Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone Issue Solved

If your iPhone is showing an error like “Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone” that means there is something that needs to fix before you can operate on your iPhone again. Most of the time it could be solved with a simple update and other times users claim that the update did nothing. Read this article to learn more about how to fix An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone error. 

How to Fix An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone Error

We will provide some simple solutions one by one and we advise our users to follow them correctly.

Reboot iPhone

One of the most common solutions to any problem is to restart. Make sure to restart your iPhone a couple of times before trying any other methods. Sometimes it’s just a simple glitch in the system that could be fixed by a reboot. 

Get Sim Card Out of iPhone

This error is mostly faced when the user upgrades their sim cards or change their service provider. They out the new sim card in and iPhone will pop up a message like Unable to Activate. They also ask users to contact their service provider. While most people didn’t get sufficient answers from their carrier, they received one piece of advice that mostly works, take the sim card out of iPhone and put it back again. Just like everything else, getting a sim card out of the iPhone is also tricky, here is how to remove a sim card to fix An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone error.

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For any of the below iPhone model, try this method

  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X

Sim card tray will be on the right-hand side, the user will find a notch on the side. Insert a paperclip near the hole on the sim card tray and push, it will pop open the sim card tray. Now take out the sim card and wait for a couple of minutes and then put the sim card again. 

Other iPhone models have a sim card tray on the right side as well but in the middle. Make sure to find the notch first. Older versions like iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and Original iPhone have a sim card tray at the top.

Update with iTunes

Another method is to update your iPhone with iTunes. Make sure that you have an updated iTunes available on your Mac before doing this. With Windows PC, make sure to download the latest iTunes and then try this trick.

  • Restart your Mac or PC
  • Open iTunes in it
  • Now connect your iPhone to the Mac/PC with a USB cable
  • Now select the iPhone in iTunes by clicking the iPhone icon
  • Go to summary and update

This will update your iPhone to the latest OS updates and once the update is over, restart your iPhone and then check for the “An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone” error. 

Update with Recovery Mode

If your iPhone could not connect to iTunes, then now you need to use the recovery mode method and try to force iPhone to update, here is how,

  • Open iTunes on Mac/PC
  • Connect your iPhone to the device with a USB cable
  • Now force the recovery mode
  • There are many ways to put the iPhone in recovery mode, read our article regarding fix forget passcode to learn the different methods to set recovery mode in iPhone. 
  • Now iPhone will display a message, users need to choose between update or restore, tap on the restore button
  • Now select update and once the update is installed, reboot the device and check for the error.
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Once the update is installed, users can get back to using their iPhone with ease. This method will surely fix the issue, but if everything fails and you still getting the same error “Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone” then visit your nearest apple store to fix this issue. You can also visit the official Apple support website to find the solution as well. Some of the users have said that it’s a hardware error and even apple has mentioned that their model A1660, A1780, and A1779 and some of the iPhone 7 faces the same issue because of hardware complicacy. 

FAQ for An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone

1 What does it mean when iPhone says unable to activate?

It means that users need to update their iPhones in order to activate it. Sometimes it could be another issue with the iPhone. Mostly it’s the new update or carrier change that could cause this error. 

2 How to fix An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone?

There are several ways users can fix this issue, first try to reboot the phone and check for the error. If that fails try to remove the sim card and then put it back again. Users can update their iPhone with iTunes as well or they can force updates with recovery mode too.


Many people are facing this issue worldwide and one of the main reason is old OS need a new update. Sometimes it could be the carrier issue that prompts the “Unable to Activate, An Update Is Required To Activate Your iPhone” error. Make sure to read our article thoroughly and follow all the methods. If the issue still persists, ask us in the comment sections.  

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