I purchased the inexpensive Motorola Moto G Android phone for $99 USD at the local Best Buy. It’s a cheap way to get a test device for Android development. The Verizon version is a no contract phone so you are not stuck with a two year contract. If you want to use it as a phone you need to buy a monthly “pass” from Verizon ($45). For my purposes I don’t want to pay for cell service, I plan on using it as a wi-fi phone only. At first glance there doesn’t appear anyway to use the phone without signing up for at least one month service. But there is a way to avoid the fee if you know the ninja swipe maneuver.
The activation screen
When you turn on the device you select your desired language, then the phone shows the activation screen.
Figure 01: Phone activation screen
The instruction tells you tap the “here” link, which dials the activation service. When you are connected to the service a recorded voice asks you to enter your Zip Code so that it can assign a phone number to your new device. The voice then tells you about the $45 a month plan. Press 1 to sign up for the plan, press 2 to hear more details. Those are the only two choices offered. So it appears that you have no choice but to sign up for the one month of service. But don’t despair, there is a way through the activation process.
Bypass Activation Screen
Here are the steps to skip the activation screen.
While on the activation screen , pull down from the top edge of the phone to show the notification screen.
Figure 02: Notification screen
Touch the recent apps button on the bottom right of the screen.
Figure 03: Press the recent app list
The Activation screen will appear as a small icon on screen, swipe the activation app to the left side of the screen.
Figure 04: Swipe the activation screen to left
It’s just that simple, now you can continue with the setup process and have a wi-fi only phone.
The fine print
The activation screen reappears occasionally while using the phone. I’ve seen it appear when restarting the phone. It also might appear if you try to dial a phone number.
I can tolerate these small annoyances on a phone that is only used for testing. What about you?
If you want to get a unlocked, no contract version of the Moto G, it’s available on Google Play for $200.