How to fix “iMessage waiting for activation / iMessage not working” Error on iPhone
Setting up iMessage should be an easy thing. That doesn’t mean it always is. Occasionally users receive a message saying “Waiting for Activation” and grumble that the message won’t go away. That’s not exactly what you had in mind when deciding to use your iPhone’s iMessage feature.
Don’t fret. There are several steps you can take to get rid of that error and start using iMessage. Before you proceed, make sure you are connected to a WiFi network or cellular data. You also want to make sure your time zone is set correctly by going to Settings>General>Date & Time. You can set it using “ style=”color: #e96324;””
Do you have your phone number listed in the Phone app? Look at the top of Contacts and see if your phone number is there. If not, go to Settings>Phone>My Number and enter your number. You also may want to check with your phone carrier to make sure your phone can receive SMS messages and supports iMessage.
How to fix “iMessage waiting for activation / iMessage not working” Error on iPhone:
Tips 1: Update your iOS software
It may not be this easy, but this is a good place to start. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have the most up-to-date iOS software installed.
Make sure your iPhone is connected to a power source and WiFi. Go to Settings, tap on General then Software Update. Next you want to tap Download and Install.
Tips #2: Airplane mode
Open your Settings app and tap Airplane mode to turn it on. Wait about 30 seconds and turn it back off. Give it a few more minutes then try iMessage again.
Tips #3: Restart iMessage
Another possible fix is to turn iMessage off then back on again. To do so, go to Settings>Messages and turn off iMessage.
Restart your device by pressing and holding the sleep/wake button until the red slider appears and drag the slider to turn your device off. Press sleep/wake again until you see the Apple logo appear on your screen. Then turn iMessage back on.
Tips #4: Sign in and out from your Apple ID
Still stuck? Try signing in and out from your Apple ID.
To do so, go to Settings and tap on Messages. Next you want to tap on Send & Receive, tap your Apple ID and tap Sign Out.
Go to Messages and turn off iMessage. You also want to turn off WiFi, wait about 15 seconds and turn it back on.
Once WiFi’s back on, go to Settings>Messages>Send & Receive and enter your Apple ID.
Tips #5: Toggle several settings
Still no iMessage? That’s a bummer. Let’s keep going. This is a lengthy attempt at a fix, but it reportedly works.
Step 1: Go to Settings>Messages.
Step 2: Turn off iMessage.
Step 3: Go to Settings or open your notification center and turn on Airplane mode. That will turn WiFi off.
Step 4: Go to settings or open your notification center and turn on WiFi.
Step 5: Go to Messages and turn iMessage back on.
Step 6: Enter your Apple ID if prompted to do so.
Step 7: Open your notification center or settings and turn Airplane mode off.
Step 8: Click OK if your phone shows you a message saying your carrier may charge for SMS messages used to activate iMessage.
Step 9: If you don’t see that message, go to Settings, turn iMessage off then back on again.
Tips #6: Reset your iPhone’s network settings
Here’s another fix that sometimes works. Before you proceed, make sure you have the password for your WiFi network handy.
Ready? Go to Settings>General and tap on Reset. You want to then tap on Reset network settings, enter your passcode, and tap on Reset network settings again to confirm you want to proceed.
Tips #7: Reinsert SIM card
Still no luck? Let’s keep going. Another reported solution is to remove your SIM card and re-install it. This is another lengthy one, so let’s break it down into steps.
Step 1: Go to Settings>Messages and turn iMessage off.
Step 2: Turn off your iPhone by pressing and holding the sleep/wake button and dragging the slider.
Step 3: Once your iPhone is turned off, take your SIM card out and put it back in.
Step 4: Next you want to turn your phone back on.
Step 5: Go to Settings>General>Reset network settings.
Step 6: Enter the passcode for your WiFi network.
Step 7: Turn WiFi back on.
Step 8: Go to Settings>Messages to turn iMessage back on.
Tips #8: Reset your location and privacy settings
Still no luck? Here’s another fix to try. Reset your phone’s location and privacy settings.
Go to Settings, tap General and tap Reset. When you see Reset Location & Privacy, tap on it and enter your passcode. Tap on Reset Location & Privacy again to confirm that you want to continue.
You will have to go back to apps that use Reset Location and Privacy and re-grant them permission to use your location.
Tips #9: Factory reset your iPhone
Here’s one last thing to try before you reach out to Apple support. Erase your iPhone’s content and settings and get a fresh start. Just remember to back up your data first because it will wipe everything on your iPhone.
Step 1: Go to Settings>General>Reset.
Step 2: Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
Step 3: Type in your passcode.
Step 4: Tap on Erase iPhone.
Step 5: Wait for your device to restart.
Step 6: Set it up as a new device or restore from backup.
Step 7. Set up iMessage and see if it activates.
Still no luck? It’s likely time to contact Apple support.