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.



Do not buy the iPhone, I am returning my tomorrow, 27 hours of wasted time, they really are the worst.

If you are considering buying, DO NOT!!!.

pro100mph - Thanks. Went in and changed it... -sigh- No go :(


Everybody should call that 3701 number...that's the only hope.
Good Luck everybody!

Wasted 20 minutes on hold at the 3701 number. Fast talking girl tells me that I just have to wait. Gee, no freaking crap! Why is AT&T getting a free pass by the media?? The spokespeople for AT&T are telling the media that most all activations only take a couple of minutes except for a rare exception or two. What total BS!!!!!! Nobody is calling them on their BS statements and showing that they are liars!

WEll over 24 hours later and I am still waiting for my iPhone to activate. Spoke with AT&T where they kindly said they could not find my phne number or activation code in their records. Spoke with 800-MY-APPLE and was told the problem is affecting a lot of users and that the process is working... it's just going slow. Spoke with an employee at the Apple Store where I stood in line (and got on the news) - and she admitted the problem was pretty widespread and even several store employees were still waiting for their phones to be activated as late as 8:45pm - which is when I called. Now that the deadline for my phone number transfer - which was given to me on that infamous email - has passed, I worry that this process may take much, much longer than I hoped. In turn, I fear this being a holiday weekend will probably cost dearly to the entire problem.

I AM enjoying this opportunity however to vent a bit of my frustration at this and to offer my sympathy and comradery with everyone else who is going through the same. Guess we're all in the same boat!

On hold with the 3701 number - again... they've changed their menu/automated voice... very curious... 20 hours

After speaking with lady on 3701 I too was told a past due (due yesterday) was the cause and that I had to pay it first, Have now done so and am back on hold with 3701... Got right through last time. Not sure if this is legit or not.

26 hours and waiting.

And since I signed up for a family I can't even start the process for the second number until the first one is done.

It's not that they didn't know what to expect yesterday.

ATT should offer something--like a free month--as a gesture and recognition for their huge and unexecusble mishandling of this.

I want to go to bed BUT, if I wake up tomorrow w/o activation in place. ALL WILL SUFFER!!!!! or at least I'll be sad

So I got my tmobile phone in virginia. i am currently in California. so naturally i put my zipcode as my california billing address when i tried to activate the port. apparently, you have to port in the state that you had your number. so my activation did not go through. at&t tells me that i have to restart and get a new number with a virginian address. then call them back and get them to transfer my old number to this new acct. the problem is i have to reset the iphone activation. and first they told me order gateway (3701 number) is closed, this is from their answering machine. so i tried 1800myiphone. and apple tells me that their office is closed too! porting department for AT&T closes at 11pm central.

so i kept calling 3701. i'm finally on hold again. the lady from porting department told me they had to reset their servers. it sounds right. because everytime i call 3701 i kept getting: "high volume call back later," "we're closed call back later," back to "high volume call back later," "please hold for representative," "please leave a message for us,"

i hope this helps people who are in my specific situation. you can make a new acct and transfer the number you want to port over to this new acct. the thing is, make sure your new acct has the same state address as your old number. that's at&t's quickest way to fix this problem.

now, i think it's pathetic that the whole porting business is through itunes' software. because it seems like they're just trying to save money by not having representatives available on the FIRST WEEKEND of the iphone release. if you don't believe me, try calling 1800-MYIPHONE. their offices are closed. but to give them credit, i don't know if apple support can reset my activation like order gateway can.

overall, this experience has been pretty exhausting. obviously there were information that was not released that should have been made public regarding phone number porting such as the fact that you need to start in the same state of your old number. maybe i'm just retarded and this is a common piece of knowledge that's known to everyone.

meanwhile, i really enjoy sliding my bar over for emergency and sliding it over for power off... yaaay! you can't do it really fast and hope the momentum of the slide carries it all the way. i've tried for multiple hours.... it doesn't work ;)

Nick I had 37 cents past due and NO one mentioned it until person 15 or 16,, my head count now is 22 including the same person twice

Not sure what happened (I still do not have any emails from AT&T... but I got sick of waiting & went across town for a bit with my wife.

Came back, was reading thru the amusing new bits here... thought hey, what the hell. Let's plug in the dock and see what she does.

Bang. Activated.

The slider finally does something. 27 hours in.

Can't WAIT to call next week and try to sort out my billing with them. Best of luck to those of you remaining... you have helped me keep my sanity these last 8 hours!!

