Turn on Activation-only Mode in iTunes

If your school or business needs to set up and activate multiple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices, use Activation-only Mode in iTunes.

Activation-only Mode is intended only for businesses and educational institutions that are unable to activate devices over-the-air and must use iTunes. Activation-only Mode disables iTunes from syncing or backing up any device. 

Before following the steps in this article, make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes.

On a Mac

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities.
  3. Open Terminal and enter:
    defaults write com.apple.iTunes StoreActivationMode -integer 1
  4. Press Enter.

On a PC

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Open a Command Prompt window.
  3. At the command prompt, enter:
    "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes.exe" /setPrefInt StoreActivationMode 1
  4. Press Enter.

iOS 9 and later requires iTunes 12.3 or later running on Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10.

Turn off Activation-only Mode

If iTunes is in Activation-only Mode and you try to sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer, you might see a message that says:

"This [device] is already activated. You may disconnect this [device] now."

To sync and back up, turn off Activation-only Mode.

On a Mac

Open Terminal and enter:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes StoreActivationMode

On a PC

Open a Command Prompt window and enter:

"C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes.exe" /setPrefInt StoreActivationMode

Last Modified: