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How to Fix iPhone Activation Problems

fix iphone activation problems after unlock

After appearing services that provide IMEI unlock many iPhone users have problems with iPhone activation in iTunes. Also many our visitors wrote us about these issues and I try to find suggestions on how to fix them.

First I wrote a guide to show how to activate iPhone after factory unlock. But there are still many users who complain on activation errors like: “We’re sorry, we are unable to continue with your activation at this time. Please try again later, or contact customer care.”

After exploring this problem I noticed that users began to deal with this problem after the release of the iOS 6.1. You can read the message of unhappy user:

I tried plugging it into iTunes did multiple restores but the same message still appears and won’t let me do anything else. The only way to restore it through iTunes is to put it in recovery mode. I decided to hacktivate my device

This error is usually symptomatic of a phone that was:

  1. Jailbreaking using Evasi0n, Redsn0w, Absinthe and other tools.
  2. Hacked.
  3. Hactivated using Redsn0w or SAMPrefs app from SAM activation exploit or any other tool.
  4. Unlocked using Ultrasn0w, SAM tool or Turbo SIM methods like Gevey SIM.
  5. Downgrading / Updating using Sn0wbreeze or TinyUmbrella or Redsn0w andor other hacking tools.
  6. Refurbished and IMEI # couldn’t be authorized by Apple activation server.
  7. Stolen / Lost / Blacklisted / Barred / Blocked.
  8. Factory unlocked by purchasing IMEI unlocking service but wasn’t activated before the ordering the unlock. So, never buy factory iPhone unlocking services before you can activate your item with original carrier. For example always been hacktivated.

This error caused by Apple has been moving toward very strict Sim activation policy for over a year. Never ever utilize a SIM even if inactive but SIM chip is working. Also never never unlock your iPhone by purchasing permanent unlocking service if you device haven’t been activated before or Apple will block it.

Note: If you are not sure which of the above could cause your issue you can try IMEI Network Checker and see if activation date is available. It will cost you a few cents, but it spare you a lot of headache. However not all of them provide info about Activation policy, some displays only carrier.

Well, here we will try to fix the reasons of these iPhone activation failures using couple of methods below.

fix iphone activation problems after unlock

How to Solve “We’re sorry, we are unable to continue with your activation…” Error

Fix 1 : Device Restoring

Try to restore / upgrade your device to the latest iOS (now it’s iOS 6.1). After restoring setup your iPhone as a New Phone using iTunes. Only then restore iPhone from your backup and pass activation steps with active Sim card inserted.

If this doesn’t work move to Fix #2.

Fix 2: Hosts file reseting

If you have ever used software like TinyUmbrella to save SHSH blobs or to upgrade or downgrade your iOS firmware then your hosts file on your computer is pointing to Cydia (store developed by Saurik) activation server insted of Apple’s oroginal one. So, please, just reset the hosts file on windows, and try to activate your iPhone. This time it should work fine. The location of hosts file for Windows 7 / XP / MacOS / Linux could be found here.

Fix 3: Working SIM

Make sure you put a SIM card into iPhone when activating. Do it with working SIM of the carrier to which your iPhone is locked. Try activation process after some time with working Sim on other computer. Also try to activate over WIFI, assuming you upgrade your device to the latest iOS 6.1.

Fix 4: DFU Mode + clean Restore

Or the last thing you can do is to make a restore on the other computer with active SIM card inserted. Also you can do a clean restore / upgrade putting your iPhone in DFU mode. Use this guide to enter DFU mode and start the process when iTunes will detect your iPhone in a recovery mode.

Fix 5:  Apple Care

This solution may work not for all users unless you have real information about your iPhone. You should call Apple Care and describe your reactivation problem. After they will verify you are the owner of the handsets like S/N, IMEI #, purchase date, owner name etc. If you provide all needed information they will ask to restore your iPhone during 24 hours. This time the activation process should work perfectly.

Fix 6: Paid Activation Services

The biggest problem the only 100% solution for this type of error is paid services which can submit your device’s info into the Apple database. So, next time when you try to activate your iPhone, Apple won’t reject the activation ticket.

Stay tuned with me and I will update this post if there will be something new.

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well as on Google+ and receive all latest updates regarding iPhone news.

  1. Andrey February 7, 2013 at 17:33

    There is one more alternative way to fix this issue b visiting the AT&T store. They could activate it using same methods as paid services but it would cost you nothing

    • amanitebg June 22, 2013 at 15:06

      HOW can I restore my iphone 3g, when there's no restore button in the itunes? ;(

  2. Stu March 4, 2013 at 14:05

    Does this activation problem only occur if the phone has not been activated once by the original owner using the original SIM, or can it occur whenever the firmware is upgraded even if it has been activated once originally but now has a bad IMEI?

