iMessage is an Apple messaging app that lets you send texts to other Apple users over the Internet. It’s a great way to get your messages across without using your plan’s regular SMS/MMS allowance. Before you can start sending messages through iMessage, you need to activate it. This is usually a quick and easy process unless you encounter a bug on the way.
If your iMessage activation is unsuccessful, there are several troubleshooting solutions that can fix the problem. Here are 10 fixes you can try before contacting customer support.
How to activate iMessage
First, make sure you try to activate your iMessage the right way. You need to turn it on in the application settings to start using this service.
- Go to your settings.
- Find “Messages” in the list.
- Activate iMessage by toggling the switch next to it, so that it turns green.
If you get an error message at this point, there is a problem with the process.
Unsuccessful iMessage Activation Error
You may see several error messages when iMessage activation error occurs. The “Activation failed” popup is just one of them. Your phone may also say “Waiting for activation” or “An error occurred” etc. No matter what error message you see, try the following steps:
Check your internet connection
iMessage requires an internet connection to be activated. First, check that Wi-Fi or cellular data is turned on and that Airplane mode is not accidentally turned on. A weak Wi-Fi connection can also cause problems, so you may want to turn it off and change to data instead if your connection isn’t perfect. If you don’t have data, you can simply go somewhere where you can get a proper Wi-Fi and try to activate the iMessage app again.
Try Airplane Mode
While iMessage will not activate in Airplane mode, this setting may still help solve your problem. You can get rid of some network problems by giving your connections a “reboot”.
- Go to the Settings app.
- Turn on Airplane mode at the top of the screen.
- Wait a few seconds, then turn it off again.
Try to activate iMessage again to see if this fixes the problem.
Wait 24 hours
It can take up to 24 hours for iMessage to be activated, so you may need a little patience before taking any drastic steps. If your phone says, “Waiting for activation,” all you have to do is wait. If iMessage still won’t activate after a day, it’s time to move on to the next possible fix.
Check Apple System Status
Activation failure does not necessarily mean a problem on your part. So, next, check if the problem might be on Apple’s side:
- Head over to Apple’s System Status page.
- Find iMessage in the list.
If the circle next to it is red, Apple is having problems with iMessage, which is why you can’t activate your app. There is nothing you can do but wait for Apple to correct the problem. On the other hand, if the circle is green, then you need to keep looking for a solution.
Looking for an update
Another reason for your iMessage not activating is outdated software. Is your iPhone running the latest version of iOS? Check if the update is available in the following way:
- Open the Settings app.
- Click “General” in the menu.
- Go to the second option, “Software Update”.
Any available update for your device will appear here. You can download and install it with one click. Wait for your phone to restart and try to activate iMessage again. If your problem is caused by a system bug, this should fix it.
If you do not have an update available, go for the next potential fix.
Reboot your device
The following method is pretty straightforward, and it can get rid of some temporary errors that might prevent your iMessage from being activated. This fix includes deactivating iMessage and restarting your device:
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down to find Messages in your apps list.
- Toggle the switch next to “iMessage” to disable it.
- Turn off your device and then turn it back on.
- Go back to Settings, then to Messages.
- Click the switch next to “iMessage”.
Wait a few minutes to see if the repair was successful.
Correct the date and time
The date and time zone settings can also mess with trying to activate iMessage. You must make sure that they are correct to ensure proper activation. Reset the date and time on your iPhone this way:
- Open Settings and tap General.
- Find “Date and time” and tap on it.
- Make sure Set Automatically is turned on. If it is already running, turn it off and back on.
Check if iMessage is working now.
Log out and log in again
The next fix includes your Apple ID. Since iMessage is connected to your Apple ID, logging out of your account and logging back in again can eliminate some temporary issues with your account:
- Open your settings.
- Click on your profile at the top of the screen.
- You will find the “Sign Out” button at the bottom.
- Sign back in to your Apple ID account.
Once back in your account, try to activate iMessage again.
Repair your network settings
We have already mentioned that you need an internet connection to activate iMessage. Sometimes resetting your network settings will turn iMessage on. Follow these steps to reset network settings:
- Go to Settings, then General.
- Find “Transfer or Reset iPhone” and tap on the “Reset” option near the bottom of the screen.
- Choose Reset Network Settings on the next screen.
- Enter your passcode, and your phone will restart.
After your phone restarts, rescan iMessage.
Check with your carrier
Finally, your carrier may have something to do with the activation issue. Before you call them to inquire, check if you have a carrier update available. You may have accidentally skipped an update when it appeared on your screen, resulting in connection issues.
- Open your iPhone Settings and tap General.
- Click “About”.
- Stay on this screen for a few seconds.
If you have carrier settings update available, it will appear automatically. Refresh your settings and try iMessage again. If after about 15-30 seconds nothing happens, there is no new update, and this is not the cause of your problem.
Start texting with iMessage
iMessage is a core Apple feature, so you can’t take full advantage of your device until you solve this problem. Fortunately, one of the above fixes usually does the job, and you’ll be able to activate your iMessage app. If not, Apple Support is your next stop.
Which of the above solutions tricked you? Share your experience with us in the comments.