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.



3701... Smooth Jazz! (hold music)

I started the activation process at 12am this morning and still my activation is being processed! Almost 22 hours later I called the magic 3701 # again and pressed 3. After entering my 6 digit number (starting with 77) the automated machine said that my iphone was activated and I should be able to use all of its function. It's definately not. Did this happen to anyone else????

hmm.. bought the phone 2 hrs ago, got it activated in 35 mins.

took a while, got stupid email.. so i searched and found this site..... got worried!! but we're good!

still waiting...I has the same exact thing happen. Did you switch your number from another cariier?

So after waiting 23 hours so far, and after having called the 877419-4500 4 times and being told my order was fine and should be up and running shortly, I decided to call that 3701 number that everybody is talking about here. I punched in my order number and it said they need more information about my order. Unfucking real!!! Then it forwards me to the next rep who never picks up and finally, I get the boot saying they can't handle my call right now tdue to excess volume. OMG

Speaking with lady on 3701 she says I should have received order # by now (like some of you have). With that she could help me.

No tryintobepatient...Same # and service

so while on hold for 45 mins until i get disconnected, i hear the recording say they spent $18mil on customer service to become the new at&t? I think that was the number..... anyway, did they spend it on the people who need to fix all the problems, and maybe put some overtime into the customer service areas to fix them, maybe weekend billing people. idk...i work in a business that is set to fluctuate with business and we spend alot when we expect alot and not so much when we don't expect much. this just seems like business 101 mistake. lots of money to invest time frame of new product launch = money being spent on the cheifs wallet thickening expense.
not even a press release. just the spokes person saying all is well in the world of at&t. mean while....

Run-down of my iPhone experience:

6/29, 7:30 am - arrive at miami, fl apple store to sit in line as #33 out of 500
6/29, 6:00 pm - enter apple store fiasco/party for iphone launch
6/29, 6:35 pm - walk out of apple store with huge grin on my face
6/29, 7:20 pm - error with activation due to family talk plan; cust svc rep advised there was an issue with their servers and should be resolved with in 2 hours, unfortunately i had to drive back home to tampa, fl (4 hour drive)
6/30, 2:00 am - back in tampa and finally able to sit down at my iMac and attempt activation
6/30, 2:02 am - "your activation requires additional time" message
6/30, 9:30 am-2:00 pm - AT&T gives me the run-around
6/30, 2:30 pm - left to go jet skiing
6/30, 7:00 pm - back home to the "we are currently processing your order, your order number is 782blahblahblah" that was sent at exactly 3:30 pm
6/30, 9:00 pm - called the "magic" 3701 number to discover my "iPhone has been activated" according to AT&T systems, however my iPhone fails to reflect this revelation; cust svc rep advises that it may be an apple issue and that florida customers are experiencing slow activation as a whole
6/30, 9:30 pm - apple iPhone tech advises AT&T has got their explanation wrong and the very nice lady offers to call AT&T and get scoop; apple iPhone tech advises that there is still a backlog with AT&T's servers and to give it until the morning, if no avail contact AT&T again to try to get them to "push" the activation through

hour 19... still no iPhone... very very sad...

o.k., so aside from not knowing whether to sell all stock in apple at 6 a.m., where did you guys get your order number... i am porting a number, tried to do it over the iTunes, did not work, so i called in and they did my order manually to port the number, but i see some of you got order numbers? from where?

oh yeah, 9th hour

ok i got it..after the guy said he fixed it manually
and it still wasnt workin...i went into the website to
the secure website and changed my existing account to
a iphone account and it cut on....5am was the 1st activation
any questions before i get with my phone

Lady on 3701 sound really official... LIke she is actually doing something. Asked me what state I live in?


Are they reading my posts???

It just activated - almost 27 hours later. Perhaps all you need to do it publicly declare you're going to return it.

Syncing now.


pro100mph - What secure site? Is your phone working?

pro100mph - When you changed your plan what did you do after that?

AT&T Totally SUCKS!! I'm at 27 hours and counting. My phone was immediately killed 27 hours ago when I started the activation process. Countless calls (and countless disconnects!) to AT&T has done no good at all. They tell me that it may be another "day or two". WTF! I would not have been one of their suckers if I'd known this. Apple and AT&T had the wireless industry in the palm of their hand and they totally blew it!!! There is no excuse for AT&T to totally blow this launch. It's not like they just learned of the launch this week! To make matters worse, the spokespeople from AT&T are telling all the media outlets that only a "few customers" experienced delays in activation and most were activated in minutes. BS!!!!! Somebody needs to expose these freakin liars!

okay... got a nice supervisor named Jen.. she told me I was not 100% activated (NO REALLY?) three others said I was and my system was glitched.. she said there was another system that indicated that many people are showing activated but reps are NOT looking at the other system which shows a major glitch in THEIR system and they are working on it.. it shows only partial activations

so if they tell you you are activated and you know you are not this may be the problem.. they are aware of it sadly they say it could be another 12 hours to resolve it.

In That Case. To All who Will Listen: "If this DOES NOT WORK SOON, BY GOD I AM RETURNING MY iPHONE!!!"

UPDATE, now my old phone is not working...way to go att/pple d|ckheads

looks like that analigy of not being able to take money out of the ATM might happen....

I'm the on-call engineer for production support, and i have no cell phone/pager

what a shitstorm....

on call with 3701 now and they say that my order is on hold and they cannot even pull my order because it is in the process to be activated. WTF??? I told her that the automtased voice told me that you were requesting more information in order to process my activation and she finally put me on hold to go find a supervisor. Now what???

Just an FYI remember while you are waiting you can put your Iphone sim card into your old phone.. it works great and will not affect your activation.. at least you will have a phone

Stuck on stupid activation screen and email
Unable to reach customer support last night due to high volume of calls
(at least i'm not alone)
This am told by AT&T could take up to 24 hrs.
Sounded good after being on hold for what seemed like an eternity
Going on 26 hours
Told at AT&T store was a apple problem
Told by apple was an AT&T problem
After staying on hold of course
Can't find any fixes or mention of problem at apple or AT&T sites
Felt like an idiot when i tried to call customer service with my old diabled phone (AT&T via Cingular)
did someone take a bite out of AT&T's world
Class action suit anyone?

NICK B The rep said the account said pending
so i would reinstall everything manually
he said it was active..still no iphone i went
on cingular.com logged into my account changed
the treo680 to a iphone and made sure i was on the
rite plan..the phoned the email came almost instant

iPhony, I am with you on the Class Action. I know a really good blood sucking attorney that would LOVE to sue someone and make a ton of money...

so, this very nice woman leaves me hold for some time and comes back and says I am activated, unplug the phone turn it off and replug it back in. I an psyched now but still cannot beleive it will work. So, I plug it back in and wala...it DOES NOT WORK!! LOL.

Her supervisor is now cheking into it.

finally, she got back on the line and said that they had too add another feature and it should activate in 1 hour. I think they are hoping that I just go to sleep already.