iPhone activation problems widespread, serious (updated x3) | iLounge News


iPhone activation problems widespread, serious (updated x3)

Following yesterday’s rollout of Apple’s iPhone on AT&T’s wireless mobile phone network, many once-excited customers found themselves frustrated and disappointed after activation-related delays prevented use of their new $499 and $599 devices. As pointed out by iLounge reader Steve Rubel, and confirmed by two iLounge editors with similar issues, a large number of first-day iPhone customers have fanned out across the Internet to describe failures by AT&T to properly start service on the new phones. The issues are officially being attributed to overwhelming demand for the iPhone, and an AT&T representative confirmed to iLounge this morning that “virtually all AT&T stores sold out” of iPhone yesterday; spot checks this morning indicated that Apple Stores, which generally received much larger allocations of iPhones, vary from sold out of one capacity (typically 8GB) to having either or both in stock.


The iPhone, which requires a one-time download of iTunes 7.3, must go through a several-step online activation process before any of its iPod, Internet, or phone features can be used. Failure to activate the phone renders it useful only for “emergency calls,” and disables the remainder of its features; the activation process must be repeated, with fewer steps, each time the phone’s software is updated. If AT&T’s automated service, linked to through iTunes, fails to activate or re-activate the phone in a prompt manner, it will not be usable.



Discussions on Apple’s support forms now describe quoted wait times of “up to 24 hours” for activation, as well as numerous other issues relating to conversion of Individual Plans to Family Plans. Though 5 of our 7 iPhones activated properly, iLounge’s editors are currently attempting to get activation issues resolved with the other 2, and will update this article as appropriate.

Update: A second AT&T representative has told iLounge that a team of AT&T engineers has been manually working around the clock to process the flood of delayed activation requests experienced last night, which were described as falling into the “change of account type from individual to family” and “number portability” categories. Wait times range from 6 to 9 to 24 hours based on the category of account change; iLounge received a “24 hours” notice on a ported number. More straightforward iPhone accounts are typically set up via iTunes in minutes.

Updates 2 and 3: One of iLounge’s 2 long-activation iPhones was activated successfully after 18 hours. The other took roughly 40 hours, and five phone calls, since the first attempt on Friday night, and has now been fully activated.

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10 calls, no answers, no consistant replys or help. Apparently they told me there is a problem with iTunes on a mac?!?

Going to drop this back at the Apple store tomorrow. Ill wait for gen2

Posted by Schrunk on July 2, 2007 at 4:15 AM (CDT)


Apple can spot suckers a mile off can’t they.

Can’t wait for you people to run out of 8Gb of RAM and start screaming…..

Posted by Harry Barracuda on July 2, 2007 at 4:30 AM (CDT)


I knew it was going to be a huge problem when the I-phone was released. But at least there are some people here that recognize it’s NOT because AT&T sucks. I’m with AT&T & love them. I’m just waiting on the Motorola “I-phone Killer”; myself.

Posted by Janet on July 2, 2007 at 5:26 AM (CDT)


My problem finally got fixed late last night manually by both sides of the activation service. There is a billing side (800-331-0500) and a side that can push thru and manually activate the iPhone.

My particular problem was that I had an old account AND old phones- one of which iwas upgrading to iphone. Also ihad a Corp discount and the FAN# was not cleared properly. They ended up having to convert the whole account to fix it and this process happened manually as I sat on the phone. What would have been nice is if they could have determined this sooner than 30 hours after I started the activation!

All in all everyone was very courteous and as helpful as they knew. Some extra training and prep on AT&T and Apple’s part would have gone many miles toward making this smoother. I expected this to an extent.

Posted by Larry on July 2, 2007 at 7:12 AM (CDT)


It’s amazing how problems get blown out of perspective when people post online.  Seriously, 98 percent of activations went correctly.  That’s amazing when you consider it was an entirely new way to activate a phone via iTunes and the amount of traffic hitting serves, customer service staff, etc; during the weekend.  I’m seriously not trying to flame, but if activating your iPhone is your biggest problem in life, I’ll gladly trade you.

Posted by billybob on July 2, 2007 at 7:55 AM (CDT)


Amen, BillyBob!

If you wanted 6+ hours in line to buy the phone, get mad at AT&T for not activating it and then want to return it?

Yah, that makes sense…

Posted by will_bc on July 2, 2007 at 9:52 AM (CDT)


My thoughts:

1.  The launch took please Friday afternoon as Steve-O probably knew they would encounter problems and figured that being that there isn’t much news coverage over the weekend - the dust would settle by Monday and it would not be as big of a story.

