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.



Boom!!!!! Im on!!


same thing here... "Well... everything is activated on our end... looks like you will just have to wait for the e-mail..."

well... that was well over 15 hours ago... !@#^!@^#

if everything is activated on AT&T's end... why haven't they sent the information to Apple or me yet?!?!?!?!?

i'm so frustrated it's not even funny...

I'm 25 hours in, and no where near a working iFucked...

Well... 20 minutes have come and gone... turned her on, put her on the dock annnnnnnnnnnndddddddd NOTHING. Awesome. *head desk* Getting a little delirious. On hold with the new number (1-877-777-4189) and "my call will be answered within the next 12 minutes." Wonderful. Also, I would just like to add I've been with AT&T for 7 years.

welcome to the club... i am now officially 26 hours in... AT&T has hung up on me once already...

i will be demanding any activation fees i have paid back, as well as compensation for not having a phone for 26 hours...

just shut my phone off ill give it a try

Nearly 22 hours in.......... . .. .. .... .... . . ... ...

nathan they will cove rthe activation and also compensate the days the phone isnt on but i think we deserve more

i'm almost 24hrs in and nothing..

at least got old phone to work with iphone sim card..

my only relief is seeing that shiny apple in that gorgeous screen every time it connects to the craddle~

22 hours since hitting "submit"
8 hours since receiving "we are currently processing your order" e-mail
5 hours since my supposed activation

still no iPhone... kinda bored... boyfriend is asleep :(

A couple years ago when the Nano was announced, it was rumored that the iPhone was also going to be announced, but when Steve Jobs saw the design that Motorola created, he abandoned the announcement at the last minute.

The current incarnation of the iPhone is proof that Apple should not look to anyone else to develop their products. After playing with an iPhone in the store for most of the day today, I bought one and was thrilled to get it home and use it. No body can design a product as good as Apple.

Just like the everyone else here, I have suffered through many of the same problems and still don't have a phone that I can use.

No matter how cool the slider is, how sexy the packaging is, or how good the iPhone feels in my hand, this is unexcusable.

In my mind Apple has made a second strike by once again trying to work with another company.

Besides Design, apple is known for ease of use. The process of activiting my iPhone has been everything but easy.

It seems unpopular to blame Apple here, but I do just the same. Any carrier would have had these problems.

Gone are the days of satisfying your need for instant gratification. Maybe this is what we have to expect with inovation and new technology. Our grand kids will likely look at you in amazement when you tell them stories of how you used to be able to buy a cell phone at a store and make a call on it before you walk out.

Awe, remember the good old day.

I'm holding out a couple more days, then I'm taking my iPaperWeight back to the store. Of course, when that happens, I'll still have to pay the $50 restocking fee for my pleasure.


Just reached the promised land!!!!!!

OK. Talked to ATT. Rep gave following info:
- 30,000 phone activation backlog from Friday (yes, Friday)
- Problem is with Apple, not ATT. Why you ask? Rep said, take out iPhone SIM card and put it in your old phone for service, if you need. Therefore, obviously SIM card from iPhone is up and active. However, iPhone data service activation is via Apple. And I have a guess Apple has never had so many devices purchased so fast...

Congrats falkirk18!

Still nada here.

I bought my Iphone at 7pm on Friday and my AT&T finally activated my Iphone at 11pm on Saturday! 27 hours! unbelievable!

On the phone with 4189 number... very nice guy is going back and forth between supervisors trying to figure out what's wrong. BLAH!

31st in line in philly. activated at 8:19 yesterday..6 plus hours on the phone today. Jeffrey Corey from Baton Rouge, LA call center totally gave me 6 different stories. Had to wait 45 minutes just to speak to him. I could totally tell they were just trying to get me to hang up. Seriously the most unprofessional operation I have seen from a call center and I manage one. Terrible. The first tech was even better. She was like 80 years old and didnt know a thing she was doing.

discovered on AT&T site that idiot who sold me the phony and smiled while explaining that activation would be simple and easy entered upgrade to iPhone on my wifes profile
at least they deactivated the right phone
sign in go to ATT wireless and check your profile
shortly after received a 2nd email (WOW)
AT&T site says i am activated!
How do it know?
iPhony don't know it
Can't find proper data plan to select on site salesperson failed to enter data plan?
Anyhow if you are stuck staring at a stupid screen or waiting on a email that may or may not arrive i suggest looking all around the world on the AT&T site
Warning you will need a phone # and password
The final indignity is that if you need to create a temporary password AT&T will send you a free text---------
you got it !!!!!
to your disarmed cell phone!!!!!

