iPhone Activation Problems Plaguing Countless New iPhone Owners

UPDATE - July 11th, 2008: If you're looking for information on activation issues plaguing iPhone 3G owners, visit the following link: Not Again: iPhone 3G Release Plagued by Activation Problems.

Does the following sound familiar: you rushed home with your new iPhone, plugged it into your computer, loaded up iTunes, and started zipping through the activation process. After selecting a plan, perhaps setting up an iTunes account, and agreeing to a few sets of terms - you were just about ready to use your iPhone. Then, it happened. "It", in this case, refers to the "your iPhone activation requires additional time to complete" message that seemingly countless iPhone customers have received.


Subsequently, users who receive the wait message receive an email from Apple's iTunes store which states the following: "AT&T is now processing your activation. You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete."

There are mixed indications from AT&T about what is causing the delays. AT&T representatives have suggested individual account issues, overwhelming activation volumes, and delays related to porting numbers from other networks. Though most customers who have actually gotten to speak with AT&T customer service (hold times are over an hour in most cases) report being told they can expect a 2-6 hour wait, some have reported being told they may not have their iPhones activated for 24-72 hours.

Most customers who are in the activation waiting period have also already had their existing phone's service disabled by AT&T, further increasing the frustration involved in waiting.

It's worth mentioning that the iPhone is, in a sense, useless without activating it. Short of being able to make emergency calls, there's little one can do with their new iPhone except play with the unlock slider on the "Activate iPhone" screen. And folks, despite those who might feel like it is, your iPhone not being activated is NOT an emergency - so please resist the urge to call 9-1-1 and complain to them. Besides, they can't help.

For those of you that have contacted iPhoneFAQ looking for answers to these activation issues, check back to this post, we'll update information here as it becomes available.

(Updated - June 30th, 11:20am EDT) AT&T customer service has indicated that pre-existing AT&T customers waiting for activation with their previous phone already disconnected can remove the SIM card from the iPhone, place it in their other phone, and use that for calls while waiting for thieir iPhone activation email. According to AT&T, doing such will not interrupt or affect the waiting activation.

Disclaimer: we're not supporting this information from AT&T or suggesting you do anything but wait. However, for those of you who may need to place urgent calls, this may be an option to exercise.

(Updated - June 30th, 11:08pm EDT) At this point we've been lucky enough to get the two iPhones we've been struggling with getting activated actually up and running. Unfortunately, there isn't one particular solution we can suggest to any of you. Both are live now as a result of one thing and one thing only:Â persistence.

Each phone took over 24 hours and 10 calls to AT&T to get activated. On almost every call, the AT&T representative on the other end identified some culprit or another holding up the process. We're confident, at least with these two particular phones, that without interaction with the AT&T staff, activation would not have completed.

Be sure to do the following:Â get your order number (even if you didn't get this in email, a rep should be able to give it to you), ask about "holds" on your account, verify IMEI and SIM card numbers, make sure nothing on the account is "awaiting verification". Keep checking your activation status and speaking directly with iPhone activation support.



While waiting you can always try to spin the globe, and try to pinch it to zoom down to see your house...

(it won't work but hey worth a try)

Yes - I'm one of the countless sufferers. Please, AT&T, end my pain.

how long have people been waiting to fix this problem?

i had huge excitement and now feel like a dumb crap purchasin this piece of real crap..

Did they not anticipate the demand to activate? AT&T has always been sub standard. They continue to be second rate. I plunked down 652.00 and change for a phone, lets get the ball rolling and make it work!!

Yeah... But the slider is pretty frickin' sweet, huh?

Damn as soon as i left this message, they activated my phone!!!!!!

compensation please

yeah,for 600 bucks it should activate itself! att knew they would be busy, this is crappy service allready! not what i expect from my apple experience

1 hour of slide for emergency and nothing, i wish i could play with my toy!

I have been waiting for FIVE days and they say it may take even longer - granted it's 2 JAN. 08
This is affecting my JOB, though! I am so screwed right now and there is nothing they will say or do to help me. My husband and I have spent at least 10 hours on the phone with AT&T and MAC with no success - MAC blames AT&T and vice versa.
I am soooo frustrated. The explanation is that the system is backed up.
BUT that is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Especially when it's affecting my work and I am unreachable.

Been waiting for almost 6 hours now, at five hours I got a message telling me that my activation had been cancelled. wtf? now waiting again. not cool.

At least if it's cancelled you can start over.
I'm just waiting .............. STILL!

been waiting for 20 hours now and nothing. So frustrating! payed $500 for this.

20 hours??? What is wrong with you people. CALL ATT. I waited one hour then called ATT and they found the problem and activated the phone within 15 min. 20 hours...yikes.

Just got a hold of AT&T really quickly actually and they said it's been taking 30-60 minutes to activate after clicking submit.

3 hours and waiting... AT&T, you are harshing my Apple mellow.

took me 50 minutes till activated. ATT still has me very worried though. @#$%

At least Microsoft knows how to load-test their activation servers... :)

I got that error message as well. I called the 877 number on the page and got a customer service rep after waiting about 30-45 seconds. He was pretty friendly and checked out my account for any problems. He didn't find any, but told me that due to volume, I might have to wait about 24 hours. He was incredibly apologetic. I'm disappointed, but at least I was treated well by customer service.

It's been 5 hours for me so far, still waiting.

Spoke with AT&T rep. Need to wait for 24 hrs! How could they not plan for this capacity???? Very disappointing...

What are they doing, just calling it a night?

What were you expecting? You are activating the iPhone as a 2nd party device by a automated process. What a disaster support is going to be in the future.

I keep using the slider... It doesn't get old. I can't wait to use the other features... Like... Clock...

I got the "your account type cannot be used with iphone, call this #...

Back in 1989 when I got my first cell phone my account was mistakenly marked business in some archane database, and now no one knows how to remove the designation.
They suck

Just got off the phone with AT&T. They said that even for existing customers it could be another 24 hours.

Then I read about people having their activations done from start to finish in 20 minutes! WTF.

i cant even get past the porting part :(

While we're waiting (5 hours here), you can copy files to the iphone by dragging individual audio or video files, or whole playlists to the iPhone in the devices list as someone noted in howard forums (you can't _do_ anything with them, but in theory it'll save you some sync time once you do get activated).