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How to fix ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ error

Key Takeaways

  • “iMessage Needs to Be Enabled to Send This Message” typically occurs after updating your iPhone or iPad, sometimes because settings get changed during the update.
  • Try simple fixes like enabling/disabling Airplane mode, force-quitting Messages, or restarting your iPhone/iPad. If those options do not work, you can check your server status or re-enable iMessage. It’s easy and quick to fix most problems!

iMessage effortlessly connects friends, family, and colleagues. But sometimes, when you are about to send a text, a pop-up might appear saying, ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message.’ This usually happens after updating your iPhone or iPad.

Don’t worry! Here are some tested solutions to fix this issue. You can start enjoying iMessage again on your iPhone.

1. Ensure iMessage is enabled

  1. Open Settings and tap Messages.
  2. Make sure the toggle for iMessage is green, and there is no message below it like iMessage waiting for activation.

    Make sure iMessage is enabled

If iMessage is on, we can move on to the subsequent fixes.

2. Enable and disable Airplane mode

This is a pretty easy and quick thing to try before going for other complex solutions.

Swipe down from the screen’s top left to open the Control Center. If you have an iPhone with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Next, tap the Airplane icon. It will become orange. After 30 seconds, tap again to disable it.

Enable and disable Airplane mode

3. Force quit the Messages app

After you follow the above solution (Airplane mode on and off), force-quit the Messages app. To do this, enter the App Switcher on your iPhone.

On an iPhone with Face ID, swipe up from the bottom and hold. If your iPhone has a Home button, quickly double-press it. You will see all currently open apps. Close the Messages app by dragging its card all the way up. After 15 seconds, open the Messages app again and try sending the text.

Force quit the Messages app

4. Check iMessage server status

In rare cases, the fault might not be yours but Apple’s. To check this, head over to their System Status Page, and if you see a green dot next to iMessage, that’s good news. If it is yellow or red, then iMessage is down, and Apple is working to implement the fix.

It may take a few minutes to a few hours for everything to return to normal.

Check iMessage server status

5. Restart your iPhone

This quick solution works wonders in solving several problems like ‘iPhone says cannot send a message as iMessage needs to be enabled.’ To restart your iPhone use the buttons first to turn it off and, after a minute, turn it back on.

6. Disable and enable iMessage from Settings

Although iMessage is enabled, your iPhone may say, ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message.’ In this situation, turning iMessage off and then on can solve the problem.

  1. Open Settings and tap Messages.
  2. Toggle off iMessage.
  3. Restart your iPhone.
  4. Follow step 1 and toggle on iMessage again.

    Disable and enable iMessage from Settings app

7. Delete stuck message or conversation

At times, removing the stuck, failed message from the conversation can help clear the way for new messages to be sent successfully.

To do this, open the Messages app and go to the conversation. Long-press the failed message and delete it. Now, try to send a new message again. If this does not work, delete the entire conversation and try sending the message.

Alternatively, sometimes you may not be able to send messages to a particular contact. Try sending it to others to find out. If this happens, follow the solutions below. It would also help to ask the recipient and ensure their iMessage settings are correct.

8. Sign out of Apple ID and sign in again

  1. Go to iPhone Settings and tap your name at the top.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap Sign Out.
  3. Restart your iPhone.
  4. Go to Settings and tap Sign in at the top.
  5. Once signed in again, launch iMessage and see if it works correctly.

    Sign out of Apple ID and sign in again

9. Reset network settings

This will not erase personal data like apps, photos, music, etc., but it will set all network-related settings to default.

  1. Open iPhone Settings and tap General.
  2. From the bottom, tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Tap Reset → Reset Network Settings. Then enter your passcode and tap Reset Network Settings to confirm. 

    Reset Network Settings 

If network reset does not bring any luck, you may try to Reset All Settings. This won’t delete any personal data except all the settings you have changed like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, VPN, notifications, etc.

10. Send as SMS instead of iMessage while you contact support

Finally, if nothing helps, contact Apple Support. Meanwhile, if you really want to send the message, try sending it as a regular SMS instead of iMessage.

I hope the above solutions helped you fix the iMessage problem. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask via the comments section below.

Other helpful posts:

  • Ankur

    I have been an Apple user for over seven years now. At iGeeksBlog, I love creating how-tos and troubleshooting guides that help people do more with their iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, and Apple Watch. In my free time, I like to watch stand up comedy videos, tech documentaries, news debates, and political speeches.

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