Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone, Fix

This article explains how you can fix the “Unable to Activate. An update is required to activate your iPhone” error.

unable to activate an update is required

Several users have reported this issue. Users have said that they run into this error with a “No Signal” in the status bar, a shutdown button and an exclamation mark after they reset or update their devices.

The error message further says “learn more at apple.com/support.” which is the URL of Apple’s main support page. This page does not offer any real help for this issue specifically.

If you are having an issue activating your iPhone after updating iOS or resetting your device, please try the following troubleshooting tips:

Please try each step until you resolve your issue:

1-Remove the SIM card and put it back again. Simply locate your SIM tray and insert a paper clip to pop open. Apple explains how you can do this. And then re-place your SIM card. If this doesn’t not work, then try to remove the SIM and turn off your device and now put the SIM in and then turn on your device.

Remove SIM

2-Please follow the steps below:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Open iTunes (make sure that you are running the latest version of the iTunes software. If not, update to the latest version of iTunes).  If your computer is a Mac, go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update. If your computer is a Windows PC, you may download and update it. Click here if your computer does not recognize your device.
  3. Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB cable
  4. Select your iPhone by clicking the iPhone icon
  5. Click Summary
  6. Click Update

See also: Software Update Is Required To Connect To Your iOS Device, Installation Failed

3-Update your Mac by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update.

4-Please follow the steps below:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer
  2. Open iTunes on your Mac
  3. While your device is connected, force restart your iPhone. Here is how you can do that:
    1. If your device is an iPhone 8 or later: Press and release the volume up and then volume down button and then press and hold the side (on/off) button until you see the recovery screen below. Do not release the buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.
    2. If your device is an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the side and volume down buttons together until you see the recovery screen. Do not release the buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.
    3. If your device is an iPhone 6 or earlier: Press and hold the side and the Home buttons together until the recovery screen below appears. Do not release the buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.

      Recovery Mode Screen
      Recovery Mode Screen
  4. You will be presented with two different options: Update and Restore
  5. Choose Update and then follow the on screen instructions.

5– If your device is an iPhone 7, Apple has said that a small number of iPhone 7 models may experience this issue because of a hardware problem. Apple explains the problem here in more details. Model numbers A1660, A1780, and A1779 may experience this issue (please note that you may find the model number on the back of your device). If you think that your device is also affected, then simply contact Apple. Apple may have to replace your device.

If nothing above helps you, you may want to live chat with an Apple support representative or make a Genius Bar reservation.

See also: Unable to Install Update: An error Occurred Installing…

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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39 thoughts on “Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone, Fix”

  1. I have been having issues with my Iphone Xs Max keep on losing network all the time and been doing a network reset in order to get my signal back. this time I called Iphone support to tell them about my issue they said I should do a factory reset which I did now my phone can not recognize any sim card and I am unable to activate it.
    i went to a repair house at the mall he said I have a damaged sim card reader which I asked him to replace.

    Guys do you think after replacing it and my phone recovering network can fix the issue and will finally be able to activate it?

  2. I have the same problem with my iphone x after I downloaded 14.3 ios the network wen and it required an update before I start using my iphone this is so inconvenient .what should I do cause am failing to update it again?

  3. I had an iphone 11, this happened when I updated to IOS 14.3, restored back to 14.2 via 3uTools and it works again. This was a big pain in the a..even Apple support couldn’t help.

    • I also had this problem after updating to 14.3. I have an Apple 7. I did every step listed, all steps they had for troubleshooting. I finally chated with them, and they said the 7 is known to have ‘no service’ issues, and they extended a warranty to 4 years after purchase and that they would repair it, I specifically asked ‘how much will a repair cost’ to which the chat attendant said it would be free of charge. They chat rep made me an appointment in West Palm for the repair, I go, they say it’s 3 months past 4 years, so they would not repair it for free.

      NOW HERE I AM. livid. There was nothing, NOTHING wrong with the phone before the update, and they said they’d sell me a new apple 7 for $360ish. After I got mad and the rep at the store talked to the manager, they said they’d do the exchange for half of that, but still… when I asked if they had a buy back they said they wouldn’t give me anything for it since it has the no service issue.


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