Some features that set iMessage apart from a regular text message and some other messaging apps are its delivery status and read receipt features.
Nothing can be more annoying than when iMessage isn’t working on your iPhone. If you’ve been an iPhone user for some time, you should be pretty familiar with the issue. But don’t worry, I’ve listed a number of ways for you to make your iMessage work again.
Quick Tip: Set Date & Time Automatically: A reader has noted that setting the date to automatic fixes the issue. To do so, open Settings → General → Date & Time → toggle on Set Automatically.
Why is my iMessage not working?
First things first. Before we answer why your iMessage isn’t working, let’s deal with the how. How do you know if your iMessage isn’t working? First, if previous messages are blue speech bubbles are now in green.
Another sign that your iMessage isn’t working is when you don’t see the word Delivered below the message you’ve just sent.
You should see Delivered under your message as soon as the recipient’s device has received your message. On the other hand, you should see Read if the message has been tapped, regardless if they’ve actually read your message.
If you don’t want other people to tell when you’ve opened their message, you can turn this feature off by going to Settings→ Messages → Send Read Receipts.
10 Ways to fix iMessage not delivered or not working issue on iPhone
There are plenty of reasons why your iMessage can stop working— it can be an issue with your iMessage app, some issue with your settings, or a problem with Apple’s iMessage server.
- See if iMessage is down
- Check your internet connection
- Ensure that your iMessage is turned on
- Make sure that your iMessage is activated
- See if your recipient has iMessage
- Restart your iPhone
- Update your iOS
- Sign out and back in with Apple ID
- Trash and resend the message
- Reset all settings
1. See if iMessage is down
It may be that it’s an issue on Apple’s server. While rare, it may still happen. You can check Apple’s System Status page to see if iMessage isn’t available.
You should see a yellow diamond if there is an issue with the service, or a red sign if there is an outage.
If everything seems fine, then maybe the error is on your end. This is especially the case if you’re seeing a Not Delivered with an exclamation point (!) beside your iMessage,
2. Check your internet connection
Note that iMessage relies on an internet connection. Be sure to check if you are connected to one. If not, your succeeding messages will be in green bubbles, indicating that they are automatically sent as regular text messages instead of relying on a network connection to send an iMessage.
Turn your Wi-Fi or Cellular on/off
Is your iMessage not working on Wi-Fi? Note that your iPhone can still connect to a Wi-Fi network that isn’t working. The easiest way to check is by going to your browser and trying to visit a website. If it doesn’t load, then what you have is a network issue.
You may head to Settings → Wi-Fi where you should see the network you’re currently joined to. It may be that your iOS device automatically joined another network with a poor connection. Just choose the network you prefer and join it. If you’re on mobile data, check Settings → Cellular.
You may also want to turn your Wi-Fi on and off and rejoin a network to clear any glitches or potential issues. You can do the same for your cellular data.
It may also be that you’ve exceeded your cellular data limit. So be sure to check this too.
Turn Airplane Mode on/off
If you’re on cellular data and your connection is suboptimal you may try to turn Airplane Mode on and off to see if it’ll improve your connection. To do this, just access your Control Center → select the Airplane Mode icon. Wait for a few seconds and deselect it to turn it off.
2. Ensure that your iMessage is turned on
Go to Settings → Messages to see if iMessage is turned on. Even when it is, you can toggle it off, wait a few seconds, and toggle it on again. Just wait a while for it to reactivate. This may help clear out any bugs in your device causing your iMessage to fail.
You can then try to resend the message by tapping the exclamation point (!) beside the iMessage not delivered on your iPhone.
4. Make sure that your iMessage is activated
If you went to Messages and found the message “Waiting for Activation,” I’d assume that your iPhone is brand new or newly set up. Note that your device must have some mobile or SMS credit to activate it initially. So, ensure to load up before activating or reactivating your iMessage.
If you’ve had your iPhone for a while but are stuck with this message, we have several fixes to resolve the Waiting for Activation error.
5. See if your recipient has iMessage
iMessage only works between iPhones. So if you mean to send a message to a non-iOS device, you’ll see a green bubble instead of a blue one, indicating that your message has been sent as a regular SMS.
You may also manually send regular text messages to avoid hassles if you’re in a place with a faulty internet connection. To do so, go to Settings → Messages → Send as SMS.
Of course, SMS is not the same as iMessage. If not being able to send messages is a dealbreaker, you and your contact may opt to use messaging app alternatives for iMessage that are platform-agnostic, like Telegram or Whatsapp.
6. Restart your iPhone
Force restarting your iPhone is a helpful trick to eliminate bugs affecting your device. It boots your device, killing unwanted processes—including any bugs causing your iPhone’s iMessage to stop working. This simple troubleshoot is an easy fix for many issues your iPhone may face.
7. Update your iOS
It isn’t uncommon to run into issues if your iOS isn’t updated. Apple regularly repairs and clears bugs and other issues through iOS updates.
Check if you’re running the latest iOS by going to Settings → General → Software Update. You should see the message iOS is up to date. If not, tap the prompt asking you to update your iOS.
8. Sign out and back in with Apple ID
Another quick fix to your iMessage not delivered woe is to sign out and back in with your Apple ID. Go to Settings → Messages → Send & Receive. Tap your Apple ID in blue. A dialog box will appear. Tap Sign Out.
After doing so, your Apple ID will disappear from the option. It may take a few moments to load and reappear again.
9. Trash and resend the message
If you see the error on large files, like a video or a long message, it may be best to try resending them. If you’ve attempted to resend it a few times, you may opt to delete the file and try again. To do so, just swipe left and delete.
If you’re dealing with several messages, there’s a way to delete them in bulk. Just hold the most recent message → More → tick all the messages that failed to send → tap trash at the bottom. This should clear your backlog so you can try resending the message.
10. Reset all settings
If all these fixes fail, you might want to reset your device. Don’t worry, though. There’s an option that allows you to reset the settings on your iPhone without causing you to lose your data.
- Go to Settings → General.
- Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone → Reset → Reset All Settings.
Doing so requires you to set up your network settings and sign in with your Apple ID again. This option may clear the issue if it’s a system-related glitch.
Not being able to send a message is always frustrating, especially if it used to work seamlessly. I hope the above fixes help fix the iMessage not delivering issue on iPhone. Has this ever happened to you? What fix worked? Or was it more of an issue on the recipient’s side? Share your experiences below!
- iMessage Waiting for Activation error on iPhone? Here’s the fix!
- How to change iMessage bubble color on iPhone and iPad
- How to play iMessage typing prank with friends
- How to Collaborate on projects using Messages in iOS 16
Rachel loves anything Apple —from iPhones, to Apple Watches, to MacBooks. She is also a medical writer and a ghostwriter for various publications.