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.



am on and off hold with a nice rep named Linda. who is doing everything short of creating an iphone for me.. we did check the sim card numbers and the IME and they do match.. she can't figure out why as an existing customer it didnt blow through.. she and I are now together 40 minutes and she cant seem to get the activation to go through even though she said it should be simple...

this is ridiculous


Back from the pool all day and found an email telling me my Order Number, etc. Just like a bunch of people here also.

Here is my take.. You may agree or not, but consider it...

I don't care when it gets activated. The sooner the better of course but relax. A lot of things have to happen for all this to go smoothly and its probably not that easy. I also thought to myself that all the carriers out there who have thousands of subscribers jumping ship probably don't like it and that could affect all of this..

I have been reading some crazy (GOOD) reviews about the device and can't wait to use it. So hopefully people can just relax and be happy when it does happen..


John, I just got the same message, my # starts with 77... and you are right in all honesty the reps are very apologetic and kind...

okay I am confused.. are you supposed to keep the thing on and docked the entire time with Itunes up.. or what.. one tech said no.. another said yes..

Who do you think Apple is gonna blame and vice versa. Into my 12th hour I'm not a fan of either right now. Who made the decision to activate online? My screen says "Activate iPhone", "connect to iTunes". It doesn't say to connect to AT&T wireless. Both companies are covering their butts. I will blame both companies until Steve Jobs and the CEO of AT&T together tell us what and why it happened and who was to blame.

Mark, You are right.... good common sense.

I waited in line 9 hours, then 16 hours for the activation to be completed, and still not active yet.
At&t reps are very nice, but also are very very low on staff and very inexperienced.
Horrible At&t, it only gets worth from here on.

Remember all the advertising about the iphone and all the online tutorial videos from the apple website.
Well I'd like to see some support now or even "hang in there" video.
Just give me something instead of hiding in your little ground holes, now that you have sold the iphone.

Is anyone else thinking of returning their phone? I hate to say this, but I really feel like if I'm not activated by tomorrow morning (which would be 36 hours after first activating through I-tunes), I'm bringing it back.

My verizon contract expires in August. If I bring the phone back, I can always buy it in 2 months when this BS is worked out. And I'll save myself $175.

Apple & AT&T better have something planned to compensate us for this nonsense. We are the ones who helped feed the hype.....

Yeah, I've heard both too. However, the last person I talked with seemed to be well informed and said I needed to keep it docked (but the SIM card does not need to be in it). So , I'm using my old phone with the new SIM in it and waiting patiently...

at least we are the pioneer in the iphone tecnology. so get togheher and share in info

we will make a happend for our benefit

thanks you

for all the info.

Just got my email, "Your order number is 778812". That means at least $500,000,000 in revenue. And I suspect the early rumor of 2 million iPhones opening day is true.

I totally should have come home after buying the thing instead of going to see Ratatouille.

I am also going to return it if not activated by morning... this is not worth my money or time

My iPhone (or iBrick?) just vibrated - and no one was flipping the switch on the side. Then it beeped...what does this mean?!? Is this some cruel anomaly? Is something really about to happen. Is some AT&T employee (probably in india) typing away on a computer about to make all my dreams come true - or are they just toying with me? Man am I pathetic...

It is a pretty fantastic looking picture of the earth though.


I also got the order number email. I think someone up top demanded that AT&T communicate SOMETHING so they must have scripted an email blast to calm the masses. It ain't working!

I was told by an AT&T rep that the only way to prove activation is a text message will appear on the iPhone claiming that the process is complete.

In my opinion every carrier stinks. AT&T really dropped the ball on this one, but I'm sooo happy to get away from Verizon, and Sprint is useless too. Carriers are icons of poor service, ESPECIALLY to existing customers. Verizon has repeatedly tried to penalize me for wanting to KEEP their service.

I really do hope that Jobs comes forward and apologizes for picking such a bogus carrier! And AT&T HAS TO waive the activation charge if they want to save ANY smidgeon of face.

Your iphone is possessed!!!!


please wait because today I went to the store to return mine.

I saw 25 people waiting outside to get a iphone, also people are ordered today with the two weeks of wating time.

so let gave the system the opportunity to recovered, you should be proud the atleast our wating time is hours not days.

just friendly advise

you dont have to keep your phone on or docked for activation... at this point I put in the new sim card in the old phone and tomorrow I will change it back and return it


This is what I have been told:

Whenever you plug into itunes, it checks the sim card against a list of activated phones. If you dont have it plugged in right now it doesnt matter. Once you get the email, plug it in, it will contact itunes - and find that its ready and will activate the phone. Plugging it in prior to receiving the email does nothing, and not having it plugged in at the time you are activated wont make you miss anithing.

