Hitchhiker’s guide to activating iPhone with AT&T

Got a new iPhone5 for the (not so) little one. And the most interesting part was activation. The AT&T web site is very counter intuitive.

  • It will ask you for an Order Number from the packing slip, but the number in packing slip is not right
  • It will ask you to open the battery cover – am not even sure iPhone has a battery cover, so don’t ruin the iPhone.
  • The good news is that the information an activation needs are all readily available, but the AT&T web site confuses the issue.

Finally I figured it out, nothing earth shattering, but still helpful when you have your son asking “Have you activated the phone ?” every 30 seconds ;o)

You will need four pieces of information:

  • Order Number (17 digits) & Activation Number (11 digita)These are not in the Packing slip but they are in the e-mails titled “AT&T Order Received” & “AT&T Order Shipment Notification” from AT&T Online Services. Buried in the e-mail under Activate Your service, you can see both these pieces of information.
    • [xi/9/xiii] Same for iPhone 5S as well.
    • In my case the activation number expired after 30 days ! Because the iPhone 5S Gold 64Gb was shipped month after I ordered it.
    • The web site will tell you to call the number between 8:00-6:00 EST. Actually it is automated ! So you can call anytime. Am not sure why they ask us to call between human working hours. Don’t they know that machines do not sleep ? 
  • IMEI Number & Smart Chip ICCID – AT&T will ask you to do all kinds of things to get to these numbers. Forget all the gymnastics. In iPhone 5, Settings-General-About. viola ! IMEI (15 digits) & ICCID (20 digita) are displayed just above Modem Firmware.
    • [xi/9/xiii] Works for iPhone 5S as well

So easy and intuitive, once we know where to look for !

BTW, the activation can take upto 3 hrs. And don’t forget to cycle the power. I waited for 3 hrs and nothing happened. But when I called the support number, it instructed me to turn the power off and on . Viola ! The iPhone came alive !

  • [xi/9/xiii] For iPhone 5S it was almost instantaneous

Cheers & enjoy the iPhone. As always, it is a phenomenal device …



2 thoughts on “Hitchhiker’s guide to activating iPhone with AT&T

  1. Thanks for your helpful article. I have to say that it’s amazing that AT&T doesn’t fix this…they must get tons of support calls. I wish my company had the equivalent phone plans with Verizon because I really wanted to ditch AT&T with this phone service renewal.

    Thanks Again ! Roger

  2. Just in case anyone else ends up looking for it on the packing slip: the Order Number was on the packing slip I got at the very bottom under Order Comment. There was a long number with a dash splitting it. The first number (or part of the number was the 17 digit order number). Thanks for mentioning the number of digits for each item!

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