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How to Activate Verizon Phone: A Step-by-Step Guide

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In the early days of mobile phones, activating your new device was a tedious, manual process that often involved actual paperwork. These days, phone activation is much more straightforward and automated, but it can still be a bit confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide for activating a cell phone on one of America’s biggest networks, Verizon.

With this guide, you’ll be able to activate your Verizon phone in no time, whether you’re setting up a brand new device and phone plan for the first time, switching to Verizon from another carrier, or simply upgrading your device on an existing plan. 

Still in research mode and want to find the best Verizon phone deals? Try out our free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder below, and bookmark this page for easy access when it’s time to activate your new phone.

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How to Activate Your Verizon Phone

Verizon makes it easy to activate a new phone in just a few steps (well, 13 to be exact—but with each step so clearly outlined, it only feels like a few).

  1. Log in to your Verizon account at
  2. From your account overview, select “Manage all devices.”
  3. If you’re upgrading a device on an existing line, select “Activate your own device.”
  4. On the Activate or Switch page, select “Activate on an existing line.”
  5. Verizon will check your account for compatible devices. Once you see the list, select the device you'd like to use and click "Next" to continue.
  6. Follow Verizon’s prompts to enter information about your new device, including the device ID, also known as the IMEI number.
  7. Complete account verification steps to ensure your data is kept secure and private.
  8. If you’re activating a physical SIM card, make sure it is installed correctly. It may already be installed on a new device or have been shipped alongside your device.
  9. You may need to enter the SIM ID, also known as ICCID, number to confirm compatibility. Users with a known compatible SIM card and electronic SIM (eSIM) may skip this step.
  10. Verizon will ask you to review device protection options, and you’ll be able to add, change, or decline a protection plan.
  11. The activation portal will then recommend some content transfer options to help you move information and media files to your new device.
  12. Review and confirm your information, and select “Confirm changes.”
  13. View additional activation steps on your new device. To complete activation, you may need to turn your phone off and on again.

iPhone vs. Android Activation on Verizon Plans

Verizon’s activation process is similar across all phone brands, but a few steps are slightly different between iPhone vs Android. For example, if you’re switching from an iPhone to an Android device, you should make sure iMessage is turned off before activating your new Android phone. Go to Settings > Messages > iMessage to find this setting.

When activating a new iPhone, the iCloud platform may automatically prompt you to sync media and contacts and transfer content to your new phone.

How to Activate a New Verizon Phone vs BYOD

Whether you’ve been a Verizon customer for years or you’re switching to Verizon from another carrier, you’ve got some choices to make when it comes to picking a device:

  • You can keep your old phone — as long as it’s unlocked and compatible with Verizon’s network.
  • You can purchase a secondhand phone from a third party, such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Again, you’ll need to confirm that the phone is unlocked and ready to join Verizon’s network.
  • You can purchase a phone directly from the device manufacturer, like Apple or Samsung.
  • You can purchase your phone from a retailer like Walmart or Best Buy.
  • You can purchase a phone directly from Verizon. 

These options all have pros and cons, and the best choice really comes down to personal preference. If you’re interested in finding the best phone deals at Verizon compared to other top carriers, manufacturers, and retailers, our Phone Deal Finder can help. All you need to do is answer a couple of questions and we’ll show you the best cell phone deals you qualify for based on your criteria.

Activating Your Device on Verizon: BYOD vs New Phone

If you bring your own device (BYOD) to a Verizon plan, you can save some cash, but you might miss out on a great deal on a new phone and phone plan.

Purchasing a new phone directly from Verizon also offers access to various insurance options and device warranties for protecting your investment and providing peace of mind. Verizon often offers great phone and plan deals for new and existing customers.

When it comes time to activate your device on a Verizon plan, the main difference between BYOD vs a new Verizon phone is potential compatibility. A new phone from Verizon will obviously be compatible with and optimized for Verizon’s network, and the activation process is likely to be seamless. 

With BYOD, there may be extra steps to verify the phone’s compatibility with Verizon’s network. Additionally, you may need to contact your previous carrier to make sure the phone is unlocked prior to activating it on Verizon’s network. 

Troubleshooting the Verizon Activation Process

Activating your phone with Verizon should be seamless and straightforward, especially when you buy a phone directly from the carrier. However, if you do run into trouble, there are a number of things you can try:

Double Check Device Compatibility

As we mentioned above, device compatibility is a common issue, especially for BYOD customers. If your phone is not compatible with Verizon’s network, activation will fail. You can check your device compatibility on Verizon’s website or by calling Verizon customer support.

Review Device and Account Information

Make sure you didn’t misread or mistype any device information, including those long IMEI and SIM ID numbers. The IMEI is typically found on device packaging and within your phone’s settings. You can also dial *#06#, and the information will pop up on your screen. The SIM ID will be printed on the SIM card.

You should also make sure you’ve entered the correct account information—including the account number, billing zip code, and any passwords or PINs—when completing the activation process. Any errors can cause the activation to fail.

Check Your SIM Card

Occasionally, Verizon phone activation will fail due to an issue with the SIM card itself. Check your SIM card for damage and defects, and make sure it is inserted correctly, with the gold pins facing down in the card tray and the Verizon logo facing up. If there’s something wrong with your SIM card, you may need to request a new one from Verizon.

Network Availability

You need a strong signal to activate a new device, so network availability is an important part of the process. To troubleshoot network connectivity, move to an area with better reception and try again.

Contact Customer Support

If your troubleshooting efforts fail, you can always contact a Verizon representative for assistance. When you call the Verizon customer support phone number or visit a Verizon retail store, a representative can access your account information and suggest fixes based on what they see on their end. 

The Bottom Line

We hope this guide has made activating your new Verizon phone a headache-free process. Luckily, Verizon makes it easy to activate a new phone on their network, even if you don’t buy it from them. 

If, however, you’re in the market for a new cell phone from Verizon, our Verizon phone deals page featuring the best Verizon iPhone 15, Galaxy S24, and Pixel 8 deals is worth a look. Only have eyes for iPhones? Check out our Verizon iPhone deals page, including Verizon iPhone offers on not only the iPhone 15 but the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13, too. Finally, if you’re interested in comparing Verizon phone deals to other carrier phone deals, that’s where our Phone Deal Finder can help.

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