How to Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Error on iPhone

Are you tired of the iMessage waiting for activation error in iOS 11, iOS 10, or iOS 9 on iPhone? Does this message keep getting you pissed off? Despite our “been there done that” experience, we are equally sceptical about how to activate iMessage.

Sometimes iMessage works just fine and some other times, it drives us crazy. There are quite a lot of fixes I would recommend almost everywhere but most of them do not work. That is what prompted us to test a few different iPhones and we were finally able to successfully activate iMessage.

Before you proceed to Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” problem on your iPhone running iOS 11, iOS 10 or iOS 9.x, you will need to sort a few things out first. They are:

  • You need to make sure in the Phone app, you have got your number listed.On top of ‘Contacts,’ you will see your number listed (My Number:). If you can’t, you will need to go to the Settings app → Phone → My Number and then type in your number.
  • Make sure that the Date & Time of your iPhone is correct. Choose “Set Automatically” and make sure that the Time Zone is correct.
  • You also need to make sure that you have a working network. Sometimes Wi-Fi issues may cause iMessage activation issue so make sure you have cellular enabled.
  • In some cases, iMessage activation may take up to 24 hours. If after 24 hours it still doesn’t get enabled, contact your carrier.

For some users, the message sent out for activation goes out as an international SMS. Make sure your carrier permits these and you have sufficient amount to send them.

How to Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Error on iPhone

Solution #1. Check Out Internet Connection

FaceTime and iMessage both require a very good internet connection to function well and as such, you need to ensure that your internet connection is good enough. Follow the steps below refresh your network.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Wi-Fi/Cellular option and then toggle off the switch.
  3. Now, restart your device and then turn on Wi-Fi/cellular again.

If this still doesn’t fix the issue, you should try setting your network settings. This will erase all the existing network settings on your iPhone and restore them to factory settings. Simply open the Settings app → Tap on General → Reset → Reset Network Settings.

Solution #2. Contact Your Carrier

You also need to make sure that your carrier supports iMessage. You can contact your Carrier support team to verify any limiting condition on you for iMessage, blocks or filters on text messages.

Solution #3. Turn Off/ON iMessage and Hard Reset Your Device

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Next, tap on the Messages option and then turn off iMessage.
  3. Now, restart your iPhone.
    • On your iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE or earlier, press and hold the power button and the Home button for a few second until the Apple logo comes up on the screen.
    • On your iPhone 7/7 Plus, press and hold the ON/OFF button and the volume down button for a few seconds until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
    • If you use an iPhone 8/8 Plus or iPhone X, press and release the volume up button then press and release the volume down button and finally press and hold the side button.
  4. When your iPhone is done rebooting, follow the first two steps above and turn iMessage back on.

Solution #4. Update Your iPhone’s Carrier Settings

  1. You need to make sure that Wi-Fi or Cellular is enabled on your iPhone. Go to the Settings app and tap on General.
  2. Next, you need to tap on About and check if there is an update available for your device. If there is, you will get the option to update it.
  3. You can see the version of the carrier settings next to Carrier.
  4. When you insert a new SIM card into your iPhone you will need to download the carrier setting for the SIM card.

Solution #5. Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in

Sometimes, all you need to do is sign out your Apple ID and then log in again. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and then tap on Message.
  2. Scroll down the page till you see “Send & Receive” and then tap on it.
  3. Next, tap on the Apple ID and then tap on Sign Out.
  4. Turn off iMessage now.
  5. Wait for a few minutes and then turn iMessage back on.
  6. Now, type in your Apple ID details and try reactivating iMessage now.

Solution #6. If Nothing Works…

If you have tried all the solutions above and none of them has worked for you, you should update the iOS version of your device.

If there is no update available for your device, then restore your iPhone with iTunes. Before you proceed, make sure to backup your iPhone.

You can also contact Apple for help if you still can’t fix the issue even after a software update and restoring your device.

Wrapping Up

I’m pretty sure the solutions above have helped you fix the issue on your iPhone. Since this issue is a common one that affects a lot of users, you should have no problem resolving it on your device. If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments section below.

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