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Troubleshooting: How to Fix iMessage Not Working Problems

By Emily Watson, Friday, February 16, 2018

iMessage is an instant messaging service developed by Apple, which enables message sent among Apple devices via Wi-Fi or cellular data. However, sometimes iMessage is not working on Mac, iPhone or iPad, for example, iMessage is not sending and you are seeing a red exclamation mark, or message bubble becomes green but not blue. What is the problem and how can you do?

iMessages Says "Not delivered"

Despite of iMessage, other kind of message, such as SMS, MMS, may be delivered unsuccessfully. Have a check of the following items.

1. Check if the messages are blocked. Open Settings, find Message and enter to see if the kind of message you want to send is blocked. If you are going to send a group message, scroll down to find Group Messaging, and there is a circle button on the right. Turn the button on.

Turn on iMessage

2. Contact the carrier and ask whether MMS, SMS message is supported.

3. If you see a red exclamation mark when you send an iMessage, please check:

  • Network connection: Don't forget iMessage is sent by Wi-Fi or Cellular data. Check the network collection, tap the exclamation point and then Try Again.

  • Apple account: Make sure you have signed in and sent to the right phone number or Apple ID. On iPhone/iPad, go to Settings > Message > Send & Receive and check if you set up the right account. If iMessage will not deliver on Mac, go to Messages > Preferences > Accounts.

  • If the red exclamation still shows with the alert 'Not Delivered' and it is urgent to send the message out, you can choose to Send as Text Message. The message rate may apply. Contact your carrier to get more detail.

iMessage Not Delivered

Another situation is that, after you sent an iMessage, neither Delivered or Not Delivered came out. Actually, you've sent the iMessage but the recipient didn't turn on his or her device, or the device is not connected with the internet. When your friend turns on the iDevice and has it joined to the internet, he or she can receive the message.

iMessage Sent and a Green Bubble Showed

A green message bubble means that the phone has your message sent as Text Message but not iMessage automatically. The following situations may account for it. 

Text Message and iMessage Gubbles

1. The recipient is not using an iDevice.

2. The recipient is using an iDevice but turn off iMessage.

3. Either the sender or the recipient is able to use iMessage at this moment.

iMessages Not Syncing

Suppose you have multiple iDevices, you can have the iMessage syncing among them. If you found iMessages cannot sycn among iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Macbook, it doesn't work, pay attention to these items. 

1. All of your iDevices are in good network connection.

2. Your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac has turned on iMessage. On iOS device, go to Settings > Message and check. Or you can turn it off and on to see if it helps.

3. All of your iDevices share the same Apple ID: Settings > Message > Send & Receive. If you have an iPhone, you can add your phone number below the ID. Make sure the ID or phone number under "You can Be Reached by iMessage at" is checked. Also, tap them several times to unchecked and checked them.

iMessage Syncing Setting the Same Apple ID in iPhone

4. It's said that deleting some old message will solve the problem.

5. Only the new iMessage can be synced.

6. Probably iMessage doesn't set up properly on your device. You can check it by signing up the same ID in other iDevice.

iMessage "Waiting for Activation"

According to some users, iMessage may shows "Waiting for Activation" error while it can be not activated all the time. First, turn off and on your phone as well as iMessage. If it still doesn't work,see more methods at How to Fix iMessage "Waiting for Activation" Error on iPhone.

iMessage Waiting for Activation

iMessages App Keeps Crashing

After a system update or someone sending you an attack message, iMessages may crash constantly. Try to fix it by the following methods. 

Try the Basic Tricks

1. Don't tap the attack message and delete it immediately.

2. Restart iMessage, and then your phone.

3. It is said that turning off  "Auto-Capitalisation", "Auto Correction", "Check Spelling" and "Predictive" would resolve the problem. Run Settings>General>Keyboard to find them.

Force Restart iPhone

Macbook: Press and hold Power button for 5 seconds.

iPhone 5/5s, 6/6 Plus/6s/6s Plus, iPad: Press and hold Home button and Power/Wake button.

iPhone 7/7 Plus: Press and hold Volume Down button and Power/Wake button.

iPhone 8/8 Plus, X: Press Volume Up button and then Volume Down button, press and hold Side button.

Reset iPhone Settings

If iMessage still crashes after restarting the iDevice, reset all settings:

  • Run Settings > General > Reset All Settings and all setting will be reset to default settings.

Restore iPhone/iPad 

Softwares like FonePaw iOS System Recovery can give a hand. It is an expert in having the iOS system back to normal status safely without data loss.


STEP 1: Run the recovery tool, put your iPhone in recovery mode and join the phone to PC/Mac via USB cable. 

STEP 2: Click Start and provide your phone model and iOS version. 

STEP 3: Click Repair, wait for the tool to restore your iPhone and fix it back to normal.

ios System Recovery

iMessage is down

Suppose unfortunately, your iMessage cannot workable whatever you do, you should turn to Apple support for help. Before that, you can run Safari and visit . If iMessage runs abnormally, there will be a prompt as the picture shows.

Apple System Status

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