How to Fix the iMessage Waiting for Activation Problem

August 15, 2019Nicole Jones

iMessage activation error happens occasionally. As a free message service, iMessage is available to all iPhone and iPad owners. Before using it, you have to activate iMessage on your device. When you see an error said waiting for activation or activation unsuccessful, you can find the fixes here.

Fix iMessage Activation Error

Fix iMessage Activation Error

Part 1: What Is iMessage Activation Error

When setup and activating iMessage, you can get one of error messages:

Waiting for activation

Activation unsuccessful

An error occurred during activation

Could not sign in, please check your network connection

The iMessage not activating problem can be due to several reasons. More importantly, you cannot use iMessages, if you encounter such errors.

Part 2: Before Troubleshooting

Before we begin to fix iMessage waiting for activation issue In iOS 17 or earlier, sort out things below:

  • Input your number in your Phone app or Settings > Phone.
  • Check your Date & Time in Settings > General and make sure they are correct.
  • Wait for 24 hours to activate iMessage. If it does not succeed after a day, perform the troubleshooting.
  • Contact your carrier and Apple support to learn the limiting condition on your iMessage.
  • Check Apple's servers. If they are down, you have to wait for them working again.

Part 3: How to Fix iMessage Activation Error

Here are multiple fixes worth to try when iMessage waiting for activation.

Fix 1: Check Your Internet Connection

Check Your Internet Connection
Step 1.
Open the Settings app when you get the iMessage not activating issue, tap on your name, tap Wi-Fi and turn it off.
Step 2.
Press the Power button, move the slider to shut down your iPhone. Wait for a while and turn it back on.
Step 3.
Then turn on Wi-Fi and connect to your Wi-Fi network.

Tip: If the problem persists, you can Reset Network Settings in Settings > General > Reset.

Fix 2: Hard Reset iPhone

Hard reset is an effective fix for various issues including iMessage not activating.

Hard Reset iPhone

For iPhone 6s and earlier: hold down Power and Home buttons together for 10 seconds. Release them when you see Apple logo.

For iPhone 7/7 Plus: keep pressing Power and Volume Down buttons until Apple logo appears.

For iPhone 8 and later: quickly press Volume Up button, repeat it on Volume Down button, hold down the Power button until iPhone turn back on.

Fix 3: Update iPhone Carrier Settings

iMessage works via the internet connection, so you should check the update for your carrier settings when iMessage activation error happens.

Update iPhone Carrier Settings
Step 1.
Run the Settings app, tap on your name, and head to General > About.
Step 2.
If a carrier settings update is available, tap Update to get it.
Step 3.
After updating, activate your iMessage again to check if the problem disappears.

Fix 4: Restart iMessage

Sometimes, iMessage may get stuck and shows up iMessage activation error. The fix is simple: restart your iMessage.

Restart iMessage
Step 1.
Start the Settings app, tap on your name, go to Messages, and turn of iMessage.
Step 2.
Hold down the Power or Side button to trigger the power-off screen. Then move the slider to shut down your iPhone.
Step 3.
A few seconds later, power on your iPhone by pressing the Power or Side button. Then turn on iMessage and re-activate it.

Fix 5: Re-sign in Apple ID

Something wrong with your Apple ID can lead to iMessage activation error too. So, you need to re-sign in your Apple ID.

Re-sign in Apple ID
Step 1.
Tap Settings > [your name] > Message > Send & Receive.
Step 2.
Tap your Apple ID and press Sign Out. Then turn off iMessage. (See how to disable iMessage on Mac)
Step 3.
Wait for a while, and enable iMessage. Next, go to Send & Receive screen, and enter your current Apple ID and password.

Fix 6: Up Software to Date

Outdated software can cause a lot of problems, including iMessage not activating. So, you'd better update your iOS.

Up Software to Date
Step 1.
Tap on your name in the Settings app, and go to General > Software Update.
Step 2.
If there is an update available, tap Download and Install to get it. When it is done, activate your iMessage again.

Fix 7: Factory Reset iPhone

Another effective fix of iMessage not activating is to restore your iPhone to factory status.

Factory Reset iPhone
Step 1.
Go to Settings > [your name] > General > Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings.
Step 2.
If prompted, enter your passcode. After that, you can try activating iMessage again.

Fix 8: One-stop Troubleshooting: iOS System Recovery

Aiseesoft iOS System Recovery is a one-stop troubleshooting when you encounter the iMessage activation error.

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How to Fix iMessage Activation Error

Step 1.
Connect iPhone to iOS System Recovery
Launch iOS System Recovery after your installed it on your PC. There is another version for Mac.
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Connect your iPhone to your PC using the Lightning cable came with your device. After your iPhone is detected, follow the onscreen instructions to put it in Recovery mode. Click the Start button, and follow the onscreen instructions to start repair iPhone.

Step 2.
Fix iMessage not activating
Fill out the information based on your condition, including your device model, type, and more. Once click the Repair button, the troubleshooting process will start. When system recovery finishes, your iPhone will restart and you can reactivate iMessage.

You may need: How to fix iMessages not working on Mac.


Now, you should understand what you can do when iMessage activation error happens on your iPhone. As mentioned previously, iMessage requires activation though it is totally free to use. In some cases, you may receive the error message that iMessage activation fails. Don't worry! You can get the fixes to correct iMessage activation error. For average people, we suggest you to try Aiseesoft iOS System Recovery. It is easy to use and efficient on troubleshooting. If you have other questions related to iMessage activation, please leave a message below.

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