I picked up my iPhone 6s to use it, and it starting activating itself out of nowhere. Then it asked me to choose a Wi-Fi network. I had no clue what it was doing, so I did what it said, my Wi-Fi network was already checked so then I tapped done.

It then went to a screen that said Activation Error. Beneath that it says

Activation could not be completed. Please restore the phone and install the latest version of IOS and attempt activation again. If the problem persists, please contact customer support.

Whats's going on with my iPhone all of a sudden? I haven't tried the restore route because my phone hasn't been backed-up in a while, and I don't want to lose my Notes and Contacts data.

  • Welcome to Ask Different :) Please edit the question to specify the version of iOS installed on your iPhone.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Aug 21, 2018 at 1:33
  • Could be a hardware issue, mainly because it seems to have happened upon being picked up. Or maybe your settings always cause it to wake when you pick it up and that certain processes caused it to ask for the Wi-Fi authentication. Were you able to shut it down completely? If you can bring it back to the prompt, there isn't much risk for providing the Wi-Fi info. If it returns to normal after that, I'd suggest that you keep it backed up, and perform a restore if it acts up again, or do as instructed and contact support.
    – Trellis
    Aug 21, 2018 at 2:06
  • Yes, I was able to shut it down, but it kept going back to the same wifi screen and Activation Error screen. However, it allowed me to back up, but photos only, nothing else. It was just so weird that it happened out of the blue. Thank you for your input, appreciate it.
    – Vindra
    Aug 21, 2018 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


This is happening to my phone when I get out of range of my cell service. It is really frustrating because I can't take pictures or anything when this happens. But, I have found that if I know that I will be going somewhere where I won't have a signal I put my phone on airplane mode and then it doesn't happen.


No, this is Apple bricking your phone until you upgrade your iOS as they have told you to do. Follow their instructions to reactivate.

  • Isn’t bricking when no procedure can restore function. Activation means the software is runnning and requests authorization. The rest seems right, you have to activate or seek repair.
    – bmike
    Feb 13, 2019 at 2:55

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