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.



Long story short - been waiting since 7:30pm Central Friday (after getting rate plan compatable with iPhone @ 9:30pm). Spoke to 3 reps that night.

Saturday nothing - spoke to 3 reps during the course of the day/night - yet again to "fix my rate plan"

Sunday morning nothing - went to church & prayed, came home and nothing. I called and got hung up on by rep (the bastard). Called back still 60 minute wait time (yeah right). I must have gotten a different region this time because music is different. Been on hold 23 minutes.

I will not hang up phone until I get activated.

Magic #3701 a bust - verified my IEMI & ICCID number, but that is all he can do.

in response to Apple Stock Holder....


Yes, I called 3701... and spoke to a very fantastic representative (I will say, I have had all but one good experience thusfar with the people at AT&T... one was nasty). The great rep who got me up and running was T.J. Issack and he was fantastic. He said he could probably get me up and running immediately after looking at my account and noticing something wierd. He put me on hold, and spoke to his supervisor, then asked me to check my email. Now whatever it was he did, DIDN'T work 100%, BUT, it got me past the Global Image of Death (sorry, I've likened that earth picture to the Blue Screen of Death on Windows)and into a working interface. Now that was at 4:00 AM this morning. It is now 2:09 PM. On the upside, I have all of my contacts synched, and everything set up just waiting for my actual service to kick in. It wasn't ideal, but it was OBVIOUSLY a step in the right direction.

I was out and about this morning, and stopped into an AT&T store on the UWS of Manhattan where there is a TMobile store (my current carrier) a few doors down. Figured if the AT&T people couldn't help me, then I would go see if the TMobile people could push my port through. Well, the very helpful guy at AT&T called the porting number-- which I have called three times....888-898-7685... and then called TMobile. They told him my number was in cue to batch at around 2pm today.

That being said, I guess my frustrations are in the docuentation that says (including the email that T.J. managed to get out to me), that my iPhone would now work for outgoing calls, but incoming calls would be delayed. Obviously this was false.

Our Fat Lady is on her break, and it can't be over till she waddles on in here, puts on her Viking Gear, and belts us a diddy, but OMG I WANT THIS TO BE UNDER 24 Hours (23.5 right now).

Will someboday at AT&T or Apple please get an iClue?

PS-- my verification word for this post is WYGO.... yup... Why Go? is just about right.

Rep gave me number to verify rate plan again...800-331-0500. I call the number, put in my cell #, it still takes me to the BUSINESS SECTION! I freaking knew they didn't have me setup right.

I'm so FREAKING pissed! 35 hours of this bullshit. They will activate my phone TODAY, I will get the $36 activation fee waived. I can not deal with this tomorrow - I do have to work you know.

Who know how long I'll be on hold this time.

Oh yeah, been a cingular customer for 8 years, just replacing the damn phone, not porting a number, or anything.

Since I no longer have a verizon phone, and my Apple noPhone isn't making outgoing calls (or doing anything else), and I have no land line at home, I'm off to my work to get to a phone and calling 3701 and parking my a$$ on hold until I get activated.

Maybe I'll get lucky and the email will arrive while I'm in transit. (Yeay right)

36 hours and counting... called the 4500# in hopes that something was wrong with my account that could be resolved. They found a "FAN" number than needed to be removed, however I'm still not activated. I have spent my entire day running around desperate for help, but to no avail. :(

Okay! I AM ACTIVATED! But here's the deal... I had to go to AT&T PHYSICALLY TODAY. They gave me a new SIM card in which case I had to take home and replace it myself because the j-off at AT&T said he wouldn't do it there because he didn't want to be held responsible if the place where you open the sym card broke. lol... This is a cellular store right? Anyway, I took it home and put the paperclip edge against the hole to the SIM card and replaced my damn self. Placed it on the dock and Viola! ITunes popped up starting the "magic" all over again. I have to admit I was very very nervous, but none-the-less proceeded. As I did, I kept in mind all of the previous steps I took and then got to another step where it was the Itunes/ Apple account. I believe I had entered my email address the first round. This time I just entered my Apple ID w/o the @blahblahblah.
NOW- was it the new SIM card or was it the email address that threw this into a loop the first time? Not sure but I am up and running now! Good luck ALL!

Ok.. I just called the 4500 number and the girl was very responsive but told me I was in a market she couldn't pull up so she needed to transfer me. She then transferred to a voice mail that says I am calling outside of their hours of operation.

