Ipad Data Plan - Can it be remotely activated?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by clinkinfo, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. clinkinfo macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010
    I have a 3G ipad and generally have little use for the 3G service, so I don’t keep it turned on every month (have WIFI everywhere I use it).

    Now, let’s say that I loose my ipad (or it’s stolen) in a month I don’t have the 3G data plan turned on. Of course, I’d want to track it with “find my ipad” on mobileme.

    We know that the ipad needs a data connection to be found (and perhaps someone will have it on a WIFI network, but maybe not), so the question:

    If I have my Ipad’s sim card number, or even my account information with ATT from past months, can the ipad data service be turned back ON by calling ATT, and not having access to the ipad itself?

    Anyone tried this or have any experience?
  2. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I have no idea. It feels like it should be theoretically possible, the question is will AT&T be willing to do it? Only way to find out is to call AT&T.
  3. clinkinfo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010

    I did, AT&T told me "we don't know, activation is an apple 'thing', call them". Called Apple, they said (I know, the suspense is killing you) "we don't know, it's an AT&T 'thing', call them".

    So realistically, the only way I think I'll know is if someone (or myself) has tried to do it.
  4. clinkinfo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010
    And we know it’s technically possible because some of you use the “auto-renew” monthly program where AT&T automatically charges your credit card for the next month and “extends” the data service (with no manual interaction required on your ipad!)

    It’s just a matter of finding out if AT&T WILL do it (because clearly, despite their answer, 3G data service is their “thing”) :rolleyes:
  5. dave420 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2010
    I don't know much about the activation process (have the WiFi only model) but I've always heard that the data plan is purchased on the device itself. You mentioned that you don't use the data plan all the time, so maybe next time you try to activate it you could try calling AT&T or Apple and see if they will do it without you using the device.
  6. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I think "activation" may have been the wrong word to use, as it also refers to initially activating an iDevice by syncing with iTunes. Try calling back AT&T, and ask something like, "I have an iPad with a 3G data plan that's currently not active, can you turn it on for me now from there?"
  7. clinkinfo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010

    So I took the suggestion and called AT&T again (thanks Night Spring).

    This time, I asked for an "ipad data specialist", they put me on hold and then transfered me over to someone who did claim to be an "ipad data specialist".

    She told me that the problem with re-activating over the phone is that they have ‘no way’ of processing the payment to renew the plan over the phone (which is odd, I thought AT&T was a business, but….).

    HOWEVER, in an emergency situation (like a lost/stolen ipad), they have the discretion to turn on a complimentary data plan (remotely) that would then automatically become active on the ipad (with no user interaction required), allowing you to track it.

    Whether or not they will do it is up to the technical support person that you are speaking with and your situation <- her quote
  8. dirkdirk80 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I have to admit, that would be nice if they could/would do that for a person.
  9. dave420 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2010
    This is one of my complaints about AT&T, that they give different responses based on who you are talking to. If you don't like their answer, hang up and call back to talk to a different representative.
    I needed AT&T's help to activate Family Map to locate a missing iPhone. I called 611 four times and talked to nine different people. Noone knew what was going on, and everyone was giving different answers. Luckily I found the phone before they fixed the issue and called me back three days later.
  10. awwhiteman, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012

    awwhiteman macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Don't be a jerk. I'm a self proclaimed grammar-nazi, but don't post misleading posts that look like a legitimate response to criticize.

    Anyway, I am in the exact hypothetical situation you mentioned OP, so I'll update once I figure it out. For you or anybody who comes to this post later.
  11. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Where's your sense of humor? Did you loose it?

    I laughed and thats all that matters.
  12. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    I activate mine all the time.

    You simply go to the cellular activation on the iPad, you are then ON CELLULAR to give you name and credit card info. It is activated instantly for the thirty days or till your bucket is empty.:D
  13. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    See, that's the trick. The OP (a year and a half ago, thread resurrected by awwhiteman) wanted to know if/how to do it after the iPad has left your posession. i.e. after you've lost it, how to activate the cellular account remotely.

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