For a lot of users – including us here at iGB – iMessage often goes berserk and doesn’t work at all. With a limited text plan, that’s kind of really frustrating. iMessage alternatives like WhatsApp are great but some of our friends use only iMessage and it gets quite irritating if you’re unable to send an iMessage.

The quirky thing about iMessage not working is that you can’t fix a particular reason to it. We have tried plenty of solutions – some work, some don’t and it’s all so random that we really don’t know what fixes the issue precisely.

iMessage Waiting For ActivationSo we’ve listed everything that we try whenever something goes wrong with iMessage. Note that sometimes, it’s Apple’s servers that cause the issue, sometimes the other person is not on iMessage at all and sometimes, things aren’t configured properly.

Here are possible fixes, if iMessage is not working on iPhone running iOS 8 or iOS 7:

1. Check Network Settings / Wi-Fi Proxies

iMessage works on the network (3G/Wi-Fi). Occasionally, iMessage doesn’t work even if there is an active connection but it’s weak. For Wi-fi, make sure you’re closer to the source/router and if you are on 3G and the thing ain’t working, try restarting the cellular connections.

Also, make sure proxies don’t hinder the network flow.

Less than a handful of people face iMessage issues due to network problems so in all cases, this isn’t your problem. Jump to the next one.

2. Turn OFF and then Turn ON Again

  • Head over to Settings Messages and turn OFF iMessage if it’s switched ON already.
  • Switch it ON back again and wait for the activation to finish. Make sure there’s an active network.
  • Wait for a while and then send an iMessage to someone using an iPhone with an active network. Make sure you send the message only to an iMessage-user.
  • Should this not work, you might have to sign out of Apple ID (go to Send & Receive) and then re-sign in again. Repeat the turn OFF-ON after this.

3. Send & Receive Options

In many cases, it’s the problem with these options.

Step 1: Go to Settings Messages Send & Receive
Step 2: You should see your number and an associated Apple ID listed in this list. You can configure this list.
Step 3: You’ll have to try a variety of methods to get iMessage working again. These would include:

  • Removing the email ID and using only the Phone number
  • selecting either email or iPhone to test if iMessage works with any of these
  • select an email AND a phone number. After this, you’ll see another section “Start New Conversion from:” – select your phone number for this.

One user on the Support forums noted that deleting old texts got iMessage working again. Strange, yes, but sometimes stuff like this works. Another user did a restore (and set up the iPhone as NEW) and iMessage worked just fine.

A reader, Wayne, has also noted that you’ll have to set the date to auto-updates. This has fixed the issues surrounding iMessage (and FaceTime, too). In order to do this, go to Settings -> General Date & Time and toggle the switch on Set Automatically to ON.

  • http://twitter.com/Of_Anthony Michael J. D’Antonio

    Could this be due to “throttling?” As in the case for me, I still have an unlimited data plan from AT&T, and I notice every once in a while my iMessages will not work, either on 3G or wifi. At&T “throttles” a consumers (with the unlimited data plan) data bandwith after so many gigs have been used in a billing cycyle, in result the remainder of that particular billing cycle a consumer using there iPhone would notice reduced DL and UL speeds, buffering of videos from Netflix, YouTube, etc. Could this “throttle” also affect the iMessage?

  • Shahood

    Thanks, i had same problem like my imessage was not working but when i unchecked my apple id and used only my network number instead it start working!

  • Amanda

    iMessages were working on my iPad but not my iPhone. All I did was turn my phone off and then on again. That seemed to clear up the problem.

    • http://www.igeeksblog.com/ iGeeksBlog

      Good to know.

  • Raina Lemons Leckie

    I think there is something wrong with iMessage servers and they haven’t caught on to it yet. Me, my husband, my cousins, and my aunt all have iMessage and use it quite frequently. None of us ever had an issue. Then on Sept 28, we started getting spotty service with iMessage. I couldn’t send out. I wouldn’t get messages and my aunt wouldn’t get messages from my cousin (not just me as the center of the problem haha). We aren’t even on the same cell provider yet everything worked fine until that Sat.

