fixed : “iPad could not be activated” error on old iPad with empty SIM-slot (or iPad showing “black screen with time only” error)

Question :

I have an old iPad that I want to give to my children, but when I switch it on, there’s only a black screen showing the current time (not sure if it’s actually the correct time).

I left the iPad alone for some time, and when I switched it on again, I get an “iPad could not be activated” error.

Now, whenever I switch on the iPad, I either get the “iPad could not be activated” error or I get the black screen displaying the time only… I can’t figure out a way to get anything els from it…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

For some unknown reason this problem appears on old iPads with an empty SIM-card slot. To get your iPad working again, follow these steps :

  • make sure the iPad is charged at least 20%
  • take the SIM card tray (holder) out of the iPad
  • vacuum the SIM card slot using a vacuum cleaner
  • if you have one, put a SIM-card in the tray (even if it’s an old inactive SIM-card), if not leave the tray empty
  • put the SIM card tray back into the iPad
  • reset the iPad by pressing the Home-button and the ON/OFF-switch at the same time
  • press both buttons until the white Apple-logo appears
  • then release the ON/OFF-button, but keep pressing the Home-button
  • when you keep the Home-button pressed long enough, you will get a “connect to iTunes” message
  • when an error message (or anything else) appears, repeat the reset
  • plug your iPad’s USB-cable into a Mac (or PC) that has iTunes on it
    • a newer Mac with Apple Music app might also work, but iTunes will probably work easier since this is an old iPad…
    • if you don’t have a Mac, you can probably use a PC with iTunes for Windows also (this wasn’t tested though…)
  • in iTunes you will get a message that the software on the iPad needs to be updated, click OK to go ahead
  • make sure your Mac (or PC) is connected to the internet, so it can download the update
  • this will take quite a long time 
  • you will only see an “iPad recovery mode” screen in iTunes, with no indication of progress
  • on your iPad you will see the Apple logo and an empty progress bar
  • if you do not touch anything long enough, the progress bar will suddenly start moving after 10 or 15 minutes (maybe longer)
  • wait for the progress bar to complete and disappear 
  • then you will get an “entry code protection” error in iTunes
  • open your iPad with the screen unlock code
  • on the bottom of the “Choose a Wi-Fi Network” page that automatically opens, you will now see a “connect to iTunes” option, select that
  • if your iPad is recognized correctly now, you’re okay
  • else, redo the entire procedure and choose “Erase” instead of “Repair” (“Recover”)
    • note : if you need to choose “Erase” you will loose all content that was on the iPad (the only way to get your content back after that is to import it from your iCloud backup or iTunes backup – if you ever made one manually or automatically)
  • follow the instructions and you will also be guided through instructions import a backup (if you have made any previously)

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : “Your iPad could not be activated”/”Activation server temporarily unavailable”-error

Question :

After my iPad tried to update to iOS 9.3.x (this also goes for iOS 11.2.x) last night, I had to re-enter my AppleID and now I’m getting a blank page with only this error message :

“Your iPad could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting your iPadto iTunes to activated it or try again in couple of minutes.”

But even if I wait a couple of minutes or even an hour, and try again, I get stuck with this same message…

How can I fix this ?

 

Answer :

Apple Support has a tutorial on how to fix this, but a lot of times that doesn’t work :

If you can’t activate your iPad 2 (GSM model) after you update to iOS 9.3

If you can’t figure out how to do that, or you’ve tried and it doesn’t work for you, try this :

  • if you have an iPad with a GSM SIM-card installed, make sure you have the SIM’s 4-digit PIN-code at hand, then pop the SIM-card out using a bended paperclip or the official tool that’s comes with every iPhone and every SIM-card enabled iPad
  • then, on your Mac, go to Apple-icon (top-left in the menu bar) –> system Preferences –> iCloud
  • in the window that opens, see what eMail-address is listed under your name ; make sure to remember that eMail-address : this is your iCloud-account name (which might be different from your AppleID or iTunes Store-account name)
  • then click on “Account Details” and type the password that is connected to your iCloud-account name
  • if a new window opens, remember this password and close the window
  • if you get an error message that your password is incorrect, make sure you find the password and try again (you can try several times, but if you get a warning that you have only a limited amount of attempts remaining, stop immediately !! and skip this step)
  • now return to your iPad and do a reset by pressing the Home-button (physical button below the screen) and the Power-button (physical button on the right edge or top edge) simultaneously until the screen goes black and the white Apple logo appears
  • now, proceed though the following screens as you normally would until you are asked to enter your Account Name : there you should enter the eMail-address that is your iCloud-account name and the corresponding password
  • if this works, don’t forget to put the Sim-card back into your iPad and you’re done
  • if you happen to run into the Activation Server error page again before you get to the page where you should enter your Account Name, do this :
    • open the AppStore-app on your Mac
    • make sure you have installed all official Apple updates (especially iTunes)
    • connect your iPad directly (so without USB-hubs) to your Mac using the iPad-to-USB-cable
    • on your Mac, open iTunes
    • then do the reset on you iPad agian, simultaneously pressing the Home- and Power-buttons until the Apple logo appears
    • now iTunes (on your Mac) should detect your iPad
    • if it doesn’t, try the reset again
    • if it does, see if you can go trough all setup screen on your iPad
    • if you are unable to do so, go to iTunes on your Mac
    • if a message appears you need to unlock your iPad, type the screen unlock code on your iPad
    • if a “Trust this iPad ?” message appears on your Mac, click “Trust”
    • if a “Trust this Mac ?” message appears on your iPad, click “Trust”
    • now you see a small button with an iPad on it next to the Music/Films/etc.-pulldown menu ; click on it
    • in the next window, you should now be able to initiate the iOS-update of your iPad from your computer
    • then wait for the update to complete
  • afterwards, do not forget to put the SIM-card back into your iPad

Good luck & enjoy 😉