AT&T’s iPhone 4S Customers Complain Of Activation Issues

AT&T 3G iPhone

It seems AT&T customers have been having problems with their iPhone 4S activation according to MacRumors. With the launch of the iPhone 4S today, AT&T’s servers have been overloaded causing many unhappy users to go home with a phone that doesn’t work.

With the worldwide release of the iPhone 4S earlier today, Apple stores and carrier stores everywhere have been busy during this peak period of activations. This proved to be a problem for AT&T, as evidenced by the numerous Twitter complaints, comments, and blog posts around the web.

iPhone 4S Activation Error

According to one of TUAW’s reader complained that AT&T refused to help him because he bought his iPhone 4S from Apple:

My AT&T store refused to help me with the activation saying they had word from on high that they couldn’t help people who bought their phones through Apple.

AT&T has had similar problems with iPhone launches in the past, such as the iPhone 3GS activation delays in 2009. Japanese carrier Softbank also had problems with their registration, which hampered the iPhone 4S launch in Japan.

Update:

If you’ve bought your iPhone 4S from Apple and still having issues then TiPb recommends that it may be a good idea to call AT&T:

I called AT&T and they said that since I ordered my iPhone 4S through Apple, it never made it to AT&T’s system and my activation never entered the queue. The customer service representative told me that the current wait is 1-2 hours and manually entered my IMEI and ICCID numbers to put me in the queue. So if you purchased through Apple.com, I highly recommend you give AT&T a call.

Did you have any activation issues? Have you been able to successfully activate your iPhone 4S? Discuss your experiences below!

[via MacRumorsTUAW]

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  • Chris

    Yup, my shiny new 4S took about an hour and a half to activate… that’s pretty crazy.

    • Linda

      Ive been waiting just over 12 hours. I’m an iPhone early adopter so I expected this and am not upset but I am surprised its been this long. I expected 2 or 3 hours. I just tried calling but they are closed. I’ll call as soon as they are open and make sure I’m in the queue.

    • John

      There is no que. This works though. I pre-orded the iPhone 4S as an AT&T customer, it arrived to me at 10:00 am yesterday and was sooo excited to use it. I had the activation issue for over 15 hours and was very very upset. Nobody at AT&T or Apple could help me with this issue. I finally went online and read a forum and found a way to activate immediately, which worked for me. Hold down the power and home buttons at the same time, wait for the apple to appear on the screen and then let go of the 2 buttons. Then do the activation process again and the phone should activate right away. This worked for me and I was so happy after being without a phone for 15 hours. I danced a jig in my living room as my girlfriend laughed at me. The phone is awesome, however Siri is not working all the time. I called Apple and they said this is a known issue and they are working to fix it. However my confidence is down after yesterday’s activation fiasco.

      • Deanna

        This worked awesomely for me!

        • Diane

          Great post. Fixed my AT&T activation issue right away.

          • john

            Very nice, thanks for the great post! It works now :-)

    • Monkey

      It seems there’s another problem with the iPhone 4s many users are getting an “Invalid Sim” Message. Unexpectely the iPhone will all of a sudden not recognize the sim card and fail to work…. Even after Reseting this will eventually happen again in about half a day or so….

  • ryne

    went through on first try with at&t

  • Jason

    had the same problem, apple n at&t never seam to learn from their mistakes

  • Teddy

    No issue from Bestbuy NY this morning

  • Artem C

    I activated my iphone 4s today around 5pm, didn’t have any problems at all

  • iRock

    AT&T always having issues when it comes to the iPhone. I’m glad the iPhone is not locked down to AT&T anymore.

  • Karen

    Had to finally connect to PC to get it activated. Now, Siri doesn’t work!!!

    • Zach

      It works u just have to turn it on in the settings>general

  • Juan

    I just switch sim cards.

  • Go Dux!

    No problem here. Just called the number that came with my phone when it was delivered to me at 10 this morning.

  • Rob

    No issues at all. Activated via wifi at home

  • purplemaize

    This is why is did not buy a new phone I just upgraded it. I will wait for the next model, and I will design it with my software. I have 3 companies that are interested in my ideas now.

  • http://writingforprofits.net Writing For Profit

    I activated both of my new iphones within 5 minutes without any problems at 2pm PST.

  • Alex

    I activatied online, waited 2 hrs called AT&T waited on hold for 30 mins then they took 2 mins to activate it. Problem solved

  • rickyyyyyy

    Activated wirelessly on 1st try. UPS delivered phone at 8pm pst tho, so probably missed the rush

  • http://www.cyclades.com Danny Kennedy

    Had the same problem, apple n at&t never seam to learn from their mistakes iphone 4s 32gb

  • anders

    I have a possible fix!! so this happened to me this morning, i was pissed! i went to at&t and they couldnt fix issue, i even wanted switch numbers and activate and wow that was so hard for them to do they told me to go home and try to activate “again” and wait three min…. I went home furious and I tried to activate with itunes, it failed… but then i read on itunes to…
    1-plug in iphone try to activate
    2- Fails to activate
    3- unplug iphone and plug it back in
    4- right click on device and restore
    5- after restore this “activates” your phone as well
    6- after 2 hours of syncing my phone with all my music and pictures, i’m a happy iphone 4s 64 gb user :)

    let me know if this works for you and your activation problems

  • tom murrin

    I had bought 2 white iphone 4s, it took me about 4 hours to activate my phone.

    crazy shit…..