Its now 42 hours since I signed up and nada. I am on hold again at the 4500 number right now and trying again. The 3701 is useless. They just put you on hold forever.

By the way, I am a Verizon customer switching my account to AT&T, is anyone else in this boat?


Okay my friends...had to write to you to provide you all with hope:

I have been waiting since Friday night. 10 calls to customer service, every excuse under the rainbow for why it's not working, and no email.

I just called the 3701 numner, waited my requisite 45 minutes on hold, then was put on hold numerous times again before finally being told to 'just wait' for the 10th time. Not satisfied, I mentioned this website and asked her to look further: rate plans, credit holds, sim issues, anything. She said she would look further. Came back and said there was a balance on the account, I said no there wasn't, it autopays every month and was paid on Thursday (existing ATT customer).

THEN, she had to call customer service and SHE waited on hold for 30 minutes (the irony is not lost on me...), and then when customer service picked up it was, "No balance on the account, just a lot of activations to process". I grumbled, said thanks and hung up.

Checked my email immediately after, and viola! I have activation!!!!

Moral of the story: don't give up. Flood their customer service line until you get an answer. There is no reason why your phone isn't activated other than some stupid glitch. Keep calling until it's unglitched.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have a phone to play with.

Been having issues activating like everyone else, but my issues have been at the itune store level, for the last 2 days I've gotten the

"Could not complete the Itune Store request. The store may be busy. Check your internet connecion or try again later"

I've tried different wifi networks, i've validated my itunes store access ( previous account, as well as a previous att customer).

Spoke with ATT and nothing on their end seem wonky with my account ( the represenitive was extremely helpful)

She suggested I contact apple, found a 877 number for itunes but it's outside of Normal Business Hours.

Any ideas from the community?


Well, i think that just the process of posting my previous query did the trick, i am now an activated Iphone user.

Now, comes the fun part.


OK get this BS. I was told to NOT turn off the phone and DO NOT disconnect from the computer and DO NOT take out the SIM card. That every time you do that it puts you at the bottom of the activation cycle and will take 24-48 hours...there is nothing they can do. Still not convinced they have me setup right, but was told anytime they make an account change it puts back at the bottom of the pile.

I spoke to Quanesha Dines a supervisor at AT&T. I told her how frustrated I was and I know that her people are just as frustrated, but this is utterly ridiculous. Supposedly there is not a $36 activation fee for existing customers. I told her that I'm reading in the blogs where the AT&T reps are on the phone with customers getting them activated.

If I don't have my activation in 2 hours I'm calling back.

@ IWantService:

Did you receive all the mysterious emails? Did you have to Turn off/on your phone for the activation to go through? Thanks for your insight!

Finally activated by 3701 rep Bev. I had spoke to several other reps that were useless. She took about 7 minutes to activate the phone. I only had a 20 minute wait not the 60 they were reporting. Prior to this call I had to clear up a problem with my verizon account. They had changed my account number during the last few days so AT&T was not able to transfer new number over. It was about 6 phone calls and 12 reps later that Bev activated my phone, even after being told by other reps that it was not possible, I had to wait for email. Good Luck.

I have turned off the phone, turned on the phone, taken it outside, everything that everyone else has done. I'm still waiting on the last email that some people get and some people don't get.

I just talked to an ATT rep....

They answered right away... but it didn't really matter too much.

I have been waiting for a little over 24 hours now and counting and this guy told me all I can do is wait. How ridiculous... I have been waiting for 24 hours somewhat patiently... After waiting 7 hours in line, paying for the phone, and putting down a $500 deposit... I would think there would be a little better service.

I am nearing the 40 hour mark. I've decided to return the phone. This is appalling!

I got an e-mail from Apple this morning saying I was activated by AT&T. I was able to sync up my iPhone but no phone service yet. However, I do have access to iPhone features including photos and music. Browser won't work.

Great news for me--I'M IN!!! WOO-HOO. Called #4500 and waited on hold for an hour. Got someone on the phone that knew what they were doing. They had to add services to my account that they should have done the last time I called in. In any case, 36 hours later, and I have an iPhone!

Good luck everyone....and thanks to those who offered guidence and solace during the wait. For those still with an iBrick, my advice is to call #4500 one last time.

All is forgiven.

ATT is the buzz-klll for my Apple high


I know how you feel.. I didnt get my email until around hour 37... thankfully it works well though.. so far I have found no gltiches but it is very frustrating to wait this long

my phone was activated when I synced it but when the activation mail came my phone was off.. not docked and the sim card was in my old phone.. when I put it back together it all worked fine


Here is the number...

