Sixth iteration of Apple iPhone, announced on September 12, 2012. Repair of this device is similar to the previous models, requiring screwdrivers and prying tools. Available as GSM or CDMA / 16, 32, or 64 GB / Black or White.

3109 Questions View all

iPhone 5 won't activate after factory reset

iPhone 5 suddenly developed the "Searching..." problem (no cell service, only wifi). After researching, I did a backup on iTunes, then restored all factory settings. Now, phone will not activate! Error message is "Could Not Activate iPhone because activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting to iTunes or try again in a few minutes." Have tried dozens of times through iTunes and wifi, even bought new SIM card, still SAME ERROR.

Any ideas? Shows Wi-Fi is connected, and still Searching...Comm board maybe?

Thanks in advance. This site is awesome!

Answer this question I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 129

Comments:

Well I just opened my phone as i had the same problem an now everything has gone black and it won't shut properly...? Help!

by

Has anyone found the solution to this problem???

by

Reset of the phone by holding Home button and Power solved this problem for me.

by

iPhone 5s ma sim activate Kasy hu gi plz tell me

by

Unfortunately I forgot my apple id,then one of my cousin reset my iPhone 5,so now how to do, may anyone give me the answer please?

by

Show 24 more comments

Add a comment

34 Answers

Most Helpful Answer

Hello. Skip to the asterisks for the solution.

******************************

Background

******************************

I was on vacation in the mountains where I expected to have low signal. I planned to be out mountain biking and wanted to conserve my battery for an emergency. I put my phone on airplane mode for this reason. I turned airplane mode off after completing my trip, but my phone never again obtained a signal. I maintained WiFi access. (Note: I never jail-broke my phone, opened it, I was not using it when this occurred)

I believe my problem is the same as yours, and that the airplane mode was unrelated. It said searching continuously. It still had wifi and worked like an iPod would.

I spoke to Apple support on the phone and they said connection issues were a Verizon problem, not an Apple problem and to go to Verizon. That option was not available to me, so without success, I attempted the following...

- Turn off with power button

- Force restart (power and home held)

- Reset network settings

- remove SIM card, blow out (both powered on and off)

- Downloaded most recent iOS but it failed to install (iOS 8.2)

None of these interventions changed my situation.

I went without a phone for the rest of the week, then visited Verizon upon returning home. They did the same things I did, but they also tried another SIM card and did a factory reset.

However, this completely locked down my phone on the activation screen, failing each time. It would still not find a cellular signal. It would not activate with WiFi. It also did not activate with iTunes when I got home. Verizon told me to go to the Apple store.

It took a few days to get an appointment at Apple. I spoke to a "Genius" for about 10 minutes, during which time they restarted the phone, tried another SIM card, and told me it was out of warranty. They gave me the following options...

- Exchange it $249

- Sign a contract for a iPhone 6 $200

- Buy a new phone outright ~$700

I told them I would sleep on it.

I refused to accept that my iPhone was now a paper weight. Worst case, if it were a damaged cellular card, it should as a minimum continue working as a wifi iPod.

A lot of research, trial and error was done when I got home.

******************************

The following is the solution.

******************************

Here are the steps I took to solve this problem (to the best of my ability to explain them)

- Turn off iPhone

- Open iTunes on computer

- Hold down home button on iPhone and plug iPhone USB into computer

-> (Do not plug in USB before holding down the home key)

- Click restore iPhone on iTunes and update when asked.

-> (You want a full software replacement with update)

This was clearly caused by some sort of corruption to the firmware.

******************************

Outro

******************************

I am very disappointed that Apple so quickly wrote me off. This problem was clearly caused by a bug in software/firmware. I was not operating or abusing the phone when it failed, nor has it ever been jail-broken, or any other kind of abuse.

Apple passed the buck right out of the gate. My wife's phone was clearly working and mine failed, yet they refused to provide any assistance. This problem could have been resolved immediately with the PC we had (same PC used to later fix the problem).

