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.



28 hours and counting. According to ATT records, my info has been updated and my iphone is activated, so it is an Apple technical issue with the phone itself. They told me to call 1800myapple and guess what...THEY ARE CLOSED. Blame ATT all you want, at least they are answering their phone, Steve Jobs gave his crew the weekend off for a job well done.

Good Morning everyone. Y'know I had the craziest dream that after 38 hrs. my iPhone still wasn't working. I, Know... Crazy Right? Wait? Huh? You mean it really isn't working? [pause] Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

So, I got my phone activated around 10pm last night on iTunes. I thought I was home free. Unfortunately when I turn it on it says "Waiting for AT&T activation This may take some time." and has a Dismiss button. I left it on like that all night. It says No Service up at the top right, and I can't connect to AT&T or make calls.
Sigh...back to the phone queue. At least this time they should definitely be able to help me.

Same here in the Chicago area for me. I've called at least 15 times now. Many of the AT&T reps have been nice. Some not-so. I have loads of patience and understand that its part my own fault to have rushed out and bought an iPhone the day it was released after listening to all the hype over the last few months. Everyone should have known that this would be a HUGE mess.

As I type this I am back on hold in the queue. My SIM card is working, as I have tried it in another phone. Seems that AT&T and Apple servers are not talking together they way they should be in order to get these orders taken care of.

I can not imagine with the speed of current processors, that even a couple million records would be such a big hold-up for these multi-billion dollar corporations server farms to deal with. I can imagine if these servers are even remotely current, they could plow through all of this data in minutes. It seems to me that these hold-ups have to be human. Its not like they have computers running advanced graphic filters through multi-gigabyte images or video. This is text. Not that much data, when it comes down to it.

oh yeah, and for me, its been since about 8:30 central time friday night. So I have been waiting almost as long as anyone.

just spent my second night with this sexy new phone
tried everything to please her
she still wont respond to my affections
guess i just have to move on

Mark, I had the same thing. Got activated yesterday at around 4 pm EST, including e-mails with phone number and what have you only to see “Waiting for AT&T activation This may take some time.” on the phone. I am able to use all the applications, though. The phone also says "no service" in the upper left corner and when I turn it on, it first goes into 'searching', then it shows 5 bars and then it shows the "no service" strength indicator. According to the coverage page on att.com I should have 'best' strength in my neighborhood. I called the 3701 number and after a lot of checking and being on hold, the woman told me that my new activation was scheduled to take place July 1 for some reason; she tried to change that to June 30 but was not able to. Well, it is July 1 now but still no luck....

This is ridiculous. 36 hours and counting.

I've spent over 10 hours on the phone with AT&T and nobody can tell me a damned thing.

This is absolutely unacceptable, hight demand or not.

I wonder if Apple and AT&T are prepared for the iStock price crach?

On hold with 3701 (again) They've done away with the hold music. I was transfered in this time and told that 3701 was the only people who could help.

Morning - I finally at least have the phone activated!!! So, no phone service yet, but at least I'm syncing my calendar and contacts. Working on syncing music.

NickB - I feel for you, man.

P.S. For those of you that were dragging and dropping music to the iPhone when it was an "iBrick" in anticipation of getting some headway in the music syncing process, don't bother. When the iPhone unlocks, all the music is gone.

For those of you who do have ur iPhone activated, did you have it on and plugged into the computer or was it off? I'm being told to different things here .

I am still waiting since Friday 8:00PM

one of the problem was that the sale person write down the wrong IMEI Number that was corrected but still wating.

good number to call fro verified the data about you iphone 877-419-4500

It doesn't matter fedUP. You should get an activation emaail telling you to disconnect and reconnect it to iTunes. If you don't, just keep trying to connect it to iTunes every so often. You'll see it pop up and check your activation. When they have their side fixed it will come up and say you're activated.
Until you disconnect and reconnect to iTunes it will not activate regardless.

Patrick, the lady this morning at 3701 said that everything was setup and I should turn my phone off and wait 10 minutes then turn it back on (as if I hadn't been doing that all morning). I figured I'd give it a shot.

