iMessage Waiting for Activation? 4 Ways to Fix iMessage Activation Errors (iOS 15 Update)

Are you experiencing an iMessage activation unsuccessful or FaceTime activation error message? I will teach you how to activate iMessage and fix it!

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

iMessage not working errors are unfortunately a common problem on the iPhone. This article will cover all the reasons why FaceTime or iMessage won't activate and how to fix the problem. Here’s how to fix the Waiting for Activation, Activation Unsuccessful, or Unable to Connect to the iMessage Server errors.

Related: How to Enable iMessage on Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac (iMessage vs SMS)

What's in This Article

There are four possible ways to fix this iMessage activation error. Please start with the first method and work your way down if the most likely solution doesn’t work. Here's a list to help you navigate the article more quickly:

Unlike most errors, there are quite a few reasons why your iMessage or FaceTime may not be activating. If you see an "iMessage waiting for activation" error, it could be a problem with your cellular company or simply a bug that's easily remedied. When your iMessage or FaceTime won't activate, we recommend running through a few different possible fixes.

In some cases, it may just take a while for iMessage to activate. But how long is too long? iMessage can take up to 24 hours to activate, according to Apple. This means that at a certain point, it’s safe to assume iMessage is simply not working. If you receive a message that says “FaceTime waiting for activation” or iMessage waiting for activation," you may want to go ahead and try the troubleshooting methods listed below.

Oftentimes, when iMessage or FaceTime won't activate, you can resolve the problem by turning certain settings on and off or signing out of iCloud and back in. However, when I upgraded to the iPhone X, I saw the iMessage waiting for activation error, and the only fix involved speaking directly with my cellular company—the problem was on their end. I tell you this to say that if the following solutions don't activate your iMessage, the problem and solution are likely in the hands of your cellular carrier.

iMessage Waiting for Activation Error Messages, According to Apple:

  • Waiting for activation
  • Activation unsuccessful
  • An error occurred during activation
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection
  • Unable to connect to the iMessage server try again

It can be confusing to have so many different error messages for the same issue. The following tips can help you solve all of these iMessage errors and teach you how to fix iMessage and FaceTime.

Steps to Take Before You Begin:

  1. Make sure your iOS is up to date. Do this by opening the Settings app, selecting General, then selecting Software Update.
  2. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi (or at least have a solid cellular connection), which you can check by tapping Wi-Fi in the Settings app.
  3. While in the Settings app, go to General and make sure Date & Time are correct. It’s easiest to simply toggle on Set Automatically.

It's also essential that you have a carrier that supports iMessage. All major carriers (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc.) support iMessage. If you try all the methods below and wait 24 hours, but iMessage still isn't working, contact your carrier to make sure there aren't any limits on your SMS text message plan that might be interfering with your FaceTime or iMessage activation.

*All of the methods below can be used to fix FaceTime waiting-for-activation error too.

iMessage Not Working? How to Fix the FaceTime or iMessage Waiting for Activation Error: Method 1

Are you wondering, "why is my FaceTime not activating" instead?  This method works for fixing the issue for both iMessage and FaceTime!

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open the Settings app - iphone waiting for activation no service
     
  2. Tap Messages.

    Scroll down and tap Messages - waiting for activation iphone
     
  3. Toggle iMessage off. It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle off iMessage - facetime activation unsuccessful on iphone
     
  4. Go back to Settings.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  5. Select FaceTime.

    Select FaceTime - why won t my imessage activate
     
  6. Toggle off FaceTime. It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle off FaceTime - imessage and facetime not working
     
  7. Go back to Settings and scroll to the top.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  8. Toggle on Airplane Mode. It will be green when toggled on. Doing so will turn Wi-Fi off.

    Toggle on Airplane Mode - facetime activation unsuccessful
     
  9. Tap Wi-Fi.

    Tap Wi-Fi - iphone imessage waiting for activation
     
  10. Toggle Wi-Fi on. It will be green when toggled on.

    Toggle Wi-Fi on - an error occurred during authentication
     
  11. Go back to Settings.

    Return to Settings - facetime an error occurred during activation
     
  12. Select Messages again.

    Scroll down and tap Messages - waiting for activation iphone
     
  13. Toggle iMessage on. It will be green when toggled on.

    Toggle iMessage on - how to activate imessage with phone number
     
  14. Go back to Settings.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  15. Select FaceTime.

    Select FaceTime - why won t my imessage activate
     
  16. Toggle FaceTime on. It will be green when toggled on.

    Toggle FaceTime on - imessage says waiting for activation
  17. Go back to Settings and scroll to the top.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  18. Toggle Airplane mode off. It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle Airplane mode off - how to fix imessage on iphone
     
  19. If a message pops up that says, your carrier may charge for SMS, tap OK.
  20. If not, toggle iMessage and FaceTime off and on again, in their respective places within Settings.
  21. Give iMessage some time, and it should activate.

