How to Fix iMessage Not Working on iPhone

What to Know

  • iMessage stopped working suddenly? Check for an Apple service outage or open the Settings app and see if there's an iOS update to install.
  • If iMessage is grayed out, open the Settings app, tap Messages, and make sure MMS Messaging and Send as SMS are toggled on.

Here's why iMessage isn't working and how to fix it once and for all. If iMessage won't activate, a text was not delivered, your iPhone is not receiving texts, iMessage is grayed out, or you're having other iMessage problems, here's the fix.

Jump To:

Sometimes when iMessage isn’t working or iMessage keeps turning off, it’s a problem on Apple’s end; check the Apple System Status page to see if iMessage is available. But most of the time, iMessage not working it's a bug in iOS or iPadOS, so check to see if there is an iPadOS or iOS update that will fix the glitch.  If you’re trying to stop iMessage sending from email but your iMessage is otherwise working, you can skip to this part.

iMessage Not Working? Try These 3 Steps First

If iMessage isn’t working with just one contact, make sure that contact hasn’t changed phones recently. If so, the problem is likely on their end. If your iMessages aren’t sending to any of your contacts, read on.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

1. Check Your Wi-Fi

iMessage needs an internet connection to work. iMessages sent over Wi-Fi don’t count towards your cellular plan, which is why iMessage can be awesome. To check your Wi-Fi connection:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi.

  2. Make sure Wi-Fi is toggled on, and that you're connected to a network (connection is indicated by a blue checkmark).

    check wifi if imessage not working

2. Auto-Set Date & Time

This seems like an odd solution, but it has worked for some users in the Apple support threads. Apparently, it’s very important that your date and time are correct for iMessage to work. It’s easiest to simply toggle on Set Automatically in Date & Time settings to make sure this is never a problem:

3. Reset Network Settings

Before you do this, make sure you know your Wi-Fi passwords. Resetting Network Settings won’t affect anything on your iPhone. It’s not going to delete anything or restore your iPhone to factory settings. It’s simply going to reset your iPhone’s internet network settings, which means it will discard the Wi-Fi passwords your iPhone remembers.

​​​why does my imessage not work

Turn iMessage Off & On

If iMessage or Facetime isn’t working, turning each off and on will often fix the problem. Just like turning your iPhone off and on usually fixes any problems you’re having, turning iMessage or Facetime off and on will usually do the same. Also, in order to send iMessages, iMessage needs to be enabled, and sometimes it got turned off somehow, so you'll want to go in and check.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Messages.

  2. Toggle iMessage off.

  3. Wait five minutes.
  4. Toggle iMessage back on.

If you’re having trouble with FaceTime, select FaceTime in Settings and toggle FaceTime off, wait a few minutes, and turn it back on.

Set Phone Number in Send & Receive iMessages

iMessage grayed out, or iMessages sending from email instead of your phone number? We’ll fix that with this step. To fix these iMessage problems:  

  1. Open Settings and tap Messages.

    imessages not sending
  2. Select Send & Receive.

  3. Choose where you can be reached at with iMessage.

If iMessages are grayed out, select your emails, redo step two, and return to make sure your number is checked. You should also be able to reselect your email, if desired. If your iMessage problem is that they’re sending from your email, locate Start New Conversations From and select your number, instead of an email.

Sign Out of iMessage & Back In

If iMessage still isn't working, try this last step. The last resort I recommend trying is signing out of your Apple ID and signing back in. This might help give your iPhone the reset it needs to get iMessage working again.

Avoid Future iMessage Interruptions by Turning On SMS Messages

If iMessage isn’t working, you can set it so that your iPhone automatically sends an SMS instead. Of course, SMS text messages will count towards your cellular plan, but at least your conversations won’t be interrupted by bad Wi-Fi or problems with iMessage not working. To allow Messages to send SMS text messages when iMessage isn’t working:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Messages.

    imessages not sending
  2. Make sure Send as SMS and MMS Messaging are toggled on.

    imessage needs to be enabled

For more great Messages app tutorials, be sure to check out our free Tip of the Day!


  • Why is iMessage not working on my Mac? If iMessage is not working on your Mac, we have the fix. It could mean iMessage isn't enabled or synced, macOS isn't up to date, and more. 
  • Why are my texts green when sending to another phone? Green text messages are SMS messages, meaning that the message has been sent to someone with an Android, or via your cellular data provider. iMessages (MMS) are sent as blue, and sent between Apple devices using Apple's servers. 

I hope iMessage is working again on your iPhone and iPad! Check back at iPhone Life whenever you need help with Apple device troubleshooting.

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


Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at 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.