iMessage Waiting for Activation in iOS 13 or iOS 12 on iPhone

You may face an error that says “iMessage waiting for activation,” while you try to activate iMessage on iPhone running iOS 13 or iOS 12, at times it may also say,

  • Unable to contact the iMessage server. Try again.
  • Activation unsuccessful,
  • An error occurred during activation, or
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection.

There is nothing to worry about when you come across these FaceTime and iMessage waiting for activation errors in iOS 13 or iOS 12. Most of the time, it is just a matter of small fix like putting your iPhone in airplane mode, or restarting it. If these work for you; bravo! If not, let us look at all the real solutions and get your iMessage working again.

Before you begin to fix FaceTime and iMessage waiting for activation error:

Tips to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation Error on iPhone

Update iOS on your iPhone

Apple releases periodic updates to fix various bugs. To update software on your iPhone or iPad, open Settings app → GeneralSoftware Update.

Once you successfully update your device, waiting for activation issue should be resolved.

Make sure you’ve got your number listed in the Phone App

For this open Settings app → PhoneMy Number. Make sure it is added and shows here.

Tap on Settings then Phone then My Number on iPhone

Also, open the Contacts app, tap on My Card, and ensure your number is here. If not, tap on Edit from top right and add your phone number.

Tap on Contacts and Edit My Card on iPhone


ALSO READ: How to Fix iPhone Activation Error


Ensure that FaceTime and Phone App are allowed to use Cellular Data

Make sure Cellular Data for Phone and FaceTime app is not turned off: If you are not using Wi-Fi and relying on mobile data, launch Settings appCellular → scroll down and check that mobile data for FaceTime and Phone is not turned off.

Tap on Settings Celllular or Mobile Data then Enable it for Phone and FaceTime

Turn Airplane Mode ON and OFF

Your iPhone may be facing some slight temporary network issues. To address this, open Settings app and turn on the toggle for Airplane Mode. Alternatively, go to control center and turn on AirPlane mode. Wait for 30 seconds and turn it back off.

Ensure your iPhone has the Correct Date and Time

Several issues arise when your iPhone isn’t set to the accurate time zone. To solve ‘iMessage waiting for activation’ error, you must have the correct date and time on your iPhone.

For this, open Settings app → GeneralDate & Time. Turn on the toggle for Set Automatically.

Set Date and Time to Automatic on iPhone

Reboot your iPhone

Restarting a device fixes many small and temporary issues. To address problems in iMessage, please switch off your iPhone and switch it back on.

  • To reboot your iPhone 8, iPhone X, and iPhone 11 Series, press and release Volume Up button, press and release Volume Down Button, and Press and Hold Side Button.

How to Reboot iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8

  • To reboot iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold Volume Down and Power button untill screen shows the Apple Logo.

Reboot iPhone 7-7 Plus

  • To reboot iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6, press and hold home button and Power button untill you see the Apple Logo.

How to Restart-Reboot iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Turn iMessage OFF and Then Back ON

This little trick has worked for several users to fix ‘iMessage Waiting for Activation’ error on iPhone running iOS 12 or iOS 13. So, I’m expecting it to get the job done for you as well.

Step #1. Open Settings app and tap on Messages. Now turn off iMessage.

Step #2. Switch off your iPhone and wait for one minute. Now turn it back on.

Step #3. Follow step #1 and turn ON iMessage. This should successfully fix the activation error.

Toggle iMessage on iPhone

Update Carrier Settings on your iPhone

Did you know that carrier provider regularly release updates to improve performance and even resolve some issues? So, check out if there is an update available for your iPhone. And if it’s waiting for you, go for it. It may fix the activation error for iMessage.

Step #1. Make sure Wi-Fi or Cellular is enabled on your device. Now, open Settings app and tap on GeneralAbout.

Step #2. If there is an update available, you will get the option to update it.

Note: When you insert a new SIM card into your iPhone, you need to download the settings for your new carrier. Most of the time, you get a pop-up asking you to update.

Turn off Content and Privacy Restrictions

We have a detailed post talking about Screen Time and Restrictions on iOS 12 that also works for iOS 13.

To ensure that iMessage activates without any hassle, open Settings app → Screen TimeContent & Privacy Restrictions and make sure the toggle is OFF.

Turn off Content and Privacy Restrictions to Solve iMessage Activation Error on iPhone

If you do not turn it off, scroll down and at least ensure that Account Changes is set to Allow.

Eject iPhone SIM Card and Reinsert it

This is just a recommendation that may work and successfully solve your iPhone’s iMessage issue. Use the sim ejector tool and take out SIM card. Wait for a few seconds and insert the card back.

Sign out of your Apple ID and Sign in back

Still no success? It’s time to sign out your Apple ID from the iPhone and sign back in. Yeah, it does sound to be a bit funny and unnecessary. But believe me, it has clicked for some users and successfully fixed their iMessage activation woes. Hopefully, you may get through as well.

Step #1. In Settings app tap on Messages, and then tap on Send & Receive.

Tap on Send and Receive in iMessage on iPhone

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

Tap on Apple ID and Sign Out to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation Issue

Step #3. Now reboot your iPhone.

Step #4. Once, it backs to normal, Go to Settings app, tap on Messages, and tap on your Apple ID. Tap on return. It will verify, and you will be signed in to iMessage successfully.

Sign Into iMessage with Apple ID

Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation on iPhone

Note: If you do not see your Apple ID in step #4, enter it manually and sign in to reactivate iMessage.

Reset and Restore your iPhone

Tough times call for harsh measures! So, we are going to wipe out all the existing content and settings and restore the device as new. But before going for this radical solution, ensure your iPhone is fully backed up.

First, try the less severe option. See how to reset network settings on your iPhone.

If the above method does not work, reset and restore your iPhone completely. For this: Open Settings app → General → Tap on Reset → Tap on Erase All Content and SettingsEnter iPhone Passcode → then confirm. Next up, set up your device as desired.

Tap on General then Reset on iPhone

Erase iPhone to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation

To restore your iPhone via Finder or iTunes, connect the device to your computer → use Finder or iTunes → select the device → hit Restore iPhone and confirm.

Here are some detailed resources to help you:

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

Last Resort – Contact Carrier Support and Apple Support

As a last resort, you may try contacting your carrier support. They will let you know the details about your account. If the issue is from their end, they’ll share this too. Here are the support numbers for most popular US carriers.

  • AT&T: 1-(800)-331-0500
  • Verizon: 1-(800)-922-0204
  • T-Mobile: 1-(877)-746-0909
  • Sprint: 1-(888)-211-4727

Contact Apple Support – To be straightforward, they may not be able to help you much on chat or call. Support agent will ask you to perform the things we already mentioned above. But still, give it a shot. The better idea is to visit a physical Apple Store. The representative will most likely put your iPhone in DFU mode and try to fix the issue.

iMessage Activation Error Fixed!

I hope one of the multiple solutions worked for you, and now you are enjoying iMessage on your iPhone. Please share your thoughts and let us know which method worked for you.

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