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iMessage waiting for activation: 8 Fixes

Native messaging on the iPhone and iPads has always been a step ahead of Android devices. Apple’s iMessage works seamlessly in tandem with Facetime and the native calling app. However, it’s as much prone to bugs and issues as much as any other piece of tech — software or hardware.

One such issue that people often complain about on iMessage is the “iMessage waiting for activation” error. The error sometimes also displays one of the following messages:

  • An error occurred during activation. Try again
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection
  • Activation unsuccessful
  • Unable to contat the iMessage server. Try again.

You might also come across the aforementioned error messages on Facetime if an issue arises.

Note that it can take up to 24 hours for iMessage or Facetime to get activated on your iOS device. However, if the “iMessage is waiting for activation” error or “An error occurred during activation” shows up — among others — here is what you need to do to fix it in a jiffy.

Also read: How to fix the iMessage signed out error?


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. 

Also read: Why is iMessage not working?


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 a bit 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. 


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. 

Also read: Why is my Facetime not working?


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 use FaceTime on Android?

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