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.



Yep...I got home with my 4G Iphone last night around 7:00 PM EST...now at 7:07 my Iphone is still not active. I have little comfort in knowing that I am not alone. I surely thought I would have seen something on the news or on CNN.COM stating that there are issues - but nothing. Oh well, I will not return it but I am VERY disappointed!

Oh - and calling AT&T just results in perma-hold.

AT&T only needed to get 1 f-ing thing right this whole year. A smooth activation process for it's legions of new and excited iPhone customers. Instead they f-ed it up BIG TIME! M&TH&R F&CK&RS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what a black eye for apple...this was a big mistake hooking with att...been waiting since 9 last night...good luck trying to get an att rep

I wonder if all of this adds up to grounds for a class action law suit?

Been waiting over 5 hours. And now I notice they took the number for AT&T down off the screen.

Hey for those who did finally get activated... how long did it take?

Apple really should have known better than to partner with AT&T. This is the worst Apple experience I have ever had.

This is piece of S$%$T, My phone is disable and I wont be able do any work because most of my client use my cell n umber which is F#%)()%(%ing diabled by AT (F$(#)$(ING) T. How can after this crazy money in testing and wait they can screw up so bad.

It's amazing the amount of bad press AT&T has created for themselves by not preparing for this better.

There's actually a video that popped up on YouTube showing how hectic things have gotten inside the AT&T and Apple customer service centers this morning.


After waiting hours after hours, can i be sure that it be activate on its own at some point, or do i have to call the 1877# and yell and scream my way thru activation? I have been waiting for 10 hours now. I kinda need the cell phone, considering the other one is useless at this point...

I've been waiting for over 12 hours now. Still no activation e-mail.

The slidey thing is pretty cool and I know the rest will be even more cooler.

I was first in line and had my laptop with me at the store. I had the good fortune of having the local news interviewing me while (attempting) activating outside the store. When they asked me if I was afraid of a 1st gen product and any problems, I unwittingly said that I had complete confidence in Apple and thier products. I hadn't thought, at that time about my lack of experience with AT&T.

I did manage to get through on 1-877-419-4500 about 2 hours into waiting. They said it could take another 15 minutes or it could take up to 3 more hours for activation to complete. I went to bed.

This morning, the number has been removed from the iTunes page, but I called back anyway. I gave up after 15 minutes of wasting my Verizon miuntes.

I will be asking for them to waive the activation fee for the trouble they have caused.

I'm still looking forward to using the iPhone and am sure I will be happy with it once it actually works.

Sick. Ok.. I started the activation process last night at 8:56pm. It is not 8:06am and I still have the message saying they need additional time to complete. For anyone who wants the number to call AT&T that USED to be on this page it is 877-419-4500. But they aren't answering...

So do we just leave the puter and phone attached and go about our business and hope when we come back its done? Anyone?


Both companies should take responsibility for this - Apple was obviously involved with the entire activation process since it has never been done like this before

What did you all expect?

Whenever Guy Kawasaki and Steve Job's promise the world, what do you expect to be delivered.

Who didn't know that AT&T was the worst service on the planet.

I'm quite surprised there is NOT more talk about the $2500 2yr service contracts for 155Kb, I have EDGE on my black-berry, at least I can use it as a tethered modem.

I can see NO use whatsover for an iphone,

Lastly, my blackberry 8100 uses the same network through t-mobile for 20/mon total, for that same level of service with the iphone it will cost $100/mo.

Anybody that bought an iPhone is a financial idiot.

Still waiting 12 hours.

I called the number on the email from att with "Please refer to your Activation ID when calling.\n######", was on hold for about 20 minutes this morning, and finally got a rep.

At first, he said it was held up because I chose an invalid option (I didn't have 200 txt messages selected). After pointing out that there is no option not to select that, we verified a few things, and after giving him the lst 4 digits of IMEI and ICCID numbers, he claims to have fixed it, that it had the wrong IMEI number in the activation or something.

Anyway, no refund of the $3 activation fee, and he said it could take up to 12 _more_ hours after this was fixed to get activated.

My local store opens in another 2 hours... I may make a trip down there and see if I can get someone to force through an activation.

So if you are still waiting, call the number with your activation ID email and make sure there's not something holding up your activation.

Woops, once again, I spoke too soon. iTunes now says my activation has expired and I have to START ALL OVER!!!

