Activating the iPhone

Purchasers of the iPhone 4 and beyond experience a new and better activation experience than those 2007 buyers who were part of the bleeding edge. Back then, no salesperson was going to guide you through the process, whether you picked up your newly prized possession in an Apple retail store, an AT&T retail store, or on the web. Instead, you handled activation solo, in the comfort of your home.

Unless you were among those people who encountered activation hiccups in the days soon after the phone was released in June 2007, the process of getting up to speed with the iPhone was (for the most part) dirt simple and fun — as it is with most products with an Apple pedigree. Still, there were some well-publicized issues in those days, so Apple eventually changed the protocol.

You’re now supposed to activate the iPhone where you bought the thing, just as you do with other cell phones. However, if you buy your iPhone from Apple’s online store, they’ll ship it to you and you activate it through iTunes, just like the old days, or through iCloud. If you’re already a customer upgrading from an earlier iPhone or a different phone, you can convert your plan during the ordering process. You also choose your desired monthly bucket of voice minutes and SMS (Short Message Service) or text messages as well as your allotment of wireless data minutes right in the store.

Verizon Wireless and Sprint have started selling versions of the iPhone. As of this writing, AT&T, Sprint, and ...

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