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“Could Not Activate iPhone 4S” Error as AT&T Activation Servers Fold

The hoards of people attempting to activate their brand new iPhone 4S have overloaded AT&T’s activation servers, resulting in some users receiving error messages saying “Could Not Activate iPhone”, followed by the message details:

“Your activation is still pending. You will receive an email notification once your activation is complete.

We’re sorry. There was a problem connecting to the server. Please try again later.”

Making it beyond that, many users are stuck at a screen that simply says “Activation” with the spinning wait cursor, alongside a message of “It may take up to 3 minutes to activate your iPhone.” In some cases, users have reported seeing that message for hours, not just minutes. Even attempting to activate through iTunes can result in the error message.

could-not-activate-iphone-4s

Two possible solutions to “Could Not Activate” error:

  • Using your prior iPhone, dial AT&T’s 611 hotline and follow the prompts for activation
  • Simply wait it out and try again later when AT&T’s servers catch up

The activation trouble is reasonably widespread in the USA, and MacRumors has a growing forum thread on the matter already. Currently, CDMA providers such as Sprint and Verizon do not seem to be undergoing any problems activating phones.

This is the second hiccup this week due to immense demand of Apple’s latest and greatest releases. The first was a series of “internal error” messages related to installing iOS 5, the most prominent being Error 3200 and 3002.

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