How to: AT&T upgrade swap.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Captainobvvious, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Captainobvvious, Sep 20, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012

    Captainobvvious macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2010
    UPDATE: I just did this myself and can confirm with first hand experience that the information contained in this post is 100% accurate. Don't settle for a rep that doesn't know what he's talking about.



    If you post your experiences please note your results and if you bought the phone through AT&T or

    The IMEI and ICCID number can both be found on the box.

    This has been confirmed to work whether you bought the phone from AT&T or Just don't turn the phone on until the entire process is done. Don't assume the rep knows what he/she is talking about when they tell you to turn it on.

    The following is a quote from user MajecticNJ who shared what others on the thread have also shared that's worth knowing. This seems to be the case for everyone who has done an upgrade swap over the phone with AT&T, putting it here to save you the trouble and reading the entire thread.


    From AT&T:

  2. aloecool macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2011
    Would there be a difference between a phone ordered from AT&T vs when it comes to swapping?
  3. jeffm5690 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2010
    As per AT&T, this upgrade IS different than past upgrades and was told by AT&T that it does NOT matter whether it was Apple or carrier purchased.
  4. steemax macrumors regular


    Dec 21, 2009
    So you were able to complete steps between 1-3 without having the phone on hand ?
  5. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2008
    No they don't have the phone.

    They just verified the VRU steps to step 3 worked for them.



    Sorry unless you have a published source, expect the upgrade swap activation steps to vary from Apple to AT&T and even to the skills of the individual Care rep at 611 or the rep at the AT&T Corp retail store.

    Check back here tomorrow before you try anything.

  6. TDockUSC macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Follow Up Question

    Here's my question...I ordered the phone on my wife's line but plan to switch it to mine as discussed in the OP.

    When I call in, which line should I call in on? Can they activate a new phone on my number if I call in using my current phone or do I need to use my wife's phone to call in?
  7. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2008
    It is best to use a phone that is not involved in the upgrade swap. That away if there are any errors duing the process you will not get disconnected.

    This is where those old land lines are of a very big benefit. :D

    If you don't have a land line then I would suggest calling from the Donor line that you ordered the upgrade on, that way you and the rep should be able to get all the way to the verification test call on the device where you want to finally have the iPhone 5.

  8. Dstopsie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2010
    You can activate your phone by plugging it into iTunes instead of activated over the air and when you plug it in iTunes you just enter in the phone number that you want when the screen comes up and says let's get started entering your phone number if it was activated on a different line and you can get it activated that way I did this with iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 and when I used other phone line to get my 4s

    I have never needed to call AT&T to activate a phone from a different line onto my account
  9. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2008
    This iTunes activation process did not work for the iPhone 3GS/4/4S ordered from Apple.

    If you ordered one of these as a pre-order, they all arrived with the phone number pre-coded in the iTunes screen. Once OTA was an option, then the same issue: phone number was pre-coded in the activation screen, there was no option to change the phone number.

    Again: Check back here on MR tomorrow for the lastest breaking details...

    Expect activation issues due to extreme loads on the servers without considering the Upgrade Swaps.

  10. Dstopsie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2010

    I'm sorry it did work because that was how I was able to activate my phone when I got my iPhone 4 to the for 4s, I did the same thing and it worked perfectly by plugging it into iTunes instead of activated it over the air
  11. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2008
    So you ordered all your's as upgrade swaps from Apple as a pre-order?

    The issue was not iTunes vs OTA, the issue is that for previous pre-order cycles, the Apple ordered AT&T pre-orders had the phone number pre-coded in both iTunes and in the OTA screen. By default, you were not given any option to change the phone number!

    That was the reason to call AT&T Customer care to have them re-assign the IMEI and the ICCID to the correct phone before activating.

    So tomorrow, if you are not provided an option to change the phone number during either iTunes or OTA activation, STOP.

    You will have to call AT&T Customer Care or go to an AT&T retail location or to select Apple stores that had AT&T reps available in-store.