Many of you seem to be on hold forever. Each and every time I have called, I've been "helped" within 1 minute. Twice, they have actually answered the phone before I even heard a ring.

However, the result is still the same. I was just told that everything is activated on AT&T's end, but yet my phone still has not been activated, and I have an expensive door stop. It has been almost 29 hours, and nothing. I was also told that the activations happen on a first come first served basis, which clearly isn't the case. This is utter BS.

Alright kids, here's the deal. If you call the 4189 number they are better able to look at your activation status. Even though your status is "active" it may not be, really. There are 6-8 items that must be "downloaded" on to your SIM before your iPhone is active. Apparently there are 2 partials on mine. It's only a matter of time *crosses finger* I think I may head to bed and hope for the best in the morning. Good luck to those still waiting and congrats to the lucky bastards that can already play with their toy!

Just got through on 3701. He has to "add me to a group" and then I should be good to go... 24 hours in 4 more minutes.

I'm ok with delays due to volume, but AT&T just plain old messed this up.

4189 said to sit tight and wait for email...nothing more to see..move along

After 22 hours, It is finally activated....
I called the 3701 number, she kept me online for about 30 minutes while she activated my account....(at one point I told her I had had enough, and wanted my old cell reactivated and that I wanted to return the iphone, then she told me she'll activate it herself and eventually did so) What a day/// Good God, it is stunning though....

spoke to 4189#. i'm further along than everyone else because i am supposedly fully activated, as opposed to some people who are still pending.

that said, she couldn't verify my IMEI numbers with me because apparently she can't see it and the BILLING dept, which can, is already closed for the day (or maybe the weekend?).

on top of that, i am getting the whole "wait for the email line"

poor execution...

blademan I am also in charlotte NC and also an 8 year cingular customer.. I feel your pain darlin

Hour 14........

OK a couple of things to add to this post.

Its a crock that AT&T is charging an activation fee with this kind of delay. When I switched to T-Mobile from Sprint a few years ago to the Sidekick II when it came out, I was told at the store it might be up to 24 hours. Three hours later, my phone was up and running.

DON'T WAIT ON HOLD WITH AT&T..... the direct number is 1-877-777-4189 Gets you straight to a person

DON'T TURN YOUR PHONE OFF LIKE ALL THE POSTS HAVE BEEN SAYING. My fifth call to AT&T warned me against that, as if your phone is off when they try to initiate the activation (before you get your go ahead and sync itunes email), YOU GET SENT TO THE END OF THE CUE BEFORE THEY TRY AGAIN!!

I too like smrtblonde am in real estate, and this is going to suck tomorrow without a phone.


I am coming up on 29 hours, I was activated after 8 hours, so I could turn my phone on and update everything, but told to wait for another email for my number to fully transfer. I was told I could make calls, but I can't. I can do everything else but no calls, texts, or any phone related issues. I has been 21 hours since my phone turned on and I can still not use the phone features, this is getting old real fast.

after 25hrs Congratulations, AT&T has successfully activated your iPhone service.

If you have not done so already, please connect your iPhone to your computer now to complete this activation (or click here if your iPhone is already connected).

come celebrate with me.. in a few minutes I will beat 30 hours... I got away from it for a few hours.. grabbed the paper turned on the TV only to be greeted by some story about a local Gomer loving his Iphone.. I wanted to Istab him...

insult to injury.. he was 13!!!! 13!!! what kind of 13 year old needs a 600.00 phone.. He wasn't even a Hilton :)

okay I have been told a dozen times to keep the phone off... i have the new sim card in the old phone and was told the phone did not have to be on to be activated..whats the real story here.. anyone had the phone off when they recieved the magical email??