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.



Not sure if anyone posted this yet, but this link worked like a charm for me:


Someone after 1.5 hrs finally answered on 3701, said everything appeared in order. Put me back on hold while she takes another look.

okay I am in.. everything is here.. working and I can even make and recieve calls.. wow.. I have to leave for a while but will be back to see how you all are doing.. I sort of feel like we are in this together :)

Wil, yes also had the phone # and the e-mail from Apple that activation was completed. Only the phone is not able to make or receive calls and shows "Waiting for AT&T activation" I am on the phone with AT&T right now and they say that neither the SIM card number nor the IMEI # are in my account and they are trying to correct that now.... Been over 45 minutes already.

36 hours now. New York City


after that just make sure that they resend the activation signal

new york city

did you have you order number?

I got someone who didn't have a clue this time. She couldn't answer anything without going to her support department. I asked her to resend the activation signal and I don't think she understood me (I could barely understand her). Then she said something about writing it up and sending it to her support department and that I could call back if it didn't work and hung up.
I'm going to call the 4500 number now.

Hey everyone, been following this thread since i got "the " email...its like a little therapy group with alot of anger- Im on hold with 8888987685 right now and my woman is being super super helpful, although im on hold for a while i feel like they are going to manually handle this....my problem has been verizon not releasing my number...ATT says that porting failed--- i wouldnt have known that if i didnt call....the kinks in this system shouldve been worked out months ago---stupid...

Eureka! I don't think it wasn't intentional but somehow right after getting off the phone with 3701 I got the e-mail.. PHONE IS SYNCING NOW :)

Okay, I am at the 36 hour mark now. I am so pissed off right now. Saturday I went to Cingular first thing in the morning to find out why my phone wasn't activated, they said I was a primary number on my account and you can't be with the iPhone so I was made secondary and they said they fixed everything. So, I have called 4500 number UNGODLY amounts of time, and about 30 minutes ago, I finally got someone who knew what the hell they were talking about. Apparently, my account had not been changed over to the iPhone plan and was delaying activation.

After that was fixed, supposedly, NOW starts the 24-48 hour activation wait. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME HERE!!!!! If it isn't working by tomorrow morning, iPHCUKED is getting returned.

ALSO*****- to those who are getting activated, can you state whether you were an existing customer or not and when you first synced with iTunes and got the dreaded "Your process with take additional time" message. I got mine at 10:13pm on Friday in Mississippi.

The 3701 number option 3 tells me the phone is active, Alas, iTunes says it still needs more time... :(
Anyone else having this? It's been 35 hours for me now.

Also, when I tried option #1, I got voicemail??

I've already returned the two phones that I bought. Asking people to spend either 500-600 on a cell phone and making them wait like this is inexcusable. I decided I'm not going to allow myself to be jerked around like this and I returned both my phones already. I called Apple to complain and the person I talked, and the Apple employee who helped with my iPhone returns at the Mac Store, agreed that they dropped the ball by going with AT&T.

So the hell with this.

John - Try again. Use Option #1 it will get you through eventually. If you get Voice Mail Hang up and try again.

Everyone else, Good luck. I'll check back soon. The key is definitely the 3701 #.

Despite what a pain in the ass it's been please find some comfort in that fact that once it's working it was worth the 38 hr. wait

Current cingular customer (over 3 years). Primary number on account. 11:30p Friday.

That's interesting about the primary number thing. First I've heard that...

This is my last post... my phone finally works. Wanted to make sure all of you had a couple of pieces of info: (I apologize if this is redundant).

If you are porting a number and wondering what the status of it is, call: 888-898-7685. You can get the status of the port and speak to someone to expedite it.

My saga was absurdly long, but after I called the port number last night, I was told the port was successful and that the service would be activated in an hour or two.

I called back this am to the activation support number: 877-800-3701, and spoke to someone who was able to actually see my account and expedite the activation (since the port happened). After doing that, my iPhone worked but I kept getting a no-service message on the phone with a message that said "awaiting ATT activation."

I called back and the person on the phone was great. She asked for my IMEI number which was right, and then my SIM or ICCID number. That's where the problem was. The ICCID (sim) number was in as all 9's. She told me that they were instructed to do this initially and this is what is holding up a lot of the activations. She put the correct number in, I turned the phone off and then back on, and presto, it worked.

Bottom line is-- insist that the person read you back both numbers before you hang up.

A couple other numbers:

877-419-4500: an older cingular number which sometimes has less wait.
800-331-0500: ATT general care number, which is closed on weekends.
888-898-7685: Porting number
817-419-4500: Activation assistance

Good luck to all.

