“UNABLE TO ACTIVATE IPHONE - I am unable to activate my iPhone, activation server cannot be reached. I try again and again but no success. Connect my device to iTunes and issue still remains.It says ‘the iPhone could not be activated because activation server cannot be reached’. I have tried most of the things suggested on web, now REDDIT is my last hope please help. THANKS” asked by a Reddit forum user.

“When I tried to activate my iPhone, iPhone says activation server cannot be reached. How can I activate iPhone in such occasion? I have no idea about this since I’m new to iPhone. Please help.” asked by an Apple Communities user.

Many people might have come across this issue. If you happen to search for an answer to such questions, this would exactly what you need here. Here in this guide, we would like to share 6 different solutions to help you fix iPhone activation server cannot be reached error so as to help you successfully activate your iPhone. Most of these solutions are totally free. You don’t need to pay a penny for them. So just check them below and try them one by one until you fix this issue.

Solution 1: Retry after Some Time


If you see a message on your iPhone like this: “Cannot activate because activation server is temporarily not available”, it is advisable that you wait for some time and then try to activate your iPhone again because the Apple servers might be busy. This happens when the Apple systems are overloaded. If it did not work the first time then keep trying again after a few minutes.

Solution 2: Restart your Device

Sometimes there might be background apps getting stuck on your iPhone or junk files existing in some apps that affect the normal connection between your iPhone and Apple Activation Server. Therefore you could try to restart your iPhone to see if this iPhone Activation Server cannot be reached error could be fixed.


Restarting ways differ from iPhone models: for iPhone X and later, press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the power off slider appears, switch to turn your device completely off, and then press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo to turn it on; for iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold the Top (or Side) button until the power off slider appears, switch to turn your device completely off, then after your device turns off, press and hold the Top (or Side) button again until you see the Apple logo.

We currently have no idea why restarting iPhone sometimes solves some errors, but it indeed works. So why not take a try?

Solution 3: Network Issue

Sometimes you see the notice of “could not activate iPhone because activation server cannot be reached” because the poor network connection on your iPhone has severely affected the normal work and connection between your iPhone and Apple Activation Server. In such case, you need to make sure your iPhone has been successfully connected to the Internet and your Internet runs smoothly and fluently. Some gs.apple.com ports may be blocked on the Wi-Fi connection you are using. Change to another connection and see whether the problem was fixed. If it is, then the issue is with your Wi-Fi connection.

Solution 4: Lock/Unlock SIM Status

If you use a SIM card from a different carrier than what your iPhone is registered to, then your device won’t work. You have to unlock your iPhone first before using a different SIM card. You should switch to a right SIM card and call your carrier to activate your iPhone and SIM card. He or she should guide you on how to do so within a short time.
Also, make sure you are not using an iPhone that has been bonded with certain carrier. In such case, you can’t activate your iPhone with SIM card from another carrier.

Solution 5: Activate Via iTunes

Connecting to WiFi network to activate your iPhone is an air activation that goes directly with the Apple Activation Server. However, you could also try to activate your iPhone via iTunes if you are prompted with notes like “iPhone activation server cannot be reached”. It is quite easy for you to activate iPhone via iTunes.


In this method, you need to insert an active SIM card into the SIM slot of your iPhone to be activated during the activation process. Connect the to-be-activated iPhone to the computer that has iTunes installed. Create a back-up, erase all the content and reset the device. Then, unplug the device from your PC, switch that off, and reconnect to the PC using USB. Select the option to activate your iPhone. The system will prompt you to enter your apple id and password. Follow the instructions for activation. Once you are done with the set-up, remove the sim card. That is it; you can start using your iPhone on wireless mode.

Solution 6: Restore iPhone to Factory Settings before Activation

You could also try to restore your iPhone to Factory Settings before you try to activate a used iPhone since there might be an activation lock. A used iPhone that can't be activated is usually caused by a feature of Apple's Find My iPhone service called Activation Lock. Activation Lock is a security measure that Apple added to deal with iPhone thefts. Before Activation Lock, if someone managed to steal an iPhone and not get caught, they could simply erase it, resell it, and get away with the crime. If you have got your used iPhone back and then find you can’t reactivate it, try to restore iPhone to Factory Settings before reactivation.


Of course, to restore iPhone to Factory Settings, you need to firstly disable iCloud and Find My iPhone. Go to "Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Find My iPhone" option to turn it off and then scroll down to the bottom to click "Sign Out" option. Enter your Apple ID/iCloud password if prompted to you.
Now, you could restore your iPhone to Factory Settings status.
1. Open “Settings” icon on your iPhone.
2. Scroll down and tap “General” option.
3. Scroll to the bottom and tap “Reset” option.
4. On the Reset screen, tap “Erase All Content and Settings” option.
5. If prompted, enter the passcode set on your phone to confirm restoring to Factory Settings status.
6. The screen displays a warning that all music, other media, data, and settings will be erased. Tap “Erase” option to continue.

It takes a few minutes to delete everything from the iPhone. When the process is done, the iPhone restarts. After it restarts, you could now try to reactivate iPhone.

It should be noted that you need to back up your iPhone to iTunes or computer before you try to restore iPhone to Factory Settings status. You could use iTunes to back up iPhone. However, you need to know that iTunes backs up the entire iPhone, including things you want and don’t want. Therefore, here we would like to recommend you another iPhone data backup tool, which could help you selectively back up iPhone data and files to computer or iTunes. That is Leawo iTransfer.

As a professional iOS data transfer and backup tool, Leawo iTransfer could help you easily transfer and back up up to 14 types of data and files from iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod) to iTunes or computer, including notes, videos, images, music, bookmarks, reminders, books, etc.

The below steps would show you how to back up iPhone data selectively with Leawo iTransfer. You need to firstly download and install Leawo iTransfer on your computer.

Step 1: Connect iPhone to computer


Connect iPhone to computer via the USB cable provided by Apple and then launch Leawo iTransfer. This program would automatically detect your iPhone and list all the information on it.
Step 2: View files to transfer


Open “Your iPhone Name > LIBRARY” tab and then open any category to view all the content on Leawo iTransfer. You could freely select what to transfer and back up from iPhone to computer. Here we would like to take backing up music from iPhone to computer as an example to show you how to back up iPhone to computer selectively.
Step 3: Choose files to transfer


Open “Music” tab and then check the songs you want to back up from iPhone to computer. Right click to choose “Transfer to > My Computer/iTunes” option.
Step 4: Set backup directory


On the pop-up “Transfer” button, check “Save to folder” option and then click “Change” button to set transfer directory to save iPhone music to computer. You could also check “Transfer to list” option to back up iPhone music to iTunes. After that, click the “Transfer Now” button to start transferring and backing up data from iPhone to computer.

Then you only need to wait for the backup to complete. Actually, with Leawo iTransfer, you could not only selectively back up and transfer data and files from iPhone to computer. But also, you could use Leawo iTransfer to transfer videos and other data from computer to iPhone. It’s a wonderful alternative to iTunes in iOS data transfer and management.