    I just tried unlinking my email, turning phone off and then back on. Now iMessage works again. However, it was working intermittently by itself (Sunday it worked just fine without me doing anything). I’m glad you have the various fixes that have worked, as this whole thing was driving me nutty. It was disrupting communications in my family haha.

  • Kaeli

    Rebooting my phone worked for me :)

    • http://www.igeeksblog.com/ iGeeksBlog

      Cheers… :)

  • Sam

    My iMessage isn’t working!!!!! Help

  • Hannah

    My iMessage isn’t working ever since my mom got her iPad but it works on every body’s else works it’s says that my Apple ID is wrong but I know for a fact that’s it’s right

    • http://www.igeeksblog.com/ iGeeksBlog

      Hi,
      can you tell us a little more about this. Was the iPad new and did you
      set it up as new? Also, does the Apple ID work for iCloud?

  • Royce Otero

    The setting the date to auto worked… Thanks

  • CMR0526

    I go into Settings > iCloud and I reenter my password. It will say “verifying” and then a check mark will appear next to my ID. That seems to fix the problem every time so far.

  • Jamiroquai

    I had the same problem and nothing was fixing it. I was about to do a factory reset but I decided to delete WhatsApp and Facebook messenger apps. Did that, reset the phone and it worked. Then I reinstall the apps and it still works.

    • JC_SMITH44

      Thanks for this tip. I was about to throw my iPhone through the wall!!!! I deleted the Facebook Messenger then restarted my iPhone and it asked for my AppleID and worked like a charm. #Savedmysanity

  • Silverwolf Crystal

    Same here.. Exact same thing!

  • Meagan

    iMessages will only come through on my macbook, and send only from e-mail on my phone but not from my phone number. I have tried EVERYTHING I can think of. Airplane mode, restarting, wifi, resets, deleting apps, I installed the new software update 8.1.1 and nothing has worked.

    I’m about ready to toss this thing in a wood chipper.

  • Kelly_NYDC

    This was really helpful for troubleshooting! Thanks!! Fixed my issue.

  • Jas

    My iphone5s won’t iMessage with iPhone 4s. It’s running on ios7.1.1. Will upgrading it to ios8 help? Thanks

  • lucas

    this morning i was goig to sed my dad a message on imessage. it did not go threw. facetime does not work.i can sign into my imessage on my old ipod and it works fine. its just on my ipod 5? what do i have to do? or do i have to wait until apple updates?

  • Milja

    I tried all of the options except rebooting… last resource, then this phone has had it… nothing but trouble for the last year… so sad…

  • Milja

    Factory reset solved this problem for me… :(

  • DJ

    I’m not having any issues with my iPhone 6 but in the last week or so I’m having issues with my iPad. I have been sending and receiving iMessages between my sister and my daughter for a few years. Now I get a delivery error and don’t receive their iMessages. If I start a new message to them, their name comes up in red and if I hover over their name is says that they are not registered with iMessage. Like I said, I don’t have any issues sending an iMessage from my iPhone, just iPad.

    • VickyD

      I have a similar thing to DJ on my iPad from about 10 days ago, I cannot iMessage people with whom I have been, since getting my iPad Air in July 2014, Suddenly I can’t send or receive messages, even though at their end it says delivered or sent. When I try to message it says Not Delivered with an exclamation mark in red in a red circle. Invites me to Try Again but that’s never been successful. Also I can’t initiate Face Time, I think others can still FaceTime me. Changed my password, have reset Internet settings AND my iPad; BTW my Apple ID works with iCloud. Yes driving me NUTS & not in a nice way …

  • Polagriffe

    i can confirm 1 thing: I had an iphone, upgraded it to iOS8 and could not “see” another iPhone in the message section as iMessage it was just message. in green, not blue. I had 2 messages (1 from my contact with iphone and another basic SMS). I deleted both of them. Then I wrote back to my iPhone contact … it immediately switched to blue … iMessage had come back. Looks weird, probably a bug. But it worked for me.