This method for the frequently Googled "fixing iMessage waiting for activation error" was originally discovered by users in an Apple forum. It may seem like a strange solution, but it has been one of the most successful ways to get iMessage or FaceTime working.

Back to Top

How to Enable iMessage on iPhone to Fix iMessage Not Activating: Method 2

Note that these steps show iMessage. Experiencing FaceTime activation unsuccessful on iPhone? Be sure to follow the steps but toggle FaceTime on and off instead of iMessage.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open the Settings app - iphone waiting for activation no service
     
  2. Scroll down and tap Messages.

    Scroll down and tap Messages - waiting for activation iphone
     
  3. Tap Send & Receive.

    Tap Send & Receive
     
  4. Tap your Apple ID.

    Tap your Apple ID - why isn t imessage working on iphone
     
  5. Select Sign Out.

    Tap Sign out to reset Apple ID and iMessage activation error
     
  6. Toggle iMessage off (or FaceTime, if that's what's not working). It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle off iMessage - facetime activation unsuccessful on iphone
     
  7. Go to Wi-Fi in the Settings app and toggle Wi-Fi off and back on.

    Toggle Wi-Fi on - an error occurred during authentication
     
  8. Wait a few minutes, then toggle iMessage back on. It will be green when it is toggled on.

    Toggle iMessage on - how to activate imessage with phone number
     
  9. Tap Send & Receive.

    Tap Send & Receive
     
  10. Tap Use your Apple ID for iMessage.

    Tap Use Your Apple ID for Messages to fix iMessage error
     
  11. Enter your Apple ID information if you're prompted to, and tap Sign In.

    Sign in to add your apple account back in

Hopefully, this will allow you to enable iMessage and FaceTime. If you are still receiving any iMessage activation failed error messages, we have two more methods to try!

Back to Top

An Error Occurred During Activation iMessage Solution: Method 3

Since iMessage needs to be enabled for successful activation, try this if the first two methods didn’t work:

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open the Settings app - iphone waiting for activation no service
     
  2. Scroll down and tap Messages.

    Scroll down and tap Messages - waiting for activation iphone
     
  3. Toggle iMessage off. It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle off iMessage - facetime activation unsuccessful on iphone
     
  4. Go back to Settings.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  5. Select FaceTime.

    Select FaceTime - why won t my imessage activate
     
  6. Toggle FaceTime off. It will be gray when toggled off.

    Toggle off FaceTime - imessage and facetime not working
     
  7. Restart your iPhone by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button.
  8. Then swipe right when your screen says Slide to Power Off.
  9. Turn your phone back on. Then open the Settings app again.

    Open the Settings app - iphone waiting for activation no service
     
  10. Tap Messages

    Toggle off iMessage - facetime activation unsuccessful on iphone
     
  11. Toggle iMessage on. It will be green when toggled on.

    Toggle iMessage on - how to activate imessage with phone number
     
  12. Go back to Settings.

    Go back to Settings - error text message iphone
     
  13. Select FaceTime.

    Select FaceTime - why won t my imessage activate
     
  14. Toggle FaceTime on. It will be green when toggled on.

    Toggle FaceTime on - imessage says waiting for activation

Are you still having iMessage phone number verifying or activation issues? We have one last method for you to try!

Back to Top

How to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation Error: Method 4

If you are still getting an iMessage not activating error, try this iPhone error message trick:

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open the Settings app - iphone waiting for activation no service
     
  2. Tap General.

    Tap General - imessage waiting for activation
     
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and select Transfer or Reset iPhone.

    Scroll down to the bottom and select Transfer or Reset iPhone
     
  4. Tap Reset.

    Tap Reset.
     
  5. Tap Reset Network Settings.

    Tap Reset Network Settings.
     
  6. Enter your passcode.

This process will not erase any information from your iPhone except Wi-Fi passcodes and Bluetooth pairings. When logging in to Wi-Fi networks, you’ll need to re-enter any passwords your iPhone may have otherwise remembered and re-pair with any Bluetooth devices, but it does not erase your iPhone.

Back to Top

I’m Still Getting an Error Message, What Do I Do?

If none of the previous methods worked and you’re still having activation problems, give your iPhone 24 hours to activate iMessages. All of the troubleshooting you just did may not make iMessages work immediately, but it might be able to kick in some time during those 24 hours.

If, after 24 hours, you are still not able to get iMessages working because of an activation error, contact your cellular service provider or carrier. It’s possible the trouble you’re having with iMessages is in part or entirely because of it. You may also try to restore your iPhone from a backup

Which method worked for you? Let us know in the comments! Also, please share any other ways you’ve been able to fix this error message in the past.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Topics

Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.