Having issues getting AT&T data on your new iPad Air or  iPad mini with Retina display? Here's what to do!

Having issues getting AT&T data on your new iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display? Here's what to do!

If you're having issues getting an AT&T data plan added to your iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display, you aren't alone! Lots of people have expressed frustration with the built-in account management tool that comes stock on all AT&T model iPads. We've reached out to AT&T and done a little homework ourselves. So if you're having issues, follow along and we'll help you get up and running in no time!

Stay away from the built-in account management feature if you can

Back when Apple first launched a cellular model iPad, AT&T was the exclusive carrier and there was only an option for post-paid plans that you managed yourself without any help from AT&T. Since then, the built-in account management tool remains on AT&T cellular model iPads but doesn't seem to play very nicely for some and in a lot of instances, flat out just doesn't work.

Beyond that, if you ever have issues with your service, the tool itself doesn't actually show anything to in-store employees. This means they have very few resources at their disposal to actually help you beyond logging in on your iPad with you and trying to see if they can figure out what you can't. Their system doesn't show them anything about your plan or let them make any changes. To do so, they'll have to change your plan type anyways, which is why we recommend not using it anymore. It just wasn't maintained by Apple and AT&T the way it should have been.

Our advice, and AT&T's - stay away from the built-in tool and choose one of the options below instead that best fits your situation.

Already used the built-in account management feature?

If you've already set up your new iPad and successfully got a data plan added with the built-in account management feature, that's okay. Just keep in mind that you'll need to either have your iPad present or know your login if you ever have to visit a store in order to troubleshoot your account.

If you ever want to merge your session based plan that you've set up through your iPad to a post paid account, you should be able to do so via the following link:

Existing AT&T customers with Mobile Share plans

If you currently have an AT&T Mobile Share plan, just add your new iPad to your AT&T account when you purchase it. You should be able to do this at any AT&T location or Apple Store. If you've already purchased it and it wasn't activated, just stop into your local AT&T store.

It's the cheapest option and allows you to simply share the data with all the other devices on your plan for only $10 a month and a one time $36 activation fee. That's it, you're done. Sure, you have to make a trip to the AT&T store, but in the long run, it'll create far less of a headache, and probably save you some cash. Not to mention, employees can actually see your account and help you if you run into issues, unlike the self management tool.

Existing AT&T customers without a Mobile Share plan

If you are an AT&T wireless customer but don't have a Mobile Share plan, that's okay. You can still add your iPad to your account. Since you bought your iPad outright, there is no contract to sign. You're simply adding a data plan of your choice to your existing plan and you pay for it in 30 day increments. For example, if you choose the 3GB plan for your new iPad and your AT&T bill was previous $150 plus tax, your bill will now be $180 plus tax.

If you ever decide you want to cancel it, just call AT&T up or visit a store to remove the data plan for your iPad. You can then continue using your iPad as a WiFi only device. AT&T customers that do not have Mobile Share plans, but an older standard plan instead, have the following data only rate plan options for iPad:

Domestic

  • 250 MB - $14.99/month
  • 3 GB - $30.00/month
  • 5 GB - $50/month

International

  • 120 MB - $30/month
  • 300 MB - $60/month
  • 800 MB - $120/month

Since Mobile Share only costs $10 a month to add your new iPad and also doesn't require a contract if you've bought your new iPad outright, it may be worth taking a look at if you'd save money switching to a Mobile Share plan.

Not currently an AT&T customer?

If you aren't currently an AT&T customer, you can sign up for post-paid data only service with no contract just like AT&T customers can that aren't on Mobile Share. The prices are exactly the same, actually. Just head into any AT&T store to get set up. The rate plans are as follows:

Domestic

  • 250 MB - $14.99/month
  • 3 GB - $30.00/month
  • 5 GB - $50/month

International

  • 120 MB - $30/month
  • 300 MB - $60/month
  • 800 MB - $120/month

You'll simply get a bill in the mail (or email if you're paperless) each month, until you cancel. And just like existing customers, since you bought your iPad outright, there are no contracts to sign. Sure, you could just use the built-in tool and set up your iPad as a new one, but like mentioned above, store associates can not see or edit your account in the event you run into problems or need to change something.

Still need help?

If you're still having issues activating your AT&T iPad or want help deciding what option is best for you, visiting an AT&T store is your best option. You can also jump into our iMore AT&T discussion forums to see if other members have suggestions or have already dealt with similar issues and gotten them resolved.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

WhatDidYouSayWillis says:

Man the international rates are a Rip Off!!

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jproubique says:

I got my ipad aid from att and never once turned on the cellular data hope mine doesn't have said issue.

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sbatwater says:

I converted one of the lines on my Mobile Share account to use the iPad Air. Had to call at&t's customer service to get them to make the switch on their end, but needed technical support to actually provision it on my account so it would get LTE.

It's definitely a hassle, but worth it in the end (even though at&t is a bit expensive).

Becjr says:

Thanks for the help! :D

GreenDize12 says:

Hmm, haven't had any issues with it.

Heisenberg says:

The reason why I prefer the built-in account feature us because those rates are flat and have no utility tax to them as they would if I added it to a mobile share plan.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

This is true. And a valid point. But much higher in price than Mobile Share, so it makes sense for AT&T subscribers.

MrAdamsD says:

Seems like $14.99 should be at least 1g and not just 250 mb.

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asuperstarr says:

This is great information!

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BeyondtheTech says:

Still trying to convince my brother to give up his grandfathered unlimited iPad data plan. I still see some of those selling on eBay for as much as $800!

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