If you’ve restored your iPhone recently and now it’s giving you a hard time to activate, worry not.
We’ve got a few troubleshooting fixes that might help. But, before we get to that, let’s understand why this happens.
What causes iPhone activation error?
While trying to activate your iPhone after a restoration, you might receive the following error message(s):
- “iPhone could not be activated because the activation information could not be obtained from the device”.
- “Activation information was invalid”.
- “No SIM”.
- “Invalid SIM”.
These errors are triggered by a wide range of factors. We’ve listed a number of them below so that you can get an understanding of your problem. They include:
- A weak network. It prevents the information from being sent properly.
- The Apple Activation Service is experiencing issues or is unavailable
- Your SIM carrier is not supported or installed properly.
- Activation lock is enabled in Find My iPhone.
- iOS version is not supported by the Apple server.
- The iOS firmware wasn’t installed properly.
- Technical difficulties on the mobile carrier’s end
How to fix iPhone activation error
Now that you have an idea why your iPhone is unable to activate after restore, we can proceed to the fixes.
1. Reboot your iPhone
The first thing to do is to simply reboot your iPhone and see if the error message disappears so that you can proceed with the activation.
How to restart iPhone X and later models
- Press and hold either of the volume buttons and the side button simultaneously until you see the power off slider on your screen.
- Drag the slider to the right to shut down the iPhone.
- Wait for 30 seconds for the phone to power off completely.
- Press and hold the side button on the right until you see the Apple logo
If the device is unresponsive, you can force restart using the following steps:
- Quickly press and release the Volume Up button followed by the Volume Down button, and, lastly, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen
How to Restart iPhone SE (2nd Generation), 8, 7, and 6
- Press and hold the power button on the side until the power off slider appears.
- Drag the slider to shut down the iPhone.
- Wait for 30 seconds then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.
In case the iPhone is unresponsive, use the following guide to force restart:
- For iPhone SE (2nd generation) and 8: Quickly press and release the Volume Up button then press and release the Volume Down button, and finish by pressing and holding the side button until the Apple logo appears.
- On iPhone 7: Simultaneously press and hold the Volume Down button and the Sleep/Wake button on the right until you see the Apple logo.
- For iPhone 6s and previous generations: Simultaneously press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button. Release both of them when you see the Apple logo.
How to Restart iPhone SE (1st Generation), 5 and Earlier Generations
- Press and hold the top button until you see the power off slider.
- Drag the slider to shut down the phone.
- Wait for 30 seconds before you press and hold the top button again. Release it when you see the Apple logo on your screen.
If it’s frozen use the following guide to force restart:
- Press and hold the top button and the Home button at the same time. Release them simultaneously when you see the Apple logo.
2. Insert your SIM card correctly or use a different one
Remove the SIM card from the SIM card tray then put it back again. Make sure it fits properly on the tray and the tray closes completely. If you still get the error message, then try using a different SIM card. Probably an old SIM card that worked with the iPhone before you restored it.
You may have to contact your SIM carrier to be sure the problem is not on their end. After all, they’re better-placed to diagnose deep-rooted issues with their SIM card system. For instance, they’ll let you know if the iPhone is not compatible with their SIM card.
3. Check the Apple system status page
Go to Apple’s systems status page and check the color of the “iOS Device Activation” light. If it’s green then you should be able to activate your iPhone because the service is available.
However, if the light is yellow or red, then the Activation service is temporarily unavailable. So, you’ll have to wait for it to turn green before you try again.
4. Check your network connection
You must connect to a network to activate your iPhone. Whether you’re using a cellular or Wi-Fi network, make sure it’s working. You can change between the two in case one is not strong enough.
For example, if both of them are ON, switch the Wi-Fi off then try to activate using a cellular network and vice-versa.
Also, you can restart your Wi-Fi router, turn OFF the VPN that’s configured to the router, and connect to a different Wi-Fi network that is not public.
5. Check the activation lock
If you’re asked to enter a password during the activation process, the activation lock is enabled in Find My iPhone. This is a feature that’s used to protect your iPhone from being used by somebody else in case it gets lost or stolen. Once you enter the Apple ID and Password you should be good to go.
Now, if you got the iPhone from somebody and you don’t have their Apple ID and Password, you can ask them to log into the Find My iPhone app and remove the iPhone from their iCloud.
6. Activate using iTunes or Finder
For this fix, you must have the latest version of iTunes or MacOS, and the computer should be connected to stable internet. If you have macOS Catalina use Finder while those with macOS Mojave or earlier and PCs should use iTunes.
- Next, launch iTunes or Finder on your computer.
- Turn OFF your iPhone and connect it to the computer using an original lighting cable.
- Switch On the iPhone.
- The computer will detect your device immediately and prompt you to start the Activation process.
- You could also locate your iPhone from the left-hand pane on the screen select the “Activate” option.
- Log in using your Apple ID to complete the activation process.
If iPhone, still, won’t activate after restore, move to the next step.
7. Update using recovery mode
The next fix for your iPhone’s activation error is to update through recovery mode. Follow this guide:
- First, your iTunes and MacOS should be up to date.
- Launch iTunes then connect your device.
- Put your device into recovery mode.
- For iPhone 8 and later models: Press and release the Volume Up button fast. Press and release the Volume Down button fast. Finally, press and hold the side button until the recovery mode screen appears.
- For iPhone 7 and 7 plus: Simultaneously press and hold the Volume Down button and the side button until you see the recovery-mode screen.
- For iPhone 6s and earlier models: Simultaneously press and hold the Home button and the side button until the recovery mode screen appears.
- Locate your device on the screen.
- When you see the prompt that asks you to “Restore” or “Update” select “Update”
- Wait for the update to finish, then set up your iPhone.
8. Contact Apple Support
So, you still can’t activate iPhone after restore? Chances are you’re dealing with a hardware problem. The best solution for that is to talk to Apple support and let them diagnose your problem.
You could go to the nearest Apple store with your iPhone and any documentation that proves it’s yours.
How long does it take to activate an iPhone after Restore?
The time your iPhone takes to activate after restore varies due to different factors. It could start and finish within 10 minutes or exceed an hour plus.
This range is influenced by the amount of data being transferred, the strength and stability of your internet, errors, and the method used to activate the iPhone.
From these solutions, you should now have an idea of how to activate your iPhone after restoring it. We hope that you manage to solve the issue fast to avoid unnecessary inconveniences and any potential repair costs.
Alex is an IT technician who shares his experiences with Apple devices occasionally. He has a collection of Apple devices (from iPhone 4) and has recently started trying out Android.
IG: @I M_Alex