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.



It's been 7 hours for me staring at the "Your activation requires additional time to complete" message. Good news, I guess, is that I got a hold of AT&T as soon as I called their support number. They're being honest - they're swamped, they're sorry. It's 2:30 am eastern time.

got my phone at 6:30 pm, went home, took 7 hrs to activate, but did activate, works great, love it!!!!!!

Interested party.. how long from the first email to the actual activation?

I also got to play with a demo iPhone in the store. I don't care how long I have to wait...this thing freakin' rocks.

my activation took 7 hrs, have talked to others that took 15mins. my call to att said uo to 12 hrs. they said both att & apple servers were back logged. i went to apples web site , it said " temp out of serice" so that tells me joint errors

wow...and i thought verizon had bad customer service. I'm already ashamed to be an AT&T customer form DAY 1.

JUSTIN, i always heard Verizon had good cust service? wy switch?

Smartblond (in real estate), you might want to call your customers in the morning with a land line phone and laugh with them about the iphone roll-out. Maybe they will feel sorry enough for you and buy some property without a hassle. Borrow a cell phone for the day and give them that temporary number.

All complainers should try laughing it off because life is really too short!

I was first in line at an AT&T store on Friday in the suburbs of New York. The fourteen hours of waiting was a wonderful experience, and surreal. I have fond memories of many people who share my exuberance for the technology of the Iphone and were who were willing to be inconvenienced for a few hours.

It's 2:47 AM on the 30th, 5 reps, all different opinions and I too cannot deliver my baby. This pales in comparison to any number of new devices and support and/or new technologies over the years. Like 6 months of tech support and countless sleepless nights just trying to get an early adaptation of a firewire board to work of one of my PC's! Or, for that matter, I'd much rather be waking up later next to my sleeping Iphone then an empty cot in Iraq. Take it in stride and we will have great stories or frustration and how wonderfully we handles it, for our grandchildren. .... "Yes grandpa, but you really had to touch a screen in the olden days?!"

Best wishes to all. I'll be thinking of all of you, my friends and compatriots, when the air clears and all of our babies are cooing in our palms.

this phone is geat!! mine activated in 3 hrs. what a peice of equipment. i can do it all from this phone. worth the wait!!

Guys - there is a REASON for the wait. I finally got a rep to tell me there is a problem with iTunes sending incorrect calling plans to AT&T. Of course, they will lie and say "It takes 24hrs to port your #", but thats a smokescreen. AT&T has technical problems and they are trying to cover their ass.

Went through the activation process about 90 minutes ago, still 'requiring more time'. I got ahold of someone at their 877 number though right away, and he was nice but had no answers. He recommended that I 'leave it plugged in to the computer and iTunes on and you should be activated by morning'.

Great. I'll just go to bed to the faint sounds of my girlfriend telling me, 'Told you so'.

Well,I've had these same issues, but, when I called they guy told me they have had 700,000 activations, that was as of about 10 PM. So, that was his excuse. Twice as many as they expected. Of course, they should have had it worked out, BUT, you have to admit, that's a hell of a lot of iPhones!

Hey all I've been waiting for 8 hours now ans this is crap!!! Why did steve jobs do this to us??

I've been with sprint for 10 years and never had a problem like this!!! This sucks!!

Just like Smartblond I also have clients coming in to view property and no way for them to call me!

Is anyone have any other problems?

why steve why?

I got my stuff filled out on iTunes at 8:15 PM PST. It's now 1:51 AM, and still waiting. :(

I will returned iphone monday morning, that is not ok for the custumers

I have been waiting for 10 hours and the phone isn't activated. This is absurd. Never imagined the lines and all the aggravation would actually take less time than the phone activation!

599 puls tax for piece of equipment that does not work.
well I guess that, I have to go back with my razor

10 hours and waiting, Just talked to ATT, no help........off to work today (on hospital call) in a very compromised position with no phone!!
This is a real black eye for ATT
What a lost opportunity! They really have dropped the ball and created a potentially dangerous situation for many who have to work this weekend.

A definite bad move for Apple as well.

This is lame... I waited in line for 14 hours, I bought 2 phones, and am now going on 11 hours waiting for my activation to go through. To be fair, so far this is still better than my experience with Verizon, but with that said, it's definitely not "revolutionary". The phone better be better than I think it is to make up for the service...


Bought 2 phone's, 1st. phone activated within minutes. Tried to activate the 2nd. phone 2hours later and I'm still waiting. (8 hours and counting...) Not a happy camper :-(

Where is Scotty when you need him? We need more warp power!
Oh ya, he's gone. I guess this is what you get when Great Computer Company meets so-so
phone Company. Boy this product had better rock once it Activates! Way to kill the Apple Karma at&t. Not even being an existing at&t Customer can save you on this one. Chant with me
technology is cool, technology is cool, technology is cool. Nope nothing yet...

AT&T activation servers are running what OS?...... Micro-something! Microsoft strikes again, are we sure the guys in Redmond don't have something to do with this? Steve get them some MAC PRO's will ya?

The saga continues........ Apple we still believe in you..... at&t not so much.

AT&T announces 12 hours free service for every hour they failed to activate the iPhone. I on on my 10th hour so far and counting. I hope that 72 hour estimate holds up.

i am not happy i want revenge i feel wronged. i am looking into if we will get compensation at all. i dont see at t doing anything for free. it is early, 6 am and for the first time i am on hold for a long time, bad sign. what rights if any do we have?

The cell phone gods must have been listening!!!!!
We are ACTIVATED and syncing now baby!

I highly recommend my technology chant followed by adding to this
blog as a remedy.....pass it on!

May the APPLE be with you always...........

On the phone last night for 2 hours talking to AT&T activation. It got comical at one point with Apple telling AT&T it was a problem on their side then AT&T telling Apple it was a problem on their side. Meanwhile my trusty blackjack is now deactivated and I can not use it.

Probably the single most hyped consumer electronic device in all time. Backed by two tremendously well capitalized businesses, and the answers I got is that their systems are having a hard time with the load. No Shit there is a load - have they been living under a rock? Did they not prepare. they must have got together with the USAir testing team - the same group that hosed up USAir a couple months ago.

If you are gonna do something, do it right please.

For what it is worth - 6:00 pm launch on Friday, total hype, no technical people to actually help customers - what a stupid idea.

I am excited about the phone, but not excited about the hell I will have to endure to get this thing activated.


i have been waiting since last night 8:30pm.. and nothing.. ready to back out of the deal

12 hours and still waiting.

There's no excuse for AT&T not having these damned activations in a queue and being able to say "there are [x] number of activations still ahead of you" ...