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How to Fix iMessage ″Waiting for Activation″ Error on iPhone

By Carrie Murray, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

iMessage is a "free" text communication tool provided by Apple for iOS devices users, which allows users to send messages by Wi-Fi or cellular data. Comparing with SMS, iMessage is equipped with a few useful functions, such as privacy protection, group chat, read receipts option.

It is an awesome application, but you have to activate iMessage on Settings of your iPhone first before you are able to use it. And some users reported a "Waiting for Activation" error when they tried to activate the feature. If you are stuck by the same error, try to fix it with these methods.

Waiting for Activation Error

Before you start to fix the error, please make sure that you have done the following things right.

  • Make sure the Wi-Fi or cellular on your iOS devices work properly. Some reports have shown that iMessage couldn't be activated over cellular connection. So if your device is on cellular connection, you may want to switch to Wi-Fi connection.

  • Your iPhone should be updated to the newest iOS version. The latest version of iOS usually is perfected with some bug fixes. So go to "Settings"> "General" > "Software Update", if there is any update information, update your iDevice to the latest version.

  • Make sure Date & Time are correct. Go to "Settings" >"General"> "Date & Time", set to "Set Automatically" and make sure the Time Zone is correct.

  • Contact your carrier and ensure that it supports iMessage. You should learn if there is any limiting condition for iMessage, blocks, or filters on text messages. For some users, the message sent out for activation goes out as an international SMS. So make sure your carrier permits these and you have sufficient amount to send them.

    iMessage Logo

Method 1 Wait A Few Minute to Activate

Sometimes, it just needs to take some time to activate iMessage because too many activate requests are sent to Apple servers at the same time or poor network signal. Therefore, before rushing into anything else, make sure you wait at least 5 minutes to activate. If the problem continues after a few minutes, then you can try other methods.

Method 2 Set up "My Info" with Your Own Number

iMessage uses your phone number and your email address to activate. "My Info" should have set itself when you were setting up iMessage to begin with, but if not, this is how you can do it.

Go to "Settings" >"Contacts" >"My Info", then select your own contact card from the list

Method 3 Airplane Mode Activation

The method has proved effective in solving the "Waiting for Activation" error of iMessage. It works in the following steps.

Step 1 Go to "Settings" > "Messages" and turn off iMessage and FaceTime. Then turn on the Airplane mode and Wifi will be off automatically. Therefore, turn on Wifi.

Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

Step 2 Go back to Messages and toggle on iMessage. If you haven't added your Apple ID, there will be a message popping up and asking for your Apple ID. So enter your Apple ID.

Step 3 Now turn off Airplane mode. And you'll be shown a notification that says "Your carrier may charge for SMS", and tap on "OK". If not, go to "Messages", turn iMessage off and on.

Step 4 iMessage should get activated in a while. You'll see a greyed out number and an email ID. A little later, the number should be checked.

Method 4 Have Apple ID Sign out and in

If the above methods don't work for you, try to sign out the Apple ID and then sign in again.

Go to "Settings">"Messages"> "Send & Receive", find the Apple ID, tap on it and click "Sign Out". Now switch off iMessage, wait for a while and then switch on iMessage again. Enter your Apple ID details now and try to reactivate iMessage.

iPhone Messages Send and Receive

Method 5 Reset & Restore

This should be the last method you try since resetting will put your iPhone back into the original state. So only try this method if you are completely helpless.

To avoid data loss, you should first back up your iPhone manually with iTunes or iCloud. After backup is complete, go to "Settings" > "General" > "Reset" > "Erase All Content and Settings" to initiate the factory restore. Confirm the reset and wait. After restoring from the latest backup, try again to activate iMessage.

These are all about how to fix iMessage "Waiting for Activation" error. Please let us know how it works for you by sharing your experience below. When using iMessage, you might delete some important messages by mistake, if you need help to recover iMessage, click here.

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