Apple's "Genius" also wrote me off. I understand that I have had my phone for 2.5 years and I am outside of the warranty window. However, this problem is clearly a software, and possibly iOS problem that Apple should take responsibility for. Telling me to spend hundreds replace a perfectly working device is terrible customer service. I am glad I spent a few hours researching this problem and solving it myself, but I am very disappointed that it could have been resolved in a few short minutes by an Apple tech. It also was about a 2.5 hour total time involved in the Apple store once my commute is included.

I hope this story makes it to someone important at apple, and I hope none of you had to or have to spend hundreds to replace a functioning device.

I do not have any special tech background. Just GOOGLE and determination.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 67

Comments:

Thanks a lot - this solution actually worked. Had to to a factory reset in our case, but still it is better than replacing the phone.

by

many thanks, it worked for me like a charm

by

Have same problem .... my phone have "searching..." after claim battery.

And now ... can't activate

by

Ru5ty's solution worked!! Came back from a trip to America and my phone was stuck on searching. I backed up to itunes. Would not let me restore because I couldn't activate. Apple forum / support a complete joke.

I don't know how Ru5ty came up with the idea to carry out the steps he did...seems to be no logic to it. But I am back with my mobile carrier, everything restored and phone working. Like Ru5ty says, all the want is for you to pay hundreds of pounds more for a completely unecessary new phone.

Thanks Ru5ty.

by

Thanks so much, sadly I found this article after splashing out on an iPhone 6, now I can sell my iPhone 5 as second hand in working condition, thanks again. Matt

by

Show 47 more comments

Add a comment

I have managed to fix mine by getting the solution from another issue and trying it with this.

1. Switch the phone off, leave the sim card in and put inside a zip seal sandwich bag. (I put in inside another one for extra protection from moisture).

2. Put it in the freezer for 45-60 mins. (really, the phone won't break).

3. Take it out of the freezer and the bags and switch it on.

4. Try to activate again, the message might come up again, but this time it let me bypass it.

5. Get to the home screen as fast as possible so ignore any apple sign in requests.

6. When you get to the home screen. Switch the phone off, wipe off the condensation and put place somewhere warm for an hour so there will be no water damage.

It worked for me.

Your "searching problem" will probably be fixed by replacing the antenna.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 7

Comments:

I tried this, combined with the steps ru5ty03 offered, and fixed the "Searching" problem. Neither method on its own worked. But in combination, it worked on the second try. One of the many mysteries of life. Thanks for the great info!

by

This is a good temporary solution to just get your iphone activated, but won't fix the underlying faulty baseband chip.

by

This is exactly

BS

by

1.... I'm not doing that 2.... I'm not doing that and 3... IM NOT DOING THAT. I'm not gonna ruin my phone

by

can someone actually verify this pls

by

Show 1 more comment

Add a comment

Got the same issue here. My phone has been searching for signal for almost 5 days!!! I also tried everything:

- restart the phone several times

-hard reset

- network settings reset

- take out the sim card then insert it back (I also tried to insert my sim on a different phone and it's working fine!)

- lastly, factory reset

And now, I'm stuck on activation phase because got an error "Could Not Activate iPhone because activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting to iTunes or try again in a few minutes." It won't let me use my phone again. Smh!

Was this answer helpful?

Score 4

Comments:

i got the same problem too

by

me 2 any soloution?>> thanks

by

Here are the steps I took to solve this problem (to the best of my ability to explain them)

- Turn off iPhone

- Open iTunes on computer

- Hold down home button on iPhone and plug iPhone USB into computer

-> (Do not plug in USB before holding down the home key)

- Click restore iPhone on iTunes and update when asked.

-> (You want a full software replacement with update)

This was clearly caused by some sort of corruption to the firmware.

thanks alot

August 6 by Masaud Khan

by

i just update my iphone 5c to the new ios 10.2.1 then my signal started searching for a long time then i turn my flight mode in 3 days but still the same. i tried to reset all setting and so on but still the same . after that i tried to reset all. but cannot activate my iphone. then i try to restore but they write "error to downloading bla bla bla" i tired. pls someone help me :((((((

by

Add a comment

This has worked for me. (At least I was able to activate, I still have "Searching..." problem)

