprising than the iPhone 5S coming to Tracfone is the price. Target has the Tracfone iPhone 5S for $199 (on sale for $149 briefly), which is a very reasonable price for this phone. On the Tracfone website, the iPhone 5S is listed for just $149.

Below we are going to share some of the features and specs for the iPhone 5S followed by where to you can buy the phone. We'll be working on a full review of the Tracfone iPhone 5S soon.

Tracfone iPhone 5S Features and Specs

What you get with the Tracfone 5S:
  • Apple iOS with access to the Apple App Store
  • 4G LTE using CDMA service (Verizon cell towers)
  • Micro USB Charger included
  • Headphones included
  • 16 GB Internal Memory
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual Core 1.3 Ghz processor
  • 4" Touchscreen (640x1136)
  • 8 MP Camera with 1080p HD video recording and front facing camera
  • Talk time 10 hrs, Standby 240 hrs
  • First Released Sept 2013
Apple devices have always been a bit weak when it comes to specs, but performance-wise they hold up just fine. Some of the highlights for this phone include the 16 GB internal memory for storing apps, photos and other things, and the 8 MP rear camera which can record great images or HD video.

The camera on iPhone's have long been a selling point, and even though the iPhone 5S is a few years old, the camera is still well beyond most other devices available from Tracfone.

For more detailed specs, visit GSMArena

Where to Buy the Tracfone iPhone 5S

Tracfone apple iphone 5s
Apple iPhone 5S at Target
The iPhone 5S is available directly from Simply navigate to 'Shop for Phones' and follow the tromps to view phones available in your area. The Tracfone iPhone 5S is for CDMA networks, but some users are reporting that it shows up even when they enter a GSM zipcode.

As we've already mentioned, the iPhone 5S is currently available at Target retail stores. We've found it in stock at 1 out of 3 local Targets, so it might not be available in every one.

You can also find the Tracfone iPhone 5S on the Target Website. We will update if it becomes available elsewhere.

This phone is retailing for just $199 at Target or $149 at, which even at $199 is a great value for the device as it is hard to find an unlocked iPhone 5S for under $200. Many unlocked iPhone 5S devices are going for closer to $300.

We are looking forward to gathering more information about this iPhone and the availability. Please leave a comment with your thoughts, opinions or questions!

Keep up with the latest news and articles by following us on Facebook. It's a great place to interact with our more than 2000 other followers, and get your questions answered.

We recently updated our Comparison of Tracfone Smartphone Cards vs Regular Airtime Cards and found some interesting results. Go take a look if you want to discover what phone card is the best deal, and which is right for you.

Also check out our newest list of Tracfone Deals, Discounts and Sales! 

Thanks for visiting!

August 9, 2016

Tracfone Deals and Sales - August 2016

List of Deals and Discounts on Tracfone Smartphones

Below are a list of various phones for Tracfone and where to get them for the best price. TracfoneReviewer strives to provide readers with the best information to help them save money. Take a look around our blog if you're new to see some of the other Tracfone related content we offer.

sale tracfone
Tracfone Deal and Discounts for August 2016
Tracfone releases new phones on a regular basis, but these phones are released through a wide variety of retail channels including stores, online shopping networks, and the Tracfone website. It can be hard to track down where the best deals are for Tracfone devices.

But we keep up with where phones are being offered, and where to find the best prices and are sharing our best deals here. These deals don't always last long, so be sure to move quickly if it is a phone you really want.

We are including in this list of deals and sales some Tracfone smartphones, a non-smartphone device for Tracfone, as well as several unlocked smartphones that can be used with Tracfone BYOP.

Our goal is to share some of the best deals we have found on phones to use with Tracfone, to give our readers more options when buying a device. Be sure to leave a comment if you find a better deal somehwere that we missed.

All of the phones listed below we recommend because we think they are a good value for the money. But everyone needs to consider what they want out of a phone before finding which will suit their needs best.

If you need more help looking for a new phone, visit our list of Cell Phone Reviews.

Tracfone Deals and Discounts on Smartphones for August 2016

Some of these deals include just the phone, or the phone and airtime.

LG 306G and LG 441G (non-smartphones)

We are going to start this list off with two non-smartphone options for those who might need to upgrade from a 2G device, but are not ready for a smartphone.

The LG 306G (click for our review) is a small, touchscreen phone that does calling and texting, and has the capability for java based apps. But you cannot use typical apps from Android because this phone doesn't use the Android OS.

