Fixing the “Unable to Verify Update” Error in iOS

Nov 15, 2013 - 53 Comments

Unable to Verify Update error message on iPhone

It seems that an “Unable to Verify Update” error message arrives at random for some users with just about every single iOS software update, perhaps unsurprisingly, the problem has resurfaced for some when trying to download and install the recent 9.3, 7.0.4, and various other iOS updates. The error seems to be exclusive to using OTA (Over-The-Air) updates, and sometimes it reports an improper iOS version as being available, or tell you that an update “failed verification because you are no longer connected to the Internet” – despite having an active entirely functioning wi-fi connection. If you happen to encounter this error when trying to download and install any iOS update, you’ll be able to fix it in a minute or two using one of these tips outlined below.

Lifting the “Unable to Activate” Error with iTunes

If you see the “Unable to Activate” error after updating to iOS 9.3, it will be definitively remedied in a future software update released from Apple. In the meantime, you must connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer and try the following:

  1. Connect the iOS device to a computer with a USB cable
  2. Launch iTunes (update to the latest version if you haven’t done so already)
  3. Select the iOS device in iTunes, you should see the Activate device screen in iTunes at this point where you can enter the Apple ID and password for the device, then click on Continue to lift the activation error

This works for most devices that are stuck on the Unable to Activate screen. Some users may have to use iCloud.com and reset their Apple ID password manually, which is frustrating but it can sometimes fix the issue as well. If the device is stuck on the activate screen in iOS 9.3, another option is to downgrade from iOS 9.3 to iOS 9.2.1 with these instructions.

1: Kill the Settings App & Relaunch

Before anything else, try just simply quitting out of the Settings app and reopening it. Quitting apps in iOS is done with a simple gesture trick:

  • Double-tap the Home button to bring about the multitasking screen
  • Navigate to “Settings” then swipe up on the Settings app to send it off the screen, thereby quitting
  • Go back to the home screen, relaunch Settings, and try to download the update again

Update downloading and installing now? Good, just killing and relaunching Settings will resolve the issue for many users.

If you still see the “Unable to verify update” error message, or you get the “no longer connected to the internet” error, you will probably have to reset your network settings to resolve the problem, which we’ll cover next.

2: Reset Network Settings & Reboot

If killing Settings didn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to trash network settings, which also restarts the iOS device in the process. This isn’t a big deal, but it does require you to re-enter wi-fi passwords, so jot them down down beforehand if that’s a problem:

  • Open Settings and go to “General” followed by “Reset”
  • Choose “Reset Network Settings” and tap the red text to confirm the reset – this will trash the network configuration and restart iOS
  • Reset the Network Settings in iOS

  • When booted back to the home screen, reconnect to a Wi-Fi network through settings
  • Install the iOS update as usual

A peculiar bug and error, but one of these tricks should resolve it quickly enough.

Having encountered this twice earlier when updating an iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 to the latest release with OTA, iOS erroneously reported an older iOS version available as being the update available, and then, unsurprisingly, refused to install that improper update with the aforementioned “Unable to Verify Update” error, claiming the perfectly working internet connection wasn’t connected.

Fix the Unable to Verify Update error for iOS

The solution in this specific instance was to reset network settings, total elapsed time from problem to resolution was about 3 minutes. Not too shabby, and certainly beats some of the more complicated troubleshooting tricks to resolve software update problems.

Users may be more likely to see this error if a user is on older version of iOS prior to the version immediately preceding the new release. In other words, if you’re on iOS 7.0.3, you may encounter this when trying to skip a version and update directly to iOS 7.0.5. Regardless, the solution remains the same. Enjoy your fresh iOS update!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Troubleshooting

53 Comments

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  1. John says:

    Unfortunately this fix didn’t work for me. Does anyone know what else I can try?

    Running 7.0.3, updating to 7.0.4.

    • tk says:

      You can try rebooting it but with the Network Reset that should happen automatically. The other option would be to install the update the old fashioned way with iTunes or manually through iTunes and IPSW

    • Sandra says:

      You’re awfully polite, John! You must not have gone to 10 websites all promising a fix. I’m less inclined to be polite. I did the network reset, if by that you mean the instructions above; then I entered my wi-fi password, but my phone gives the same predictable message it has given me 100 times already. I’m glad for you that it worked, but it certainly ain’t working for me.

