If you’re trying to activate a new iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, you may run into an issue where iMessage activation is unsuccessful. While this issue is rare, it does happen, and Apple is aware of it.
You may see a message saying something like “iMessage Activation Failed”. You may also get a message that says “Waiting for activation.” Unfortunately, you can’t use iMessage or FaceTime if either of these pops up.
If you are facing this problem, you might be frustrated as you probably want to use iMessage on your new Apple device right away. Luckily, there are some things you can do.
Restart iMessage and FaceTime
If you’re having iMessage activation issues on your iPhone or iPad, consider restarting both iMessage and FaceTime.
To restart iMessage and FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages and toggle off iMessage. Then, go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle off FaceTime. Wait a few minutes and then turn both on again.
Once both are back on, you may need to wait a while before checking again to see if your activation was successful.
If you’re on a Mac, go to FaceTime > Settings and uncheck Enable this account. This will disable FaceTime until you turn it back on again. In older macOS versions, the setting will be listed as Preferences. So keep that in mind.
For iMessage, go to Messages > Settings and uncheck Enable messages in iCloud.
After you’ve disabled both iMessage and FaceTime, wait a few minutes and then reactivate them simultaneously. After some time, test to see if the activation was successful.
If you’re confused about iMessage activation and have never activated it before, you may want to learn how to activate iMessage before continuing.
Check Your Cellular or Wi-Fi Connection
In order to activate iMessage, you must have some sort of working Internet connection. This is one of the most common issues, but remember that iMessage and FaceTime rely on Wi-Fi or cellular data to connect to the Internet.
So, check your cellular or Wi-Fi connection to see if you can access the web. One way to test this would be to go into Safari and navigate to any webpage. If you do not have an Internet connection or a web page is not loading, this is a sign that you should be connected to the Internet.
If you’re having trouble connecting, consider resetting your iPhone’s network settings. And if you’re on macOS, we also have a great guide to resetting network settings on Mac.
check your time zone settings
Some users claim that you will run into iPhone activation problems if the Apple device’s time zone settings are incorrect. Although this problem is not widely reported, some users claim online that fixing their time zone helps.
To do this on iPhone and iPad, go to Settings > General > Date & Time > Time Zone and update your time zone to the one you’re currently in.
If you are on the border of two time zones, try switching to the other time zone. If you’re using a newer carrier, your carrier may have a tower in a nearby time zone, not the one you’re in, causing activation problems.
To do this on a Mac, you need to go to System Settings > General > Date & Time and change your time zone setting here. In older versions of macOS, you’ll need to go to System Preferences > Date & Time to access these options.
iMessage won’t activate? wait 24 hours
It can take up to 24 hours for iMessage to activate on newer devices. While many users activate it right away, a poor internet connection or issues with your carrier can delay the process. However, it should never be taken for more than 24 hours.
If you’ve waited more than 24 hours and iMessage still hasn’t activated, Apple recommends contacting its support team. When contacting Apple Support, tell them that you have iMessage and FaceTime back on and that you are connected to the Internet. Apple will ask you to do these things first, so letting them know you’ve done so can speed up the process.
Once you reach out to Apple after trying the above fixes, Apple will check if there is any issue that you cannot notice from your end.
Failed iMessage Activation? have a fix
If your iMessage activation is unsuccessful, there is a solution. Apple wants you to be able to use iMessage, and not having it work is a problem for the company. This is why most problems with iMessage are fixable, and Apple is aware of known problems.
iMessage still won’t activate after trying all these fixes? You have no choice but to take your iPhone, iPad or Mac to an Apple Store.