US carriers — specifically AT&T — have been buckling under the weight of hundreds of thousands iPhone 4S activation requests today. Since the 4S went on sale worldwide this morning, many customers have been trying to activate Apple’s newest handset to no avail.
While Sprint and Verizon activations seem to being going smoothly, AT&T has been failing all day.
If you can’t activate your iPhone 4S on AT&T, we’ve got a few tips to help get your 4S up and running.
Try to Activate in iTunes
With iOS 5, Apple lets users do the initial setup for the iPhone on the device itself. You should be able to theoretically setup and activate the 4S without plugging into a computer.
If you’ve been getting the “Could Not Activate iPhone” error all day, then try activating the good old fashioned way in iTunes. Plug your iPhone 4S into your computer and follow the activation instructions in iTunes. There’s a good chance that you’ll still get an error, but it’s worth a shot. If you activation request does fail, you’ll get a message saying that your request is “pending” and that AT&T will send you an email when you’re good to go.
Call the Hotline
Calling AT&T’s customer support hotline could give you some results in your quest to activate the iPhone 4S. Dial “611” from a working phone and ask to speak to a rep (option “0”).
Have the rep activate your new iPhone manually over the phone. I called AT&T earlier and had to give them my device’s IMEI and ICCID (SIM) number. Both of these numbers can be found on the little label on the back of your iPhone 4S box.
In my case, the rep confirmed that AT&Ts system had activated my iPhone 4S by dialing my number. I was talking with the rep from my old iPhone, but the rep said that the call he placed to my number went straight to voicemail, indicating that my 4S had been successfully activated by AT&T. I’m not sure how that works, considering that fact that I was talking to the rep on my cell number, but I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
The rep I talked to said that Apple’s servers have been causing a lot of trouble with activations today as well. He advised me to wait for a hour or so and setup the iPhone again later. I’m now on my 12th try.
Throughout the call, the rep kept enforcing that AT&T was experiencing “very heavy” traffic today that was making his system lag. He had to re-enter my information multiple times. Those folks at AT&T need to get on the ball. After the iPhone 4S pre-order mess, this is just getting embarrassing.
Wait it Out
It’s not the end of the world if your iPhone 4S doesn’t activate immediately, so wait it out if nothing else works. Go for a walk. Go exercise. Watch some TV. Kiss your wife. You’ll be able to activate soon enough.
Let us know about your experience activating the iPhone 4S on AT&T today. Have you finally been able to activate? What do you do to make it work?