iMessage Waiting for Activation: How to Fix the Issue on iPhone or iPad

While you are trying to activate iMessage on iPhone, you may face a weird issue. Particullarly, a new user may have issue during set up. The most common error is “iMessage waiting for activation.” Apart from new devices, even existing devices may face this random issue if user change carrier.

Many times it is just a matter of small fix and things start to run smoothly again. But there are times when a simple issue can create a havoc during setup. Whatever may be the case, we have listed down all the possible fixes to this problem. But before you jump to the solutions part, make sure you read the basics first.

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You’ll need to sort these things out:

  • Make sure you’ve got your number listed in the Phone app. If not, you’ll need to go to Settings → Phone → Your Name and enter your number.
  • Make sure Date & Time are correct. Besides, ensure that Time Zone is set correctly. Settings → General → Date & Time → turn on the switch next to Set Automatically.
  • In some cases, iMessage activation may take up to 24 hours. If it doesn’t get enabled even after a day, contact your carrier.
  • Contact your Carrier support team and verify any limiting condition on your iMessage, blocks, or filters on text messages. And ensure that you are fully onboard. I mean make sure you are allowed to send/receive SMS.
  • For some users, the message sent out for activation goes out as an international SMS. Make sure your carrier permits it, and you have sufficient amount for it.
  • Be sure you have enough credit on your SIM card if you are using pre-paid plans. According to some iPhone users who had run into the same problem, the iMessage won’t activate if there is no SMS credit.
  • At times, Apple runs into system issues that affect iMessage and FaceTime. Thus, it’s better to check out Apple’s system status upfront. If iMessage is marked in yellow or red, it’s affected by system issue.

Having taken a close look at some of the essential things, let’s give a try to some of the practical tricks. The rule is pretty simple. Start with the first one and move to give the next one a chance only if it doesn’t get the work done.

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.

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Turn Off WiFi on iPhone or iPad

Now, try to activate iMessage. If the problem persists, try to reset network settings. It will delete all the existing network settings and return them to factory default. Settings → General → Reset → Reset Network Settings → Enter your Passcode → Confirm.

Reset Network Settings on iPhone or iPad

Now, check out if the problem is gone. If you are still stuck with the issue, try out the next solution.

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Solution #2. Turn Off/ON iMessage and Hard Reset Your Device

Give a fresh stance to the iMessage and your iPhone. This little trick has worked for a few users. So, I’m expecting it to get the job done for you as well.

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

Turn Off iMessage on iPhone

Step #2. Now, reboot your iOS device:

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  • On iPhone 6s/iPhone SE or earlier, hold Power button and Home button 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 8/8 Plus or later, head over to this post.

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

Assuming you have got rid of the issue. Just in case, the problem is still lingering around, do not be disappointed as there are still a few tricks left in our sleeve.

Solution #3. Update Your iPhone’s Carrier Settings

Did you know that carrier provider releases updates to improve performance and even resolve some issues from time to time? So, check out if there is an update available. And if it’s waiting for you, go for it.

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

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Step #2. Tap on About. If there is an 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 #4. Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in

No success as yet? It’s time to sign out and sign back in to Apple ID account. Yeah, it does sound to be a bit funny. But believe me, it has clicked for some users. Hopefully, you may get through as well.

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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.

Sign Out Apple ID on iPhone

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.

Solution #5. Go For Software Update

Whenever Apple releases a software update, I make sure to update my device. It helps me shoot out miscellaneous issues and boost the performance of the device. Therefore, I would recommend you to give a shot to this trusted troubleshooter as well.

Open Settings app → Tap on General → Tap on Software Update and then install the update as usual.

Once you have successfully updated your device, the issue should be resolved.

Don’t lose your heart, if the villain is still creating the roadblock.

Solution #6. If Nothing Works

As they say, “Tough times call for tough 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.

Open Settings app → General → Tap on Reset → Tap on Erase All Content and Settings → Enter iPhone Passcode → then confirm. Next up, set up your device as desired.

Reset iPhone to Factory Settings

You can also restore your iPhone via iTunes. To so, connect the device to your computer → fire iTunes → select the device → hit Restore iPhone and confirm.

Restore iPhone from iTunes Backup

Once you have restored your device, set it up perfectly. Then, try to enable iMessage. Most likely, you will be finally over the line. Congrats!

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

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

Wrapping up…

I guess you have enjoyed my company. Share your thoughts and let us know which one of the above tricks shot out the iMessage issue on your iPhone.

You’d like to take a peek at these posts as well:

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Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.
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