Going on 24 hours now. I will return the phone tomorrow- This is really appalling. I will wait until 7 years from now if it means holding out until AT&T doesn't have exclusive service. DAMN!

well ive been 2 hours and 15 mins on hold with 3701 number lets see that makes it about 27 and haff hours now since starting this whole mess

Still on hold with 3701 (31 minutes) :(

CLEARMOON: Have you received all your emails regarding activation completion?

Yeayy! 2 hours after I was told 20 minutes my iPhone has activated and says that my number should be transferring soon! That is awesome! I was actually calling and had been waiting for about 30 minutes (when I finally didn't get disconnected or sent to that weird voicemail)

I was just hung up on by 3701 after 35 minutes on hold. Now a recording states that due to high phone volumes they are not taking more calls. When I press # 3 it states that the phone has been fully activated. Not so much. Almost 24 hours now.

hour 28.. I am calling it a night... the supervisor jen said she would call me back on monday to follow up .. I think she will.. not sure if they are closed on monday

OH if you are on hold too long with the magic number .. call back ,, hit 1 and again if you hav too.. it sends you to different regions.. I had the fax and hubbys cell phone and was on hold with the cell for 40 minutes.. dialed it on the fax machine and got through in 10.. so its NOT in order .. even the on hold music was different

LOL as I type his at the bottom the security code random letters read AMEN.. that's too funny nd a sign I need to call it a night.. LOL

I've reading everyone's posts, checking my email, plugging the phone into the dock...spoken to several people at AT&T to find out that my rate plan was wrong. I'm an existing Cingular customer, had a Treo650 with Data Plan & Text Messaging. All that had to be taken off and set up to an iPhone compatable plan(which I just got off the phone with AT&T to get that fixed). Seems to me they could have figured that out last night when I called 26 hours ago. I've had numerous conversations with AT&T/Apple reps over past 26 hours. Took almost 16 hours to get the email with the order number. Thought I'd wait it out..Called at hour 26.

I'm still an Apple Fanboy, but I agree that the backlogs are ridiculous, and this could have been better planned.

Let's hope that I'm not waiting another 26 hours.

Smartblond & Pissed off. Thank you for your tirades, at least I'm in some humorous company.

Activated at Apple store in CLT, NC at 5:13 PM EDT. 11PM EDT, and still nothing after the above email.

Talked with ATT customer service, they mentioned:
- This is a known issue
- Only with existing customers (I saw ~5 non-ATTers, up and running in minutes, while I sat ther in a mall like a clown with a laptop and iBrick in lap)
- Problem is with system porting over account "features"

Beautiful. I can't imagine United screwing it's 1K customers like this, while Delta flyers get on the flights no problem. WTF?????

Some clown next to me in the mall with a pre-paid phone was up and running in minutes.

I have been with ATT, Cingular, ATT for 8 years, and you screw your existing customers!!!!!!

24 hours and counting ... and I've been an AT&T client. Unbelievable.

28 Hours and counting!!! WTF is going on! Did AT&T not expect that Apple WOULD in fact sell 2 MILLION Units??? This is nuts! I talked to AT&T 8 times today with NO luck. I am pissed. It seems that this has mostly to do with AT&T customers who have older plans. I want to SCREEEEAAAAMMMMM!

Finally got through on the "magic" 3701 number (after 40 minutes of hold time)... very pleasant cust svc rep advised to turn phone off for 20 minutes and it should work - in the event that it doesn't she told me to contact 1-877-777-4189. 15 minutes left until I need to turn it back on.

24 hours-switching from verizon.

Taking Amanda's cue and turning the phone off for a while. Checked my rate plan on wireless.att website and shows correct voice plan, but no data plan. Feel like I should call back...but gonna wait 15-20 minutes and see. Willing to make it an all nighter if need be.

After such a launch, AT&T and Apple departments associated with the iPhone should not be closed. It is utterly ridiculous to release something at 6pm on a Friday...of course ALL of us drank the kool-aid and are in activation hell.

Quick update - got another "Thank you for your purchase" email which came in a matter of 30 minutes or so instead of the 15 hours for the first one to come (only to be wrong).

Is this a good sign or am I getting my hopes up?

Forgot to mention that my iPhone "appears to be activated" on AT&T's end but evidentally not on mine... which is the end that matters. Don't know how many people are experiencing my same issue. :\

same here

Amanda, same issue on my end... Was just on the phone for 1 hour and 15 minutes and the service rep tried everything! Said he can't imagine what is wrong?????