2.  There is no reason why this phone could not have been sold “unlocked.”  If it ever comes out, I am confident that AT&T paid Apple a boat-load of money to be the exclusive carrier.

3. There are activation problems with EVERY phone and EVERY carrier - this is just a bigger deal because you had 500,000 people trying to activate their new phone over a relatively short period of time.

Just my .02

Posted by TechnoGeek on July 2, 2007 at 11:31 AM (CDT)


GSM stands for “Global Standard (for) Mobility.” Global… STANDARD. AT&T and Apple are trying to usurp that standard, and it came back to bite them in the rear. Excellent.

When you already have service, an unlocked GSM phone is as simple as (1) insert SIM card (2) turn it on (3) use it. Someday, AT&T will learn that. Not today, apparently.

Posted by Doctor Mantis on July 2, 2007 at 2:15 PM (CDT)


I started the activation process for my iPhone 54 hours ago, and after 2 trips to an AT &T store and 3 hours on with all levels of Apple Care tech support I still have a non-working phone with NO ONE who will give me any idea when the problem will be resolved.

Posted by Kirby Walker on July 2, 2007 at 6:05 PM (CDT)


Kirby, give me ‘ur situation and let me try to help.  Got 15 yrs with AT&T and all its former names.  Been working my tail off trying to get patient people like you activated.  Are you:  upgrading, porting a number from another company, adding a line to your current account, on an old plan, just starting out new, never had a cell before.  Hit me!

Posted by smithma75 on July 2, 2007 at 8:19 PM (CDT)


ATT customer for 6 years. Going on 16 hours for activation. Called 3 times. First because my previous plan was not compatible. Second they figured out they had to manual change everything. Third just to bitch about waiting for an email I don’t think will ever come. Oh ya they disconnected my previous phone. So now with two phones no service and out about 700 bucks.

Posted by Kevin McGinnis on July 3, 2007 at 1:53 AM (CDT)


I got my iphone at about 11pm on the 29th. Came home and it took me about 2, maybe 3 minutes to active my phone. I was impressed. Best phone i’ve ever had!!!!

Posted by Tim on July 3, 2007 at 10:08 PM (CDT)


Please can I use iPhone in Ghana?

Posted by Bernard Hayford on July 7, 2007 at 5:22 PM (CDT)


I bought an iPhone but no one told me that you needed 10.4, and I looked all over Apple.com to check requirements first, too. So not only is there an additional $130 tax on my phone, because I live out the middle of nowhere I have to have 10.4 shipped to me. It’ll be at least a week since I bought the phone before I can use it. iTunes activation sounds clever but it’s the worst idea ever.

Posted by Joe C on July 16, 2007 at 4:13 PM (CDT)


Last tuesday , 11/20/07, nobody with an iPhone in my company (in Issaquah, WA) could get their email on their iPhones. Gmail, .Mac, all of them were kaput. one week later, it is still spotty at best. AT&T can go straight to h***.

Posted by Frederick Good on November 26, 2007 at 11:39 PM (CST)



Posted by kenyatta on April 16, 2008 at 2:55 PM (CDT)


i getting an error message cannot connect to itunes store check your internet connection or try back later when tryibg to finish activating my iphone…. can someone please help me…..

Posted by Jeremy on July 3, 2008 at 10:41 PM (CDT)


Picked up mine on the 11th - happy as Larry. But I’m still waiting for O2 to connect me.  It’s now 11am on the 15th - maybe that’s some kind of record.

It’s a shame that the people answering the O2 help line have no ability to actually solve the problems themselves.  Instead, it appears that they have a achieved an orange-belt in patronising sympathy.

The number of times I’ve heard the phrase “I do understand how frustrating this must be for you - it’s just not good enough of us -  I will arrange for a supervisor to call you back within 5 hours to complete the appropriate form”

What! No - just fill the fxxking form out now while WE are speaking on the phone, and activate me now! But oh no, not possible - that involved doing something and therefore needs a second tier.

And to add insult injury - they then ask me “if there’s anything else they can do for me today.”  WHAT! NO! JUST THIS ‘ONE’ THING WILL BE FINE! ffs

Arghhhh!!!  Oh well, have to laugh.


Posted by Phil Owen on July 15, 2008 at 6:18 AM (CDT)


I called yesterday and was told to wait. Called again today and requested that they check the SIM number. They did, found it was incorrect (still the old one) and fixed it in a few minutes.

Posted by Scott on June 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM (CDT)

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