How To Fix iMessage Activation Errors

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iMessage is a convenient way to send messages, photos, and more between Apple devices. However, a recent survey found that approximately 15% of iPhone owners have experienced issues with setting up iMessage. The good news is that most iMessage activation errors can be easily fixed by the user with a few simple steps.

Whether it’s a signing-in issue, waiting for activation to complete, or an authentication error, we’ve got you covered. Just hover over to for more useful tech tips and fixes related to your iPhone or MacBook.

Restart your iPhone and toggle iMessage Off/On to refresh connections. Ensure Apple ID is enabled for messaging, the Wi-Fi/cellular signal is strong, and settings like time zone are accurate. Retry activation multiple times allowing time to fully complete after troubleshooting.

How To Fix iMessage Activation Errors

If you’ve encountered the “Waiting for Activation” message or iMessage fails to function despite repeated troubleshooting attempts, we’ve got you covered. In this section, we’ll outline the most common iMessage activation errors and walk through effective solutions to finally get iMessage fully up and running on your Apple device.

Restart Your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone is one of the simplest troubleshooting steps to try when dealing with an iMessage activation error. The process only takes 1-2 minutes and will refresh all connections and settings on your device.

To restart your iPhone, hold down either the volume button or the side button at the same time until you see the Apple logo appear on the screen. This forces your iPhone to power down and then boot back up again from scratch. Many temporary glitches or processes preventing iMessage from activating can be cleared by simply restarting your phone.

After restarting, open the Messages app and try to reactivate iMessage. This should resolve many basic activation errors you may encounter.

Set Your Apple ID to Send and Receive iMessages

Another common factor that can prevent iMessage activation is having your Apple ID set incorrectly. Ensure that your Apple ID account is enabled for sending/receiving both iMessage and regular messages.

To check your settings, open the Settings app and tap on your name at the top of the screen. Then select “iCloud” and press “Manage”. You should see options for enabling/disabling both iMessage and FaceTime. Make sure these are switched on by tapping the slider button to the right of each feature.

What you can also do is, go to ‘Settings,’ then ‘Messages,’ and tap on ‘Send & Receive.’ Here, you should see your phone number and Apple ID listed. If your Apple ID isn’t listed, tap on ‘Use your Apple ID for iMessage’ and log in with your credentials. This step ensures that your device recognizes your Apple ID as the primary account for iMessaging, potentially resolving any activation errors related to iMessage.

Restart iMessage and FaceTime

If your Apple ID settings are already correct, try restarting the iMessage and FaceTime services directly on your device. This essentially forces both platforms to reactivate from scratch which can resolve issues with your current activation getting stuck.

To do this, go to Settings > Messages > Toggle iMessage “OFF”. Do the same for FaceTime under the FaceTime menu. Wait 1-2 minutes and then go back and switch both services back “ON”. This will trigger your device to reconnect and reverify your Apple ID with Apple’s activation servers.

In most cases, this should now allow iMessage and FaceTime to activate successfully. The key is allowing sufficient time for the deactivate/reactivate process to fully complete. Be patient and keep your device connected to the internet throughout.

Reset Network Settings

To reset network settings, open the Settings app and navigate to General > Reset. Here you will see the option to “Reset Network Settings”. Tap this and confirm to wipe clean all Wi-Fi passwords, cellular data settings, VPN configurations, and more. Your device will restart fully refreshed.

Once your iPhone boots back up, reconnect to your regular Wi-Fi. Then try to reactivate iMessage and FaceTime. With all network settings cleared out, the activation should now work smoothly without any problematic cached data interfering.

Check Your Cellular or Wi-Fi Connection

iMessage and FaceTime require an active internet connection to activate properly when you first set them up. If you are still encountering activation errors, check that your iPhone has a strong and stable connection via either cellular data or Wi-Fi.

Don’t attempt to activate on public Wi-Fi networks as these tend to have web filtering policies that may block Apple’s servers. Stick to home Wi-Fi for a reliable experience. Strong and consistent connectivity is key for allowing all background validation checks to execute when activating iMessage for the first time.

Check Your Time Zone Settings


Having the wrong time zone configured may cause a mismatch here. To check, open Settings and tap General > Date & Time. Make sure “Set Automatically” is enabled to sync the accurate time zone based on your location services.

If needs be, manually select the appropriate time zone for your geography under Time Zone. Give iMessage a few minutes to sync up with the corrected time/date, then hit the activation button again. With the system clock now properly aligned, iMessage should be granted permission to come online without giving an error.

Check Apple’s Server Status


In rare cases, the root cause of an iMessage or FaceTime error may lie with Apple’s servers rather than anything on your device directly. Before continuing troubleshooting, it’s worth checking Apple – Support – System Status to see if Apple has reported any ongoing service issues with iMessage/FaceTime activations specifically in your area.

If you see a notification that Apple’s servers are experiencing problems related to account authentication, don’t waste time attempting to reactivate iMessage repeatedly. Instead, wait until the issue is marked “Resolved” by Apple technicians. This indicates their infrastructure is back working properly to handle new activations.


Why does my iMessage keep saying error during activation?

If you continually get errors during iMessage activation, this is typically caused by an unstable cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Ensure you have a strong signal and restart the activation over a stable internet connection.

How do I fix my iPhone activation error?

iPhone activation errors happen when settings like date/time, Apple ID, or network connectivity are inaccurate. Follow the step-by-step troubleshooting guide above to fix activation errors by restarting, resetting, and rechecking settings.

Why is my iMessage signed out and won’t activate?

An iMessage sign-out error usually happens if your Apple ID password was changed or two-factor authentication was enabled/disabled. Sign back into your Apple ID and reactivate iMessage.

How do I activate my phone number for iMessage?

Open  Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and make sure your phone number is checked under “Start new conversations from”. Tap to activate your number for iMessage.


Following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide should resolve the majority of iMessage activation errors. Restarting your iPhone, double-checking Apple ID settings, resetting network settings, and ensuring stable internet connectivity cover the most common causes of activation issues. By following these your iMessage should be back up and running smoothly in no time.

Also Read: How Apple is expanding its Efforts towards Payment Systems?



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