If you are unable to use iMessage or FaceTime due to “iMessage Waiting for Activation” error message, you should be able to fix this problem using troubleshooting steps as provided below.
Fix iMessage Activation Error on iPhone
In general, error message reading “iMessage Waiting for Activation” usually occurs while trying to activate iMessage for the first time on iPhone.
However, this error message is also known to occur after changing phone number, switching to a new Carrier and also after a major iOS update.
There could be various reasons for iPhone coming up with “iMessage Waiting for Activation” error on iPhone, ranging from network connectivity issues to your Apple ID not being recognized or blocked by iCloud.
In certain cases, the problem is due to iPhone not being able to receive SMS Text Messages and Apple taking a longer time than usual to activate iMessage on your device.
1. Check WiFi Network
Unlike carrier supported SMS Text Messages, Apple’s iMessage service relies on internet connectivity. Hence, make sure that your iPhone is connected to WiFi Network.
Go to Settings > WiFi > make sure WiFi is enabled and iPhone is connected to your WiFi network.
After this, open Safari browser and try to browse the internet, in order to check and confirm that your device is able to connect to internet and there is no network problem on your device.
2. Check iMessage Server Status
The problem could be due to Apple’s iMessage service being down or going through problems. To confirm, visit Apple’s System Status page and take a look at iMessage entry.
If there is a problem, you will see an error message next to iMessage entry and the dot next to iMessage will be Red.
3. Enable/Disable Airplane Mode
Enabling and disabling Airplane Mode helps in refreshing cellular network and resets the wireless antennas on iPhone.
Go to Settings > enable Airplane Mode by moving the toggle to ON position.
Wait for 30 seconds and disable Airplane Mode by moving the toggle to OFF position. After this, go to Settings > Messages and see if ‘Waiting for Activation’ message is now gone.
4. Check iMessage Settings
Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > On the next screen, make sure both your Apple ID and Phone Number are listed with check marks.
If there is no check mark, tap on your Phone Number to activate iMessage for your Phone Number. If Apple ID is not listed, tap on Use your Apple ID for iMessage and sign-in to your Apple ID.
Note: If you are using iPhone without SIM Card, your Phone Number won’t be listed. However, iMessage should still work, as it can send and recieve iMessages using your Email Address.
5. Sign Out of iMessage and Sign Back In
Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > on the next screen, scroll down and tap on your Apple ID.
On the pop-up, select the Sign Out option. After 30 seconds, sign back into iMessage using your Apple ID.
6. Refresh iMessage and FaceTime
Users have reported fixing this issue by disabling and then enabling Apple’s iMessage service.
Go to Settings > Messages and switch OFF iMessage.
Similarly, go to Settings > FaceTime and switch OFF FaceTime. After this, go to Settings > General > scroll down and tap on Shut Down.
Wait for 30 seconds and restart iPhone by pressing the Power button. After iPhone restarts, go to Settings > Messages and enable iMessage and FaceTime on your iPhone.
7. Check Date and Time
Go to Settings > General > Date & Time > disable Set Automatically option and make sure iPhone is displaying the correct Date, Time and Time Zone City.
If required, correct the Date, Time or Time Zone as required by tapping on Date, Time and Time Zone entries.
Note: The recommended option is to switch or Enable Set Automatically option and allow iPhone to get the correct Date and Time.
8. Add Credit to Your Phone Plan
The problem could be due to Apple using your Carriers Network to activate iMessage service on your device.
If you are on limited plan, make sure that you are still within the limits of your Plan and your account still has the balance to send and receive SMS Messages.
9. Reset Network Settings
Make sure that you note down the Password for your WiFi Network and follow the steps below to Reset Network Settings on your device to Factory Default Settings.
Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > On the pop-up, select Reset Network Settings option.
After iPhone starts, go back to Settings > WiFi > select your WiFi network. When prompted, enter your WiFi Network Password.
After iPhone connects to WiFi network, see if you are able to activate iMessage.
10. Wait for 24 Hours
According to Apple it can take up to 24 hours to activate iMessage and FaceTime. If the issue continues beyond 24 hours, Apple recommends the following steps.
- Make sure the latest version of iOS is installed on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
- Contact your carrier (if you are not receiving SMS messages).
- Contact Apple Support.