Tired of iMessage waiting for activation error in iOS 9 or iOS 8.x on iPhone? Or is it just draining the last ounce of patience left in you? Despite our ‘been there done that’ experience, we’re equally skeptic about how to activate iMessage. Sometimes it works just perfectly, but sometimes it drives us crazy. There are quite a lot of fixes recommended almost everywhere but most of it doesn’t work. That’s what prompted us to test with a lot of iPhones and we ended up activating iMessage successfully.

iMessage Waiting for Activation

Before You Start To Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Issue on iPhone running iOS 9 or iOS 8.x:

Before you start trying out all these methods to get iMessage activated, you’ll need to sort these things out:

  • Make sure in the Phone app, you’ve got your number listed. On top of ‘Contacts’ you should see your number listed (My Number:). If not, you’ll need to go to Settings → Phone → My Number and enter your number.
  • Make sure Date & Time (under General) are correct. Set to ‘Set Automatically’ make sure the Time Zone is correct and the iPhone holds the right time.
  • Also make sure you’ve got a working network. Wi-fi issues can cause iMessage activation problems so have cellular enabled.
    For some users, the message sent out for activation goes out as an international SMS. Make sure your carrier permits these and you have sufficient amount to send them.

1. Contact Your Carrier

First of all make sure that your carrier support iMessage or not. Contact your Carrier support team and verify any limiting condition on your for iMessage, blocks, or filters on text messages.

2. Airplane Mode

As strange as it sounds, may be you should try this method if nothing else works. We found the airplane mode activation mode in one of the discussions. It sounds simple and if it solves, that’d be good, right?

Here’s how it works:

Step #1. Go to Settings → scroll down and tap on Messages and turn off iMessage (also disable FaceTime)

Step #2. Turn on the Airplane mode. Wifi will be turned OFF automatically.

Step #3: Turn ON Wifi.

Step #4. Head back to Messages and turn-on iMessage.

Step #5. You’ll be prompted for your Apple ID if you haven’t added it yet. (else, you don’t get any notification)

Step #6. Now, head back to Settings and turn OFF Airplane mode.

Step #7. Mostly, you’ll be shown a notification that says ‘Your carrier may charge for SMS’ – Tap on OK

Step #8. If not, go to Messages, turn OFF iMessage and then turn it ON again.

Step #9. In a short while, iMessage should get activated.

Step #10. You’ll see a greyed out number and an email ID. A little later, the number should be checked and that’s it.

(This worked for us, seriously.)

More discussion at Apple’s forum

3. Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in

Sometimes, you just need to sign-out of your Apple ID and then login again.

Step #1. Under Settings → Message, scroll down to where it says ‘Send & Receive’ and tap on it.

Step #2. Tap on the Apple ID and then press Sign Out.

Step #3. Switch off iMessage now.

Step #4. Wait for a while (turn on/off Wifi) and then switch ON iMessage.

Step #5. Enter your Apple ID details now and try to reactivate iMessage

iMessage Settings

4. Reset, Or Restore

If things don’t work, you’ll first need to reset your location settings, then the iPhone. Reset is just a forced reboot so your data remains safe. After the reset, you’ll just login with your Apple ID and set up iMessage as new.

Should this fail, you might have to restore the iPhone as new or from a backup.

Apple tries to let users enjoy a seamless iMessage experience but one thing that’s clear is that setting up and activating iMessage doesn’t usually work smoothly for all users. Try these methods and let us know if any of it worked. And we’re looking for more solutions too so let us know.

  • Buakonikai

    For me it was the VPN settings. I had downloaded the “TunnelBear” app which I had forgotten to turn off. After turning off the VPN option I finally got my imessage to work again. Settings -> General -> VPN. Make sure that it is not trying to connect. If it is, turn it off.

  • ניצה גרוס כספי

    I have tried every thing!!! (a few times) including updating to 9.0.2 and my imessage activation still doesn’t work…..

  • Aperson

    Make sure you can send international text to apple otherwise you cant activate imessage i have found this out from Apple and confronting AldiMobile which tell me i have to pay more money just to send 1 text to activate imessage.