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.



You know the old saying "Misery loves company."
Reading about everyone elses trouble at least make me feel less alone with this whole process.
I waited in line on Friday (in LA) for around 4 hours with a great bunch of people, got my iPhone, no problem. Got back home, went to activate, and have been playing the same waiting game as many of you.
I've talked to around 9 different people at both ATT and Apple. Earlier today, every time I called they said at the end of the call that thing were fine and I should just wait. Well creeping paranioia encouraged me to call ATT back, and each time I called back they found something wrong that had to be corrected. One time the rep even told me I had to go into an ATT store with ID because something had been blocked. I get to the store and the clerk has no idea why I would be sent to them, we called the service line from the store and the guy who answered was very helpful but he was like "okay got a paperclip?", and I said "wait do you want me to pull out the sim card in the phone?" he said yeah, and I said well I don't have the phone, the lady who told me to come to store said I didn't need the phone, after I had explicitly asked her if I should bring the phone in! (admittedly I shouldn't have trusted her, but I didn't want to disconnect it from the dock in the off chance it would sync on its own). Anyway, now I've called ATT a few times to check in and each time things are correct on their end and I'm just waiting on Apple. So into day 2 we go. Hope this works out tomorrow, (or rather later today)I hate not having a working cellphone.

for all of us getting no reason for the port over of our old # failing....

att can't explain anything to me except failure and verizon says everything is in order.. so....


It has been 26 hours and my phone is still not activated (New Activation). I am called AT & T and they could not say when to expect an activation.

Apple tied up with the worst company possible and now I am returining my phone.

this just in...
A few times My iPhone display was lighting up and then dimming for no apparent reason… maybe progress is being made? Crossing fingers.

I am with you, trying to transfer my number from sprint, my phone is active, sort of, no phone functions work, everything else does. If this is not figured out when I wake up, I am returning the phone and going back to my blackberry, at least is worked.

I'm on my 25th hour. My iPhone is still not activated at&t says everything looks ok on their end. Indeed, I took the SIM out of the iPhone and put it in another phone and it works. I can call out, but no calls receives yet. This is good....at least I know the porting is in process as I know this transitional duality is normal.

Now I need iTunes to turn my damn phone on!!

27 hours in...and still nothing. Trying to set up family plan so even after I get one of these damn things working, I will probably have to do it all over.

Was switching from T-Mobile and I'm like everyone else - the old number phone no longer works and when I dial the number, it goes straight to a voicemail box that isn't set up.

I called the ATT rep and she claims there were tons of problems with my billing...why she noticed this and the other 9 that I have called today haven't is beyond me.

This has been the worst experience I've had with Apple...I seriously want to mach punch someone.

34 Hours and counting... I think we should all squawk for compensation. Is this ever going to end?

hey all,
i followed a lot of the posts on here today as i too was waiting to get activated for about 17 hours. Finally I decided to just call that 3701 number again. The lady told me same thing, my account looks fine and everything is in order, I just need to wait. So I hung up and called back right away, got a different person. This lady told me ok I think I can help you out, and she activated it for me while I was on the phone. She even made a test call to make sure it works fine. I think you just have to get a person who knows how and you're good to go...
In case it helps, I was one of the people on the old AT&T plan and had to "upgrade" to a new plan, and then went into the waiting queue like many of you.
good luck!

I was one of the first to get an iPhone at the at&t store in my city on friday and i got home right away and activated my iPhone without any problems it took about 10 minutes maximum and it was up and running. So i dont understand how many people got these error messages.

I didn't even get a number to call... just the "your activation requires more time" message. Anybody want to share the number so I can call and have someone to share my frustration with?

The count is now 13 hours... My Treo is no longer working and my husband continues to taunt me.


34 hrs and counting. when 48 hrs comes and no iphone i am going to go ballistic!

13 hours here too. ATT iphone number from their website is 877-419-4500. Seems the problems are now with all kinds of xfers too now. Yesterday evening it was primarily with existing ATT customers. See above.

34 Hours and counting for me too. I called the 3701 number last night at about the 22 hour mark. They told me my order was set up correctly and that all I had to do was just wait. The problem is the region I am in. Apparently the NYC Region is "massively backlogged." At least this is what he said...

