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.



16 hours and still waiting for activation to complete...

putting the iphone SIM into your old phone works ok..

at least we don't need to forego wireless service completely...

waiting patiently.

For all of you being on hold, I've been calling 877 - 419 - 4500 and I've been getting through right away with no waits.

15.5 Hours of Waiting. Please someone put me out of my pain.
I need help.

Matt. Ease your pain, Smoke some hemp. [Legal in CA]

yep, same here. I called the number listed above and got through right away.

Clever Steve Jobs. Very Clever. Sell us all phones on Friday, then wait all weekend to activate. With no one able to use their phones why not go see a movie?... say Ratatouille maybe? Well payed Steve, well played.

ugh and a half. been waiting 14 hours now. one of the at&t folks asked me for the IMEI # and the ICCID # as though they were able to pull some magic but not to be. but i did get the thrill of playing with something other than the slider.

did anyone get them to credit their activation fee because of the long wait?

The rude response to my last call to ATT customer service propelled me directly to the ATT store for a refund. The telephone customer service lady explained that originally, they were not going to allow ATT customers to move from a data plan (like Blackberry ) to IPHONE, just new customers. That is why the system is having problems with existing customers moving to the IPHONE.

Ummm. Ok. Yeah. Valid excuse? I didn't feel too good about it. Then she offered another explanation : that the "network couldn't handle the volume of new registrations". So I said, " you mean it will be tough to make calls on the ATT network with all those new phones?" She replied, "oh no, just that so many people weren't expected to REGISTER the phones so quickly". I guess the sales department forgot to tell the I.T. guys about the big IPHONE launch. Or maybe they thought people would just spend $600 for a new phone and put it in the closet to activate later?

Yes, you STILL have to pay the 10% re-stocking charge to return the phone even if you can't get the activation ( the staff in the store was most apologetic and understanding though). However, after much complaining in the front of a line of people waiting to buy an IPHONE, they finally offered to credit my ATT account the re-stocking charge, just not refund it to my credit card.



Also, I'd been waiting for activation under the new sim card since 8pm last night with no results. The sim card switch worked.

they credited me with my fee and a month of service.. I am now past hour 16 I think.. I dont know I am losing track... this is unreal

for all of you who are sitting there waiting for your activation to process, just think about these other drawbacks that should make you feel even better about this deal. a friend just sent these to me. while i knew some of them, some i did not. here they are:

- no GPS
- no 3G
- The iPhone's virtual keyboard has been considered its chief weakness and a risk for Apple. [70] The New York Times' David Pogue and Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, who both tested the iPhone for two weeks, found learning to use it initially difficult, although eventually usable, with Pogue stating use was "frustrating" and "text entry is not the iPhone's strong suit" but Mossberg considered the keyboard a "nonissue". Both found the typo-correcting feature of the iPhone was the key to using the virtual keyboard successfully.[34] [71]
- When the user is not in a Wi-Fi hot spot, the iPhone's network connection will use AT&T's older EDGE network. The data rate for this network is 40kbps, similar to a landline dial-up connection. [72] David Pogue of the New York Times found that the EDGE network was "excruciatingly slow," with the iPhone taking as long as 100 seconds to download the Yahoo! home page for the first time. [34] The EDGE network is being boosted from 40kbps to 80kbps to coincide with project launch.[73]
- The rechargeable battery is non-removable, and once depleted, will need to be replaced by the manufacturer for a fee. [34]
- iPhone lacks any type of firewall, which some experts claim is posing a data security risk. [74] However, without unsafe applications to firewall, this might be a moot point, if the built in applications do not open unsafe communication ports.
- iPhone is only available for those who subscribe to a two-year AT&T service plan.[75]
- There is no way to opt out of the data plan and thus people who do not want to use the iPhone's Web capability may find the fee superfluous.[76]
- iPhone cannot install full programs from anyone but Apple. [77]
- The Safari browser in iPhone supports neither Adobe Flash nor Java. [70]
- iPhone lacks a number of common handheld features,[78] [79][75] including voice dialing, voice recording, instant messaging , memory card slot, MMS, A2DP (stereo bluetooth), common bluetooth file transer, text copy and paste, video recording with the built-in camera, and support for MP3 files as ringtones.
- The iPhone's virtual keypad won't work when wearing gloves, which is a concern for wintertime phone calls in cold areas. [80]
- The camera in the iPhone is only 2 megapixels, which is small compared to other smartphones, most notably the Nokia N95, which contains a 5 megapixel camera.
- The iPhone cannot be added to an AT&T Business account, and any existing business account discounts cannot be applied to an iPhone AT&T account.

isnt this great all the things that we can discover while wasting time waiting for activation!