    • Andrey March 5, 2013 at 09:50

      it can appears whenever I mean both ways

  3. Lisa March 18, 2013 at 21:11

    I try to unlock a at&t iPhone 5 6.1.2 and after i insert the sim show me this message….."It seems that the SIM card inserted in this iphone does not support, to activate the iphone can only be used SIM cards compatible. Insert operator SIM that came with your iphone or visit a commercial operator to change the card support SIM "…how can i fix that? and thanks for your time!!

    • Ndrey April 28, 2013 at 13:44

      Seems like your device is locked. You need to use paid iphone network checker to get info about your carrier

  4. charan March 27, 2013 at 07:13

    thanks fix3 had worked with my phone, and it doesn't require wi-fi.

  5. Ilona March 30, 2013 at 11:53

    I tried to connect my iPhone to my computer to transfer some music files to iPhone. iTunes program required to download software for my iPhone and restore it. I tried to do it but in the end it seemed impossible to to done iPhone activating. There is a table that says: ''Your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting your iPhone to iTunes tto activate it, or try again in a couple of minutes. If this problem persists, contact Apple Support at apple.com/support'' . Unfortunately, there I couldn's find any answer. What should I do? My iPhone is now unactivated, I ca't do anything with it.

    • Andrey Rivers April 1, 2013 at 05:56

      Did you try to contact Apple? The reason can be in Apple servers that very often are overloaded. Also try to insert the Sim card of the carrier to which your iPhone is locked and pass activation steps.

  6. Nina April 5, 2013 at 13:56

    Is there any solution on iphone that has never been activated but had it factory unlocked? I wasn’t aware that it has to be activated first. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Johnny April 13, 2013 at 08:45

      The only solution is to activate it with original carrier. Try iPhone network checker

  7. Dammy April 18, 2013 at 09:06

    I've noticed not all free iphone network checkers show the right carrier or unlock status. i got mine iphone unlocked but still some free checkers show the locked status for my device

    • Ndrey April 28, 2013 at 13:42

      This happens when the checker is not working correctly. There is only paid checkers which are working through Apple GSX and can get latest data from Apple Activation Server

  8. Nur June 2, 2013 at 09:12

    YOU are a genius!!
    my iphone is back to its lifeeeee

    • keji June 11, 2013 at 20:39

      did it restore all your pictures and stuff too

      • Ndrey June 12, 2013 at 11:13

        if if will restore iPhone in iTunes – yes. So better first backup iPhone

  9. priyanka June 8, 2013 at 03:50

    I had a jailbreak iphone 3GS…recently i had made it factory unlocked and they provided me with some steps to restore and update it via itunes…everything got right on track but in last while configuring the device and connecting it to itunes it shows the above mentioned error…my iphone is not working now..please suggest the measures to get it in working position..

    • Ndrey June 8, 2013 at 07:18

      Try to insert non-supported Sim card in iPhone and do those steps again on other computer. Also you can try to do the same but with the Sim of the carrier to which your iPhone was locked before factory unlock.

  10. rei June 10, 2013 at 02:59

    Hi. I have an Iphone 3gs that has been jailbroken. And yesterday I updated it to the latest iOS. I was so dumb about this stuff and I don't know that it's like a general rule that once jailbroken, don't ever update it. So the update failed and my Iphone has been restored to its factory settings. Now I have to activate it. The process is like.. first choose language then country and then connect to iTunes, and the "We are sorry statement" welcomes me. I also tried activating it through WiFi but still unable to activate my iPhone. So what do I do? I searched the Apple site forum and the DFU mode is what they recommend but still there are others that is unsuccessful by using it. I wonder if it doesn't work because the phone is jailbroken?

  11. rei June 10, 2013 at 03:01

    Hi. It's me again. There's also this one solution,

    "Go into computer>C drive> App data (could be in documents and settings >owner if you are using xp or in your user folder if you are using vista or 7, you also will need to make sure you have show all hidden files and folders checked in folder options) > Apple Computer> iTunes> iPhone software updates> and delete and downloads you have

    Now put your phone into regular recovery mode (not DFU)>> while the phone is powered off hold down the home button, plug it into the USB cord, and release it only when you see the iTunes logo

    Now restore and update your phone, iTunes will download a new software update for you since you have deleted it..should be good from there.. it worked for me"

    So what do you think about this? I haven't tried anything yet because I am so afraid that it might make the situation worse. Please give me some advice. And by the way, I'm from Philippines.

  12. keji June 11, 2013 at 20:40

    hi, i connect iphone with no sim to itunes for update, then it says factory setting then it says the "sorry blah blah blah' what can i do

    • Ndrey June 12, 2013 at 11:12

      Insert Sim card and activate iPhone