This is not going to be fun.

okay guys, it took 5 1/2 hours but it did sync,

and oh my God is the phone amazing.


att is dumb.

apple rocks.

don't worry...yours will sync...the phone is so, so cool. worth the wait.

What a genius idea to wait until Friday night at 6:00 pm. Apple should post a message about what they are doing about this on their home page. We are in limbo ! Old cell phone does not work and new ones don't work.

Someone please post something meaningful somewhere so we can at least understand what to expect. I don't want to return the phone. Quite frankly I think AT&T would have just as much trouble reactivating my old phone as they are having activating this new one. This is FUBAR !

APPLE - please post some sort of message on your HOMEPAGE about what you are doing to solve the problems
AT&T - please put some sort of message on your HOMEPAGE admitting you did not prepare for this


Just got the text message "AT&T: Welcome! Your phone is now ready to rceive calls."

Looks like you need to call with your activation id number and get your account straightened out if you're still waiting.

I've been waiting 10 hours and I was an existing AT&T customer. Not just that, but my previous plan, wasn't able to transfer to the iPhone even though everywhere said you can transfer your existing plan. I called AT&T and they gave me the number 86MOBILITY for activation help. I called that and got Mobility Elevators, probably not activation specialists. I called Apple who then told me my phone was registered to someone else, even though I bought it untouched still in the shrink wrap at an Apple store. I then called AT&T with a number Apple gave me where they told me it would take 5-7 hours after forcing me to change my plan (less minutes)...Still waiting...not so patiently...

I talked with the customer rep at 877 419-4500 shorty before 3 am central time. The guy I talked to said there was a a tremendous backlog and apologized profusely. Thinking there was nothing else I can do I called it a night. When I woke up at 7 am, there was an email sent at 3:15 am saying my activation is completed and my new cellphone number was displayed. I finished the sync process. Lo and behold, my new iPhone is working and I must say, the iPhone is simply amazing!!!

I've had the same problem. I've asked AT&T to waive the activation fee, and they're now refusing. Completely unacceptable customer service, in my opinion. I've filed the following complaint with the FCC. I hope everyone else will follow suit: (www.fcc.gov)
Like many others, I stood in line today for hours to purchase an iPhone. When I returned home, the "instant" activation that had been promised was anything but instant. Instead, it has been nearly 12 hours and AT&T has yet to activate my account. They say that this is due to high volume, but I don't see how that is my responsibility. The fact is that they have promised a service and not come anywhere close to delivering.

As a result, I believe that $36.00 activation charge that they are imposing for this "instant" activation is excessive, improper, and violates federal regulations and/or statutes. I have asked AT&T to waive this fee, and they have refused.

I would request that you look into whether AT&T's activation fees are excessive given their failure to deliver the service promised within a reasonable time. Thank you for your time.


Sundeep K. Addy

UGGHHHHHHHHHHH!! AT&T is freaking lame! I also ran to the store purchased an Iphone with my
friend and now my original phone I had doesnt work to even call anyone at all and Im waiting for
14 hours now for this IPHONE to activate!! Someone needs to take the fall for this, Im voting for AT&T. why why why...

I have been waiting for 8 hours and still NOTHING. It seems ATT dropped the ball on activation although they are blaming Apple for it on the phone. I waited 40 minutes to hear sorry it could be 15-24 hours, and by the way sorry your other phone won't work either!!

I kinda thought there would be a small delay. But overnight? That seems long enough. Why disable my old AT&T SIM and leave we stranded with nothing? At least they did this on a Friday night - Sat. If it was a weekday how would people run their business?
This is poor planning and a poor reflection on Apple and T. This will certainly make for bad press.


still cant freakin activate 12 hrs and counting....

After a delightful Apple experience, AT&T told me 2 hours max (spoke with two different customer service reps). 8 hours later.....nothing!! Still not activated. And now hold times are over an hour long.


is anyone getting this problem where its saying...itunes store is unable to process purchases at this time?

10 hours so far and...nothing. Those "3 minutes" to activate have turned into 600 minutes with no idea of how much longer it will take. This is ridiculous and I blame AT&T for every additional minute I've been waiting to get this thing activated.

I called AT&T customer "service" and after 12 minutes on hold, finally got through to a very nice but totally clueless girl that was completely unhelpful. She told me to wait until I got an email with the successful activation message, that that was the final step in the process, that she was very sorry it was taking so long and that she had "no idea" how much longer it would take.

Sorry for the childish language, but, AT&T - you suck balls.