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Apple releases updated iOS 9.3 to fix Activation Lock bug on older devices

Apple on Monday pushed out yet another new build of its iOS 9.3 mobile operating system, attempting to fix issues related to an Activation Lock bug that presented itself on older iPhones and iPads.




Still identified as iOS 9.3, the new update is distinguished with a new build number, 13E237. Users who have been stuck on the Activation Lock screen since last week may need to restore their device via iTunes to upgrade to the new version and address the issue.

Apple stopped signing the previous, broken version of iOS 9.3 for older devices last week. The problem occurred in the password authorization phase of the iOS 9.3 setup process.

Apple confirmed that the problem affected iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier. AppleInsider was first to report on the issue, noting that certain device owners were unable to proceed past the password authentication stage after updating to iOS 9.3.

Some users found success in downloading iOS 9.3 through iTunes on a Mac and installing the firmware via a hardwired connection, suggesting there is an underlying issue on Apple's end. Others have found a full system restore also works, though the method is hit-or-miss.

A different iOS 9.3 build, 13E236, was released specifically for the iPad 2 last week to address the authentication issue as well.

Apple has also published a support document offering workaround suggestions. The company urges affected users to reset their password through iCloud, perform an iTunes-based installation and activation, or remove Activation Lock through iCloud.com. As reported on Tuesday, those who tried these methods have found limited success.

iOS 9.3 still has another significant, unrelated bug that causes apps to crash and freeze when attempting to open hyperlinks in Safari, Mail, and Messages, as well as third-party Web browsers like Google Chrome. The issue is apparently unpatched in the new iOS 9.3 update, and affects all devices, not just older ones.