1. Hard reset the iphone. (Home+Power buttons until apple sign appears.)

2. Switch off the iphone

3. Put the iphone into freezer for 1.5 hour. (Your sim card should be inside)

4. Wipe the moisture of iphone and wait half an hour

5. Wipe the moisture of iphone again and try.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 3

Comments:

Thanks, this worked for me!

by

Didn't work for me.. no change .. still won't update.

by

how to setup my iphone? i cant setup bcause of apple id. im not the original owner of this iphone.. i actually ask the apple id and pass to the owner but he told me that he forgot the apple id and passwors.. how can i solve it.. pls help me

by

I had been trying to get past the screen " Could Not Activate iPhone because activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting to iTunes or try again in a few minutes." I tried following your suggestion ...I did not believe it would work ....how wrong was I ???!!!! What a brilliant solution !!! Thankyou for giving me back a working phone.

by

Just done this with a iPhone 3GS and I kid you not it bloody worked lol

by

Add a comment

After 4 weeks of having the phone turned off I finally was able to update it and it is finally working!

I had exactly the same issue of "Searching", then reset everything from factory, then I was not able to use it cause it got stucked in the Hello white screen. Tried also the software update with iTunes but it showed error message, something about servers not being available. I tried that with 2 different macs (both with latest itunes version) and the same issue... But until this week I updated to OSX EL CAPITAN and updated the iphone through iTunes without an issue !!!. The installation was flawless and the celluar signal came back. My iphone 5s is working in great condition now. I was so close to sell the phone as scrap. Please, before doing anything radical try updating to El Capitan or at least to use iTunes from a mac with El Capitan to update the firmware of the iphone. I hope this helps somebody out there.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 1
Add a comment

how can i activate my iphone 5s without a real carrier

Was this answer helpful?

Score 1
Add a comment

For anyone reading this thread: If you tried all of the above, as I did, This is what was wrong with mine: DEAD SIM CARD.

I went to the Verizon store, Dead SIM card, FREE, repair. Please check in to that before you do a full phone restore. Luckily, We didn't lose anything as we backed up via iTunes...but it was all unnecessary step in the end.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

check first your imei is there if not you cant activate please give base band 15s heat and also resold sim reader interface after everything will be ok best of luck asad

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

huh?? I HAVE NO IMEI?? WHAT DO U MEAN?

by

Neal, I have the same problem .. iPhone 5C, shows NO IMEI and it won't let me restore or update the iOS. It was working before I tried to restore it!

by

Hi have u fixed it? I have the same problem :(

by

its a baseband chip fault, probably due to the solder cracking and the chip no longer making good contact with the board, needs reflowing (heating the chip so the solder melts again and makes contact), or the chip needs removing and new solder applying, which isn't an easy task

by

Add a comment

hi,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

I can t reboot y iphone5 ,it freezes & UT me off.the typewritter won,t popular when it should I get a blue on the screen of my typewritter The are word on the writes idea of.my.screen I can't delete anything.I'm forced to install samsung.it will spell different words

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

What??? Speak real words!

by

Add a comment

Just follow the below mentioned simple steps, if you wish to activate the iPhone:

-First insert the activated as well as the compatible SIM Card (for iPhone 3GS) or the micro-SIM Card (for iPhone 4 as well as iPhone 4S) into the device.

-To Switch On your iPhone, press and hold the On/Off button just for few seconds. After that carefully follow all the instructions which are there onscreen in order to activate as well as to set up the device.

-And you can also use the option of using ‘iTunes’ to finish your activation.

-Just connect your iPhone device to a USB 2.0 port on your PC or Mac via the USB Cable or the Dock Connector which comes with the device. ‘iTunes’ will automatically open-up.

-After that, carefully follow all the instructions which are there onscreen in the ‘iTunes’.

-Now to use ‘iTunes’, just ensure that your PC is linked with the internet while you activate your device, either via any direct connection or a Wi-Fi network to the router or your Ethernet network.

-And in case it’s not linked with internet, you won’t be able to activate your device successfully.

