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.



Well after 20 hours I returned the phone. Was not worth my time. The hype over some nonsense. I think I mind fucked myself to hate the damn phone now. Nothing can change my mind about getting it again. Going to buy the LG Prada phone, closest thing to it.

No 3G ... Low battery life ... No activation .... POOR SERVICE

Welcome to the new Sprint.

So - I wouldn't feel SOOOOoooo bad and really stupid for standing in line to buy one if EVERYONE that bought one with got back to the office and la de da sailed through activation and are enjoying their new iPhones.

What the hell????

No email, no nothing, many, many calls to Cingular/AT&T later just - wait 24 hours - and 'your activation will take more time.'

13 hours in counting. Called at&t and rep said porting of number from T-Mobile is in process. Apparently T-Mobile has not authorized the porting as of yet. Told me to wait until I get my confirmation email.

I did get the email everyone has been getting...

We are currently processing your order. Your order number is 78****
You will receive an additional e-mail when your order is complete that will provide further instructions to activate your iPhone.

Still waiting ....

22 hrs... sol close to that magic 24

hour 21 no end in site except a six digit code.. whatever that means

Sometime this week, someone somewhere is going to pull the iPhone out at a bar. Some hot chick is going to come up because she just wants to see the hype, and she will love Paris Hilton. At this point you tell her to check it out and put her number in it. You get laid if you have any ability to talk to women.

So for now go stroke it in anticipation of your cell phone being interesting enough to break the ice and lead to some sex.

Either that or eveyone will just get robbed at gunpoint when the leave the bar.

This wait is killing me too, but seriously...tossing off kills at least 30 or so minutes, and more for women I assume?

I'm not waiting for tomorrow to return it.
It's not fun nor is it excisting anymore.
My weekend is ruined
I'm going in today.

activation line tech just told me i was better off with the phone unplugged and turned off. just tought I'd pass it along


22hrs fustrated but with some of relief that some poeplo have the six digit #.

I am still waiting for my six D #

where did you get the notification of the six digit #?


Just got off of the phone with the Apple activation team. The problem at this moment is their activation server, which is down. The technicians are saying that by 6:00 PM PST, they expect to have it back up and everyone who has been processed by AT&T activated.

To be fair to Apple, the rep acknowledged that this was entirely their issue, not AT&T's. They understand that a lot of people are upset and that there has been some premature/incorrect information floating around out there; but they are trying to fix it as quickly as possible.


they must have some really shitty cpu engineers/programmers for it to take them that many hours to fix a server.

I started my activation at 7:30 PM EST on Friday and I am still waiting for activation at 4:00 PM EST on Saturday. I have been a Cingular customer for 3 years with a Family Plan. My husband's iPhone was activated in about 3 hours yesterday and we are on the same Family Plan account.

It's frustrating to have my old phone terminated and my new iPhone unusable. AT&T was not prepared for this. Apple also looks bad for choosing AT&T/Cingular.

The new AT&T is a disaster, but the'll probably blame iTunes and Apple.

Nick B

It could take up to 72 hours /per At&t Rep.

My order number came to me in an email from AT&T, do_not_reply@att.com. I didn't call to ask for it, I did call AT&T and talk to a person but we didn't talk about order numbers.

thanks TY.. why not email us and tell us.. it would be nice to have a timeline..

i think the code is useless.. got mine two hours ago.. didnt seem to matter


did you called 1-877-800-3701?

If you're an old AT&T wireless customer prior to the Cingular merger and never upgraded to Cingular you'll have to upgrade plans before your Iphone will be activated. I upgraded plans from an "old" at&t plan to a "new" at&t plan and the activation happened quite quickly.

21 hours and counting. Called the 877-800-3701 support number. The agent was polite, but seemed very flustered. He told me that he reviewed my order and that it seemed the information was complete and would just take time. He gave me the number of the AT&T call center (800-331-0500) and said they would be the ones that processed the order. They knew about the order but were even less informed than the iPhone support line.

If anyone is actually being activated please please post back and give us some hope. It doesn't seem like anyone is making it through today.

I would also suggest that people Digg this blog entry to get it visible (in the "share and enjoy" section directly under the entry). I'm seeing a lot of information about the iPhone launch on mainstream sites, but not about the activation mess.

Ty Morton,
I'm with you on that. Why the heck is the entire phone disabled? I should be able to get on my WiFi and browse away. Or load some music on and have a blast. Neither of those require cell service... very not nice I say.

Not to mention take some pictures? That would be fun too!

19 hours and still waiting.

Spoke to ATT, remove the sim from iPhone (top of the phone there is a tiny hole, insert a pin and remove the sim card). Place it in your old phone.
Atleast the old phone works.

Hang in there...

I am not even as far as the rest of you. I plugged in the iphone with the newest version of itunes running on my dual powermac and got...nothing! I have not even gotten past step one here! I am siting waiting on hold to talk to someone at Apple. Needless to say, this sort of thing has never happened before- with my ipods or AppleTV. Very frustrating.

I am at 20 hours since I tried to activate online and did get a message from Apple at 1 am saying AT&T was processing my activation.

I think I might have messed up when signing into my iTunes account and then hitting submit for the order. That's why my activation is screwed up.

It's funny how when you call ATT they blame MAC...then you call MAC and they blame ATT! WTF!? I'm at hour 18 with no luck at all. I'm hoping that Ty is right and they will have all activations processed by 6pm PST.

In the mean time, I'm listening to my music on the iPhone, but I can't control shit....just have to let it play.

For everyone still waiting, we've all been iFucked! (not to mention 600 dollars later...)

Called 877-800-3701 - "Activation Support". Gave them the number from the email everyone has been getting.

Now for the bad news (at least for me)....

Somthing or other is locked. The tech red ticketed my phone, which "sends it to the next level o f support. Apparently they will activate my phone within 24 hours along with the other 100,000 red tickets, but mabey they will get to mine quickly...some how??????

Anyway, this was a line I hadn't seen posted yet. Give it a try?

Oh yeah, they told me to turn off the phone for a few hours and then try again.?????

On the phone with Activation Support (877-800-3701) now...

The guy is saying everything looks fine and asked to place me on hold while he looks into the activation!

This is the farthest I have gotten thus far...

Not sure what the activation server thing is - but mine just worked! Got an email saying my activation was complete, plugged it into itune, and 30 seconds later it was done. 18.5 hours later - and it was (dare i say it) worth the wait!?

Hold on...its coming...