Tired of iMessage waiting for activation error in iOS 11, iOS 10, or iOS 9 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.

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iMessage Waiting for Activation

Before You Start To Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Issue on iPhone running iOS 11 or Earlier

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.
  • In some cases, iMessage activation may take up to 24 hours. If it doesn’t get enabled even after a day, contact your carrier.
  • 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.

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

Solution #1. Check Out Internet Connection

Both iMessage and FaceTime require a very good internet connection to work properly. Hence, make sure your internet connection is up to the mark.

Open Settings → Wi-Fi/Cellular → turn off the switch, reboot your device and turn on Wi-Fi/Cellular.

If it doesn’t work, then try to reset network settings. It will delete all the existing network settings and return them to factory settings. Settings → General → Reset → Reset Network Settings.

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Solution #2. Contact Your Carrier

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

Solution #3. Turn Off/ON iMessage and Hard Reset Your Device

Step #1. Open Settings app → Messages → Turn off iMessage.

Step #2. Now, reboot your iOS device by holding ON/OFF button and Home buttons at once for about 10 seconds.

To hard reset iPhone 7/7 Plus, press and hold volume down button and Home button. To force restart your iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus, head over to this post.

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Step #3. When your device has restarted, turn on iMessage.

Solution #4. Update Your iPhone’s Carrier Settings

Step #1. Make sure Wi-Fi or Cellular is enabled on your device. Open Settings → General.

Step #2. Tap on About. If there is any update available, you will get the option to update it.

You can see the version of the carrier settings next to Carrier.

When you insert a new SIM card into your iPhone, you need to download the carrier setting for your new carrier.

Solution #5. Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in

Sometimes, you just need to sign out of your Apple ID and then log in 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

Solution #6. If Nothing Works…

If all the solutions as mentioned above have failed to fix the problem, then update your device to the latest version. Tap on Settings → General → Software Update.

If there is no update available, then restore your iPhone with iTunes. Make sure to take a backup of your device before restoring it.

Restore iPhone Using iTunes on Mac or Windows

You can also contact Apple for help if the problem continues even after the software update or restoring your device.

Also, contact your carrier to ensure you can send/receive SMS.

Watch out how to fix iMessage Not Working issue on your iPhone:

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.

Wrap Up

I’m sure the above solutions can help you fix the iMessage/FaceTime activation error on your iOS device. Being a common problem which many iPhone users (including me) have encountered at some point or the other, it should get resolved—without much pain.

You might also want to check out these posts: iPhone contacts disappeared issue, iMessage not working, how to get back lost iCloud contacts, Bluetooth not working, and Wi-Fi not working on iPhone and iPad.

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