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.



the best you can do is go to att store and get the new SMS card and call 1-877-419-4500 and you will be surprise how quickly you will be activated.

44 hours...almost to the minute. Completely ridiculous.

Bought 2 on Friday and they told me I had to wait until the first one was activated before I could activate the 2nd one (they are under a family plan). Kept thinking that until this morning when I called a different number that was the most helpful of them all:


I believe this is the port forwarding department...but they seem to know the most and perhaps not the most jaded from everyone complaining. Got the 2nd phone up and working in like ...20 - 30 minutes (this includes getting the # deactivated from tmobile and getting the same number up and working under att).

If it wasn't for getting the 2nd phone up and working this morning, I think I would have gone crazy. The first phone finally started working a little over an hour ago.

Just as a heads up - upon selecting the family plan and choosing more text messages, I thought this was a general 'pool' that both phone numbers could choose from, nope - not at all. Sucks

Also...the 1st phone that I tried to set up had that stupid roadside assistance added as well. Fucking scam artists somewhere along the chain. Now that I think about it...I should double check the 2nd phone line that I had set up as well.

Good luck everyone.

wat's the best number to call??


depend what you are trying to do

i've been in iBrick limbo for more than 50 hours...

i got an activation code yesterday and called them up..gave them all my info again and they told me that it would activate in an hour...now it's 10:30...(i'm on the east coast) ..and still no activation..

i'm not the kind of person that gets too worked up...but this is just too ridiculous


if you need a AT&T service 1-877-419-4500

itune 1877-800-3701 option 3 if you have already a order number
if you don't have one just created any 6 digit number and then get in to the system and they will find you order number.

ester.. instead of option 3 go with option 1.. the reason is if they are over run option three will eventually put you into a voice mail to leave a message.. 1 will give you a live person at some point

Hmm, tech support now believes I have a bad SIM card. I actually believe this could be the case. I've seen this sort of thing happen with normal phones. I'm going to try this card in another phone tomorrow and see if it works. If it doesn't, then it's the card or something to do with the card/number setup in their system. I may get a new card from the AT&T shop if either of those is the case in the morning.

50 hours and nothing.... I feel like I got cheated out of this whole experience. Nobody cares.

I got some numbers from the tech earlier by the way. He said that they sold over 3 million iPhones. Of those, at this time all but 900,000 are activated and they are getting them activated usually within 5 minutes of people calling in. They've finally got the helpdesk systems working smoothly it sounds like.
That doesn't help me and the fact that my phone side of things isn't working, but I thought it would interest you guys. I'm wondering if he told me this because they've noted on my account that I'm posting everything here...hmm.

hey hey hey - up and running.
Call them , BE POLITE, i know you may be upset like i was, i was polite our of desperation, i asked the lady if everything was ok with my account, make sure they tell you all is in good standing and they have all the info they need. something was out of order with my account, after 40 hrs and countless calls, no one told me. After reading some posts here, i tried it and sure enough, the rep told me she was going to send it to their tech support but was unabvle to let me know when i'd be activated.
under 30 minutes after the call, my phone was activated, this is the message:

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).

good luck to all.

what number did you call to get it working?

I've passed the 48 hour mark. This is absurd. I've been on the phone countless times and I finally got one guy at AT&T who actually cared; he really took the time to make things happen and then hit a brick wall regarding "pending" information. He was my last hope because no one I've spoken to over there has had a clue. I am beyond angry.

So I am 35 hours in and this iphone, I mean ibrick is still not activated. I must have called a million times and spoken to tons of people. They kept saying that the phone is activated but obviously it is not. This is totally ridiculous. I am returning my phone tomorrow if this is not resolved. My account with AT&T has already been credited the $36.00 activation. I told them that I should not be paying for it because of the problem. You all should demand your activation fee. After all, what is the fee for if the damn phone cannot be activated!!!!!!!!! So very very disappointed.

okay. no one really ever helped me at any of the numbers. they kept saying to wait. magically, tonight, 49 hours later, i got the email i thought i would never receive. and it was true. i am activated.

does anyone have any number that worked for them and what was done to get this phone activated?

hey hey

ok...my phone is activated!! :-)

keep trying guys..thank you ...u were my sanity through this whole processs

FINALLY - it works!! After waiting for more than 24hrs, I gave up on porting of my current number from Verizon and asked the ATT person to cancel my order and start over with a new phone number from ATT. When I started my new order, I had to wait for an hour before I got an email that said my order was in process and gave me the order number. Without the order number ATT cannot do anything.

When I called back (877-800-3701) with the new order number - after waiting on hold for 45mins - the ATT rep had to take down all the info again (my SSN, address etc) - apparantely the info I typed into iTunes with my new order did not make it across to ATT - Apple's fault or ATT's fault? - who knows. I was on the phone with the guy for more than 30mins to get it activiated. Anyway, at least the ATT reps were friendly and understanding - I spoke with several and they were all nice.

So far I am enjoying the phone, actually more so the non-cellular functions. Apart from a few irritations this is a great device.

