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. Hello everyone. I am facing the same issue and it is not a software fault it is a hardware baseband fault. We have to get it locally repaired by asking the tech guy to repair the baseband and It will work perfectly fine.

  2. I changed carriers 4 weeks ago and got a new sim. A few days later my iPhone read “Cellular Update Failed Your iPhone cannot make and receive calls or access cellular data until it has been updated”.

    I went to Settings-General-Updates and updated my iPhone to iOS 14.
    I turned the phone off and on, and it worked again!

    Now, 4 weeks later, it started giving me the same message.

    I took it to my carrier and they suggested that I back up everything to iCloud and go to settings and reset the phone. I went home and purchased extra space on iCloud and backed up everything for $.99. I deleted all 4k photos off of my phone and decided to turn it off and on to see if there was any difference. It worked!

    2 hours later, I started receiving the same message again, and I no longer had LTE data. I only had a couple of lines buffering, where the LTE was supposed to be.

    I decided to do what my carrier told me and I reset my phone. It was even worse! Now it prompted me to pick a language, country, and wifi. After I clicked next, it said “Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone”! I set an appointment at the Apple store and they plugged in my phone to see what was wrong. They also took out my SIM card and put in their own. Nothing worked. They said they could replace my phone for $399 for an iPhone XR. They also said my iPhone can’t be traded in or anything because it has no value!!

  3. Hello,

    I am having the same issue with my iPhone 7 – A1660. Did anyone find a solution yet ? It all started with the 13.5.1 update. I got no service. I tried everything for a week and now after finally restoring I cannot even activate.

    Mine also qualifies for the no-service repair program however it has been more than 4 years since I bought it so I cannot apply for the program.

    I would be grateful if anyone offers a solution.

    Best of luck to everyone

    • bought a 7 today same as yours with the A1660 been trying for hours to get it to work and no luck. spent nearly all of my money on a phone and apple couldnt care less about their customers as long as they have money

    • It happened to me last night with the iPhone SE 2, and it is so frustrating. In the end it seems like a hardware problem that can only be solved be replacing phones.

      That is what happened when I went to the Apple Store for customer support: their technician kept insisting that the problem is my SIM card when I knew it is not since it works on other phones fine. After I convinced him, they ran a diagnostics and found the hardware defect. Then they just gave me a new phone.

      Hopefully I backed up the data before restoring the device.

      • I literally just put my device in recovery mode, tried to update it. It said the update failed, but then I tried restoring it. Restoring it worked perfectly, and after that, when I wiped my phone, there was no activation error.

  4. Good day,

    I upgraded from a Iphone 6 to a Iphone 11.

    Was going to hand the phone to my daughter and now it does not want to work at all.
    Bought a new pre-paid sim. Also connected to the wi-fi.

    Tried all the steps noted on this website.
    Updated my itunes, put phone off and on. Inserted and took out sim over and over again.

    It reads no service. Cannot update via laptop or another iphone.
    Nothing works.

    It keeps reading Unable to activate, An update is required to activate your iphone. Learn more at apple website. Tried this. over and over and updated, and restored.

    MESSAGE ON LAPTOP – The IPhone could not be activated because a unknown error occured(0xE8000065).

    Then on Itunes it reads the following: The Iphone could not be activated because the activation information could not be obtained from the device.

    I am very frustrated. Please help me out?

  5. I have the same issue and I went to apple store earlier to check. Unfortunately, they are not able to resolve the issue. It is disappointing that they are not capable to locate the real cause of the problem and offered no possible solution to fix it.

  6. Same problem on iphone 6S. Bought a refurbished phone from genuine Apple Store. Now facing this issue for the last 6 months. The software killed the phone. The hardware is perfect.

  7. Have this same problem on my iPhone 7 Plus. Took it to the Apple Store, they said a component on the Logic Board was failing, and would charge me 300 USD to get a brand new 7 Plus.


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