12 hrs and waiting, just gt off the phone with at&t, rep told me the were told by the iphone support team that it may take 24 hrs from the time you hit submit in Itunes.
they are open on sundays from 1 to 9 PM, don't know what time zones, i'm EST.
number - 877-777-4189

Well... I got 2 iPhones, 1 for me and 1 for my wife, now... We pluged it on iTunes at the same time, we got the message saying that we have to wait, like almost every one did, after wait all night long, I went to sleep, and at 6 am I decided to try one more time so I pluged my iPhone on the computer and BOOM! it worked!!! My wife's phone still not working, we tryied to plug it on the iTunes around 11:00 AM, and NOTHING!!! Still inactive. Now, the next question is: HOW MANY 911 CALLS WAS RECEIVED FROM iPhone's??? since that is the only number you can call if it is not activated. I didn't, but yesterday, after 30 Min in the line to buy my incredible device, I saw more than one person, run out of the store and open theyr boxes, excited and just let the plastic bag, and all those litle plastic stuff that comes on the package... guess where... in the floor... that is it, they just unwrap it and use the street as garbage, again, HOW MANY CALL'S THE EMERGENCY NUMBER HAS RECEIVED FROM DOES PEOPLE?

Anyone know if you have to leave the iPhone connected to iTunes for it to finally activate?

i am speaking to that number now with the no wait, been on the phone with the lady for 20 minutes now, been trying to act since 7:40 PM last night EASTERN TIME, around 12 nothing was happening and i had been talking to customer service and the lady turned on my original black jack again she asked me for me sim card number and act that so i can have a phone, now i am letting them know that because i think it will just get stuck in the system and all the reps just try to tell you that we have to wait regardless and there is nothing to do... now she comes back and tell me that its helping with the delay, so now i have to prob start waiting again!!! OMG can this get any worse, why cant they just get them all working at the same time, how many months has this been planned for!!!!!! and its not just AT&T its APPLE too they are delaying every single process that has to be done

i blame APPLE more than AT&T

hello guys i am really disappointed about this i phone as im sure everyone else is too. i am at a total loss without my phone i cannot conduct buisness. i seen some people saying i can get my sim card out of my i phone if i can get it back in my black jack that would be great how do i get it out of my iphone though some one please help!!!!!

Still Wating!!!!!! 16hrs and counting, now they are telling me it might take between 24 and 48 hrs

How do you remove the SIM card? Where is it

One more issue - just for us Mac fans. If you haven't upgraded your Mac to OSX 10.4 - your iPhone won't communicate with your iTunes (even if you've downloaded 7.3).

This sucks - I gotta go buy a $20 OSX 10.4 CD now. OK - I should probably have upgraded by now, but why at 'gunpoint'? The Apple support guy even admitted to me that 30% of Macs are still on OSX 10.3 or earlier. They KNEW that MILLIONS of Mac users would be unable to port their iPhone with iTunes on a Mac.

To add insult to injury, he said my daughter's laptop PC with WIN XP would work fine, except all HER iTunes could end up on MY iPhone - YIKES! I did use that PC, and it worked.

EXCEPT, like most here, I'm still waiting for AT&T activation (14 hours later)....


Make that $120 OSX 10.4 CD from my last post.

I'm with you smartblond ---

Ok it's been 16 hours for me and I'm really annoyed. I'm still waiting for the mysterious activation email. I'm porting a number from Verizon.

I'm wondering if the real culprit here is the software company chosen for activation? Synchronos I believe?? Perhaps both ATT and Apple were told it could do more than it could.

I will say I have had no wait times in getting through to ATT and they've been very polite, only it's all sit and wait. I'm not entirely confident I'm even in a queue somewhere... the whole process seems severely messed up.

Ok, how could this have happened? And, who is to blame?
I think both Apple and ATT! It's not like this massive iPhone fever came as a total surprise. Why were they not ready?

Anyway, I am in a process of activating two iPhones on same family plan. So...

Went thru activation process for first of the two phones and setup the family plan. As everyone else, I am now waiting for the activation process to complete.

Now for the kicker... As many other I am sure have tried, I called ATT to find out want is going on. After holding for over 2 hours, I finally go to speak to ATT rep, who informed me that not only do I have to wait 24 hours for the first phone to activate, but can't activate the second phone at all, till the process on first one is completed.

So, how about that... Spent almost $1,300 and now got two phones with that groovy slider and the globe...

Someone please explain to me, how is that a good marketing strategy...

to remove the sim card..simply stick the end of a paper clip in the little whole on te top of the phone, then with a little pressure either direction(left or right) slowly pull on the clip and a little drawer with the sim will come on. put your old sim card in and reconnect it to itunes.

Greg - Yeah they told me I need to keep it connected to the computer [not like you can do much with it anyways]

Stewart - Next to the headset peice, you need to stick a PIN in that little hole in order to get the Sim Card out.

Received a email 18 hours later saying WELCOME TO AT&T! Still waiting for a fucking number and activation. Only 18 hours left!

If you have any questions, try calling 877.419.4500.... you should get through almost right away.

reibok - When you used your old sim did you try to activate the same number or select a new one? In other words was everything the same as before and you were just using a new sim card?


Thanks for the suggestion, but I changed the SIM, went through the process again, and now nothing is happening still. Same error, so I put the old SIM back in...

Reibok - What does sticking the old SIM inside do?

I was told 2 hours, then 12. Nonsense. It's been 17 and NO activation! I politely complained to AT&T and they waved my $18 activation fee. Made me feel a tad better, but I want my iPHONE!!!!