It comes with a 3.2" touchscreen, 3 MP front facing camera, and uses GSM networks. This is a basic device, but at only $6.99 on Amazon with Triple Minutes for Life, it is a very good deal for those who don't want to make the move to smartphones.

Another non-smartphone option is the LG 441G flip phone. This is also a very basic phone, but does calling a texting as you would expect from a flip phone.

The LG 441G is available from QVC for $20 and includes a 60 minute airtime card worth $20, making the phone essentially free (just remember shipping and handling costs).

One of the major benefits of non-smartphone devices from Tracfone is that you can still use Tracfone Promo Codes with them and get extra airtime for free each time you add minutes to your phone.

Now, let's get to the great deals on Tracfone Smartphones.

LG Rebel L44VL

We recently reviewed the LG Rebel and it is a basic but good smartphone with Android 5.1, 4.5" touchscreen, 5 MP camera and 8 GB Memory. It is a phone that is best for low to moderate smartphone users. If you tend to use a lot of different apps, you may want a more powerful phone. The Rebel is a good option for first time smartphone users, or even as a backup device. It runs on CDMA networks.

You can get the LG Rebel with 1200 minutes from QVC for $84 (at this time). The airtime alone is worth about $100, making this a great deal.

If you don't need the minutes, you can also get the Rebel from eBay for $50.

LG Stylo 2 L81 AL

We also recently reviewed the LG Stylo 2 and it comes with an impressive 5.7" touchscreen. You also get 8 MP camera, Android 5.1, and 8 GB internal memory. The key feature for the Stylo 2 is obviously the large screen which makes reading, watching videos or even texting much easier.

The rest of the specs for the Stylo 2 are very adequate, but for people who like to use their smartphone a lot, and run multiple apps at once, you may want to look for a phone with both more internal memory (for storing apps) and more RAM (for running multiple apps at once).

Get the LG Stylo 2 from HSN for $180 which includes 1200 minutes (worth $100).

LG Lucky L16C

The LG Lucky is a very basic smartphone running Android 4.4, with a 3.8" touchscreen and 4 GB internal memory. We would only recommend it to people who don't plan to use their phone for very much beyond email, facebook, or browsing the web.

But you can get the LG Lucky for just $10 on Amazon, making it a great value for the money. Some of the optinos for this phone include a dedicated MP3 or podcast player, back up phone, or smartphone for kids. The main limitations for this phone is the low internal memory and low RAM.

Take a look at our review of the LG Lucky to learn more.

Deals on Unlocked Smartphones for Tracfone BYOP

Next we want to share a few smartphones that could be used with Tracfone BYOP. These are unlocked devices, and should work with BYOP, but they are not guaranteed to work, so proceed with that in mind.

Making sure that the device is unlocked, and uses the correct network for your area are good steps to increase the likelihood that the phone can be activated with Tracfone BYOP, but we've still heard from a small percentage of people about issues with activating devices on BYOP.

There are two major benefits to activating your own device with Tracfone BYOP - selection and price. You can choose your smartphone from a much wider selection, and these phones, especially refurbished or used models, can be purchased at significant discounts. Tracfone has very limited options when it comes to internal memory, but when you bring your own device, you can get a phone with as much memory as you need.

BLU RI HD (GSM Compatible for Tracfone BYOP)

Tracfone blu smartphone
BLU R1 HD unlocked
The R1 is a budget BYOP option that comes with two main features many Tracfone users may want - 16 GB internal memory and 2 GB RAM. You also get Android 6.0, a 5" touchscreen and an 8 MP camera.

How much does a phone like this cost? Well that's the best part, the regular version, with 16 GB memory, is available on Amazon for $109. If you're a prime member, you can get a $50 gift card with certain restrictions.

When we first started hearing about the BLU line of smartphones and how cheap they are, we were skeptical, but several readers have reported good experiences activating BLU devices with Tracfone.

Moto G 4th Gen (Unlocked for either GSM or CDMA with Tracfone BYOP)

tracfone discount phones
Unlocked Moto G 4th Gen
The Moto G line of phones is well known for delivering great value at a reasonable price and the newest generation, the Moto G 4th gen, is no exception. It comes with 16 GB memory (or 32GB), 2 GB RAM, an Octa-core processor, 5.5" touchscreen and 13 MP camera.

