iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Error on iPhone

iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Error on iPhone [How to Fix]

Update: If you’re facing iMessage activation errors in iOS 7, here’s what you can try to fix it.

Tired of iMessage waiting for activation issue? 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

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. 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: Turn off iMessage (and 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

2. 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

Activate iMessage on iPhone

3. 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.

  • ArubaMac

    #1 and #2 didn’t work for me. And I’m bit ready to Ho through the trouble of wiping/restoring!

    I’ll see whether apple techs have another solutions.

    Thx for s recommendations though.

  • goobers

    neither worked, i dont want to restore to factory settings but i’m almost ready to. it will not verify my phone number (all grey digits) in FaceTime and wont even show the number in the iMessage

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

      Sometimes, you might need to wait a full day before re-activating
      iMessage using your number. If that still doesn’t work, restore is the
      only option imho.

      • Via Newson

        restoring it didnt even work..

    • Wisey

      I can’t even add my number in Settings > Phone > My number, as it’s greyed out. Another slowclap for Apple. What’s the point in such a large scale beta rollout when issues like this are still unresolved when the full release rolls around? Absolute garbage.

      Thanks for the tips though. I’ve tried all of them, and despite the fact they didn’t fix my issue, they’ve clearly worked for others :)

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

        Strange. I know it sucks when you’ve got core issues like these…

        Did you try doing a full restore via iTunes? May be backup data in iTunes and then restore it again to check if the problem is resolved?

  • http://twitter.com/EgorArchitec Egor Danilenko

    Thank you soooo muuuuch! It works for me!!

  • PSmith

    I found that the problem with iMessage not activating was an error during the installation of iOS 7 to my device as it worked on my iPad but not my iPhone. Also, I was not receiving push notifications on my iPhone. A restore of the phone so that it re-installed iOS 7 and restore from backup was the only thing that fixed it.

  • Corinn Byrne

    I have done everything and still not able to get iMessage or FaceTime to work on my Iphone 5 even after doing everything that Apple chat told me to.

  • Corinn Byrne

    Just to let all know, even though my phone says it is waiting on activation for iMessage and FaceTime, I can send messages and use FaceTime, I tested it with my husbands phone, he hasn’t upgraded to iOS 7 yet

    • Carlos

      my iphone5 says waiting for activation. Sending messages works for some phones but not all. One friend has a iphone4s and she receives my messages but i cannot receive her messages. Another friend of mine, we have no problem sending messages back and forth. Dont know what is wrong.

  • Malana Goodrich

    the reboot seems to work best, but i keep having to do it several times. i get knocked off imessage once or twice an hour. my internet connection is solid. i hope i won’t have to continue rebooting my phone like this

  • dayana sanabria

    I have GPP from sprint to tmobile. I did the update because I didn’t know I couldn’t please advise!!! I got to work the calls using the Irose patch. but I can’t get to work data and SMS.
    if anyone knows
    thank you

  • Ash Kirch

    I restored my phone and tried the other options and to no avail..

  • Toby

    Go into settings, click on messages, scroll down to ” send & receive’ and make sure the number shown is yours. Click on “send & receive” then click on ” use your apple ID for message”, this is to make sure your apple ID is correct and if it isn’t this where you will change it. Back out and go into “general”, scroll all the way to the bottom and click on “reset” then click on “reset network settings”. This worked for me hope it helps.

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

      Thanks for the comment.. :)

  • Johan Opperman

    I had this problem, and found that the problem disappeared after sending only one message as plain SMS (so green message). After that, Blue iMEssages suddenly also got sent…

  • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

    Here’s what worked for me: Go to https://appleid.apple.com. Click on the “Manage my ID” button. Make sure your email address and phone number are correct. Then click the “Save Changes” button. I didn’t change anything but as soon as I clicked the “Save Changes” button, my iMessages instantly activated. Thank God I’m bald or I would have pulled all my hair out until I did this.

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

      That’s great! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Anne Shuker

      I could literally kiss you!

    • Derek

      This works!!!

    • Kara Harington

      I tried this thanks for the tips, but it did not work for me. It continues to say waiting for activation.

    • http://twitter.com/mualhadi Muhanad

      Which one did you fill? or all of the forms with same number?

  • Antione Felder

    I have an unlocked iphone with a number so can it still work

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

      It should, yeah.

  • Katie

    After trying for a long time i finally got it!!! I cant thank you enough! wile it was Activating i tried to text another iPhone and it finally sent! Thank you veeery much! i will pass this along to friends!

  • Seiko Tanaka

    i cannot Reply Directly , When some is Texting me. :(
    how can i fix it ?

  • mblow

    Thank you! Turning off wifi allowed the iMessage to activate, and now I can text again – such a weird issue.

  • mnorman014

    My phone is currently deactivated bcuz I am stationed overseas.. This may sounds stupid, but is the reason why mine isn’t working is bcuz my phone is deactivated? I’ve tried everything and my phone number continues to stay gray.

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

      That could be very much the reason. can you access websites on your iPhone?