  • Jason

    I activated via phone, around 12:45pm est it went fine and all but all day i would go from full bars to searching for service on and off If it is still like this tomorrow I’m gonna heard over to a Att store and see if i can get a new sim card or something.

  • http://www.on6th.com Divxclub

    Not a single word about activation for me… it asked me for all kind of things including to restore my iTunes backup …. I mean really it never asked me to get activated at all . So what I did is I got my sim from old iPhone 4 plug in to new one and …. end of story. Still don’t understand why it never asked me to activate my phone.

    • http://writingforprofits.net Writing For Profit

      If you used your old sim, it’s already activated. The reason people need to activate their iphone is because they’re using the new sim that came with the phone.

    • John

      I pre-orded the iPhone 4S as an AT&T customer, it arrived to me at 10:00 am yesterday and was sooo excited to use it. I had the activation issue for over 15 hours and was very very upset. Nobody at AT&T or Apple could help me with this issue. I finally went online and read a forum and found a way to activate immediately, which worked for me. Hold down the power and home buttons at the same time, wait for the apple to appear on the screen and then let go of the 2 buttons. Then do the activation process again and the phone should activate right away. This worked for me and I was so happy after being without a phone for 15 hours. I danced a jig in my living room as my girlfriend laughed at me. The phone is awesome, however Siri is not working all the time. I called Apple and they said this is a known issue and they are working to fix it. However my confidence is down after yesterday’s activation fiasco.

  • Aktuccar

    Activation was quite easy by visiting AT&T activation website.

  • http://www.motorbeam.com/ fas

    Now with so much traffic, its bound to be issues in activation.

  • Hoser

    4s arrived at my door at 10:30am Friday & I immediately tried to activate. Was finally activated at around 4:30pm. But, no Data service detected. Put sim card into old 4 and still no data. I’m presuming it’s the sim card. I had wifi on so no buggy for now. But, I have yet to call to resolve this. Hoping wait time is less Saturday.

  • Dice

    No issues here, by time i got from apple store to home around 10:30ish, 4s was already activated, and 3g was deactivated….

  • Juli

    I pre ordered my phone and it arrived Friday afternoon a bit after 3pm. I went through the activation process online and then synced my phone while waiting for it to activate. When it was done loading, about an hour and a half later, I wondered why I still didn’t have network. I remembered that sometimes it helps to turn the phone off and back on which allows the phone to search and find the network. And, tada… worked like a charm.

  • Mike

    I’m having serious problems with mine. I have multiple lines on my att acct so i used one’s upgrade and switched phone numbers. Once arriving at home I plugged it into itunes and somehow it got restored. Now it says it needs to be activated again but cant due to the sim card in it not being “associated with the account”. went to multiple att stores and no one can activate it.
    They’ve gone through multiple sim cards and nothing. This is what i get for preordering mine from apple.

  • Lee

    I activated my new iPhone 4S without trouble (the servers responded fine, I guess), then restored from backup (I previously had an iPhone 4) via iTunes, and then saw nothing but “No Service” for the next day. At the ATT store, they tried a new sim, and it still didn’t work (but worked with my old phone, which I made them check in case the new phone was somehow broken). Then I went to the Apple store, and the guy there tried a few things, including resetting the entire phone, and initializing it as a “new phone”, not from backup. Then it worked. Seems there actually is some apple bug related to restoring a fresh 4S from a 4 backup, so if you have the interminable “No Service” problem, you might just try the “Erase All Content and Settings” approach and then activating it again. If you do this, you can always (via wifi) sync your old phone to iCloud, then sync your new phone from that later, to get the apps, etc.

  • Kwopau

    I gotta say I’m pretty disappointed with how apple handled this time around. I pre-ordered my sister’s iphone 4S as she needed a new phone. I had to pre-order it for her because she is not the account holder, I am. Although I received her iphone last Friday, I had to mail it to her, as she does not live with me.

    Well she received her phone today and she tried to activate her phone, and it wouldn’t activate. Well Guess what??? There was no SIM card installed when she unboxed her iphone 4S. Now she has to go to AT&T store and get the sim card from them.

    Also does this mean that if she got her iphone at a subsidized price (she used her upgrade), that it comes factory unlocked? as it came with no sim card? I don’t understand.

  • Aaron

    I ended up waiting about 20 hours and it still wasn’t activated.

    I did a HARD RESET (push in top button and home button together for about 10 seconds) and restarted the phone. This activated it instantly.

    Hope the hard reset works for you too :)