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.



hour 27 for a new att customer. Not even transferring a number. I say we storm HQ

Just activated my second phone on my account... Took 15 seconds to activate! Have no idea what is going on.... ATT and Apple need to get their shit together! Spent 26 hours trying to get one activated, then it took 15 seconds for the other! And didn't do anything different....

I don't know Blond, there are so many stories coming out from people. Att told me to keep my phone on and plugged into the cpu, but they also told me is would be fully working in 2 hours, 6 hours ago. When I got my first initial activation, my phone was off and unplugged.

28 hours for me, long island NY. Still waiting.

June 29, 2007 6:00:00 PM MDT. Waited two hours in line to purchase iPhone.

June 30, 2007 10:00:010 AM MDT. Completed iPhone activation request.

June 30, 2007 10:05:07 AM MDT. Email from iTunes put in OS X Mail trash folder. Why?
Message: "AT&T is now processing your activation."

June 30, 2007 6:42:49 PM MDT. Email from ATT, also put in Mail trash folder. Again why?
Message: "Your current AT&T rate plan is not compatible with the iPhone." Call ATT.

June 30, 2007 11:08:23 PM MDT. Called ATT, I have a "Blue" rate plan. Need different color plan. Office that can do that is closed, call Sunday from 10 AM to 2 AM EST.

No Joy!

okay.. was bored and called second magic number.. talked to shirley from baton rouge who was very funny and kind.. SHE said she has been talking to people all night and can see they are activated in the system.. yet they are saying what I am.. ITS NOT ON.. she told me (this is a big shock) its an apple issue.. the reason is because the hold up seem to be in ITUNES they are told that they are going over all the IME numbers for security reasons.. she said they are not the ones who do the final activation.. and though they have had their share of transfer and account issues the final activation comes through apples since it is Itunes is an apple product.. I admit it makes sense.

she also said to tell you all she feels really bad about it and she would take us all out for a drink if she could... (she was sweet I admit)

OMG. Going on 30 hours. Was checking iTunes for progress - got a new message - Your iPhone Activation Has Expired. WTF. On hold with magic 3701 person. Apparently some other agent is working on my account...told me to hang on...will keep everyone posted.

oh seriously I had someone (before I got shirley) actually after 30 hours ask me to check my spam folder to make sure the mail wasnt there... she deserved an Islap.

Still on hold...don't think the 3701 lady likes that - keeps asking me, "You sure you don't just want to call back?" Uh...no...do they think I'm up at 1:30 a.m. for the hell of it?

Smartblond - LOL, that's almost as bad as another rep earlier today asking to repeat the "message on the iTune screen" so he could look it up in his manual. I'm like, where have you been, dude, under a rock??

OK, 3701 lady keeps coming back and saying my account is locked for processing. After much probing, she doesn't actually know that someone is working on my account - only that it is locked by someone out there in AT&T land. Another rep told me the exact same thing 8 hours ago!!!!!! I'm asking for supervisor now. If they can't help me I guess I'm going to bed and will try the 4189 number.

I did have my iPhone powered off (not just sleeping with the screen off) when for whatever reason they elected to finally activate me. Not sure if it matters or not, though.

I never did get the elusive emails from AT&T. I just blindly elected to try it one last time for the night, when it finally worked.

Blond, I cannot believe you're still up.

clearmoon I thought you had called it a night as well.. I was going to bed but started catching up on all the stuff I SHOULD have done today .. figured I would try to check one more time.. yeah I know call me a glutton for punishment... made a few more magic number calls and of course got nowhere... shocking... lol

It's hard to blame the AT&T customer reps. They have no control over what's ahppening, and more likely they don't even have any real idea as to why there are so many activation delays. However, it does seem likely that Apple is more to blame than many people are wanting to admit. It makes perfect sense that they are the ones activating the phone itself (my phone is listed as active in AT&T's system, and has been for quite some time), and not AT&T. I find it hard to believe that Apple would leave activating functionality which has nothing to do with the cell phone portion of the iPhone (iPod, Wi-fi, etc) of their premier product to AT&T. Aint. No. Way.

Either way, whether it's Apple to blame, or AT&T, I don't have a phone that I can use, and have been patiently waiting (sort of - see my blog at www.macademic.net ) for over 30 hours now.

I'm in! I called the 3701# people talked about here. I would've never known about this number if it weren't for here - thanks so much! I was on hold for about 20 minutes. Talked to a very nice woman by the name of Faith. She took the Activation ID and put me on hold for about 5 minutes. When she came back I received an e-mail as she was describint to me that I should be good to go. I hope this helps any of you left up tonight, hoping you can go to bed with this working.


