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Fix: Cannot Verify Server Identity on iPhone

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One of the most common iOS errors for years, the “cannot verify server identity” error has been around for a long time. Typically the error prompt usually originates within the mail application. It is not native to only iPhones but other Apple devices as well such as Mac.

You probably encountered this error when you got a new phone or installed a new update. Worry not as this annoying error can easily be resolved by following our thorough guide.

How to Fix Cannot Verify Server Identity on iPhone

iPhone needs a mail server’s SSL certificate to connect to a mail server securely. If the mail server’s SSL certificate doesn’t match the domain name, expired or not signed the company causes the iPhone to deem it as untrustworthy. Thus a cannot verify server identity error will pop up.

Other than the reasons listed above this error may be the result of changing your email address in the mail application or an automatic change in your mailing certificate. Here are 5 ways to fix this problem by yourself.

1. Reboot your iPhone

The first thing you should do as in the case of most errors is restart your device. Sometimes a small bug may just be the reason for the cannot verify server identity error.

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Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to multitasking by double-tapping the home button (iPhone 8 and earlier)/Swiping up the bottom of the screen (iPhone X and later).
  2. Clear RAM by swiping up on all currently open applications.
  3. Then push the left side button until a pop-up displays Slide to power off. Swipe across the screen.
  4. Reboot your handset.
  5. Power it back on using the left side button.

2. Update to the latest iOS version

Typically if you have a new iPhone or if you have manual updates turned off, iOS will be several versions outdated as updates are very frequent in the Apple ecosystem. This may cause a bug to come up, which can inherently cause problems such as the cannot verify server identity error. To fix this go to Settings > General > Software Update. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi beforehand. If an update is available, it will ask you to have more than 50% charge or to plug in your charger.

Fulfill any of these two conditions and your update will begin. You should note that you won’t be able to use your phone while installing the update.

3. Reset Email Account

You can reset your email’s server identity certificates by deleting and then re-adding your email account on your iPhone. This can allow your mail application to verify your email’s server identity certificates from scratch.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts.
  2. From the list of accounts select the account you’re having problems with.
  3. Select the red Delete Account button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Close the mail application and the setting application.
  5. Again go to Settings > Mail > Accounts.
  6. Tap Add Account.

You should now be able to re-enter your account details. Then go back to the mail application where it will try to sync the mail’s server identity certificates again. Typically your issue should resolve with this step.

4. Check the Time

If you would have gotten a new iPhone or maybe a used one chances are its default time is different from your local time. To verify mail application and a lot of other apps Apple will sync the current time of the device with your current local time. If they are different, you may get an error message such as cannot verify server identity among many others.

To get rid of this:

  1. Go to Setting > General > Date and Time.
  2. Toggle off the Set Automatically option.
  3. Then you should input your current time correctly.
  4. After this, toggle on the Set Automatically option.imessage activation unsuccessful

Your local time and Device time should now be in sync. Go back to the mail application where it retries connecting to the mail server and hopefully your concern will be resolved.

5. Reset Network Settings

Invalid or faulty network settings may also be a root cause for the cannot verify server identity error. Reset this restores the default network setting and deletes any custom network setting that you or any other third-party application may have done.

Here’s how to reset network settings:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap on the Reset Network Settings button.
  3. Enter the passcode if prompted.
  4. Confirm by tapping the Confirm button.

Go back to the mail application so the iPhone can restart the sync process between the SSL certificate and the mail server.

If you have made it this far without getting your fix you may have to contact Apple support or visit your nearest Apple store as there might be a slim chance the issue may be caused by hardware malfunction. In case you have any comments, questions, or new suggestions that may help others, make sure to write them down in the comments below.


Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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