  2. Patrick says:

    I switched off WiFi and it verified fine over 3G.

  3. Howard Brazee says:

    Before running any upgrade on my Mac (which is how I upgrade my IOS), I run the utility “caffeine”, which turns off screen savers and power savers. Otherwise, the download fails.

  4. Vin says:

    The first reseting the network connections is a complete waste of time. I did not do that, but instead turned the device off and back on. Then under settings it showed IOS 7.0.4 which I selected and it successfully installed. It is likely the verification of 7.0.3 is failing due to 7.0.4 being available.

  5. Jonnathan says:

    I had that error too, because i was connecting to internet using proxy,
    i just disabled WI-FI, and changed to cellular data (3G), and the update verification was successful.

    Hope it helps.

  6. Simon says:

    This worked for me, thanks heaps

  7. Amanda says:

    Hey guys I’ve tried everything you said.. first i tried to exit the settings,reset network,use 3g,turn off phone,use over itunes BUT IT FAILED! :(

  8. CJ says:

    Worked for me going from the dreaded 8.0.1 to 8.0.2. Thanks!

  9. Lee says:

    Reset network settings worked for me!

    Thank you for this!

  10. Mark says:

    Interesting, I did not get this error until the IOS 8.02 upgrade had completed. The error said I wasn’t connected but of course it was. Turning the wifi off and on did nothing. I tried the reset of the network via Settings, Reset and it worked. Thanks!

  11. sc0rpio says:

    OMG!! i’ve tried the first option (quit setting) and it worked!! thank you!!!!

  12. David Thomson says:

    I tried deleting the old download, clearing the open apps, resetting the wi-fi, and downloading with cellular. Nothing worked. When I turned off wi-fi, a message said I needed wifi on to download the update. The update screen says the file will be 284 MB, but when downloaded it is 310 MB.

    I can’t load itunes because I need 8.3 to run it on my new iPad Air 2 with 8.2 (12D508).

    I signed up with Bolt for my network, but AT&T shows up as my carrier. As it always happens, whenever AT&T is involved cellular connections are slow or non-existent.

    • David Thomson says:

      I just tried renewing the lease on my wi-fi dhcp settings and still I get the error “Unable to Verify Update.” It says I am no longer connected to the Internet, but yet I am still connected and have just downloaded the file again, and again the downloaded file is 310 MB as opposed to the update screen saying it would be 284 MB.

  13. Albert says:

    Finally got the update for my phone! Thank you!!

  14. Gang says:

    Thanks! the first trick (kill the setting app) works for me!

  15. Gang says:

    Thanks, the first trick works for me!

  16. Judy says:

    The second option worked great for me…reseting the network and signing in wi-fi again…extremely helpful!

    Thx!

  17. Kathy says:

    Nothing is working for me. I can’t install the 9.3 update but have tried all the above suggestions. It worked straight away for my iphone this morning. Any other suggestions??

    • Sue says:

      Apparently, they’ve stopped installations for older devices (not sure which you have):

      “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,” an Apple spokesperson told iMore. “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.”

      • Thad says:

        Thanks for this info! Not being able to solve this issue has been driving me batty. At least now I know there’s nothing I can do but wait and that a fix should be on its way.

      • Jody says:

        Yes! Thank you so much for this! It was driving me crazy!! I guess I’ll just wait it out!

        • Chris King says:

          So itll be rereleased for iPhone 5 and below in the next couple days? Thank goodness! I was so worried I did something wrong! Also, does imessage get effected when you don’t update? because I haven’t been getting messages from imessage users in my contacts lately. it could be just no ones talking but I find it odd.

  18. Katie says:

    9.3 update worked first try on my iPhone but is not working, even with all these suggestions, on my iPad. Hopefully someone will get this to work somehow and let us know.

    • DrZ says:

      I do not remember Apple products being so flakey. I hate to say it it, but my Windows 10 box is proving more reliable.

