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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Last night, Apple released a new build of iOS 9.3 (13E236) designed specifically for the GSM iPad 2, addressing an issue that prevented the GSM iPad 2 from accessing Apple's activation servers. After downloading iOS 9.3, some iPad 2 users received the following message: "Your iPad could not be activated because the activation service is temporarily unavailable," a problem the update aims to fix.

There has been some confusion over the iPad 2 iOS 9.3 update, because there is a second separate activation bug affecting many older devices, including the iPad Air and earlier and the iPhone 5s and earlier.

The second activation bug, which spurred Apple to stop signing iOS 9.3 for multiple products yesterday, prevents older device owners from activating their iPhones and iPads if they can't remember the Apple ID and password originally used to set up the device.

While the iPad 2 iOS 9.3 update fixes the first activation issue, it does not address the second activation bug that affects many more devices. Apple has not resumed signing iOS 9.3 for older devices, so many customers who have an iPad Air or earlier, iPad mini 2 or earlier, or iPhone 5s or earlier are not able to download and install iOS 9.3 if they have not done so already.

Apple has said it is working on a fix for the second activation issue, which will be released in the form of a new update to iOS 9.3 in the next few days. Until that time, customers who have an older device will need to remain on iOS 9.2.1.

Update: Apple has released an updated build of iOS 9.3 for all users affected by the bug. The latest update has the build number 13E5237 and should fix the iOS activation lock problem on older devices.

Article Link: Apple Addresses GSM iPad 2 Activation Bug With Revised iOS 9.3, But Broader Issue Remains Unfixed [Update: Fixed]


macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
Central U.S.
So people noticed and installed a fix for their iPad 2 which didn't actually fix the other bug? How could they do that when the article states that iPad Air and earlier devices are not being allowed to download/sign with their servers, and that this was done before the iPad 2 fix was released? I'm confused.
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Oct 15, 2011
Austin TX
So we had the 8.0.1 update that completely killed cellular functionality for people who had just bought the iPhone 6 (myself included), the 9.2 update that bricked iPhones with replaced Touch ID sensors, and now the 9.3 update that potentially locks up devices in two separate ways (though one has been fixed). What is going on with Apple's software quality control? It has gone absolutely down the toilet since they fired Forstall. Prior to version 7, iOS certainly had bugs. However, they were almost always minor, required usually no more than one .x release to fix, and were never show-stopping like some of these ones we have seen over the past few years. The craziest thing is that iOS 9 has had a public beta program for each 9.x version and has still managed to have several of these large bugs. It used to be that I would install the latest iOS update the moment it came out. Now, I wait at least a few days to make sure it's not going to brick my phone.

Sad that Apple has let things get this bad.


macrumors 68030
Jun 30, 2007
Midwest USA
Are you sure? After SIX beta of 9.3?
Unfortunately, Apple has this habit of making last minute changes that don't seem all that fantastic, but to Apple they can't let them out in the wild until the big marketing splash. The final release always contains code that has never seen beta.
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Jun 22, 2007
"prevents older device owners from activating their iPhones and iPads if they can't remember the Apple ID and password originally used to set up the device."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the same security feature that we have already, to discourage theft?

Danilo - Italy

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2014
This seems like a fairly large screw up for an OS that was tested so extensively. Apple needs to do some serious internal analysis as to how this happened.
This is the point. I saw in the last two IOS many little problems. It seem to me that the attention at the details went down in Apple. But if you want sell products at a premium price because are Apple products you must pay very attention at the details and quality.


Feb 17, 2009
Having none of these problems with my iPad2, however I will say that the apple ID system is at times enough to make you crazy.
An iTunes apple id when you have to buy there. An apple id for apps and if you had .mac or .me or a personal and business apple id good luck. Changed your e-mail address, not so fast young user!

There is no option I have seen to be able to clean this up. I many times have to log in and out of an id to make my apps work.

Or, annoyingly have to keep clicking on not now when it keeps asking me to log in (with an account which never gets recognized any more)
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