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 for the time being I put in the new apple sim card into my old phone.. it works fine.. I was told by three supervisors they just found out this will not be a problem.. also another plus I can copy my numbers to it when I do install it into Iphone Or delete them if I take it back.. which is where I am leaning..

anyway my old phone works fine.. do NOT put your old sim into the new phone.. that is pointess.. but at least you will have service until this clears up

I bought my iPhone around midnight last night. I got home about 12:30 a.m., updated iTunes, docked my phone. Got the message of 3 minutes, got the message of needs more time, got the first phone no. Called, they said about 6 hrs, such a backlog.

Go to sleep, get up, check the phone. Not activated. Old phone, still working. I call att, they literally deactivate my treo while I'm on hold. I use the landline to call back, they say within 24 hours. I call Apple after seeing the number on this board, they say very sorry, the servers are overworked, they're working on it. For sure within 24 hours of when I first signed up.

So I don't expect anything until about midnight tonight, maybe 1:00 a.m.

Only thing I can do is drag some music files to the phone, watch it sync, turn on/off the vibration button, and hard/soft off button. May as well check out Netflix on demand, at least it works.


yep and talked to them for nearly two hours... they were doing everything they could.. that was the number I used to speak to Linda who I mention in my earlier post...


Pay particular attention to the quote from the ATT&T representative. They consider this a huge sucess.

Jonathan , congrats..
If you are still here, could you tell us how much time between the order number e-mail from at&t and the activation??

After picking up our phones, my business partner had his going in 20 min. Mine is still waiting for activation 24 hours later.

The no flash issue needs to be resolved and no streaming internet radio puts a damper on our radio station for supporting the iphone.

apple and at&t and closed dev for apps.... Grrrr.

f-it.. its apple's iphone. patience is a virtue.

and for the record, on the phone with sprint for 3 hours trying to cancel the account. took 1.5 hrs just to have them answer the call.

all good things come to those who wait. Even blonde Models with more baggage then an airport!


Okay even though I am a HUGE Apple fan it looks like this might be their fault. I just took a stroll down to the Att&t store. Figured they couldn't fix anything but thought I might be able to get some sympathy and access to the "inside" scoop. The nice clerk there was very sympathetic and even allowed me to view an internal e-mail they received from their regional managers. Essentially it said a bunch of technical stuff i wasn't quite clear on but that the problem was widely recognized and "escalating". It also mentioned a conflict between OPUS (ATt&T's customer sytem) & iTunes. When I asker her about this she explained that apparently some of the phones internal ID numbers have been entered into the two systems in different ways. Att&T did it one way and Apple another. According to her (and for what it's worth I think she believes this) Att&t has fixed the problem on their end and it is now up to Apple to do the same.

I just got a second email from at&t with my order number that was identical to the first. here's my timeline. i'll repost if and when it gets activated:

Preexisting AT&T customer. Was originally AT&T before the merger with cingular.

10:15 pm - attempted to activate the phone and got the "needs more time" message. Within 2 minutes I received an email from AT&T saying that AT&T is now "procesing your activation".

11:a.m. - called the 877 number and got through within 2 minutes. The rep checked my account and said that he can see that I'm in the system for an iPhone and confirmed the choice for data plan I had entered.

1:52 Got an email from apple on my other email address (not my .mac address, but the one I have registered with AT&T) with the followig content:
his message is automatically generated. Please do not reply to this message.

"Thank you for choosing AT&T! We are glad to provide you with a Customer Service Summary, a customized document that specifically outlines the services, charges, and policies regarding your account. To access your Customer Service Summary (CSS) any time of the day or night, please do the following:"

2:49: email from apple "thank you for your purchase" with order number beginning with 73.
5:04 - identical email as above with the same exact order number.

Phone still does not work.

Things to do while we wait:

See Ratatouille (Give Steve more $)

Twiddle Thumbs & Whistle



Play Wii

Play Wii While Drinking

Keep refreshing this post over and over (been fun so far)

Try not to think about all the other things you could have done this weekend.

Play with your Kids (if you have them)

Play with your pets (again, if you have them)

Do any of the above while drinikng :)

Hey gang.. those of you that got that email with the six digit code should call that number 877-800-3701. press #1 when the voice mail comes on.. I got someone in a few minutes and gave her that code.. she told me that helped because in some cases the code is used to verify some things.. which she did and then put in the que for activation. for some reason it was just sitting there waiting to be verified... NO ONE TOLD ME THAT.

so call and give them that number.. this may or may not be your issue but it can't hurt.. the bad news she said that it could be another 12 hours..

Tim - the second e-mail while frustrating might at least indicate that the numbers mean something as opposed to be some sort of random # generation


I switched the sim card from the iPhone to my old phone - thanks for posting the info on this - and I called the Activation Support number - 877-800-3701. Again, thanks for posting this number. I got transferred over to AT&T. I had to wait about 10 minutes. The woman I spoke w/ was v friendly. She put me on hold for about 5 minutes, came back on, and told me there had been a problem w/ the 200 text message plan not being added to my account. She changed the information and now I have a working iPhone!!! Woohoo!!!! It does seem like the issue was AT&T in my case. Best of luck to everyone else out there!