Can we get a role call on the people who are still waiting? Telling us how long they have been waiting and their nearest biggest city? Maybe this will give us a better idea of how progress is being made..

34 Hours / New York City


24 hours no activation

I have a plastic piece of shit that doesn't play mp3s, movies, or anything from the commercials.

It just fails at emergency calls.

I"m at the 36 hour mark right now..... My number ported over from verizon last night (now have no cell phone at all), and I was told at midnight that I was "in the final step of the process" and it would be done in an hour or two. Still not activated.

On hold now for the umpteenth time with the 3701 number. If she can't activate it for me this AM, this piece of crap is going back.

For those of us awaiting activations... This is fun...

You can transfer songs (and playlists/video/pictures?) from iTunes to the iPhone by dragging songs from your iTunes library to the iPhone...

"But how do you play them? All I can see right now is this nifty slider that lets me pretend to make calls to emergency services..."

Simple. Just plug in your headphones, and click the microphone button, and you'll start hearing songs from your iPhone - while yet unactivated...

For the not-so-squeemish - try this..

Once you're listening to your favorite music on your $600 8GB iPod, slide the slider over, and pretend to make a call to some random number. Listen as the music gently fades into nothingness as you are STILL unable to make calls after 36 hours...


By the by, I started activation at 7:30ish EST (about 1.5 hours after they went on sale on the east coast) and am still waiting to transfer from Verizon.

Anyone had success porting from an outside carrier? If so, which one?


Call this number: 888-898-7685. Go through the menu options, and as long as you get a message that your port was approved, it should move over within an hour or so. You will get to speak to a person if the porting had issues.

I did that last night, and an hour later, my old phone didn't work. Still waiting for my iPhone to activate though......

Tell AT&T to refund the activation fee or we will dump the stock. It's the only thing they will understand.

Ok, 26 hours and counting...

Called AT&T and Apple about 5 times yesterday. Everybody said everything was ok, and I should just wait.

5 minutes ago I called back AT&T. This new person told me my account had "incompatible features":

1-A AT&T PDA feature (I was using a treo 750)
2-A corporate discount
3-An incompatible voicemail

Hmm... Isn't the activation system supposed to verify all of this??? What about all the people I called before? Just plain morons???

Anyway, she said she "fixed" my account and that now I should wait about 5 hours. If nothing yet, should caoll the 3177 phone.

Is anyone getting the error message saying "Your activation had expired" and asking you to reconnect your iPhone? So annoying. Is it true that everytime you unplug you start all over again at the back of the activation line?

14th hour in NJ waiting - two phone calls (1 45min wait to get hung up on, 1 47 min wait for rep to tell me its apples fault) 0 working iphone, 1 sad customer

28 hours and no activation still... why do they tell you things just to get you off the phone?

I'm at the 35 hour mark

OK. I just received the following email:
"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)."

I've been upgraded from iBrick, but still no phone service.

Here's what I did:
- Called ATT wireless support number from the following site:
- Find out what your order number is
- Call "ATT iPhone activation assistance line" 877-800-3701, option "3" for order status. You will need your order number here.
- Wait 30 minutes or so. Ask them to check account/activation, whatever. They are in a rush to get you off the phone, so do whatever to buy time with agent.
- 15 mins later, I received the above email...Maybe coincidence, maybe not.

- 5 mins later, I could make a call.
- 2 mins after that, I got an SMS on iPhone from ATT.

So the SMS would be an audio indicator from the iPhone that you're up.

24 hours & counting, still NOT working. Seriously this is B.S

Well I have been trying since Friday @7pm...I had no problem getting the phone, but still no service. Thanks to everyone who has shared info, as I have tried it all, but still no service...Can I just say that childbirth is easier!

Just to repost from above, without a url, which seems to require moderation from this site:

Blademan Jul 1st, 2007 at 7:11 am

OK. I just received the following email:
“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).”

I’ve been upgraded from iBrick, but still no phone service.

Here’s what I did:
- Called ATT wireless support number from the following site:
url deleted
- Find out what your order number is
- Call “ATT iPhone activation assistance line” 877-800-3701, option “3″ for order status. You will need your order number here.
- Wait 30 minutes or so. Ask them to check account/activation, whatever. They are in a rush to get you off the phone, so do whatever to buy time with agent.
- 15 mins later, I received the above email…Maybe coincidence, maybe not.