How to Fix iMessage Activation Error on iPhone

iMessage Activation error? – Every iPhone user swears by the tremendously helpful iMessage application which is much more feature-rich than a simple SMS/text application. Unlike the text messaging applications, iPhone users can also send images, videos, sounds, and even location via the iMessage app.

Thus, when you encounter a problem with the iMessage activation error, we know it can be truly frustrating. This article caters to this common problem and we show you some simple steps to fix it instantly.

Note: iMessage Activation error messages can vary from one scenario to another. Some of the common error messages can be –

  • “iMessage Waiting for Activation”
  • “Activation Un-successful”
  • “Could not sign in, please check your network connection”
  • “An error occurred during activation”

All these error messages point to an issue with the iMessage app. You may find these error when you buy a new iPhone or when you are changing numbers or even changing between operators.

Several users often report this problem when they’ve updated to the latest iOS. Rest assured; this is not a serious problem.

iMessage Activation Error

12 Simple Methods to Fix “iMessage Activation error”.

Method 1: Resetting the Network Settings on your iPhone

Sometimes, because of Wi-Fi issues, you may not be able to use iMessage. Whether it’s related to Wi-Fi or cellular network, resetting the network settings often solves the issue.

  1. Go to Settings → General → select Reset option at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select Reset Network Settings and enter your phone password when prompted. This may solve the issue.

Method 2: Your iPhone is new?

In case you’re encountering this issue on a brand-new iPhone, the best option would be to wait and relax for a day as Apple says, ‘Wait for 24 hours to completely activate your iPhone’. After 24 hours, you may have to ‘Reset’ the iPhone to put things in order.

Method 3: Airplane Mode Solution

  1. Go to Settings → Messages → Toggle iMessage option OFF.
  2. Next, go to Settings → Toggle Airplane mode switch ON. The Wi-Fi option will be automatically switched OFF.
  3. Go to Wi-Fi and toggle switch ON.
  4. Again, to Settings → Messages → and toggle iMessage option ON.
  5. Lastly, go to Settings → Toggle Airplane mode switch OFF.
  6. You should get a pop-up message “Your carrier may charge for SMS”; just select OK.

Wait for some time to let iMessage get activated. This method is known to solve the iMessage issue for most users.

Method 4: Date and Time error

Note: Apple takes a day to activate all services on your phone as it needs to locate your phone. In case your date and time settings are not correct, Apple may not be able to activate the phone.

Steps are as follows:

  1. Go to Settings → GeneralDate and Time → Choose the correct date and location and time zone or just select Set Automatically.
  2. Now, restart your iPhone and see if the problem is solved.

Method 5: Your iPhone settings may prevent iMessage from receiving messages

Check if your iPhone settings are preventing messages from being received. When Apple connects you, they send a message to the new user but you may not have received it as ‘Receive Messages’ is not enabled in your iPhone. Enable it by following the steps below –

  1. Go to SettingsMessages. Tap on Send & Receive. However, your phone number must be linked to your Apple ID for this to work.
  2. Restart your iPhone. 

Method 6: Update issues

Your iPhone may need an update to the more recent iOS. Steps will be:

  1. Tap Settings → General → Software Update.
  2. When you find a new update, tap ‘Download and Install’ to complete the update.

This will update your device to the most recent update and then the iPhone needs a restart.

Also Read: How to Fix Not Getting Text Notifications on iPhone

Method 7: Sign-out and Sign-in with Apple ID

This method is to reset your Apple ID login credentials by signing out and then signing in again. Steps will be:

  1. Go to Settings → Message → tap Send &Receive.
  2. After that select Apple ID and tap Sign Out.
  3. Toggle iMessage switch to OFF.
  4. Now tap Wi-Fi option OFF and then toggle it back ON.
  5. Again, toggle iMessage switch to ON.
  6. Input your Apple ID login credentials; this will reactivate iMessage.

Method 8: Turn off and restart iMessage and Face Time

  1. Open Settings → Messages → Turn OFF iMessage.
  2. Then, open Settings → FaceTime → Turn OFF FaceTime.
  3. Restart your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
  4. Now, again turn ON iMessage and FaceTime.

It may take 24 hours for iMessage and FaceTime to activate. If after 24 hours the problem persists, you can contact Apple Support.

Method 9: Check for a Carrier Settings Update

Apple and your wireless carrier release carrier settings frequently for updates. It enhances the iPhone’s ability to connect with a carrier’s network. Follow the instructions to update the carrier settings.

  1. Go to Settings → About to check the availability of updates.
  2. A pop up appears if an update is available. If it appears, tap to Update.
  3. If a pop up does not appear, it suggests that there is no recent update available.

Method 10: Check Apple’s System Status

When Apple experiences system issues, it impacts iMessage and FaceTime as well. To verify and identify issues, check Apple’s system status clicking here. If the green button is active for all services, then there are no issues from Apple’s end.

If there is an issue, it is marked in yellow or red.

Method 11: Check for any restrictions

If the iMessage app faces restrictions in working, follow these steps to make it functional.

  1. Settings → Screen Time → Privacy and Content restrictions → Account changes
  2. Ensure to select the options “Allow Changes” enabling iMessage to work.

Method 12: Contact Your Cellular Company

There are times when every setting is perfect, yet you may be unable to receive messages, and this could be a fault of your Carrier company. So first, contact them to check if iMessage is supported in the first place. If not, get it included. Google your Carrier’s name and “customer support” to get the newest helplines.


We now wrap it up for you!

Last but not the least, you may have to change your SIM to another iPhone and try. Once you start receiving iMessages, flip the SIM card to your new phone to activate.

Have you received your first iMessage now? If not, just relax, and wait. Next day, it may activate magically.

In the odd scenario that none of the methods helped you fix iMessage waiting for activation error, then as a last resort, you may have to Hard Reset your iPhone to get your iPhone back to its default state and try again.

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