Mine is working!!!! No email ever came, this awesome guy name IDES at the Activation number activated it for me in about 30 minutes!

Hey smartblond... That was beautiful. I called like you said and they gave me the status of the order entry. No problems on the add on to my existing account. They apologized and explained 1 to possibly 12 more hours.....

In asking regarding the phone staying connected the rep explained. You don't need to keep it connected while we're all waiting.

Being a diehard Apple customer I agree that nothing this messed up has ever happened b4.

But going down in history can you think of any company ever having so many activations for a new toy in one day as we all are apart of.

Once this is over, we should be giving something for our headaches.

And once we all have the iPhone Active.

We'll all sing how sweet it is.

Hang in there everyone.

looks like I have been had.
12:56 am I start EST
now 5:30pm and all I get is hot smoke up my skirt.
I expected better an well got punked.
16 hours for activation... Not to mention my time waiting on line.

18 hours andd.....IT WORKS!!!!

Other than the wait, in the thirty minutes or so I've been using it, it seems to be really good. The syncing was flawless, even my email accounts and passwords sync'ed. Keyboard is better than I had heard.

Good luck to everyone!

My Phone is on!!!!! 5:52 PM / FL / 21 hours wait

I called AT&T and gave them my order number and the guy got it to work, I guess. They didn't tell me much, he just told me it should be working and I got this email "Congratulations, AT&T has successfully activated your iPhone service."

sounds like some of you are making progress... at least I got to copy my old numbers to the new sim card instead of having to purchase the USB port for an additional 15 bucks... however so far no emails... hour 20 something and still holding..

Good luck guys! And thanks for the help.

In The man time this is how to play "Marry HAd A little Lamb" on your while you wait:

Type in rythmn to the tune:

9878999 - 888 - 999 - 9878999 - 88997

Have Fun :)

I took smartblond's advice and called the 3701 number. I got through in about 2 or 3 minutes. I gave the agent the 6 digit activation ID (which the agent I spoke to this morning did not ask me for) and she said that the sim number in their system was a dummy number. Apparently the agent that I spoke to this morning f**ked up. This agent fixed my order and tried to call me but the phone still wasn't activated. She said it might take about two hours.

Two minutes later it activated!

lol glad I could help.. now if I could JUST get mine activated..we have verified everything.. the sim.. the IEM number my blood type.. geez are we waiting for DNA samples

activated within minutes of calling the magic number

Alright, this works...

Go to the AT&T store and get a new SIM card.

I saw it posted on the forums at EverythingiPhone.com and saw 10/15 people join in saying it worked for them too, so I did it myself, and now I'm enjoying my iPhone after a 20 hour wait.

1. Get the new SIM card
2. Come home
3. Repeat iTunes activation process
4. Enjoy new iPhone!

I did call AT&T customer support though first and have them note my account, and I'm glad I did because the fellow at the AT&T store would not have given me one if I didn't force him to review the notes on my account. I explained to the AT&T phone rep that I'd seen it in online forums and she was more than happy to note my account with instructions to the store to give me the new SIM card.

why are you getting a new sim card you can use the Iphone one until its activated. .just put it in your old phone it works fine

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Time to break out the Haikus.

Help me Wonder Twins.
iPhone powers activate!
Curses, no email.

OMG this is too funny.. after I posted to you guys the magic number and the six digit code, alot of you were up and running yet i still wasn't..

I called again .. my account was on HOLD because the last rep had a note about my voicemail system that they didnt understand. (they accidently got rid of my old one before adding the new one and she noted that).. so now here we are again.. trying to be activated.. nice on hold music though.. now they are teling me the phone is activated.. its NOT

Where do you get the order number? I tried calling the number, but i never recived the order number.

been playing with the iphone now for a couple of hours. my real number is still attached to my old at&t business acount and will not be changed until mondsy - however the old sim still works so I was able to forward all calls temporarily to the new number at&t issued me.

phone clarity is excelent. headphones work great. just got off of a 4 way conference call. audio quality on itunes is great. dog skateboarding on youtube loads pretty quickly, even on edge. imap email from my exchange server at work is working. no online sync of contacts and calendar yet with exchange of course, but they usb sync'd from entourage nicely. web browsing works nicely, as do maps. it doesnt answer phone calls in my pocket like my old 8125 did (windows). even has a really nice calendar.

all in all, a great phone. I'm listening to "The Journey / Kopano pt 3" from the tears of the sun sound track - and I've almost got over the 18.5 hour wait. Sort of feel like we have all been part of history.

Hope you guys get to join in soon - DO NOT RETURN IT - I almost did and right now I'm kicking myself for even thinking about it.