877-777-4819 is the number to iPhone support.

They asked me to select what data plan I wanted, power off the phone, and connect it to
iTunes. He said once I do this it should be ready to go.

Too bad my friend with the laptop left that I was doing my stuff on. My Mac at home does not have Mac OSX Tiger and will not work.

Now I have to wait 3 more hours after waiting 42.

This really bites. Went to a party last night and couldn't show off my piece!!!

I've talked to both Apple and ATT. The last time I called Apple, they said there was some holdup due to my billing address. This was after I had already confirmed that everything was right with ATT 4 different times! I called ATT again and they confirmed for a 5th time that everything is correct on their end, and that I'll just have to keep waiting. Though this last call to ATT yielded a sales figure, I was told that 2 million people tried activating on Friday. Don't know if that the complete truth or just some in-company spin, but that's a pretty solid sales number.
Glad to heat smartblond's phone is up and running. Give me a glimmer of hope.
I'm going for a walk. (maybe the old saying is true "a watched iPhone never activates")


I've been using this number 877-777-4192 to pretty good success. The people there seem to be much more competent and thus far, I have been getting through to a rep in under a minute.

Rachel was the rep who assisted me. She's great. Was very polite and very apologetic (though not her fault) who was able to see that my SIM# is partially activated only and that I am in the last step of activation.

She had me transferred over. Now waiting for whatever department this is to come on.

I feel like a crack addict....i have been pacing back ad forth hitting the refresh buttom hoping to see my #$%^@#$%%^^^^&^$#$## email. I so going f...... nuts. I need my phone for work. give me my phone!!!

I'm in NYC, now approaching hour 40. My verizon phone has been disconnected and my iPaperweight still doesn't work. I've been given 10 different responses by 10 different "customer service" reps as to why my activation hasn't gone through. Last night, I was told that my number couldn't be transferred and then promptly received an email stating exactly that. The verizon rep I spoke to was incredibly nice and helpful (making me regret even more my decision to switch from the best carrier to the worst) and told me that Verizon had already agreed to release my number so he didn't know why they were saying it wouldn't transfer. I was then told that my phone would be auto activated at 11:30am the next morning. 11:30 came and went with no activation. When I called, they said, "oh, we meant 11:30 our time" which is apparently central time. When 12:30 came and went with no activation, the next rep told me to restart the activation process. When I did that and came up with an error message the next one told me that restarting the activation process actually voided the sim card and that I needed to go to an AT&T store to "purchase" a new one. I said no way am I paying for a new sim card when I was only following the directions of one of their service morons. Went to the AT&T store to get a new card (no, I didn't pay for it), came back and got the same screen on iTunes, telling me that my activation couldn't be completed. Called the service line, AGAIN, only to be told that I shouldn't have gotten a new sim card and this would cause me to start the whole activation process from square one. After putting the old sim card back in and trying to activate, I kept getting a message saying my activation couldn't be completed. Called the service line, AGAIN, only to be told that they couldn't seem to port my number even though Verizon told me it had been released and my phone has been disconnected. I was told that the problem should be cleared up no later than July 4th. JULY 4TH? Are you kidding me?
I'm so frustrated right now, I don't know what to do. Return it or not? I was apprehensive enough switching to a carrier that has the worst coverage in the area but now seeing that they apprently have the worst customer service too, I'm really feeling like this was all just a really bad idea.


after the change the SMS I call att customer care

5 minute later the IPHONE is working good

so happy

but I feel you pain

good Number


Update to last post:

Got a rep on the phone after about 15 minutes named Wilson. If I had to guess, I believe I got transferred to the 3701# by the last AT&T rep I spoke to.

Here's the ongoing conversation I'm having right now:

Hi Wilson. Was transferred by another rep who told me I am in the last stages of activation but my SIM# is only partially activated??? Got transferred here to complete the activation.

Wilson: Verify some info... placed on hold.

Wilson: "Sir your phone number has already been successfully ported"

iBrick User: Ya I realize that, but that's not what I'm calling for. I need to complete my activation however the hell that needs to get done. iPhone User!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

iPhone User: What did you have to change or modify?

Wilson: Nothing. Just checked EVERYTHING to make sure it was clear.

iPhone User: I recommend calling in. Something is happening apparently as reps come on and start going through accounts and start going through the process of verifying that everything is in order.