  12. mwoc macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2012
    I'm in the same boat as the OP. Just got back from a corporate store where the rep told me I had to activate the phone on my wife's line to accept the terms and conditions including the 2 year contract on her line THEN bring her old IP4 and the new IP5 into the store for them to swap the lines back due to the new nano sim.

    What amazes me is that this obviously is a common issue, not just related to iPhone launches. Why is this so hard and so much confusion about what the process is. I'm hoping that what ATT published here is actually the correct answer.
  13. brian540 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    glad i came across this,

    att twitter said i needed a new nano sim

    stores have them but refuse to give them until friday..

    They must be out of their mind if I was going to the store on friday, I was/am pretty livid that they cant give me the sim now.
  14. al0513 macrumors 6502

    Sep 28, 2011
    awe crap. It is going to be hard getting into an AT&T store tomorrow huh?

    I need to do the swap. I cannot call from the phone that i'm swapping it onto can i?
  15. teamjaycub macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    Try using google voice on a computer maybe..
  16. bigdogdeebs macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2012
    My preordered phone well within their window isn't coming tomorrow. Can I go into a store and (hopefully) get an iphone on another line on my account that is eligible for upgrade and then have them activate it on my line? Don't want to risk cancelling w/o having a phone in hand first.
  17. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2008
    Sure no problem as long as they have stock in the store. Are you going to Apple or AT&T?

    Same basic upgrade swap rules apply, expect a different proces in Apple stores vs carrier locations.

    A reminder: to upgrade any line you must be the account holder or authorized retail user.

  18. terrimac macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Question. I did the upgrade swap last year for the 4s. That number is upgrading to 5 as I want it. Now the 4 I swapped with last year is a suspended number but still used for wifi and texting. After the upgrade should I swap the sims back on the 4's? What will iTunes recognize?
  19. bigdogdeebs macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2012
    I'm an authorized retail user, the open eligible line is the account holder. Going to avoid the apple store (in NYC), trying to find out what time some of the AT&T stores in brooklyn are opening.
  20. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2010
    What I meant is when I call 611 and follow the steps it says something to the effect of "We see you've upgraded to a new phone l. Press 2 to activate under a different number". So they're ready for this.
  21. famous600 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2010
    The AT&T store people are idiots. I've talked to several people through AT&T chat and they confirmed you can upgrade a line without activating the phone. Then activate the phone on your account. I even had them note my account so I don't have to put up with a lazy rep in the morning.
  22. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2010
    Ok good. The line that I ordered my phone on is 3,000 miles away.
  23. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I've done this each year a new phone comes out since the 3G, I have 7 lines on my account and we only upgrade 2-3/year so the following year I can do it again.
    I just take all of the phones in the box and the current phones to my local ATT store and have them sim swap/re-program if need be. It usually only takes them about 15-20mins for 3 phones.

    I hate being on hold forever with ATT customer support when the store is 4 miles away.

    Basically me and my wife and biz partner get brand new phones and the kids will get our current 4S as hand me downs, repeat to next year. When the kids end up with the 5 next year then we will sell the 4S's for whatever we can get out of them.
  24. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2010
    Has anyone done an upgrade swap with phones they bought from

    I am using my in-law's upgrade and they don't live anywhere near me. So taking their phone and the new iPhone to an AT&T store isn't going to be possible.

    I think as long as I don't activate the new phone under their number it shouldn't interrupt their service right? So even if the SIM is programmed to their number I should be able to worst case scenario just go to an AT&T store and get a new SIM right?

    If I do everything right should I be able to avoid messing with my in-law's current phones?
  25. saccento macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2008
    New Jersey
    The way I'm doing it tomorrow, and someone please tell me if I should do otherwirse...

    Activate iPhone 5 on the new line, call AT&T just tell them to swap numbers (put my number on the iPhone 5 with the nano sim already installed) and then put my current iPhone 4S on the new number with the microsim that's already installed in my 4S.

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