FINALLY!!!! After 52 HOURS it is finally in full working order! I've been on hold, hung up on, xfered...reps telling me "the phone hasn't been activated". so I called the 3701 # and spoke to SUSAN in the activation dept. she said my phone hasn't been activated and so she went ahead and activated it...why no one else could do it..I don't know!? Question for those of u whose phone works..is the volume when on high really low while in a call or is it just me?? Hang in there people...it's DEFINITELY WORTH the wait!! OK I'm going to play with it some more!

For those that were on hold for the 3701#, how long did you wait till they answered?

iPhinally was activated this morning.
iThink that the sales clerk at AT&T store entered my information improperly and led to my 36 hour delay in activation.
Some observations
My activation took place while I was talking to a really nice AT&T support person.
I suspect if you are experiencing unusally long delays in activation there is probably a glitch in the process.
Both AT&T and Apple support people are being told to tell callers that everything is fine and if we wait patiently that activation will take place automatically. I dont believe that is the case.

Once activated everything went smooth with iPhone. It is the real deal. It takes longer to sync songs and pictures to the iPhone than to an iPod.
Those of you with extensive libraries like me will be able to select about 1500 songs plus some videos and hundreds of photo's.
Internet browser works great.
Pleased that I can connect to my hard wired adapter in my vette. Video quality and sound through car
system very good.
Will need to find an adapter to create line out to my PA system and old headphones.

Final insult
Local AT&T store is closed tommorrow for Holiday!
Guess all those techies at AT&T and Apple will have a long weekend!!

Thanks for sharing info with me.
I believe without using info from blog i would still not be activated.
Go back to previous entries to share my saga.

this is getting laughable.. I was activated according to email at 6 this morning (after 36 plus hours) (didnt get up until 9 but all has been perfect)..

since then I have recieved four more emails in the last two hours (since 10 pm.. telling me to activate my phone.. UH its done. its fine.. why dont they go work on those that NEED to be activated instead of us that already are

Wait times on hold varied greatly for me. When I called friday as soon as i got it i was on hold only a few minutes but as hours passed and i called periodically, the wait time got longer. the longest was 3 hours yesterday. then recently i was on hold for an hour and a half and some idiot disconnected my call so i called back and was picked up within half an hour. so it's hard to say...

It's finally activated after 48 hours!!!

I called 877-777-4189 and they figured out the activation feature was not set on the record. They then transfered me to 877-800-3701, and the tech couldn't help me, but i asked to speak to the supervisor and explained it. They changed the flag to active, and then disconnected/reconnected to itunes, and the message said it was activated. It was literally less than 30 seconds after they changed the flag.

Wow, i cannot believe how many times i called AT&T over the last 2 days, literally hours talking to at least 12 different people, and they always said everything looks ok, or let's try this or just continue waiting...

Definitely try asking for a supervisor to look at it because i've gotten so much mis-information over the past 2 days.

Dave, how long ago was that, I am on the phone with them now!

iLoser...are you still on hold?

just got off a 2 hour call with AT&T (877-419-4500). the person who answered was very helpful and apologetic, eventually told me she is a supervisor. she confirmed my fear that I am in some sort of no man's land. she waited on hold with the activation dept (877-800-3701) for almost an hour (which makes sense bc when I firt called that number, it said there was a 60 min wait which is why I called the 419-4500 number, where they answer right away), and kept checking in with me every 2 min to let me know she was still there and waiting, until the call dropped between her and the activation dept. she said she would try again and call me back tomorrow morning at work (since I still have no mobile). I asked about compensation and she gave me a $90 credit. this helps ease the pain. also- she suggested what "wil" above said, to go to the store and get a new SIM card and, now that I am on the cingular orange system with a new plan, that I would be activated within an hour.

Well add one more to the list of relieved iPhone activations.
Sure it took 53 hours, but it's up and syncing now.
I placed another call to the 877-800-3701 number and was connected with Douglas McLane, who looked at my account and saw that while all the other customer reps I had talked to had indeed entered all the right info, no-one had actually bothered to actually activate the account. He guessed that I was probably talking with reps who didn't have the ability or authority to actually activate the account, but whatever he was able to and while on the phone with him I received the "Congratulations, AT&T has successfully activated your iPhone service." email. He told me to disconnect my iPhone leave it for about 5 minutes and the plug it back in. I did and it's now functional. I thanked him and that is that.

Thanks to everyone here who recommended the 3701 number, it seemed to work this time.

Good luck to those still waiting.


Umm.. lol.. 60 hours and 15 mins and I still haven't been activated. BUT, I am on the phone with a 3701 rep right now and she is manually typing in my info, which could have been manually entered last night, the night before etc etc etc.

This is so bad I can't even tell you. What's worse is that people I know went to the Apple store yesterday and had their phone working in 5 mins. lol.

What a joke.


PS. - while I am typing this they got me activated... Finally.

Interesting. I got up this morning and restarted the phone just for kicks before heading to the AT&T store to get a new SIM card. It said "iPhone Activated" and got signal bars. Everything works great on it now.
I guess it wasn't the SIM card like the last tech figured.