Ultimate Guide on How to Activate a New iPhone

April 25, 2023Ashley Mae

An iPhone must first be activated through a Wi-Fi or cellular network. Apple offers a straightforward way to set up and activate an iPhone quickly. If you've recently purchased a new iPhone and want to ensure it's done right from the start, you can check the guide to set up and activate a new iPhone.

Activate A New iPhone

Part 1. How to Set Up and Activate a New iPhone

Most of the time, activating an iPhone should be quite easy, whether it is your first Apple product or just your first iPhone. You can turn it on and follow the on-screen instructions to activate it quickly. You can check the detailed steps below to ensure you set it up right from the start.

Step 1:
Press and hold the Power button and release the button when the Apple logo appears on the iPhone screen. On new iPhone models like iPhone 12/13/14, the Power button is designed on the right side of the device. Release the button when you see Hello in many languages. Select your language for the iPhone.
Turn On iPhone Select Language
Step 2:
Choose the country or region you are in to set related information on your iPhone, such as the date, time, contacts, and more. Then you get two ways to set up this iPhone, Quick Start and Set Up Manually. If you have another iOS device nearby, you can set up your iPhone automatically with Quick Start. Otherwise, you can tap Set Up Manually to activate a new iPhone. Follow the prompts to connect it to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. It would help if you used a stable Wi-Fi or cellular network to activate a new iPhone.
Activate New iPhone Quick Start Set Up Manually

If you connect your iPhone to a cellular network, insert a SIM card you can activate with your carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint. You need to use the SIM ejection pin to insert the SIM card.

Step 3:
Read the Data & Privacy prompt and tap the Continue button to set up your Face ID. You can skip this step and set it up later. During this step, you need to create a passcode for Face ID and Apple Pay. When you reach the Apps & Data interface, select your desired option to activate this iPhone. Apple lets you set up your iPhone as new, restore data from an iCloud or backup, or copy files from an Android phone.
Set iPhone Face ID Passcode
Step 4:
You need an Apple ID to access all Apple services. You can tap Forgot password or don't have an Apple ID and follow the prompts to create your Apple account. Check the Apple Terms and Conditions and tap Agree to move on.
Step 5:
Enable or disable Location Services and customize settings for Siri, Screen Time, and App Analytics based on your need. Then you can select a preferred Appearance Mode and Display Zoom. After all these operations, you can swipe up to activate your iPhone successfully and start using it.
Activate A New iPhone and Use it

You can handily activate a new iPhone and its cellular service with the steps above. Whether you use Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or another carrier, you don't need other operations to activate a phone number or carrier service. But you must ensure your SIM card is unlocked and compatible with your wireless network.

Part 2. How to Activate Phone Number and Cellular Service on New iPhone

When you switch to a new phone number or cellular service, you can follow the steps below to activate it on your iPhone. You need a physical SIM or an eSIM to connect to a cellular network like Verizon's 5G network, AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, or Sprint network. You may need to store an eSIM provided by your carrier for iPhone 15 in America.

Activate a physical SIM card on a new iPhone

Step 1:
First, you should use a paper clip or SIM eject tool to eject the tray and put your SIM card in the tray. Insert the tray back into your iPhone. Enter the PIN if you ever set a PIN on the SIM.
Insert A Physical Sim Card to iPhone
Step 2:
Run the Settings app on your iPhone and select Cellular. You need to turn on Cellular Data to use your carrier's cellular data network. If you are using Dual SIM, you can select the new phone number under SIMs.

Activate an eSIM on a new iPhone

For iPhone 15 models purchased in the U.S., you need an eSIM to connect to a cellular network. You should activate the eSIM during the iPhone setup. You can tap Add eSIM and follow the instructions to activate it.

Some carriers allow you to transfer a phone number directly from your previous iPhone to the new one. Some may assign a new eSIM to your iPhone. You can also scan a QR Code provided by your carrier to activate an eSIM easily. Tap Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed, go to the Settings app, and tap it again. If you fail to activate cellular service and add an eSIM, you can contact your carrier for help.