Makes sense to me - I put in another sim card and it prompted me to begin the activation for a new phone - so obviously they are checking in real time to see the status of your activation based on the content of the sim card.


what I don't understand is who got their activation immediately last night? The reps keep saying that some people had a very smooth activation. Who? I was logged in literally 1 HOUR after buying the phone (7:07 pm), and still nothing.

This is not worth it. Bring it back, fight apple on the bs restocking fee, and buy one in 2 months when it's 200 cheaper and you don't have to early terminate your contract.

At least that's my plan. (although if it beeped right now, I would be in heaven and would strike all of this from the record)

The problem is both AT&T and Apple:

AT&T's bottleneck is the result of porting all of the existing users' SIM cards. Normally, they just transfer the SIM card to another phone, or the data another card. To their credit, they acknowledge that they were caught off-guard by that.

And BTW, if you were porting a number from another service, it could still take up to 24 hours if with a conventional phone.

But, I called AT&T this morning and found out that my number was ported to the new SIM yesterday.

Also, I logged on to my AT&T account and it shows my iPhone as my phone and says “Status: Active” beneath it.

The problem now (for me, anyway) is Apple’s activation process.

Moreover, if the phone weren’t designed by Apple in such a way that prevented the use of non-phone-related functions without activation, the common statement on this thread would be more like “I’m still waiting for the phone to come on, but the rest of it is awesome!”

If people want to be angry at someone, be angry at the control freaks at Apple.

Just a thought:

Everybody constantly calling att reps and apple probably is backing up the system just a tiny bit. We know they're working on it, we know it's shitty. Stop calling unless something actually happens.

In other news my order number starts with a 79. that's a lot of damn money.

I am waiting still its 4 pm i did the all itunes setup at 4 AM its been 12 hours does anyone know if if they send out the emails on sundays i really need this before sunday morning im going on vacation for a week!!! AT&T better help me

Got the "You will receive email notification" at 8:30 last night. Four hours later (after I'd given up and gone to bed) I got an email that my current AT&T plan was not compatible with iPhone and I had to call customer service.

Spent an hour on the phone with 3 different representatives, all of whom were very nice but clearlly overwhelmed, only to find out that my plan was so old that I had to pick a new plan. Note: my plan was so old means that I've been an AT&T customer for many, many years.

No big deal. Picked a similar and very reasonable plan. My old phone now says "inactive sim" and I'm still waiting.

Bummer that I lost all of that time and apparently didn't get back into the queue until around 10 this morning.

Bummer that I didn't see reibok's post and swapped the sims before my old one was deactivated, and that AT&T or Apple didn't suggest that for their existing customers.

Bummer that I can't use any of the other features until the damn this IS activated.

Aaargh. This is really a disaster.

hey jonathan.. if you want to spend 600 bucks for a 3 inch photo of the earth can I interest you in some swamp properties in florida??

Activation appears to be random. I have seen people that have bought two phones and 1 activates and 1 doesn't. I am a pre-existing customer (keeping my number) as is my friend. I started the process ay 6:30 pm and have been waiting. He started at 7:15 and was done in 5 minutes. It sucks but there does not appear to be a ryme or reason.

It is hour 19!!! I'm in FL. Looking at the email I just got, I'm order number 716337, and their "processing" my order now, yeah right. I'm a big apple fan, my real name is Mac for god's sake, and I'm starting to get very sad.


I bought mine at the same time as a friend. he activated it at my house at the same time as I did mine. His worked within two minutes, mine still does not work. He is a very happy at&t customer right now. Me - not quite.

In fact he has called me several times today to ask me "does his voice sound beautiful" through his new phone. I think I am just going to beat him up and take his - then have my number transfered. Perhaps you'll see it on the news like the many PS3 stories.



waiting over 20 hours and no other email than....

"AT&T is now processing your activation. You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete."

Those of you who got the email with your order number please post when you get your activation and how long after that it took. I would feel better if someone just sent me an order number at the very least!!!


just remember cingular is separate entity of apple so yo may returned but the contract that you signed online with itones still on.

so if they take time for activate you phone, imaginated for cancelation of your contract