How to Fix iPhone Activation Error: Try These 7 Solutions

In rare instances, you might see the iPhone activation error, which prevents you from finishing the setup. As a result, you are left with an unusable device. But don’t worry as this is something that can be fixed easily by following the solutions below. Let’s get your iPhone activated successfully by reaching the root cause.

Possible Reasons for Activation Error on iPhone

Before jumping to solutions, it would be wise to take a moment and understand why you face iPhone activation errors. It can be due to one or a combination of the following reasons.

  • The activation server from Apple’s end may be down.
  • There could be a fault with your internet connection.
  • SIM card might not be supported. Or, your carrier might be experiencing issues, which results in activation errors on iPhone bought from them.
  • Activation Lock is set on the device.
  • iTunes is not able to verify your iPhone.
  • There is a manufacturing defect with your particular handset. (Very rare, but possible.)

7 Ways to Fix iPhone Activation Error

Now that we know about the reasons, here are the potential resolutions to successfully address this problem and make your iPhone great again!

  1. Check Apple’s System Status Page
  2. Restart Your iPhone
  3. Use Reliable Wi-Fi Network Instead Of Cellular Data
  4. Remove The SIM Card And Reinsert It
  5. Try Activating Your iPhone Using Computer
  6. Bypass Activation Lock
  7. Contact Apple Support

1. Check Apple’s System Status Page

More than a fix, it is the primary checkpoint before we look at other solutions.

Head over to Apple’s System Status Page and see if ‘iOS Device Activation‘ has a green dot next to it or not.

check server status for ios device activation on apple website

In case it’s unavailable, you cannot do much, except wait for some time. In most circumstances, problems with such essential services are swiftly fixed by Apple. Once that’s taken care of, you will be able to activate your device.

2. Restart Your iPhone

If the process gets stuck, restarting is an excellent solution that generally fixes such issues.

On iPhones with Home button, use the Power button to turn it off.

Restart iPhone with Touch ID

On iPhone models with Face ID, press the Side button and one of the volume buttons together.

Restart iPhone with Face ID

If you need assistance, we have a full guide on how to restart any iPhone.

After waiting for at least 30 seconds, turn on the iPhone and follow the on-screen activation steps.

3. Use Reliable Wi-Fi Network Instead Of Cellular Data

You need to have an internet connection (or iTunes or Finder) to activate your iPhone.

Usually, there is no problem in activating an iPhone using mobile data. However, follow the on-screen instructions and connect to a Wi-Fi network if you are facing issues. Once you do this, the existing activation problems might no longer exist!

Note: If the Wi-Fi router has VPN enabled or uses modified DNS settings, try to connect to a different network.

4. Remove The SIM Card And Reinsert It

All modern iPhones have the SIM tray on the right side. Use the ejector tool that came in the box to take out the SIM card. Now reinsert it. Make sure that the tray closes perfectly, and isn’t loose.

remove iphone's sim card and reinsert it

Caution! Use the SIM card tray that came with your iPhone. SIM tray of a different model might not work with yours. If you force, it may even get stuck and cause physical damage!

5. Try Activating Your iPhone Using Computer

If the shared solutions do not work, try activating using a Mac or PC. Start by connecting your iPhone to the computer using the Lightning cable.

If you have a Windows PC or Mac running macOS Mojave and earlier, launch iTunes, and click on the tiny iPhone icon. On a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, open Finder and click on your iPhone from the left sidebar.

Inside iTunes or Finder, if you see ‘Set up as New‘ or ‘Restore from Backup,’ it means your iPhone is already activated. Restart it, and you should be able to finish the remaining setup process.

In case you see an error message related to the SIM card, contact your carrier.

And if it says “activation information was invalid” or “activation information could not be obtained from the device,” you will have to put your iPhone into recovery mode, update or restore the device, and finish the setup.

6. Bypass Activation Lock

Are you trying to activate a pre-owned iPhone? Do you see a screen that says ‘Activation Lock?’ If yes, it means this device is still tied to the Apple ID of the previous owner.

However, if you activate your iPhone after a restore or DFU mode, it will most likely be your Apple ID. Try to figure it out from the first alphabet of the Apple ID shown on the screen. Enter your Apple ID password, and you are good to go. In case you forgot the password, learn how to reset it.

But, if the Apple ID is not yours, here is how to bypass the activation lock.

7. Contact Apple Support

Finally, if nothing seems to work, contact Apple Support. You can use call, chat, Apple Support app on a different iOS device, or even reach them via Twitter!

If they aren’t able to solve it remotely, it may be the time to take your device to an Apple Store or authorized service center for physical inspection. In case there are manufacturing defects with your new iPhone, you might be eligible to get a brand-new replacement, free of cost.

Wrapping Up

Having used, activated, and set up multiple iOS devices for years, I am confident that one of the solutions above will address your iPhone’s activation errors. If I have to conclude and pick my top two fixes, it would be restarting the device and trying again and connecting to a stable high-speed Wi-Fi.

What is your take on the iPhone activation problem? Were you able to fix it using this guide? Let us hear it in the comments section below.

At last, I would like to invite you to read our fantastic post that talks about 18 things to do after setting up a new iPhone!

The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.