iOS 9.3 iPad “Cannot Activate” Error Affecting Customers

Looks Apple needs to fix the following iPad activation error. A number of older iPad owners are unable to install iOS 9.3 and are stuck at the activation stage, leaving their devices inoperable or in a “bricked” state, CNET is reporting, with no real fix in sight.

According to AppleInsider, the issue primarily seems to affect the users of iPad 2, who are getting authentication error messages when they try to activate their iPads after installing iOS 9.3.

Set ipad to dfu mode

Even though it is possible that the issue is related to hammered Apple servers struggling to keep up with large numbers of people trying to install and activate iOS 9.3, some iPad owners have reported they are unable to activate their devices even after waiting 24 hours, which suggests a different kind of problem.

While there is no particular fix available yet for the “Cannot Activate” error reported by iPad users trying to install iOS 9.3, some noted they were able to fix the issue by connecting their devices to iTunes to update, while others said they had to perform a full restore.

If you own an older iPad, especially the iPad 2, it is best that you do not attempt an update to iOS 9.3 until the issue has been resolved.

However, if you already did and are stuck at the activation stage, these fixes might help. Again, you should only do a fresh restore if you have backed up your device recently, otherwise you’ll lose all your data.

  1. Instead of updating over-the-air, try updating through iTunes using a cable.
  2. Do a fresh iTunes restore (after backing up your data of course).
  3. Put your device into DFU mode and then try to restore to iOS 9.3. Here’s how to do it:
  • Connect the iPad to your computer and launch iTunes
  • Turn the device OFF (hold down the power button at the top of the device)
  • Continue to hold down the HOME button until a message appears in iTunes telling you ‘an iPad is in recovery mode has been detected’
  • Then follow simple restore instructions in iTunes.

Let us know if any of these steps helped you resolve the issue, or if you have other fixes in mind.