If after following the above steps your iphone still not get activated then you call Apple Customers Services here.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

I have tried all of that, and it is still stuck on "Connect to iTunes". Apple Support says it is equipment failure since there is no IMEI listed on the phone, which indicates baseband failure. I think the phone was Jail Broken which caused the problem .. there is no sign of water damage. The freezer trick mentioned above did not work, but Apple says one of their service centers may be able to recover the phone but for a fee that is as much as I bought it for, so I'm returning it to the seller. I have learned when to give up and "cut my losses". Thanks anyway for the advice, but I have tried all of those things with no results.

by

Add a comment

no idea about to start iphone 5

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

+959777717385

barbu.ths@gmail.com

Update (06/13/2016)

IPhone

could not activate

+959777717385

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

I have the same problem :((

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

My I message stopped working with my number and only worked with my email. I was told to do a complete reset and set the iPhone up as "new iPhone" when I done that I number completely disappeared and all it says is "searching for connection, and waiting for activation" but it's been saying that for several days. Any ideas as to what's wrong?

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

I have this same problem, my iPhone 5c has been "searching" for 2 weeks until last night I decided to try and restart it too factory mode, once I done that and tried to start phone back up as new phone it is now saying "activation server is temporarily unavailable" ive tried connecting it too iTunes but it stays on "iPhone" doesn't let me click on anything ie restore, any other ways I can fix this ASAP I need my phone for my work!!

Thanks

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

mine has done exactly the same. iphone says 'could not activate iphone' and itunes opens with a completely white page apart from the word 'iphone' in the centre of the page. i have tried all of the above and had no success.

Have you found anything that works yet?

by

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201263

I found this page which has solved this for me. Holding the two buttons together until after the apple logo has shown, continue to hold until a connect to itunes logo has appeared, connect the iphone to itunes and then a message will appear, i had to choose the resstore option to get it to work. it took awhile but my signal has returned. (more thorough details are in the link) if you still haven't solved the issue then this could help.

by

Hello David! What could've cause this kind of problem? I also have this problem with my 5S. Is it software malfunction or firmware? I'm also getting an error on Itunes that says 0xcE800000C. What does it mean?

by

Hello again! I was able to activate my Phone now, but I'm still having some issues with the signal. It says "No Service".

by

Add a comment

found this page which has solved this for me. Holding the two buttons together until after the apple logo has shown, continue to hold until a connect to itunes logo has appeared, connect the iphone to itunes and then a message will appear, i had to choose the resstore option to get it to work. it took awhile but my

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Im scared of putting my iPhone 5 in the frezzer same stuck on hello screen and searching problem after I reset after my brother gave it to me I would love to try the iTunes computer thing but I don't have the iTunes app help how do I get it

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

I have itunes now but when i clicked on iphone page was blank help !!

by

Yes! That also happened to me. You need to click and hold the power and home button until your iPhone goes into restore mode. There should be a iTunes logo and a charger cable. Use the restore feature on iTunes. It took two restores to get cellular back and complete the iPhone setup

by

Add a comment

Okay, So you have to follow this piece by piece.

1. First try to remove then replace the sim card

2. then you go to your settings (if the sim doesn't work)

3. Click Carrier (will be a green phone)

4. If it is set to manual, make sure you flick the switch to make it automatic.

5. if this doesn't work then try resetting the phone again.

Let me know how this works,

Keegan

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

ok, um one thing.... You see, our phones are stuck on the activate page, meaning we have NO way of getting INTO our phones to go into our settings, which means... WE CANNOT GO TO THE SETTINGS!!! :D ._.

by

Add a comment

Have you tried disconnecting the battery, and let it set unplugged for a few minutes. Then restarting it.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Thank you so much dude, you saved my day i got iphone 5s which suddenly stuck up with a searching bar, I almost give up with the phone as no one can help me, good thing i was able to see this site. Now my phone is working.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

i have on my i phone

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Yes my iPhone still says connected in settings but searching...at the top

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

I reset my wifi box for my iphone5 and my phone just said searching... and in my settings it said I'm connected my only when I'm at home if I go anywhere I won't receive any text or anything else how do I fix it

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

i had this problem for two hours, then i removed the sim card slot and tried, it worked 3 times in a row, hope this helps

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

yes may b same problem

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

that is because of IMEI ! ( Baseband CPU/PMU) has problems either reball or use ACT tool to fix it

regards

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Alright I just resolved the problem with my iPhone 5 a few days ago. It hasn't been working for close to 3 weeks with the infinite "searching..."