  19. K says:

    I also can’t update to 9.3 and tried all the tricks

  20. Amanda says:

    I also can’t update 9.3 update due to the same issue…unable to verify.

  21. Mary Ruth says:

    I have the same problem with updating to 9.3. I’ve tried all the suggestions I can find and nothing works.

  22. Anton says:

    I’m trying to download IOS 9.3, and I’ve tried everything. Do I have to hook it up to my Mac?

  23. Rowen says:

    I have 2 iPhone 5s devices. I have one enrolled in Apple’s beta testing program and one that isn’t. Interestingly enough, the one with 9.3 beta downloaded the official 9.3 with no issues while I’m unable to download 9.3 on the device without beta.

  24. sushi says:

    i have an iphone 5 with the same problem, any suggestions guys??

  25. Josh says:

    Hi going to iOS 9.2 – 9.3 WONT WORK tried everything, not the 3G bit cos I don’t wanna use my 3G what else can I try

  26. jimmyrainee says:

    I just talked to one guy who works for Apple and he said that 9.3 update was the most expensive update for Apple since the update bricked thousands iPads and iPhones. Apple withdrew the update and nobody knows when the update will be made available again.

  27. NottellingU says:

    Hello. I reckon the rest are fake comments. Treid all, now I have to remember my stupid wifi past word you scandals!

  28. Himanshu Deshwal says:

    Not working..
    I am still not able to upgrade to 9.3 on iPhone 5 S…

  29. Hollie says:

    I have tried all the tricks listed and I am still unable to get upgraded to 9.3, I have an iPhone 5s😩😡

  30. Sarah says:

    Am new to iPhone 5s and have read reason I’m unable to install the latest updateWill wait patiently for Apple to release info as to how install latest update as it’s been withdrawn Fingers crossed ppl!

  31. heavybison says:

    Ok. Here’s what worked for me. It seems Apple released 2 versions of 9.3. The first one (which is the faulty one) is 400+ MB in size and this installer must be deleted from Settings->General-> Storage & ICloud usage – Manage storage—-

    Once done, go ahead and search for the update again in Settings->General. Now you should have another version available for download which is around 280+MB in size. Go ahead with this one.

    • Vitor Ribeiro says:

      You are right, this is the problem, this is the fix. Thanks.

    • MStaindl says:

      Thanks you so much. This appears to have also solved the same problem for IOS 9.3.1 (on my ipad 3). [*Edit: NOT-see below*]
      I was getting ‘unable to verify update as not connected to Internet (when I was)’. Deleting it from storage – and thanks for explaining where to find it – caused it to re-download and now it says it’s updating. Interestingly the one I deleted was 300+ Mb and the current download says 197 Mb, though both said 9.3.1. OOOPPS – NOOO!. Just as I was about to post it gave the same verification / internet error, in spite of having just sucked in 200Mb from the internet!

  32. ADS says:

    Kept getting this error on my iPad (no cellular option) when attempting to install the latest 9.3 update. Read through the article and tried a couple of the non destructive options but did not want to reset my network settings. This worked for me: I turned off WiFi then powered off the iPad. After restarting I went to Settings/General/Software Update, then turned WiFi on. When I went back into Software Updates it was downloading. Actually a quite simple solution compared to the destructive recommendations here.

    • MStaindl says:

      Thanks – that appears to have solved it for me too. Had previously forced new download as above but still gave Unable to verify / not connected to Internet error. Would have cried to lose all my network settings from dozens if sites I visit. Tried your solution, including closing ‘Settings’ then rebooting and it’s now updating! :). Note: just for good measure I did a Hard Reset reboot (you hold the power and main buttons together for about 30 secs until the Apple appears), not just the normal off/on. (I think this probably made closing Settings redundant, as I think it clears out all apps?).
      Anyway, again thanks heaps from Australia!

  33. Baroninn vefhönnun says:

    Closing settings and restarting the phone did the trick for me.
    Thanks for the tutorial !

  34. agung says:

    Thank’s soo much john…

  35. Rigg says:

    I had to changed date to install and then set back to auto to verify..

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