Wish I can use this phone fo "other" functionality that was hyped about - its unbelieveable that non-cellular functions are turned off without activiation - what kind of a moran decided that? FUCK YOU STEVE JOBS.

Called the 3701 #, asked the guy to activate the phone, and he did so, right on the spot. I'm up and running just waiting for my phone number to be transfered, but I can now use the iphone and all the features... only took 36 hours.

fedUP -

Both the phones activated on this end required a disconnect and reconnect in order to check and "see" that they were activated. No activation email from AT&T, ever.

Over at engadget.com they have a poll about half way down the page about this problem. Right now it is running at about 50/50 split between active and inactive. If those #'s are accurate and hold up Monday is going to be a very rough news day

P.S. On hold for nearly an hr w/ 3701

I just read the following on San Jose Mercury News about iPhone issues...read the ATT spokesperson's comments...WTF?

.....A spokesman for AT&T, however, said that the glitches had been minor and isolated, and that the company was working to fix them on an individual basis.

"The vast majority of iPhone activations on iTunes are going through in a matter of minutes," said spokesman Ted Carr. "Many of the situations causing a delay are being resolved in a matter of hours. But we are not experiencing any significant companywide activation issues."

Carr said problems seem to be occurring when customers attempt to transfer their numbers from other wireless carriers over to AT&T.

"We're ecstatic about the launch," he said. "Wireless will never be the same again."

Minor and isolated?? resolved in a matter of minutees????

What world is this MTF is living in??

New Day
Same story
ATT&T says its in apples court
on hold to talk to SECOND LEVEL OF SUPPORT AT APPLE!!!
I guess i passed the first level of support test

The story has been picked up by Yahoo News now to:


The story has been picked up by Yahoo News now to:



for anyone that have already assigned the order number

the order number that you get is the same as the number on you sale recipt next to iphone item?

Mark, this is what I found on the macrumors forum. I am on the phonenow wuth at&t and hope this can be fixed quickly:

"Just an update to all I got mine working!... I sat with my phone "Waiting for AT&T Activation - This may take some time." for about 4 hours. Rebooting the phone did not help. Removed the SIM & re-inserted without any luck. Called AT&T twice, Apple twice, no help...

Finally, I called AT&T and said that I'd done the iTunes activation, the phone was unlocked but "waiting for activation." I explained that Apple had said the hold up was on AT&T's end. I lied and said Apple told me to have the IMEI # checked... she looked over my account, made a "hmm" noise, and said, AH - your phone should be active now. BAM - It went from No Bars/No Service to Full service and AT&T. I asked what was wrong, and she said there wasn't an issue she just was going to re-send the activation signal.

The number I called was 1-877-419-4500

Give them you iPhone telephone number

This will probably only help those of you who are getting the message "Waiting for AT&T Activation - This may take a while"

Good luck!"

okay gang after thirty six hours (thats when the email arrived ) I am actually syncing now... just an FYI my phone was off out of the dock and the sim card was in my old phone so the phone does not have to be on.

so far its going well... but I am no optimist this weekend... I will keep you all posted!

Good luck, Smartblond!

And thanks Patrick. I'm on the 3701 number on hold now. I'll ask them to resend the activation to the phone and let you know how that goes.


did you have order number

Mark - HOw long have you been on hold with 3701. I'm at an hour and a half.

smartblond - Congrats! I too am at the 36 hr mark. Glad to see us old timers are getting through

Guys - AT&T can manually activate the phone if you're having problems. After my first attempt at 10 oclock on Friday, this morning (my 5th call) - I asked her to manually activate the phone and she did (after about 20 minutes on hold). now its working perfectly. I called the 3701 number

Yeah- 36 hours plus now- got the "delayed activation" email immediately and the email with the order # twenty hours later. Three phonecalls/two hours that haven't helped to the various numbers listed above..

Last woman I talked to was very nice, took the sim card # and said I have to plug the phone into the computer and leave it connected until it activates- however long that may take. She said they never anticipated the high demand and are only processing an activation a second because of the huge backlog. Yeah. No idea.

3701 picked up instantly- no hold time at least..