Many users have been left in the lurch by the very famous “iMessage Waiting for Activation” error. iMessage is a great feature but comes with its own set of issues. Are you troubled by “iMessage Waiting for Activation” error? Looking for an easy fix? We know how it feels when you badly want to get the iMessage up and running but keep hitting activation error no matter how many times you try.

imessage waiting for activation

If you are wondering how to activate iMessage and looking for a possible solution to fix the iMessage activation error, we have compiled 7 ways of fixing this problem. Let’s start with carrier support for iMessage activation.

How to fix “iMessage waiting for activation” error

1. iMessage activation error and carrier support: does your carrier support iMessage?

The first thing we suggest you check is whether your carrier supports iMessage. This may sound silly, but it’s important to make sure that the carrier has not imposed any limiting conditions for your iMessage activation. If in doubt, contact the carrier support team and ensure there are no restrictions on iMessage activation.

2. Signing out and then signing in is definitely worth a try!

There have been cases where people who complained about iMessage not working were able to fix the issue by just signing out and signing in.

  • Head to Settings –> Message, scroll down to ‘Send & Receive’. Tap on ‘Send & Receive’
  • Tap on Apple ID. Sign out
  • Switch off iMessage
  • Turn on/off Wifi
  • Switch on iMessage
  • Enter your Apple ID details and try to reactivate iMessage

These steps almost always solve the activation error. If iMessage is still not activated, try solution 3.

3. Fix ‘iMessage Waiting for Activation’ error using Airplane mode

  • Head to Settings –> scroll down and tap on Messages and turn off iMessage (also disable FaceTime)
  • Turn on the Airplane mode. This should turn OFF Wifi automatically.
  • Turn ON Wifi.
  • Head to Messages and turn-on iMessage.
  • Enter your Apple ID if prompted for (you get a notification only if you haven’t added it yet).
  • Head to  Settings and turn OFF Airplane mode.
  • You may be shown a notification that says ‘Your carrier may charge for SMS’. Tap on OK
  • If not, go to Messages, turn OFF iMessage and then turn it ON again.
  • iMessage should get activated in a short while.
  • You’ll see a greyed out number and an email ID. After a while, you’ll see that the number is checked.

If iMessage is still not activated, you may want to try solution 4.

4. To fix iMessage Activation error, make sure Time and Date are set correctly.

Auto time zone sets the current time, but may not actually set the right zone for you. This may lead to iMessage not getting activated.

  • Head to Settings –> General –> Date & Time
  • Set Zone, Date and Time.

If you still have a hard time figuring out how to activate iMessage, head to solution 5.

5. Remove all restrictions that may prevent iMessage from activation

Some restrictions due to security concerns can lead to iMessage not getting activated. Getting rid of all restrictions on iMessage app may resolve iMessage waiting for activation error.

  • Head to Settings –> General 
  • Under General, head to Restrictions –> iMessage

6. Enable/Disable iMessage

Turning off and On iMessage can sometimes fix the iMessage waiting for activation error on your iPhone.

  • Head to Settings –> Message
  • Disable toggle for iMessage
  • After 24 hours, turn on iMessage

7. Restore iOS

Should all the above methods fail in activating iMessage, we suggest you give this one a try, but remember to take a backup of all data before restoring iOS. It turns out that restoring iOS fixes iMessage error most of the times.

  • Connect iPhone to your Mac
  • Launch iTunes. Head to Menu –> Summary 
  • Tap on iPhone –> Restore iPhone

CAUTION: We strongly advise you to take a backup of your iPhone or iPad before restoring iOS.

These steps should help you fix the error. You should be aware that setting up and activating iMessage doesn’t usually work seamlessly for all users. If you happen to be stuck again with the iMessage activation error and looking for answers to “how to fix the error?”, you know where to look for!

We hope you found this article useful! You can also contact Apple Support for additional support. Apart from iMessage waiting for activation error on your iPhone, you can also check out the fixes if iMessage not working.


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