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Apple: iPhone 3GS activation may take up to 48 hours

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, June 19, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

Following a relatively smooth morning roll out of the iPhone 3GS, reports are beginning to surface suggesting that early morning West Coast sales and pre-order deliveries are beginning to put strain on Apple’s servers as larger numbers of users try simultaneously to activate their new handsets. According to AppleInsider, Apple is now providing a warning message through iTunes to affected users, stating that their activation needs extra time to complete, and may take up to 48 hours to go through. The message states that an email will be sent to the customer’s email address when activation is completed, apologizes for the inconvenience, and suggests the user try out some of the phone’s features that don’t require a cellular connection. The situation recalls memories of last year’s iPhone 3G launch debacle, when thousands of users were left waiting for hours in- and outside AT&T and Apple stores while employees tried in vain to activate their new phones.

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Comments

1

I just returned from a Norfolk, VA AT&T store.  Picked up a 32GB Black model to replace my 16.

Total time in-door to out-door was about 10 minutes - phone activated ready to go.  And, actually, the AT&T rep (George) was great!  This was about 1:45 PM EDT.

I’m restoring my backup now ...

Posted by Craig Taylor on June 19, 2009 at 11:42 AM (PDT)

2

I totally agree with Craig. I was at an Apple Store this morning when it opened, and there were 500 preorded people in front of me in line (I did not preorder). So, I walked two stores down in the same mall and got in line at AT&T. There were only about 5 people in front of me and I had my 3GS within 20 minutes. Bottom line: if you did not preorder at Apple then just go to AT&T instead.

Posted by jiji on June 19, 2009 at 11:53 AM (PDT)

3

I have this issue trying to activate my new 32 GB 3GS at home around 1 pm EDT. At least my iPhone 3G still works.

Posted by Dyvim on June 19, 2009 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

4

Received it via UPS about 2 hours ago…  Plugged into itunes and got the notice you described above.  Been two hours - still not activated.  Restoring and loading not done yet either.  Hope it does eventually go thru and I get an activated phone.  Now I have a note on the phone that says “Waiting for Activation - This may take some time”....

Posted by Phester on June 19, 2009 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

5

Recommendation: use the included SIM card tool, pop the SIM tray out a little - just enough to bring up the “no SIM” message on screen - then reseat it.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 19, 2009 at 12:03 PM (PDT)

6

I had the issue at 09:15 EDST, but by 11:45 I was OK.

Posted by David Robinson on June 19, 2009 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

7

@5: Tried your trick, but no luck.  Even tried removing the SIM from my current iPhone 3G (the one that’s activated), so that there won’t be 2 SIMs fighting for the same phone # at the same time.

Posted by Dyvim on June 19, 2009 at 12:43 PM (PDT)

8

Tried popping out SIM and pushing it back and it worked! The phone was activated almost as soon as the SIM card was back in. I didn’t get a 48 hour message through iTunes, I activated it at 8:50 AM PDT at the Apple store and by 12:45 PM PDT it was still not activated. That is when I did the SIM card trick and it activated immediately.

Posted by Brent Bettis on June 19, 2009 at 12:52 PM (PDT)

9

I activated early this morning- was having the same issue as poster #4, with the message “Waiting for Activation - This may take some time”.  I turned the phone off and immediately upon reboot - iPhone is Activated!

Posted by BeerdedOne on June 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM (PDT)

10

No problems at all for me!  Maybe took five minutes for activation!  smile

Posted by skadiwolf on June 19, 2009 at 1:47 PM (PDT)

11

I tried the SIM card trick and it worked! As soon as I popped it back in, I got the message “iPhone is activated”!

Thanks for that idea.

Posted by James on June 19, 2009 at 2:00 PM (PDT)

12

Make sure to turn your phone off, and then back on after the initial sync through itunes. I waited 3 hours without the phone activating. Then shut the phone down and turned it back on. It then showed on the network. Not saying this will work for everyone, but give it a try.

Posted by Phil on June 19, 2009 at 2:03 PM (PDT)

13

It’s been 5 hours since I received the ‘Waiting for activation…’ message and still no service.  Have power cycled it numerous times and also tried the SIM card trick a few times.  Nothing has worked so I’m still waiting on AT&T.  This is my 3rd iPhone and the same service account.  I had the iPhone delivered and did the activation attempt online.  Should I be worried - or patient?

Posted by Jeff Bowers on June 19, 2009 at 3:25 PM (PDT)

14

It is amazing that we all put up with this from Apple. You’d think they would know that “hundreds of thousands” of pre-ordered phones would strain the provisioning systems.

The old adage, “Never buy version 1.0” comes to mind.

Posted by drakebullet on June 19, 2009 at 3:26 PM (PDT)

15

I got the same message on my lunch break today so i turned off the 3G s and turned of the the classic iphone then just transfered the sim from the classic to the 3G s works fine.

Posted by phil on June 19, 2009 at 3:28 PM (PDT)

16

Has #15’s trick of swapping the SIM cards worked for anyone else?  I thought of that but figured it would ultimately make things worse.  Thanks.

Posted by Jeff Bowers on June 19, 2009 at 3:32 PM (PDT)

17

A simple reboot worked for me as well.  I didn’t get the itunes message but had the message on the phone saying waiting for activation.  After an initial sync, I rebooted the phone and it found the network quickly.

Posted by Matt Daniels on June 19, 2009 at 3:41 PM (PDT)

18

The sim card pull out and put back in also worked for me!  Thanks for the heads up!

Posted by John on June 19, 2009 at 3:47 PM (PDT)

19

@jeff bowers

I’ve had my phone for three-ish hours now, and no dice.  Popped the sim out a few times, synced it a few times, booted it a few times.  Finally just swapped the sim with my 3G’s and it’s live.  Not sure what’s new about the new sim - maybe I’ll put it back in later when they get around to activating?

Posted by brian w on June 19, 2009 at 3:49 PM (PDT)

20

“Recommendation: use the included SIM card tool, pop the SIM tray out a little - just enough to bring up the “no SIM” message on screen - then reseat it.”

Jeremy - it worked immediately!  Thank you!!!

Posted by rwalka on June 19, 2009 at 4:31 PM (PDT)

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