  • Vicki Varney

    Couldn’t turn iMessage on. Deleted Facebook Messenger, turned phone off and on and now iMessage working. Yayyy

  • VickyD

    OK, I’ve got it fixed now, BUT it was VERY long-winded (5hrs approx. I kid you not!), and could not have done it on my own. I phoned Apple support line, after attempting the easiest fixes first without success, I was walked through deleting EVERYTHING from my iPad, restoring software and firmware, then restoring my data etc with testing between each restore, and hey presto, I’m good to go again! The wonderful chap who got me going said they don’t know why it happens.
    (Have noticed iMessages need a bit of encouragement to ‘come through’ to my end but will wait to see if that continues or goes away, before I go back to them if it needs a fix. I think they’d all run for cover if they knew I was phoning again, it took so long last time, but it was hardly my fault!)

  • Morgan

    Okay so I can’t do this Step 1: Go to Settings → Messages → Send & Receive –

    I am running ios 8 on an iphone 5. It is brand new. When I enter into messages I see the following headings and subheadings – imessage, sms/mms(mms messaging, show subject field, character count & blocked) and message history (Keep messages). There is no ‘send and recieve option”!

    The problem I’m having is imessage is flicked to the off setting. When I try to flick it on, it just automatically flicks off again. Why!

  • CAF

    I have tried for hours to fix this issue on my iPad 2 FaceTime Activation … Could not sign in Please check your network connection.
    OK so my Facetime always worked and I haven’t been on it since getting my iPhone 6 back in Oct. Tried today to get on it via iPad and kept getting error. I tried the logging in and out thing. I tried the time zone thing. I tried he DNS thing, I tried all those. I resorted to wiping the damn thing and restoring it. I even removed the FB Messenger app and restated. NOTHING is working. 6 hours of my day is gone and I am going nuts. I have changed my passwords and everything. I am running iOS 8.1.2. I NEED HELP

    • toni

      I’m having same problem for weeks now and getting PISSED

    • altaf

      have you fixed this problem? i am having same issue

  • Pas

    I’m having the same problem with my iPad Air. I’ve used iMessage since I got it over a year ago. Yesterday morning it had logged me out and I can’t get it to reactivate! I don’t even have the option to turn it on and off. There is just the log in with name and password and it won’t accept them. The same account rocks fine on my phone so I know it isn’t the iCloud address that is the problem. Everything else works fine. The update today did not help me either.

    • curious

      did you get this fixed?

  • Alison

    I have just reset network to factory settings on iPad this has cleared problem have been trying to sort for hours

  • Darryn

    Hi All, I have two IPhone 4S models which I manage concurrently (1 work, 1 personal) After upgrading my personal phone and my son’s 4S to IOS 8 (including latest vers. 3) I Message shut down and will not activate – the error message screen is same as per above in the post. However, my work phone and my Partner’s Iphone 4S are both still on IOS7.1.2 and work fine on IMessage – no problem at all. I am currently de-installing IOS8 from both my personal and son’s phones and will be reinstalling IOS 7.1.2 which appears to be the only truly compatible IOS for the 4S.

    • Amy

      How do you uninstall IOS 8-something and reinstall 7.1.2? I’d love to do this…

  • Darryn

    Hello Again, Further to my last post I was able to rectify the problem I was having with I Message after installing IOS8.1.3. to my 4S. Firstly, as IOS7.1.2 is no longer signed by Apple, I resorted to downgrading to and installing IOS8.1.2 which is still being signed by Apple. This resulted in all sub-menu items (such as “Send and Receive” ) reappearing in the Messages folder and I Message did actually activate no problem some 5 minutes after I toggled I Message to “on”. Many of these sub-menus were lost when the IOS8.1.3 was installed.
    One other thing to note was that my email address (which is my Apple ID) was recently assigned as a security email contact to my Son’s new Apple ID account (which has now been changed). I understand from my research that having your Apple ID assigned to more than one account in any way causes a verification conflict which basically disables I Message and Face Time.
    I hope this is of help to some one.

