SMS Relay Not Working: “No Activation Code on Mac” – How to Fix

As we’re finding out as we go about testing Continuity features (phone calls, Handoff etc.) on our iPhones (iOS 8.1) and Mac (OS X Yosemite), there’s a lot going under the hood. One major issue that’s hitting a lot of people is “SMS Relay not working”.

One of the first problems you might face is where you don’t get any activation code on your Mac even after setting things up correctly. That snag, apparently, is caused due to a small glitch in the Send & Receive part of Messages.

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SMS Relay Not Working No Activation Code on Mac

Here is How to Fix No Activation Code on Mac For SMS Relay Setup

#1. Same iCloud Account

This is a no-brainer but just to make sure no one pulls out all hair over a silly little thing, here’s the deal: SMS Relay (and all other Continuity features) works over the principle that your Mac and your iPhone use the same iCloud account.

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This means, on your Mac (System Preferences -> iCloud) and on your iPhone (Settings -> iCloud), you should be logged into the same iCloud account. This is how Continuity figures out what Mac it should integrate with the iPhone.

That’s the first thing you should check.

Also, some more basics:

  • Mac and iPhone on the same Wi-fi network (although many users report that this is not required. Specifications don’t mention this either. But just to be sure, be on the same Wi-fi on your Mac and your iPhone)
  • Compatibility: check this post for SMS Relay compatibility. (basically iOS 8.1 on your iPhone, OS X Yosemite on your Mac)

#2. Check Email in Send & Receive

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Next up, you need to have an email ID in the Send & Receive option in Message settings (in iOS 8.1 / iPhone). I am not sure if this email ID should also be the same as your iCloud ID but in most cases, this is how it is. You mostly use your iCloud ID for iMessage email too.

On your iPhone:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Messages
  • Now tap on Send & Receive

You should see an email ID under You Can Be Reached By iMessage At:.

  1. Make sure there’s a tick next to it. (If not, tap on the email ID and the tick-mark will appear)
  2. If there’s no email ID (usually there’s almost always an email ID here), tap on Add Email… and add your iCloud ID.

No Activation Code on Mac For SMS Relay Setup

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At the risk of repeating myself, you should make sure that the email ID is ticked.

#3. Start New Conversations From

With #2, the activation code should hopefully show up. But when it doesn’t, there’s another thing to check out.

On your iPhone:

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  • Go to Settings -> Messages
  • Tap on Send & Receive
  • Under the label Start New Conversations From, you should see your number (grayed out, ticked) and an email ID.

If you don’t see an email ID, sign out of iMessage by tapping on the Apple ID on top. Then, re-login and you will see the email ID under the label.

If you see an email but it’s not ticked, tap on it to select it.

The bottom line is, you should have an email ID under this label and it should be selected (tick mark). Like this:

How to Fix SMS Relay Not Working

#4. Delete and Re-add iCloud Account

Nothing worked? You should try re-starting the whole setup. Arguably, that’s painful but what we’re talking about is just logging out of iCloud on your Mac and then re-logging in to the same.

Dhvanesh Adhiya
Dhvanesh Adhiya is our editor-in-chief and reviewer who takes care of He is passionate for wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.


    • Try turning off iMessage, logging out of iCloud on both iphone and Mac and then restarting the whole process. Also, make sure Bluetooth is switched on on both your iPhone and Mac.

  1. To fix the issue, i signed out signed out of my apple ID in the send and receive section for both my mac and iPhone and that did the trick for me

  2. Thank you very much. I was trying to connect my new 6 to my old 5 but was never getting the code. I just assumed it was because they were both iPhones. But after using suggestion #3, I git the code and linked them together :-)

  3. For anybody with two-factor authentication turned on, make sure you use the same app-specific password when logging in to both your Mac and your iPhone on iMessages. I scoured the internet for a solution to this problem, and in the end it was just this little oversight I had made.


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