Activate eSIM on New iPhone

Part 3. Three Helpful Tips to Fix New iPhone Won't Activate

Many reasons may cause the could not activate iPhone issue. If you fail to activate a new iPhone, you should first ensure you connect to a good Wi-Fi network. Also, you need to ensure that the SIM card is compatible with your current plan with your phone carrier. Then you can restart your iPhone and try setting it up again. If the new iPhone won't activate problem still exists, you can skip the setup and use the three tips below to fix it.

Activate a new iPhone using iTunes

When you fail to activate your new iPhone, you can try activating it using iTunes. Please install the latest iTunes on your computer and connect the new iPhone to it. You can see the iOS device appears in the top-right corner when connected.

Set Up Activate A New iPhone with iTunes

iTunes will automatically activate your new iPhone. When activated successfully, you can see the Set up as New and Restore from Backup options. If you get a prompt that the SIM card or activation information is invalid, you can't use iTunes to activate it.

Reset carrier and network settings to fix new iPhone won't activate

If you can sign in to your Apple account on the new iPhone, you should check for an iOS update in the Settings app. You can update iOS to the newest version and try activating your device again. You can also try resetting carrier and network settings to fix the new iPhone won't activate error.

Launch the Settings app on your new iPhone and choose the General option. Scroll down to the bottom part to select Transfer or Reset iPhone. Tap the Reset option and then use the Reset All Settings or Reset Network Settings feature to troubleshoot the new iPhone could not activate problem. You can also select Erase All Content and Settings to factory a new iPhone and activate it again.

Reset All Settings on New iPhone

Professional way to troubleshoot new iPhone won't activate

MDM (Mobile Device Management) can restrict your new iPhone and cause it can't be activated. You can use the all-featured Aiseesoft iPhone Unlocker to remove MDM and activate a new iPhone with ease.

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Step 1:
Free download, install, and launch this recommended iPhone Unlocker on your Mac or Windows computer. Choose the Remove MDM feature and connect your new iPhone. When the connection is created, click the Start button to remove MDM.
Step 2:
Follow the prompts to disable the Find My iPhone feature. After that, iPhone Unlock will remove MDM from your iPhone quickly. The MDM will be automatically removed if the new iPhone doesn't turn on Find My. This iOS device will restart itself. You can try activating it again.
Remove MDM from New iPhone

As you can see, this iPhone Unlocker also enables you to remove your Apple ID and passcode from your iOS devices. If you can't sign in to your Apple ID, you can use it to wipe the forgotten password. You can also bypass Screen Time restrictions and iCloud activation lock using it.

Part 4. FAQs on How to Activate a New iPhone

Do you need to call your carrier to activate a new iPhone?

Generally, you don't need to call your phone carrier to activate a new iPhone. If you purchase an iPhone from Apple, you can follow the prompts to set up and activate it. You get the specific option to select your carrier. If you buy a phone from a phone carrier like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile, you should ensure it is not locked and has a cellular network plan.

How do you convert a physical SIM to an eSIM on a new iPhone?

Tap Settings to open it on your new iPhone and select the Cellular option. Locate Convert to eSIM and tap it. Tap the Convert Cellular Plan button and choose Convert to eSIM. This operation will activate an eSIM and deactivate the previous SIM card. You can remove it from your iPhone.
You can't convert a physical SIM to an eSIM if you don't see the Convert to eSIM option. You must contact your carrier to move your phone number from the previous physical SIM to an eSIM. Then you can scan the QR code to add an eSIM to your iPhone.

How to lock a SIM card with a PIN on iPhone?

When you want to turn on the SIM PIN, you can go to Settings, choose the Cellular option, and tap SIM PIN. You should enter the correct PIN to lock SIM. You can enter the default SIM PIN from your phone carrier.


You can follow the guide to activate a new iPhone easily. This post also tells how to activate your iPhone's phone number and SIM. Moreover, you can get three helpful tips to fix the iPhone won't activate issue. If you still have questions about the new iPhone activation, you can leave us a message in the comment.

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