Unable to Activate iPhone After Update? 9 Solutions to Deal With the Issue

Dave Patterson
January 12, 2021

    In this article, we show you what you can do when you are unable to activate your iPhone soon after an update.

    All the solutions on this list can help fix the problem. So, we recommend trying one solution after another until the issue is resolved and you are able to activate the iPhone. Let’s start with some of the reasons why you may be unable to activate the iPhone.

    Why You Can’t Activate Your iPhone

    The most common reason why you may be unable to activate your iPhone after an update includes the following:

    • The iPhone may be still tied to someone else’s iCloud account with Activation Lock enabled
    • Your carrier may be experiencing issues. Verizon and AT&T customers in the United States were unable to activate their iPhone X devices
    • The activation server may be temporarily down or may be dealing with a very high volume of traffic
    • The SIM card in the device may not be compatible with the iPhone
    • System and connection issues with the iPhone can interfere with the activation process

    The following are some solutions to try:

    1. Check the Apple Status Page

    To rule out any problems with the Apple servers, go to https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus/ to check If any servers are down. If they are, all you have to do is wait for Apple to resolve the issue.

    Check the Apple Status Page

    2. Fix the Network Connection

    You will be unable to activate the iPhone if your network is preventing gs.apple.com from working on some ports. Try connecting to a different Wi-Fi network or switching to cellular data. Whichever connection you choose to use, make sure that it is stable and reliable.

    Try connecting to a different Wi-Fi network

    3. Force Restart Your iPhone

    A force restart will work to fix this problem if it is caused by software bugs or crashes:

    For iPhone 7, 6s and earlier models:

    Hold the sleep /wake button and the Home button (Volume down button for iPhone 7/7plus) for about 10 to 15 seconds or until the Apple Logo appears on the screen.

    force restart iPhone 6s

    For iPhone 8 or later models:

    Press and quickly release the Volume up button, do the same with the Volume down button and then press and hold the Side button until the Apple Logo appears.

    force restart iPhone 8

    4. Check If the SIM Card Is Properly Inserted

    If your iPhone uses a SIM card, check if the SIM card has been properly inserted into the device. You may still need the SIM card to activate the device even if you don’t yet have an active contract. If the SIM card is damaged, missing, or locked, you may see the “No SIM” “Invalid SIM” alert on the screen.

    If you see this “No SIM” error, try the following:

    • Ensure that your wireless plan is active. Contact your carrier for account verification.
    • Toggle Airplane mode on and off to try and jumpstart the connection..
    • Go to Settings > General > About to check for carrier updates. You will see “Update” is an update is available.
    • Remove and reinsert the SIM card.
    • Try using a different SIM card if you have one.

    check If the SIM Card Is Properly Inserted

    5. Unlock Your SIM Status

    If you see the error “SIM card is unsupported”, it could be because you want tin activate a new carrier on a locked iPhone. This could also indicate that you have purchased and iPhone from your carrier that is not unlocked.

    In this case, the only thing you can do is contact your carrier and ask them to unlock the device.

    Unlock Your SIM Status

    6. Activate Your iPhone via iTunes

    Follow these simple steps to activate the iPhone via iTunes:

    • Step 1: Ensure that iTunes is up to date.
    • Step 2: Turn off the iPhone before connecting it to the computer and open iTunes if it doesn’t open automatically.
    • Step 3: As soon as iTunes detects the device, it will begin the activation process. If this doesn’t happen automatically select the device and click on “Activate iPhone.
    • Step 4: Log into your Apple ID and click “Continue”.

    Activate Your iPhone via iTunes

    7. Use FixGo to Refresh the System

    If you are unable to activate the device via iTunes, you can use iToolab FixGo to reinstall the system. This is the most ideal solution when the problem is brought on by iOS system issues. Some if the features that make FixGo the ideal solution for this situation include:

    • This program can also be used to fix more than 200 iOS issues including a device stuck on the Apple logo or recovery mode or a device that won’t update.
    • It supports all iPhone and iPad models as well as the latest version of the iOS or iPadOS.
    • It is also the ideal solution if you would like to fix the device without data loss.

    Here’s how to use FixGo to reinstall the system on your iPhone:

    Step 1: Install the program on to your computer and then run it. Select “Standard Mode” in the main window and then connect the bricked iPhone to the computer using USB cables.

    main interface of fixgo

    Step 2: Once the program detects the device, click on “Fix Now”

    main interface of standard mode

    Step 3: You will need to download the latest firmware for the device in order to repair it. Just click “Download” in the next window to begin the firmware download.

    Download Firmware Package

    Step 4: Wait for the firmware package to be downloaded and when the download is complete, click “Repair Now” to allow the program to begin fixing the device. FixGo will notify you when the process is complete.

     Fix the System Issue

    8. Use Recovery Mode to Set Up Your iPhone

    Follow these simple steps to try using recovery mode to set up your iPhone again:

    Step 1: Open iTunes and connect the iPhone to the computer. Make sure that you are running the latest version of iTunes to avoid errors.

    Step 2: Follow the procedure outlined above to force restart the device. But continue to hold the buttons even after you see the Apple Logo, releasing the buttons only if you see the “Connect to iTunes” logo.

    put iphone xs in recovery mode

    Step 3: When prompted by iTunes, select “Update” to continue and wait while iTunes reinstalls the iOS without affecting data on the device. If the process takes more than 15 minutes, the device may exit recovery mode and you will need to repeat the steps.

    Update iPhone in recovery mode

    9. Call Your Carrier Or Apple

    If you are still unable to activate the iPhone, then contact your carrier for advice. If they can’t help, perhaps there is a problem with the iPhone itself that is preventing you from activating the device. if the device is faulty and still under warranty, Apple can help or replace the device.

    contact Apple

    Dave Patterson
    Dave has been writing about tech for five years, covering a range of topics including phones, tablets, tutorials, and reviews.

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