Carrier AT&T: Activating new iPhone at home?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mcaswell, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. mcaswell macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    #1
    Ok, here's my situation. Daughter currently has an iPhone 4, and I want to give her an iPhone 5s for Christmas. Because it's a Christmas gift, I don't want her current phone to deactivate until she receives the new one, and I want her to be able to use the new phone on Christmas morning.

    I've always bought my iPhones at the AT&T retail store, and walked out with them activated and working, with the exception of the very first one (which, IIRC, was activated at home through iTunes). And that's what I assumed would still be an option today (I'd like to do the NEXT plan, but could simply pay the no-commitment price if that simplifies things).

    However, when I stopped by the AT&T store today, I was told that this was not possible. I was given 3 options... buy now and wait until Christmas Eve to activate over the phone (this would deactivate the old phone though), come in to the store (or call) the day after Christmas to activate the new phone, or start a new line with a new phone number (and cancel the old line after Christmas).

    She said the reason why I could not activate the new phone at home was that the SIM cards are different sizes, so I wouldn't be able to pull the SIM out of the old phone and put it in the new phone.

    This doesn't completely make sense to me though... what about all the people who buy online and have the phone shipped to them? Surely their new phones are not shipped already activated, with the old phones immediately deactivated upon placing the order, right? Aren't these phones activated through iTunes? And if so, is this not something I could do with a store-bought phone?
     
  2. g.t. rags macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Location:
    Long Island
    #2
    i did this last year basically... but it was on a birthday, not holiday....

    you need a rep in house to switch the phone number onto the new sim an activate it.... when i went to my 5 to my 5s all i had to do was switch the sim, but when i gave my mom my 5 and she went from a 4, the night of her birthday i had to spend about 20 minutes on the phone with at&t activating her phone....

    unfortunately your one of the people that are falling victim to the world stopping for an entire day

    the phone is not activated by iTunes, it's registered, big difference. activation has to do with cell service and reception, registration is lisencing and warranties
     
  3. ssl0408 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    I just received a phone from AT&T on 11/26 that was shipped to me and I had to call in to activate it. It cannot be activated through iTunes. If you had purchased the phone from Apple then you wouldn't need to call AT&T; it prompts you to enter your account info and then it's ready for use.
     
  4. pdxmatts, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    pdxmatts macrumors 68000

    pdxmatts

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    I ordered my phone through apple.com on Next program and it came with a new sim in it. All I had to do was active the phone with the number on the iPhone set up screen. It was that easy. It did deactivate the old sim at that time. You can activate on Christmas from home.
     
  5. mcaswell thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    #5
    I did some more searching, and came across some people who mentioned activating their phones at home through iTunes, but also found posts from people who said iTunes never prompted them to activate (so they had phone with all their stuff restored to it, but with no service).

    Found some other posts that gave an AT&T web page or an automated phone number that you can call to activate a phone upgrade. That sounded promising, so I went to the web page and entered my own number in the first step just as a test (not intending to follow through with an actual activation), but was given an error message... "The number you entered is already activated". So, presumably the same thing would happen on Christmas morning if I entered my daughter's number.

    I considered ordering online (NEXT), but I'm worried that this will trigger an automated text message, "congratulations on your new iPhone 5s!" or something like that. Ordering unlocked from Apple will give me a phone with no SIM. So, I figured my best bet would be to buy at the no-commitment price locally from AT&T (which will include a SIM preinstalled), but I need to figure out this activation issue.
     
  6. MatheusDebull, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    MatheusDebull macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    California
    #6
    What about doing this (not sure if this would work entirely, if someone else on the forum can confirm that would be awesome!, or you may want to talk to AT&T and see if this is an option.):

    1. Find a reason to borrow your daughter's phone for a bit.
    2. Go to your local AT&T store and purchase the iPhone 5s, let them activate it.
    3. Purchase a nano sim to micro sim adapter.
    4. Place the sim into the iPhone 4, and come Christmas day, you'll can just swap out the sim card to the new phone.

    So long as the adapter works, the only thing I can see you running into is a voice mail password issue where you might need to reset it. Should this happen, you can come up with a story to cover your tracks, or if you know the password she uses for her visual voice mail, reset it to the same.
     
  7. ssl0408 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #7
    If you order the phone from Apple it will arrive with a SIM and you won't need to call anyone to activate it. As I and others have stated, it will prompt you to enter the AT&T passcode on your account, or SSN if you don't have a passcode. I've ordered two iPhone 6s from Apple.com and I never contacted AT&T to activate them. If you don't want to take the advice then why ask?
     
  8. mcaswell thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    #8
    Yes, ordering from Apple is certainly an option... but as I mentioned, I'm a little worried that a text message will be sent to her phone when I place the order (an unlocked phone from Apple, so not a NEXT upgrade to her line, would be safer, but no SIM is included).

    I do remember getting text messages from AT&T after previous iPhone purchases (which were bought from AT&T, not Apple)... when you ordered your recent iPhones from Apple, did you get any such message?
     
  9. MatheusDebull macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    California
    #9
    I ordered my iPhone 6+ through apple and I did not receive any text messages relating to that order. Activating the unit was as easy as going through the device setup, I did not need to call or use iTunes to activate.
     
  10. ssl0408 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    I ordered an iPhone 6 from Apple and at the time I was using an iPhone 5S. I did not receive any text message from AT&T about the iPhone 6. I did the NEXT upgrade, though. I still don't see why you'd get a message if you purchase the unlocked version.
     
  11. duaneu macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #11
    If you buy the phone from AT&T they may send a text when your order ships. I got one one I ordered my 6 through AT&T. All my previous phones were bought online from Apple and they never sent any message like that.

    I bought an iPhone for a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and it's just like others have said. The new phone will come with a SIM inside that will activate the first time it's turned on. She can keep using her old phone until then.
     
  12. pdxmatts macrumors 68000

    pdxmatts

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    I would just buy it from an Apple store on Next if you want. Do not have them open it, tell them it is a gift for Christmas. Or, order it online from apple.com and you can still use Next. It won't send a text to the phone, just an email that it has been ordered and then another that it has shipped. You will be able to activate from home with the ATT sim that is provided with the phone.

    If you order or buy from Apple on Cyber Monday, there may be a deal for a free $50 iTunes card and a $50 bill credit from ATT if you use NEXT. They had the iTunes card on Black Friday, so maybe they will do it again for Cyber Monday. Don't forget to add ATT insurance for $6.99 if you pass on Applecare. ATT insurance covers you for theft, loss, damage. ;)
     
  13. Nes-rom macrumors newbie

    Nes-rom

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #13
    I would say go with option #1 you were given which is buy now and them activate Christmas Eve over the phone, wait until she goes to sleep and them activate it, when she is up in the morning, brand new phone! Should be smooth transaction..Good luck!
     

Share This Page