You can get the Moto G on Amazon for $199, or even less with certain offers.

One of the big features of the Moto G line is exceptional, all-day battery life. The newest model takes it one step further with turbo charging, giving up to 6 hours battery life off of a 15 minute charge. If you're tired of your phone running out of battery halfway through the day, consider the Moto G.

Samsung Galaxy S5 (Unlocked, GSM and CDMA versions available to use with Tracfone BYOP)

The Galaxy S5 was the flagship phone for Samsung in 2014 and it had some of the most advanced features at the time. Two years later it is still a powerful phone, but you can get it for much less than before.

Featuring a 5.1" touchscreen, 16 GB internal memory and 16 MP camera, the Galaxy S5 has outstanding features even though it is two years old. It is also dust and water resistant, which is always good in case of an accident.

Tracfone actually offers the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7 for sale, but they range in price from $500 to just over $600 and not everyone wants to spend that much on a phone.

You can find an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 on eBay for around $200, and under $200 if you're willing to buy a refurbished model. Always be sure to read any fine print about the condition of the phone, and make sure it has a clean ESN and is compatible with whichever network you plan to use.

That concludes our list of great deals, discounts and sales on Tracfone smartphones and unlocked devices. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts or questions. And also let us know if you find any exceptional deals out there.

You can also get answers to your questions, or just stay current on the latest Tracfone news and information by Following us on Facebook where we have more than 2000 other Tracfone users.

We updated our article on New Tracfone Smartphone-Only Airtime Cards and included some airtime comparison tables that are very helpful in learning which card is the best deal for you to buy. Take a look if you want to learn more.

Thanks for visiting!

August 2, 2016

Tracfone Promo Codes for August 2016

List of Tracfone Promo Codes - August 2016

Below we share the latest promo codes to use with Tracfone. Each month, the TracfoneReviewer blog collects new codes and posts them on our site. We hope you find these codes helpful, and be sure to check out the rest of our Tracfone related content!

Tracfone coupon august 2016
New Tracfone Codes for August 2016
The month of August bring warm weather and new Tracfone Promo Codes! These promotional codes from Tracfone can be used to get extra airtime for free when you add an airtime card.

You don't have to do anything for these codes, they are free to use. Simply enter the code while entering your airtime PIN on your phone, over the phone, or on the Tracfone website.

Tracfone provides these codes as a way to give incentives to their customers and you can use a code every time you add airtime to get free minutes.

Please note, these codes do not work on any smartphones, which includes both the smartphones available through Tracfone, and those on Tracfone BYOP.

But smartphones do offer a lot of advantages, and Tracfone has been releasing a number of new Android smartphones for their customers. We just published reviews for the LG Rebel, a budget friendly smartphone with good features, and the LG Stylo 2, and slightly more expensive device that comes with a large, 5.7" touchscreen.

You can catch up on the news about new Tracfone devices by reading our posts New LG/Samsung Smartphones from Tracfone and New Alcatel/ZTE Smartphones from Tracfone.

Enough about phones, let's get to the codes. These codes are just the latest promo codes for Tracfone that are valid and working for the month of August 2016. We have a much larger list, with many more codes, on our main Tracfone Promo Code page.

Tracfone Promo Code List - August 2016

Be aware that some codes may only be used once, while others can be used multiple times.

60 Minute Card use code 12745 to get 60 bonus minutes (this code may only work for some)

120 Minute Card enter 61475 for 30 free minutes

200 Minute Card add code 35118 and receive 40 extra airtime

450 Minute Card use 89077 and get 50 bonus minutes

1 Year/400 Minute Card enter code 87256 for 300 free minutes

Bonus: Get $15 off the 1 Year/400 Minute card with code 89497 (only on the Tracfone website)

These are the latest codes, free to use and share. Please pass them along to your friends and family. We've noticed some sites hide or even sell these promo codes, so make sure everyone you know is aware they are free!

Keep up with the latest news and info about Tracfone by following us on Facebook! We share a variety of Tracfone information, and are available to help answer questions along with our more than 2000 followers.

If you are considering a Tracfone smartphone, take a look at our recent post on the Changes to Smartphones Only Airtime Cards. These changes only affect smartphone cards, but we share some analysis on which cards are the best deal.

You can also visit our Cell Phone Reviews page for our full list of Tracfone cell phone reviews including both smartphones and non-smartphones.

Thanks for visiting!