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iPhone Won't Activate? Quick Fix to iPhone Activation Error

In case your iPhone doesn't let you activate it, you can read on the below iPhone troubleshooting tips to easily and fast get around iPhone activation error without any further ado.

By Abby Poole to iPhone Troubleshooting Tips | Last Updated on Dec 14, 2018

Why is my iPhone can't activate? As normal I did the setup, but then when the activation page came it loaded for a while and then the message 'iphone could not be activated because the activation server cannot be reached' comes up. I tried retrying for a long time but no luck. Besides as found from the web to connect to iTunes and restore/update, I followed those steps too but still the same thing comes.... Any solutions? Would be a lifesaver. Ray 101x - ifixit.com

iPhone won't activate error happens everywhere (new iPhone or old one) after you reset, format or restore your iPhone. And mostly it's hard to figure out the true reasons since only a single glitch might cause this iPhone activation problem. Hence, you're suggested to try the below simple solutions to directly test which solution works for your case, instead of spending too much time and energy on the complicated reasons.

iPhone activation error

Solution 1 - Wait a Second

As for new iPhone activation, you'd better have a wait if the error occurs. You know, everyone who just gets his/her new iPhone is activating iPhone at almost the same time if you guys are in the same boat to purchase and receive Apple newly released iPhone like iPhone Xs. Thus, Apple activation server would become unbelievably busy and laggy. Wait a second to see if it can be activated normally. If not, try the following tips.

Solution 2 - Check the Status of Apple's Activation Server

On top of the high volumes of activation traffic, there is another case that would account for "can't activate iPhone" problem - Apple's activation server is down or non-existent. Though this situation doesn't happen often, it does exist. Head to Apple's System Status page to see if the Apple server is available. If not, give it a whirl a few minutes later.

Solution 3 - Re-insert SIM Card

I've once encounter iPhone activation failure error. I have no idea what's wrong with my iPhone. Instead, I just pull out the SIM card from the card slot and re-insert it to the tray. Afterwards, I try it again. That's my lucky day. It works. Therefore, you can firstly have a check on the SIM card seat. Re-adjust its seat if it's not sitting in the tray correctly.

activate iPhone

Solution 4 - Resort to a Strong Wi-Fi

To activate your iPhone, one of the preconditions is a strong enough Wi-Fi network connection. Many a user selects cellular data to activate iPhone if they're in a place without Wi-Fi. However, generally, the cellular data is not so strong as a reliable Wi-Fi connection. So, access to a place with strong Wi-Fi connection to try again.

Solution 5 - Contact Mobile Telecom Carrier

If the above solutions don't help you out of trouble and you still don't know where the rub is, shift your attention to carrier. If you're planning to activate your AT&T locked iPhone with a new Verizon SIM card, it's no wonder to encounter the activation failure.

To get this issue resolved, contact the mobile telecom carrier of your locked iPhone (e.g., AT&T) to unlock your iPhone first. Then, insert your SIM card and activate your iPhone again.

Solution 6 - Restore Your iPhone

Still no luck? There might be something wrong with your firmware (50% -80% possibility being out of date). One workaround is considerable - restore your iPhone via iTunes recovery mode.

Step 1: Launch iTunes on your desktop and then connect your iPhone to computer via its lightning USB cable.

Step 2: Give a force-restart on your iPhone. Keep pressing and holding the home & power buttons on your iPhone (iPhone 7 or older model). Do not loosen your fingers unless you see the "Connect to iTunes" screen. As for iPhone 8 or later newer iPhones, press and quickly release the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons. Afterwards, press the Side button to wait for the connect screen.

Step 3: Now, your iPhone is in the recovery mode. You can restore from any backups you previously create after the restore is done.

If you can't get your iPhone restored, check this solution to solve "iPhone won't restore" problem >>>

Solution 7 - Use iTunes to Activate iPhone

Apple's iTunes is always on standby to help you solve iPhone problems. iPhone won't activate error is also included. Do as follows:

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to computer via USB cable. Then power off your iPhone and reboot it to trigger iTunes.

Step 2: Follow the steps iTunes tells you to activate your iPhone the moment it detects your iPhone.

Generally, your iPhone activation error can be fixed by the afore-mentioned workarounds. If not, resort to Apple Support for help.

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