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.



mhaynes - it took 27 hours for me, new customer, porting from Verizon and I did get that wait message.

came back to check on you all and say really ... I was the angriest of the bunch but it is worth it.

WTF..................................ihave two iphone account #

Mine may be a problem with the porting now. I got the message almost instantly that the number was ported after my activation finally went through. Everything in AT&T's system shows that it is ported. But when you call it you get my voicemail...MY voicemail, as in with my voice or you get a message that the number is not active. Which means it is hitting the Verizon voicemail sometimes. So obviously something didn't get through. I've now been helpfully bounced to 6 different people. I'm not talking to a tech in the porting department...I think.

Call 3701....ASK FOR ROBIN!!!!! Activated my iphone in 13 min after 35 hours of waiting....he told me he has a perfect track record and I wasn't going to be the first he wasn't able to activate....I'm syncing as I type!!! Thanks everyone for the useful info...GOOD LUCK

38 hours waiting, and on hold again. The last AT&T rep transfered me to apple, and I was on hold forever. I gave up, hung up, and am now calling the 3701 # back again. This time if the rep doesn't find a way to help me I am going to try and work my way up their ladder and see if its possible to talk to someone who has a clue.

okay on the phone now with AT&T and they are saying to me thats its a credit issue!! SO WHY THE HELL HAVE I GOTTEN 2 EMAILS ALREADY!!! so what the hell is going on??? still on hold now as we speak!

Aaron...i'm telling yea man...try and get them to ask robin or transfer you to him...If they make you wait fior him to get off tghe phone ...DO IT!! It's completely worth it and he WILL activate you...I'm calling ATT later to get him promoted...he is the only rep there who seems like they know what the fukc is goin on!

FINALLY!!!! Ok, heres what ya gotta do--- i was porting my number from verizon and from their end everything was fine and there was no problem - so i kept going back and forth, shortly after calling the 3701 number a couple of times i got the activation email....like others i dont know if this was a coincidence or not...but it seems to be working!!

Stillwaiting, I am going to do my best. I suspect even the magic 3701 # goes to several call centers. AT&T needs a manager at these call centers who has their act together, and is able to relay activation information to ALL of the AT&T reps, so that they are all just like Robin. There should not be some "good" reps who have a clue. They should be sending each other notes "real-time" so that these problems could be truly quickly resolved.

so far on hold for 25 mins again. My ear is going to fall off!!!

Well, I followed anoodles instructions and called 888-898-7685 to check on the status of my port. It told me that the port was complete and to active my new phone follow the voice prompts and transfered me to the ACTIVATION CENTER. I went through all the steps and accepted the terms again by pressing 1 multiple times. At the end, I was congratulated and told to turn off my new phone for 20 minutes and then turn it back on and in 5 minutes it would start working.

I'll report back after 11:10 am Central time on the results of that.

there is a 60 min wait on 3701.. i m tired!

been waiting 25 hrs; finally called 3701# on hold for 20 minutes. I was activated within 5 minutes! Wish I would have called sooner. Thanks Lucas! phone is worth the wait.


What exactly happened when you talked to them...what did you tell them...and what did they do, im currently on hold with #3701 at 51 minutes...

i am still on hold for 22 mins, it said there is a 60 min hold time :'(
they better activate my phone when i get online

Are yall calling number 1-877-800-3701? Mine just said my call will processed as soon as possible and in the order it was received.

hey Mhaynes, yes I am calling the same number and getting the exact same message. i have been holding for 27 mins now. I think you are ahead in line. Please let me know how it goes for you. Hope they will activate ur fone this time. Good luck!

I was asked for my order number (six digit number given via e-mail), then told to turn off phone for 3 minutes. We had small talk during that time. Then when I turned it back on, it worked. He wouldn't tell me what magic thing he did from his end.

Bought it as a gift for my wife's B-day. She is online looking for a divorce lawer now... Cannot blame her. She did ask me if I sure I wanted to stay in line and spend that kind of money in a new device before it was even on the streets. But I replyed " it a Mac honey... it will not have any problems."

How many of us are still waiting? Is the media talking about this problem?

Ps. My wife is asking if any one can refere a good divorce lawer. She is not that mad because of not having the iphone, but because I was so stupid to fall for Apple's propaganda, ....again. Another thing, lets say I am disputing a cell phone bill with at&t. I decide not to pay the bill till we settle the issue. They will disable the ipod and the camera I paid for too? In other words we are leasing the unit.

All done =) Called 877.800.3701 Had to wait on hold for about 30 minutes, but once the guy (didn't catch his name) picked up, asked for my order number and instantly I had my activation e-mail. I had to hang up becuase of using my iPhone sim in my old phone... but after I swapped it back, turned it on, put it in the tray and done. Amazing. Now.. why couldn't they just do that the other times I called that number... hhhrrmmm......

But.. Good Luck Everyone, its certainly worth it =)

Okay, currently on the phone with rep. He asked for Order number, IMEI and ICCID number. He said, just one second and Ill activate that phone for you. Came back, and turns out something was wrong with my rate plan. Currently I am on hold while he fixes that and we should be good to go...FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crap!! I finally got someone who knows their head from their a$$. He looked over my account, talked with his superviser, and noticed that my account was STILL set for a invalid rate plan. The last 5 AT&T reps couldn't take the time to LOOK carefully and see this. What a bunch of dimwits! I swear 80% of the AT&T techs should be fired for being too lazy to take the time to sort these simple problems out! I am going to get this guys name and write the center recommending he gets some type of advancement for being one of the only smart ones. I swear, I haven't ever dealt with this many people that can't spare the time to figure something out that should be pretty straight forward for them. All I can say is DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way this is at the magic 3701 number, but I had at least 5 reps from this # who didn't know their head from the a$$es.

yeah FINGERS CROSSED, MHaynes!! Good Luck

on hold for 41 mins now.... :(

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Okay, he sent me to customer service so I can tell them to change my rate plan. If they cannot activate it there, then, they will transfer me back to the 3701# so they can. But the thing is, I AM REWAITING!!!! SHOOT ME!!!

Well, after 36 hours, numerous calls, 23 minutes on hold this morning on the 3701 number, the guy had me power down the phone and back on . And to my great surprise, it came up ONLINE!! wow, what fun! Good luck to you all, its been a ride.

Just got this in the e-mail...

Your current AT&T rate plan is not compatible with the iPhone.

Please contact AT&T at 877-419-4500 to select a new rate plan and complete your activation.

Refer to your Activation ID when calling.
749742 ...

So that's what I am doing right now...waiting...waiting...waiting...waiting...waiting...waiting

man... this sucks i am at 48 mins now
lets see wht magic they can do for me

Ok, I talked with a "Brandon", and he found a problem with my rate plan. My phone FINALLY is activated!! And it was stinkin AT&T that needed to solve the problem!!!

Everyone make sure the rep you talk with looks at your rate plans in great detail, and demand they do it! Its their job!!!!!

Mine is working!!!!!!

I dialed 1-877-800-3701, but in the automated menu, they asked me to enter the order number that had been emailed to me, and I didn't have one. I found no other way to stay in the iPhone-related pipeline, so I eventually entered 0 and now I'm on hold. Hope it works.

I've been a Cingular customer for a few years now. No idea if that makes any difference. Seems that they wouldn't need to run a credit check on me, though.

3701.. on hold for 56 mins now!