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An error occurred during activation, try again: 13 Fixes

Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime are pretty popular iOS only services that Apple users have enjoyed for quite some time now. They’re usually quite stable and work seamlessly among Apple devices without a hiccup. 

However, just like everything else tech, they also run into issues at times. In this article, we’re looking at activation errors in iMessage or FaceTime and helping you figure out what’s causing them and how you can get rid of them. 

Also read: How to use FaceTime on Android? 


Why does this happen? 

While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for this error, here are the few most common triggers. 

  • Internet issues. 
  • Sync issues with your Apple account. 
  • Incorrect date and time settings on your iPhone/iPad. 
  • Server side issues with Apple. 

How to fix this? 

Try out these solutions to see if they resolve your problem. 

Restart your iPhone 

One of the first things you should do is try and restart your iPhone to see if that resolves your issue. Restarting your device can solve many seemingly random issues that would otherwise be quite tricky to debug.  


Check your WiFi and Cellular connections  

You need an active internet connection to use iMessage. Therefore, having a WiFi or Cellular connection is essential. Make sure you’re either connected to a WiFi network or have cellular data working.  


Make sure iMessage is set up properly 

Another thing that you should check out is whether or not your iMessage is set up properly in the first place.  

Why is iMessage not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap Messages.  
  • Tap on Send & Receive.  
  • Under Start new conversations from make sure that your phone number is selected.  

Check your ports 

Facetime might not be able to run on your computer if your router or firewall blocks certain ports required for the app to function. You won’t be able to fix these issues without allowing these ports to communicate through the firewall. You can check out this article to know what ports you need to open. 


Check regional availability 

Facetime isn’t available globally, and even though Apple might sell its devices in your country, it may or may not offer its services there. The same applies to different cell carriers. 

Check out the Apple carrier support page to check if your carrier supports Facetime. If your country doesn’t have Facetime yet, you might be able to get around this issue using a VPN. 


Change date/time 

If you’ve got an incorrect date/time set on your iPhone, that can cause problems with many Apple apps.  

Why is my Facetime not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap on General. 
  • Tap on Date & Time. 
  • Make sure the Set Automatically slider is enabled.  

Re-enable iMessage 

Disabling iMessage and re-enabling it can freshen things up and resolve the iMessage waiting for activation error. 

Why is iMessage not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap Messages. 
  • Turn the iMessage toggle off. 
  • Restart your device. 

Once your device boots back up, repeat steps 1 and 2 to re-enable iMessage and check if it resolved your issue. This solution is also applicable if you’re having problems activating iMessage (or FaceTime) on a device.  


Disable and re-enable Facetime 

You can try disabling Facetime from the settings are re-enabling it to check if the app starts working again. 

Why is my Facetime not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap Facetime. 
  • Disable the Facetime toggle and then enable it after a few minutes. 

Now try making a Facetime call again, and this should hopefully have had fixed your issue. 

On macOS 

If you’re on a Mac, open the Facetime app, head over to Preferences and uncheck Enable this account. Wait for a few minutes and check the option back again.  


Sign out of Facetime and sign back in again 

Signing out of Facetime and signing back in again can help freshen things up and hopefully resolve any issues you’re facing on the way. Here’s how. 

Why is my Facetime not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to settings and tap FaceTime. 
  • Tap your Apple ID 
  • Choose Sign Out. 

Once you’re logged out, log back in again using the same Apple ID and check if you can make Facetime calls now.  

On macOS 

Open the Facetime app and head over to the Preferences from the menu bar. Click on the Sign Out button at the top of the window and confirm the action. Once you’re logged out, log in again to see if Facetime works.  

Also read: How many times does FaceTime ring? 


Disable Facetime restrictions 

If you’re not able to see the Facetime icon at all on your device, chances are it’s getting trapped in some screen time or content restrictions by accident. Follow these steps to fix this. 

Why is my Facetime not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap Screen Time. 
  • Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions. 
  • Head over to Allowed Apps
  • Make sure that the Facetime and Camera apps are enabled. 

On macOS 

On a Mac, head over to System Preferences followed by Screen Time. Select Content & Privacy from the sidebar, and under the Apps tab, check the Facetime and Camera apps. 


Check for iOS updates 

Another potential reason for iMessage waiting for activation error could be a bug in iOS. More often than not, developers realise this quickly and release patches or subsequent updates to fix such issues.  

Follow these steps to ensure that you have the latest iOS version installed on your phone.  

Why is iMessage not working? | Candid.Technology
  • Head over to the settings and tap on General. 
  • Tap on Software Update. 
  • Ensure that you’re on the latest update available. If not, update your device immediately.  

Update carrier settings 

Depending on the carrier, you’ll see prompts for updating carrier settings on the iPhone once in a while. These updates aren’t as frequent, but if you’ve one pending, then you’ll see it upon restarting the iPhone. This should fix the iMessage waiting for activation error. 


Contact Apple Support 

If nothing else works, your last resort is to contact Apple’s support staff. Check out our guide here to contact Apple Support and get your iOS devices repaired. 

Also read: How to know if someone blocked you on iMessage? 

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