I think i got that guy.. this idiot asked me three times.. WHAT did the screen actually say.. GEE skippy I don't know.. wait for the freakin email? He said did it give you a time frame.. I said NO, YOU CAN'T EVEN GIVE ME A TIME FRAME... I swear I wanted to throttle him. He told me he had not heard of this problem and it must be a glitch in my account which is when he suggested I change phone number 8 years in my profession.. I DONT THINK SO.... yeah he was scary and a supervisor.. his name is Adam he is in the canada office.. and if you get him Fly like the wind

ah TJ I wish you well

I no longer believe that if I put my heels together.. click my ruby slippers and say "I want it to work i want it to work" and Glinda the phone witch will appear in a glaze of fairy dust to make my phone to conform from the magical paperweight to a working accessory that it was meant to be... that it actually will..
no I am of the school now of cynical thought also known as " show me or shut up".. when one rep (I think number 19 or so) said well is shouldnt be long.. I told her long past 15 hours ago... the Ifairy tale is dead .... "ding dong the Iphones dead.. "

sorry its late I am getting punchy,..

just called the 3701 number and the guy said he cannot process my activation any further due to technical difficulties. he asked me to call back tomorrow morning at 8AM EST/ 7 AM CST. I have been waiting for 30 hours now and keep receiving this email that "Thank you for your recent purchase, At&t is processing your activation"

Do you guys have any suggestion on what to do? Im going on 30 hours and my phone is still waiting to be activated. Ive talked to over 20 people in the past 10 hours and everyone's suggestion is just to wait. Are the general expieriences that it is just a wait thing? I have a feeling its not just a matter of waiting.

i am tired, annoyed and frustrated after waiting for more than 30 hrs. att and apple need to provide some kind of compensation to all those who have waited for this blunder

I am in the same boat, but my phone is active, but still waiting for my old number to transfer. I can use all of the features of the phone except anything related to making a call, text, etc. My old phone is still working. I have read on other forum, everythingiphone.com that if you go to the att store and get a new sim card and retry activating it works, from what I have read, it works for 9 out of 10 people, there activation goes through in minutes. I am going to do this tomorrow if mine is still not working.

i better go to bed. good luck u all. let me know if something comes up

26 hours getting some sleep returning phone tomorrow

Hello Everyone, I too am among you who are suffering from activation woes and thought I'd share my experience.

After several calls made to AT&T and Apple, I finally received an email stating "Your current AT&T rate plan is not compatible with the iPhone." I called the number they gave me from work and the rep told me that the problem existed because I am (or rather was) on the old AT&T plan.

Since I didn't have my iPhone with me the rep said she would call me back on my soon to be old Motorola cell # @ 9pm this evening (when I was home). I thought that was a nice gesture, all things considered.

Well, 9pm came and went and no phone call. (grrrr). So I called the number again and spoke to someone who 'helped' me update my plan. And just like Microsoft tells you when you install windows, they essentially told me to 'sit back and relax' and wait for activation.

After the call ended my Motorola phone (my only phone) was promptly deactivated. I figured I was getting closer. However, up to this posting, my iPhone is still in limbo--PLUS I am now phoneless!!!

.......24 hours and still waiting for activation!!!!!!! (UGH).

One thing's for sure, I will never forget this 'moment' in history; and reading the comments submitted somehow has made the whole experience, well, at least comical.

So thanks guys & gals for the “group therapy” and good luck to everyone. I hope all of us can put this behind us soon. Good luck!!

Just a minute ago, my current cell phone went out. Was porting my number out from Nextel and the phone is de-activated. No in-out-bound traffic. Additionally, when I call my number, it says that I have a voicemail box that has not yet been activated.

So this is either a good thing (as in, AT&T finally got their act together as far as porting my number). Or this is a terrible thing (as in. my old service is gone and I have no cell phone and instead an iBrick as some have been calling it.)

Keeping my fingers crossed for the time being. Hoping for that email that activation is complete and ready to go.

I can't believe that I have waited 30 plus hours for a cell phone to work, this is awful. At least my old cell phone is working fine, but that also probably means that I have a long way to go to get my iphone working.

Just passed the 26 hour mark. So, decided to mark the occasion by calling back for the 8th time to confirm my imei and sim numbers are correct. The customer service rep's advice was to, 'wait for the email, then you can activate it' - the most asinine support suggestion so far...and there have been a few.

No timeline. No explanation. Just told to wait and something should happen.

This sucks.

My AT&T phone got shut off last night at 7pm, and now it's still not working and neither is my iphone. It's been almost 29 hours...

Same situation here. Now on 32nd hour...

Everyone says just keep waiting.

ATT service people are just no help, make my blood boil.

I don't know what to do.

I'm on hold, again, with yet another idiot...

My iphone is still not activated after 30 hours!

I am in 32nd hour as well, just got off the phone with some complete idiot, had no idea what she was doing, lots of people laughing in the backround. I am active, but can't use my phone at all, not what the email said, I can use everything else though. If not working when I wake up, I am returning and going back to Sprint, this sucks, because all of the options I can use on the phone are awesome.