How to add your iPad mini with Verizon 4G to an existing plan

When I received my iPad mini WiFi + Cellular yesterday, Dan Frommer put the scare into me that I would have to call Verizon and pay to have a postpaid SIM card shipped out before I could add it to our Verizon Family Share plan. I know you can turn on and manage your data plan right from the iPad (that’s still one of its most revolutionary features, in my opinion), but I know I will always want the data and having one less bill to worry about and juggle is worth taking this route.
I had hope that the SIM card already in the mini was a perfectly fine, upstsanding member of gadget society, so I tried adding the mini to our plan from Verizon’s website. It worked, so here’s how you do it.

1. My Verizon > Activate or Switch Device

Technically, you are adding a new line of service to your plan, so this is the route to go. Sign into your account, then choose My Verizon from the main nav, and Activate or Switch Device.

2. Add a New Line

Told you.

3. Type in your device ID

The next page is where you need to enter the IMEI of your new mini. I thought it used to be on your device under Settings > General > About, alongside other stuff like the serial number, but I can’t find it anymore (someone want to clue me in?). I just used the number on the back of my mini’s box.

Now, here’s an important part: one of the next steps asks for your device’s SIM card number. Dan thought the presumably pre-paid card that ships in the mini would be rejected, but mine worked fine. Apple ships its fancy little SIM Card Removal Tool with the iPad mini, so it was easy to pop the card out of the right side of the device and move right along.

4. Verify your current plan and that you want to add a line

(there would be a screenshot here had I remembered to take it when I went through this process)

The next couple pages ask you to verify your current plan and devices, and offer the opportunity to upgrade your shared data bucket to account for the newest member of your gadget family. At least one of the screens should look like this:

One day I will likely upgrade our plan from 4GB to 6GB since I’m tethering more often and I suspect my wife will need it soon too for all the travel she’s doing. But yesterday was not that day.

5. Swallow the bitter activation pill

Remember, you’re adding another line of service, which means Verizon gets to charge that coveted $35 activation fee. The next page or two will verify your billing information, and I was asked to enter a credit card even though Verizon already has one on file. Look closely, though. While the final billing pages will only charge you the standard $10 fee today—the standard fee for adding a tablet to a shared plan—they will list the activation fee that shows up on your next bill.

6. Restart your device

I did this at about 10am but didn’t get around to trying my iPad mini’s data connection until 4pm. Even after six hours, the iPad warned me that it had no data connection. YMMV, but I had to restart it once, then wait a couple minutes for the antenna and carrier badge to do their little dance a couple times before my LTE service actually kicked in and I could get around.