Been waiting since 6:15 PM on Friday in Birmingham, AL. Had the "business account" issue fixed Saturday morning at 1 AM. Got the order number email around 2:30 PM Saturday, called at 4 PM to check the order and my account was still "messed up". Got another order number email around 8 PM that night, same thing. Called them this morning at 4 AM and still I'm told "oh, you might have account issues, now you just have to wait for the system to process the activation" ... =( so I guess my 48 hour wait started over.. bummer. Cingular customer since it was BellSouth Mobility....

After about 32 hours, I finally got the activation complete message. Got online with iTune. Everything was very smooth. Completed activation, syncing in no time.

Started my second iPhone. To my pleasant surprise, everything on it went through very smoothly. No glitch. No nothing. Like the way it should be. Looks like they finally fixed something.

To all those who are still waiting. There is hope. Some patience is required.

During my long wait. I tried to call them a couple of times. Once, I got an AT&T guy just giving me the Apple number. The other times, I gave up while being put on hold.

Hey John...i'm in the same boat ...and also going on 35 hours now!

my account is still pending a credit check. anyone else stuck on that?

Called 3701 and tried doing like the person above and said that Apple told me to give them the SMEI number. They changed it and "pushed it through". Still nothing. When does patience become a virtue?

going on 41 hours!!! Is there any way to get this fucking thing on?

40 FREAKIN' HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I stood in line Friday to catching the iPhone mania and purchase my iPhone. But to my great disappointment my iPhone is still not activated as of Sunday 9:49 am as I write this note. I have been on the phone literally hours and hours with the att support line frequently being transferred, cut off in the middle of trouble shooting, told to all other support numbers, escalating the call to supervisors, etc.etc. etc. I even took my phone into the apple store where i bought it and they tried calling att and got the same exact response that I did. I was literally in the apple store with the sore manager for 3 hours and I must say kudos for the apple sore manager who helped me. He did his best to try to get the phone activated but was just as unsuccessful as I had been. At least att's customer service is consistently crappy. ATT tells me the will call me when they have figured out how to resolved the issue they will contact but was not able to give me any time frame for resolution of the issue stating that the department that typically works on these issues only works 9-5 m-f. All of this leads me to wonder "why the heck did apple roll out a really cool cutting edge product and then partner with a service provide that doesn't deliver and doesn't get the concept of customer support? the ipod aspect of my phone works great as well as the other wifi services.

I'm starting hour 31. I got the "order being processed" email at 2:36 pm Saturday. Had to go to work, returned home at 1:30 a.m. and no luck. Called the 3701 number and a recording told me my phone was activated and that I could start enjoying all the iPhone functions. I couldn't. Fell asleep and started calling at 6:15 am again. Finally, ATT connected me to Apple. It was a 3 hour phone call. All my ATT info has been updated, including plan and device. I am a longtime Cingular customer. The Apple rep escalated me to the next tier of support but he was put on hold for over an hour. He got my number I was calling from and was going to contact ATT to hopefully resolve the issue and that he would call me back. I never received the email that was to follow the "order being processed" and no one at ATT or Apple can manually activate it. Oh, I forgot, my phone is already activated and I should be enjoying all the iPhones great features.

My situation:

Cingular customer. Not porting or coming over from any other carrier. Pulled the sim card out of the iphone (after 38 hours of waiting). Put my old sim card into Iphone, activation took 5 minutes and everything is working. Thanks for the support all.

I am 3701

right now finally I get my freaking order number. so the person is activating right now . let see.

I will let you know

It's already been posted but i wanted to confirm that calling 1-877-800-3701 seems to be your very best bet for getting your phone activated. I was among the EXTREMELY frustrated until about 5 minutes ago. I too had been trying to get mine activated since friday evening and had made repeated calls to the number originally posted on the message saying it would take 24 hours to activate. I was on hold to the 3701 number for about an hour and 45 minutes but when i did get through they stayed on the phone with me until my phone was activated and even placed a call to my number to ensure that it was in fact activated. There were actually two people helping me at the same time so i highly recommend anyone still waiting for activation to call this number. It was definitely worth the wait!!

called the 3701 number 4 times..first 3 times they told me they couldnt help and to just wait. the fourth time a very nice lady asked me for the set of numbers that come on the box. a couple minutes later she sent me my activation email and i was up and running. so if they tell you they cannot help. tell them you know they can...good luck!

oh and by the way i never got a email with an order number