By Demi / Last update September 1, 2021

Unable to activate, an update is required

I updated my iPhone iOS and I had this error “Unable to Active-An update is required to activate your iPhone” on the iPhone. What should I do?

- Question from Apple Community

Unable To Activate

Many people report that they get a message from iPhone, saying unable to activate an update is required to activate iPhone after updating iOS. Just as the picture showing to you, the error message also says “ Learn more at apple.com/support” which is the URL of Apple’s support page. When you click the website to find solutions, you will find that you can hardly find them.

If you are in the same situation, read this passage to fix the issue unable to activate iPhone an update is required.

Why does iPhone say "Unable to activate-An update is required"?

You may wonder why you cannot activate iPhone after iOS update. After all, you didn’t perform any error operations. There can be many reasons why you have difficulty activating iPhone, and some of them are mentioned below.

⁕Your device doesn’t connect to a network or connect to an unstable network.
⁕The SIM card is not inserted properly or it’s not supported by iPhone.
⁕Activation Lock is on. If the iPhone belonged to someone else before you, the iPhone is still attached to its previous owner at the same time, there can be a chance that your iPhone is locked by its previous owner.

Note:
If you are using iPhone 7, check whether its model number is A1660, A1780, or A1779 on the back of your iPhone. Apple has reported that due to hardware problems, these models of iPhone 7 may encounter this issue. If it is, contact Apple directly to fix it.

4 ways to fix Unable to activate-An update is required

After knowing the reasons, you may ask then how do I fix unable to activate an update is required to activate iPhone. It’s not a difficult job to fix it. Try the following four ways one after another, your issue will be fixed by one of them.

Way 1. Reinsert your SIM card

To solve unable to activate an update is required to activate iPhone 12/11/X/8, reinserting your SIM card is the simplest way.

You need to pay attention to if your SIM card has positioned properly on the SIM card tray, because your iPhone may fail to activate when it cannot recognize your SIM card. Similarly, if you have a dual SIM iPhone, you need to make sure that you have put both of them into the right trays.

Besides, you also need to check whether the SIM card is compatible with your iPhone. You can go to Apple support to learn which SIM card your iPhone can use.

Eject Sim Tray

Way 2. Restart your iPhone

If you put your SIM card in a right place but the issue persists, you can try restarting your iPhone to fix it. Depending on the model types of your iPhone, the ways to restart iPhone might be slightly different. Follow the instructions below to make it.

iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button > Press and quickly release the Volume Down button > Press the power button until you see the logo of Apple.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press both the power button and volume Down button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.
iPhone 6s or earlier: Press both the power button and the Home button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.

Reset Iphone

Way 3. Reactivate iPhone via iTunes

If your iPhone still says unable to activate an update is required, you may need to reactive your iPhone with the help of iTunes. Tutorials are as follows.

Step 1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your computer > Connect your iPhone to the computer.

Step 2. Locate your iPhone in the upper-left corner of iTunes’s main screen > Wait while your computer detects and activates your iPhone.

If you see the alert, showing “Set up as New” or “Restore from Backup”, your iPhone is activated successfully.

Activate Iphone With Itunes

Hopefully, your iPhone will be activated successfully. However, if you receive an error, saying “activation information was invalid” or “activation information could not be obtained from the device”, the last thing you can do is to put iPhone into recovery mode to update on iTunes.

Way 4. Put iPhone into recovery mode to update and restore on iTunes

The last way to fix unable to activate iPhone an update is required is to use recovery mode to restore your iPhone. But putting your iPhone into recovery mode will erase data on your iPhone, so please backup iPhone before recovery mode.

How to put iPhone into recovery mode

You can follow the steps below to use recovery mode on iPhone to fix this issue.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to a computer > Launch the latest version of iTunes.

Step 2. Once the iPhone is recognized, you have to restart your iPhone > Then you will go to recovery mode.

Iphone Recovery Mode

Step 3. Once you have entered recovery mode, select Update option and follow the instructions provided on the screen.

Recovery Mode Update Restore

Bonus: How to backup iPhone before recovery mode to minimize data lose

If you want to minimize data loss before putting your iPhone into recovery mode, I’d like to suggest you use AOMEI MBackupper, which is excellent iPhone backup software. It can make a full iPhone backup within a few steps.

With a simple interface and design, you can handle it as long as you use it for the first time. Besides, to protect your data privacy, backup encryption is available for you in AOMEI MBackupper.

Full Backup

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Conclusion

Hope the four ways above have helped you solve the problem “unable to activate iPhone an update is required”. If not, there may be some hardware issues, which you may need to contact Apple to solve. For any other questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us or leave your comment.