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How to Fix Unable to Activate iPhone

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A majority of iPhone users have encountered Unable to activate iPhone; your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server cannot be reached problem at least, once in their lifetime. But, why does this problem occur?  Is there any way to fix Unable to activate; your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable error? Read this article to understand the solutions to fix this issue.

How to Fix Unable to Activate iPhone

How to Fix Unable to Activate iPhone

The methods mentioned in this guide have proven to be effective for resolving activation errors in iOS 13 & iOS 14 versions. So, implement the given methods in the sequence that they appear to find a solution for Unable to activate iPhone; your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server cannot be reached issue.

Method 1: Wait and Retry

If your iPhone does not unlock because the activation service is inaccessible and you get the prompt stating your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable, it is best to wait it out. The Apple servers might be temporarily down or occupied elsewhere. That is why they are unable to handle your request for activation. Ideally, you should wait for a few minutes before attempting again. If unable to activate error doesn’t disappear on its own, try the next fix.

Method 2: Force Restart your iPhone

This is the most basic solution for iPhone not activating due to app glitches, bugs, or inherent conflicts. We have explained the steps for the same according to the model of the iPhone. Click here to read more about it.

Turn Off your iPhone Device

For iPhone X, and later models

  • Quickly press-release Volume up button.
  • Then, Quickly press-release the Volume down button.
  • Now, press-hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. Then, release it.

For iPhone 8 & iPhone SE

  • Press and hold the Lock + Volume Up/ Volume Down button at the same time.
  • Keep holding the buttons until the slide to power off option is displayed.
  • Now, release all the buttons and swipe the slider to the right of the screen.
  • This will shut down the iPhone. Wait for 10-15 seconds.
  • Follow step 1 to turn it on again.

For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

  • Press and hold the Volume Down + Lock button together.
  • Release the buttons when you see the Apple logo on the screen.

For iPhone 6s and earlier models

  • Press-hold the Home + Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously.
  • Do so until you see the Apple logo on the screen, and then, release these keys.

Force Restart your iPhone

Left to Right: Illustration of keys for iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 & 8, iPhone X/11/12.

Also Read: How to Copy Playlists to iPhone, iPad, or iPod

Method 3: Check your Network Connection

If your network is blocking gs.apple.com on a bunch of ports, you will be unable to activate your iPhone successfully. Hence, try the following:

  • Connect to a different Wi-Fi network to fix unable to activate iPhone issue.
  • Try connecting to your internet network after turning On & Off Airplane Mode.

Tap on Airplane Mode. Fix Unable to Activate iPhone

Method 4: Unlock Locked SIM

This method is for activation errors stating SIM card is unverifiable or iPhone is not activated; Contact your carrier. When you try to activate a new network via SIM card on a disabled iPhone, the phone will not work. Even if the iPhone was bought recently, SIM will not be enabled until the network carrier unlocks it. This means that if your iPhone is not working, you should contact your network provider and request them to unlock your iPhone and SIM card.

Also Read: Fix No SIM Card Installed Error on iPhone

Method 5: Reactivate iPhone via iTunes

Try reactivating your iPhone using iTunes to fix an update that is required to activate your iPhone error.

1. Reboot your iPhone and connect to a stable & dependable Wi-Fi network.

2. If you receive a warning message stating Authentication/Activation server is temporarily inaccessible or Authentication/Activation server cannot be reached, while attempting to unlock your phone, wait for some time before retrying.

3. If you still can’t activate your iPhone, try again using your computer instead. Perform the following checks to make sure it’s not a hardware-related or settings-related problem.

  • Check if you have the most recent edition of iTunes installed.
  • Check if your PC is connected to a stable internet connection.

4. Now, connect your iPhone to your PC using the USB cable that came within the phone box.

5. Click Activate your iPhone on the next screen. Type your Apple ID and password in the boxes provided to log in. Refer given pic.

Type your Apple ID and password in the boxes provided to log in. Fix Unable to Activate iPhone

If this doesn’t work then,

6. Wait for your PC to recognize and unlock your iPhone:

  • If you see a message asking Set up as New or Restore from Backup, your iPhone has been unlocked.
  • If your device displays an error message indicating that the SIM card is incompatible/invalid or iPhone is not activated; contact your carrier, call your network carrier to solve the issue.
  • If you receive an error message stating your iPhone activation information was invalid or activation information could not be obtained from the device, switch to Recovery mode to restore your device.

This should fix Unable to activate iPhone; your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server cannot be reached issue.

Method 6: Use Recovery Mode

 A common question that many users asked: Is it necessary to upgrade your iPhone in order to unlock it? The answer is Yes! You must download an update package that is distinct from the iOS update package. This could be the reason for being unable to activate iPhone; your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server cannot be reached error to occur.

Note: You cannot download and uninstall it from the iPhone Settings.

Follow the given steps to force your iPhone to download the upgrade-kit:

1. Put your iPhone in Recovery Mode.

2. Update it or Repair it with iTunes.

Also Read:  Fix Windows 10 Not Recognizing iPhone

Method 7: Contact Apple Support

If you are still not able to fix unable to activate new iPhone issue, you need to contact Apple Support Team or visit Apple Care.

Get Harware Help Apple. Get Software Help Apple.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Why does my iPhone say an update is required to activate your iPhone?

There can be many reasons for this, but the error your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable occurs mostly, due to:

  • Weak internet connection.
  • The device was locked by the previous user.
  • iTunes is unable to recognize your device.
  • Unavailability of the iPhone activation server, most likely due to heavy traffic.
  • Improperly configured SIM card.

Q2. What does it mean by your iPhone cannot be activated?

You might get the Unable to Activate error message if you recently upgraded your iPhone to a new iOS version. An update is required to activate your iPhone alert can be caused by any of the above-mentioned factors. Whatever the reason, you can resolve the Unable to Activate error message by following the methods given in this article.

Q3. How do I force my iPhone to activate?

You can force restart your iPhone to see if it can fix the unable to activate iPhone issue. Refer to Method 2 above.

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We hope you were able to fix Unable to activate iPhone with our helpful and comprehensive guide. Let us know which method worked for you. If you have any queries or suggestions, drop them in the comment section.

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Pete Mitchell

Pete is a Senior staff writer at TechCult. Pete loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has a decade of experience writing how-tos, features, and technology guides on the internet.

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