How To Fix iMessage ‘Waiting For Activation’ Error on iPhone


‘iMessage Activation — An error occurred during activation. Try again.’ I’m sure you’ve had enough of this error message when trying to use iMessage on your iPhone.

You might have tried all possible methods written on the internet to try and solve this issue, unfortunately with no success.

Well, it seems there is no definite method out there, but there is a way you can activate your iMessage even after getting this error.

This fix has been posted after several attempts on different iPhones by the guys at iGeeksBlog.

The ‘Waiting for Activation’ Error on iMessage is most typically seen in iPhones running iOS 9 or iOS 8.x versions. It happens especially to people who change sim cards or travel abroad.

Before you begin, you must make sure of the following:

  • Your number is correctly listed on your phone. To make sure of this, go to your Contacts and on top of your contacts list, you should see your number listed under ‘My Number’. If it’s not listed, or if the number entered therein is incorrect, you can change it by going to Settings –> Phone –> My Number.
  • The Date & Time on your phone is correct. If it’s incorrect, the best option is to change the Date & Time settings under General to ‘Set Automatically’.
  • It is also important to have a good working network. Often times, iMessage activation errors are caused due to network issues. So, you should have a good Wifi or enable cellular data.

Also, make sure that your carrier allows sending international SMS, because sometimes iMessage activation message is sent out as an international SMS.

Once you’ve made sure all of the above settings are correct, try activating your iMessage and see if it’s working now.

If it isn’t, we’ll see if the following works:

Fixing iMessage Activation Error by Switching to Airplane Mode

This method has been posted in the Apple Discussions forum. It’s a strange method, but it has worked for a number of users.

This method involves switching to Airplane Mode. Here’s how it works:

  1. Disable iMessage (and FaceTime) by going to Settings –> Messages (scroll down to see).
  2. Turn ON Airplane Mode. This will automatically disable Wifi.
  3. Enable Wifi.
  4. Go back to Settings –> Messages and enable iMessage.
  5. If you’re prompted to enter your Apple ID, do so. If you have already added your Apple ID, you won’t be prompted.
  6. Turn OFF Airplane Mode.
  7. You may be shown a notification that goes like this: ‘Your carrier may charge for SMS’. Click on OK.
  8. If you do not get this notification, go back to Settings –> Messages, turn OFF iMessage and turn it ON again.
  9. iMessage should get activated in a short while.
  10. Once iMessage is activated, you’ll see that there’s a check sign next to your number.


If this method doesn’t work for you, try this next method.

Fixing iMessage Activation Error Using Apple ID

This simple method of signing out and signing in again of your Apple ID has also proven to fix the iMessage Activation error for some people. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Settings –> Messages, scroll down and tap on ‘Send & Receive’.
  2. Tap on ‘Apple ID’. Sign out.
  3. Switch off iMessage, from the Messages settings.
  4. After waiting for a while, turn ON iMessage. You may want to restart your Wifi while waiting.
  5. Go back to the Send & Receive Settings and log back in to your Apple ID.

If all goes well, your iMessage should be activated by now. If it is activated, you’ll see a check sign next to your number.

Contact your Carrier

Some carriers do not automatically allow iMessage, or have conditions that might otherwise limit the use of iMessage on your phone. Call your carrier and confirm if it’s a problem on their end.

Fix iMessage Activation Error by Resetting and/or Restoring Your Phone

If none of the above methods worked for you, you might want to reset your phone. Resetting is simply a reboot of your system; all your data will be completely safe. Once you have reset your phone, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID and use iMessage as a new app. Make sure that you reset your location settings before you reset your iPhone.

If resettings doesn’t work for you, you may need to restore your phone as a new form.

It’s unclear what exactly causes the iMessage activation to fail. But one of the above methods must surely work for you. If it doesn’t, let us know in the comments. If you have found out a different method, please share it in the comments.