1.Soft Reset your phone. If that doesn't work,

2. Remove SIM card

3. Restart phone (if it still says searching while SIM is removed skip to step 6)

4. Reinsert SIM and turn the phone on (still not working?)

5. Update iOS.. Yes I know it sounds so predictable, but it has helped in the past.

6. If all else fails, grab a charger and use the "Restore" feature on iTunes. After repeating step 6 twice, my phone started to pick up cellular service again allowing me to complete setup.

Best of luck :)

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

I can not activate my Iphone 5c. how can i?

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Well, this is a common issue after restoring to factory default. You can use a third party tool to help to enter the safe mode of iPhone 5 and then just repair this problem. Just refer to How to Get iPhone/iPad/iPod in or out of Recovery Mode with iOSBoot Genius

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

hello sir help me

iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable?

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Heading text

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Try after 3 days later

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Up next

AUTOPLAY

7:59

Iphone upgarde ios 11 gagal aktivasi!!!!!di restore error itunes 4013

Afni Fitria

397 views

New

5:38

Activate Iphone 5S after Update to IOS 11 Without Sim Card

2msia channel

2.7K views

13:34

RICH FRIEND GIVES ME HUGE IPHONE, IPAD, IPOD, AND APPLE WATCH LOT!! ALL FOR FREE!

Pond's

2.4M views

10:22

HOW TO UNLOCK AND REMOVE ICLOUD ACTIVATION LOCK WITH NEW TRICK 2017

Useful Stuff

247K views

3:11

ios 11.0.2 icloud bypass activation lock using Quick Start 100% working latest 2017

Master Tech

4.6K views

6:24

CARRIER LOCKED / SIM NOT SUPPORTED PROBLEM OF IPHONE 5/5C/5S/6/6S/7/8 PERMANENT SOLUTION

Ourtechies

535K views

3:09

How to Carrier Unlock your iPhone for FREE! Use Any SIM CARD on your iPhone! Sim not Valid FIX!

SimNeverlock

66K views

8:24

My $1100 iPhone X Fail...

TechSmartt

1.1M views

5:32

How To Downgrade From iOS 11 To iOS 10.3.2?

Nick Ackerman

153K views

2:13

Could not activate iPhone 5s

MAK Vlogs

8.1K views

4:24

Iphone 5S Updated to IOS 11 Activation Problem

2msia channel

1.3K views

7:09

Iphone 5s activation failed not able to activate Verizon, simple Mobile May 2017 Solved

Pedro pmj Martin

3K views

13:56

How To Unlock Any iPhone iCloud Activation Lock,November 17

Ruma Telecom

Recommended for you

10:34

Install iPhone iOS 11 System on Android 2017

Tech Droid Hindi

Recommended for you

21:43

IPHONE 5 ICLOUD ACTIVATION LOCK UNLOCKED 100% WORKING PERMANENT SOLUTION

Ourtechies

274K views

5:47

iPhone X vs OnePlus 5 - Speed Test! Which is Fastest? (4K)

Timmers EM1

48K views

New

1:26

How to successfully activate iPhone 5S in IOS 11 by iTunes Restore Method [Solved]

2msia channel

1.6K views

14:09

IPHONE 6 IPHONE 6 PLUS HOW TO ACTIVATION ICLOUD UNLOCK NEW METHOD IOS 11 REMOVE ICLOUD

iCloud King

26K views

6:27

How to Fix : Could Not ACTIVATE iPhone "FAILED" using 3uTool

Komunitas Apple Indonesia

9.9K views

10:11

how to unlock iPhone 6, icloud locked!! unlock iCloud,iPhone activation lock,icloud unlock

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

your ipone cloud not be activet because the activaion sever cannot

by

Add a comment

Add your answer

Roslyn will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 332

Past 7 Days: 2,439

Past 30 Days: 9,841

All Time: 163,953