  • Salibongo

    Please help! Both facetime and imessage have stopped working and I can not access either through settings. I can get into settings ok and all the other thumbnails and toggles in settings work ok but when I click on messages or facetime they just highlight blue but it does not take me into their settings. I have tried on and off, reboot, signing in and out of icloud. Am I missing something??!

    • Alex

      I have the same issue…

  • aox

    Like Wayne, I’ve just switched on “Set Automatically” Date & Time and it’s working now!

  • Tapioca

    Removing Facebook messenger was the only option that worked for me. That shitty app is a disgrace to Apple developers!

  • steph

    removing email from send and received worked for me. i’ve been unable to send imessages for days, thank you for this fix! :)

    • Killer15

      Howd you do it mam????

  • Killer15

    How to fix my imessage i need it now!!

  • Griff

    I have tried everything suggested and still no luck. Basically my iPhone 4 will send to some and not others, and isn’t receiving any at all! Really frustrated now…..

  • Cathee

    YIPPEE!!! I finally fixed mine. Seems the text message forwarding on my iPhone/Messages in settings was somehow set to off. Turned it on and it works great with my iPad again. Hope this helps some of you. ????

  • John U

    Thanks!! Tried ’em all, but deleting about 30 of my message threads seemed to blow its nose, clear its head, and make it work again.

  • Jennifer

    Omg I have no idea what do to. It comes up with connect to iTunes, but I’m already connect and my iMessage and FaceTime are not working. The time and data are setting to the right shit, I AM STUCK SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE,

  • shayler

    I have an iPhone 5c and I really need help ive tried everything and my imessage and facetime are not working/ my phone was turned off but the imessage and facetime has still worked until today I don’t know what to do can someone please help me ?

  • Patient

    Than you Chandra! #2 worked for me!

  • happyjjd

    HERE IS WHAT WORKED FOR ME === Goto General>>> Change Date/Time
    settings to AUTOMATIC / and your timezone… Worked for me after trying
    everything else imaginable on Iphone 6 -Verizon

  • Linda

    Hi switching iMessage off and then on again did the trick for me.

  • dori

    Trying to use imessage for 1st time&can’t sign in. Wanted to try “send & receive options” but that is not in settings…messages, I scrolled down an these options don’t seem to exist in my iphone 5s. What am I missing?

  • Jamie

    On my iPhone 6, iOS 8.3, the date and time was set to “automatically”. I switched this off, and it fixed the problem. I can iMessage again!!

  • Jobine

    All work’s on 3G or LTE, but I can’t send picture or video with i’m on wifi. Any help ?

  • Shelly

    Nephew couldn’t get into his imessage app at all, then a friend’s phone started doing the same thing. Ended up going into pictures, and sending a picture thru the gallery. It fixed the problem. Not sure how, but it worked. Hope this helps someone out there.

  • India

    Ok, So I have an iPhone 4… (whatever it is) and in my case, I had to restart my entire iPhone. Only because I hadn’t updated in years and without restarting I couldn’t get to the point of even wishing to update to iOS 8 lol. SO, once I did that, I realised I couldn’t use iMessage, tried everything you guys were saying… nothing.. so I really got to thinking, and this is what I did to finally get it working. Settings >> iCloud >> Sign Out >>Sign back in. So that seemed to get the Send/Receive option back, I selected my mobile number to be both, and HEY PRESTO… thank god… took literally 5 hours of thinking with this tiny brain of mine… totally worth it lol, really hope this can help some of you out, I know just how FRUSTRATING it can be! :) Happy iMessaging.

  • Super Grateful Reader

    SERIOUSLY LOVED THIS POST GUYS! :) MANY THANKS TO A PERSON IN NEED OF CONTACTING HER BEST FRIEND :) YOU JUST MADE MY LIFE 10 TIMES EASIER!!!!

  • Jahshs

    So basically i was bored so i made a bunch of paragraphs. It glitched and i tried txting with siri. Nuhing happenes. It didnt even let me in! I tried everything listed on the page! Nuthing! What should i do!

  • Linda

    I had to reset all setting on my ipad. Settings, General, Reset, Reset all settings.