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.



it's official.....24 hours. If i may offer a haiku of my own:

complete day passes
what to do with my down time?
thank heaven for porn


the six digit number starts with a seven and it came in an email

Update from prior post:

Received a third email with the identical order number. Called the 3701 number that others posted and got through quickly (after choosing option 1). Rep tried to give me the party line about overwhelming volume causing delays. I told him that number of others have made progress by calling this number and providing the order number. he said lets take a look and pulled up my account.

he said my order is on hold because of a feature incompatibility problem which he can fix. he then put me on hold for a minute and came back on and said that there is another problem which is incorrectible. He said I have the same ban (or bin) number as someone else so he has to cancel my order and start the activation from scratch. when i recradled the phone I got the same message about needing more time without asking me the initial questions about my phone number and service choices. So he transfered me to another department (800 myiphone). now on hold for 10 minutes.

On hold for the smartblond # now... I have no 7-digit #, since after 24 hours and 4 calls to AT&T, I still do not even have an email with a 7-digit number.

Wish me luck.

When I called the 3701 number they told me "There is a feature that is not working in your phone and we are trying to fix that". "But you have only been waiting for 19 hours and so you still have another 5 hours to go"
So , the standard now is 24hrs (as opposed to the exception)

They wouldn't tell me what "Feature" was not working either...

7-digit, 6-digit... whatever. The only digits I have are at the end of my hands, which I am about to throw up in frustration.

Called magic number again (because it just doesn't seem right that everyone else was having some success there and I didn't!)

Got helpful guy who had me on hold and did some things and said it will take 2 hours from now.

We'll see! (much better ETA than the 48 I got earlier today)

Will keep you all posted.

blah blah blah same shit different shovel!

hmmm... had some guy I can barely hear pick up, and ask if he could put me on hold. I said "Why not?" What's a few minutes, after 24 hours?

I have now hit the 24 hour mark.. cheers!

I got a better one. Called the 3701 line, option 3 just to check the status of activation. According to the automated system, it is already activated. Yet when I plug it, iTunes tells me that it will require additional time. What are the monkeys doing back there?

LOL that's rich.

Right now I have been waiting 21 hours to no avail.

I finally called the 3701 number and they were actually able to give me a real answer.

Depending on your location, signal strength in the area and proximity to server center it could take up to 24 hours to activate.

If you have a waited 24 hours and still no luck he told me to call 1800-333-0500, and they will transfer you to a department which will try alternative means to get you up and running.

The order number has nothing to do with your turn in line for activation. The order number is set depending on your location in the US.

I took a paper clip and inserted it in the tiny hole on top of my iPhone. The SIM card easily popped out and I inserted it in my BlackJack. BlackJack is working fine. Funny thing is, the SIM card that came out of the iPhone was a 3G card.

Good Luck everyone and I look forward to calling them once 24 hours comes to raise hell yet again!!!

okay ready for this.. NOW after 16 yes 16 people.. I am told the problem could be I have a 37 cent balance on my account that is past due.. this is the first I have heard of it.. so I had to pay that.. now I am told I will be up in 20 minutes.. yeah we will see

its like listening to the Charlie brown teacher talk.. wah wah wah

WTF does signal strength have to do with AT&T's lack of capacity to handle volume of activations? What a load of shit.

no one before now thought that might be an issue?

hey Punked.. you want to check that number again..; all it did was offer me a chance to "meet exciting local people"... DONT think thats a support line

well... at least not iPhone support.

what does it matter smartblond? you might get more help for your phone from these "exciting local people" than you would have with the 1-800 number

Lol La da da

yes but I have the feeling those exciting local people would charge me.. and I have already invested enough in the Ipaperweight

I just called the magic number she told me to

Dang It!!!

iPhone has punked me yet again!!!!

Let me call them back and see if I took the number down wrong...


i think its going in numerical order...my# starts with 791

I'm still on hold for Quiet Guy while he "checks things"...

It is not going in numerical order.

I start with 722 and am going on 22 hours.

People with numbers after mine have already been activated.

The number is based strictly on region...

Quiet Guy just came back to tell me that my issue is that the rate plan on my "order" is different than the rate plan on my "biller". I calmly advised him that I just wanted the phone to work, and that I would resolve any billing issues at a later time.

He says that if he matches these two mysterious, arcane things in their system, that "everything should be a go".

I am again on hold, waiting for "go".

Well I was told after I paid my 37 cent balance I would be up and running.. guess what still not activated.. even though their system said I am... heading for hour 25 now...;and on hold yet again

Well hit the 24 hour mark and on hold to get this Ifuck working. New phrase for AT&T and Apple should be, "cant use old phone cant use Iphone = Ifucked

Same here -- he came back, siad I should be activated.

I docked, even powered down and back up... still nothing.

Again, I am holding.