Initially attributed to Apple’s activation servers being overloaded, the problem persisted as long as 24+ hours after the update became available. It is now confirmed that the issue has nothing to do with too many people trying to update to iOS 9.3 at the same time but, rather, is caused by a requirement to enter the Apple ID and password used to originally set up the device in order to activate it after the update. It appears many users simply don’t remember their original Apple ID and password.
In a statement to iMore, Apple acknowledged the issue and said that it only affects older devices, including the iPhone 5s and older and the iPad Air and older. Apple has temporarily pulled the iOS 9.3 update for affected devices and has committed to release a new build of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that will remove the requirement to enter the original Apple ID and password:
Updating some iOS devices (iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier) to iOS 9.3 can require entering the Apple ID and password used to set up the device in order to complete the software update. In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password. For these older devices, we have temporarily pulled back the update and will release an updated version of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that does not require this step.
If your iPhone or iPad has been bricked by the iOS 9.3 update, Apple has published a support page with troubleshooting steps. This is what Apple says you can try to fix the issues:
If you cannot recall the Apple ID and password you used to set up the device and the hint on the Activate iPhone screen doesn’t match your current Apple ID, first try this:
- Sign in to iCloud.com from a computer (you can get help if you forgot your Apple ID or need to reset your Apple ID password).
- Open Settings > scroll to the My Devices section.
- Confirm that your device is listed in the My Devices section. If you don’t see it listed, check all your accounts.
If that doesn’t work, activate your device in iTunes:
- Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the computer.
- Open iTunes (make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed).
- Select your device. You should see the Activate [your device] screen in iTunes.
- Enter your Apple ID and password > click Continue.
If both the above attempts failed, sign in to iCloud and remove Activation Lock:
- Turn off your device or take it offline.
- Sign in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID and password.
- Open Find My iPhone.
- Select All Devices, then select your device.
- Click Remove from Account. If you still see a map in the device detail view, select All Devices again, click the “x” icon next to your device, then click Remove.
- After you set up your device successfully, make sure that you sign in to iCloud and turn on Find my iPhone again.
If none of these suggested fixes work, try restoring your iPhone from the backup you made before installing iOS 9.3 and wait for Apple to release the new build before attempting the update again.
Image credit: Peter Alfred Hess, Flickr