Learn 16 Different And Proven Solutions To Fix iMessage “Waiting For Activation Error On iPhone, iPad Or iPod Touch!
When any iOS user creates an Apple ID account then the user gets free access to iMessage and FaceTime. Using iMessage you can text and video call others without having a plan on your iDevice. Only you need an internet connection for it.
But before using iMessage on your smartphone, you need to activate it. Generally, it gets activated after you complete setting up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sometimes it gets stuck and says “waiting for activation”.
So, your iMessage shows “waiting for activation” error message for more than a day then this tutorial will help you to fix the issue. Here, I have discussed some solutions on how to fix iMessage “waiting for activation” error.
Let’s first check out the practical scenario!
Practical Scenario: A iPhone 11 User Getting “Waiting For Activation” iMessage Error
When I sign in and out of my Apple ID, from both phones, my 6S is fine but the 11 won’t connect to the phone number. It only says “Waiting for activation…” with the little spinning loading wheel. I don’t know what to do.
Source: Apple Discussion
Now, let’s first find out the reason behind the occurrence of iMessage Activation error, before we move to the solutions.
Reasons: Why You Are Getting iMessage Activation Error
There could be various reasons that can cause “waiting for activation” error on your iPhone.
To activate iMessage your iOS device should be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
Your iMessage should receive an SMS text message which is a standard text message that appears in green bubbles.
There are other causes that can trigger this error like incorrect date and time, outdated iOS device, poor internet connection, iMessage is down, outdated carrier settings, etc.
So, these are some of the reasons for this activation error. There are other activation errors message you could encounter. They are as follows.
- An error occurred during the activation
- Activation unsuccessful
- Unable to connect to the iMessage server try again
- Could not sign in, please check your network connection.
These are other activation errors that cause your iMessage to stop working. Now, let’s move ahead to the solutions to fix the error iMessage waiting for activation.
Solution 1: Check Your Internet Connection
Firstly, you should check that your device is connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data. You can check this by hitting on Wi-Fi icon in the Settings app or in Quick Settings.
You can also check the internet connection by visiting speedtest webpage in any web browser.
Solution 2: Check If iMessage Is Down
Sometimes the iMessage is down and due to this also users face iMessage activation unsuccessful. Therefore, you should also check once if the status of iMessage is down or not.
If you find a green dot next to iMessage then it means that there is not any issue with it. But if you find the dots red or yellow then it means that the Apple server is down.
Now, you need to just wait for Apple to repair the server.
Solution 3: Enable And Disable Airplane Mode
Enabling and disabling airplane mode has helped many users to fix this activation error.
Simply, go to Quick Settings menu, then hit on Airplane Mode/Flight Mode icon to enable airplane mode. Next tap on OK to confirm it. After a few minutes, turn off it again by tapping on the airplane mode icon.
You can also turn on and off Airplane Mode by going to Settings > tap on Airplane mode to enable it. Then again tap on it to disable it.
Solution 4: Try A Combination of Steps
Many users have reported that they have fixed this error by a combination of steps.
So, you can also apply this.
Here are the steps to do the same to fix waiting for activation error.
Step 1: Turn off iMessage from Settings app.
Step 2: Enable Airplane Mode.
Step 3: Turn off Wi-Fi (with airplane mode on).
Step 4: Turn on iMessage.
Step 5: Turn off Airplane mode.
Step 6: Hit on OK to allow carrier charges.
Solution 5: Update Your iOS Device
If you have not updated your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the latest iOS version then it can also cause iMessage waiting for activation error. So, you need to check the update for your iPhone and if you find it then simply install the latest update.
To update your iPhone, open the Settings app on your phone. Then tap on General. After that, hit on Software Update. Now, if there is any new update then follow the on-screen steps to install the update.
Solution 6: Refresh Your Connections To iMessage
You can also refresh the connections of iMessage from the Settings app. This will also help you to fix iMessage activation error on iPhone.
Follow the below steps to do the same.
Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iOS device.
Step 2: Then tap on Messages option.
Step 3: After that, turn off the iMessage button.
Step 4: Now, restart your device.
Step 5: Again, open the Settings app and turn on iMessage button.
Now, check “iMessage activation unsuccessful” on Verizon, iPhone/iPad/iPod touch is fixed or not.
Solution 7: Ensure Your Cell Plan Lets You Receive SMS
When you try to activate iMessage on an iPhone, Apple might try to send you an SMS which is a part of the activation process. But this message is not visible to the users because it happens in the background. The SMS is necessary for Apple to send to your phone to verify its status.
If you are not able to receive the SMS then Apple might not be able to authorize your iPhone to activate iMessage. In this situation, you need to check with your carrier that it let you receive SMS.
Also if you are a prepaid user then you should check that you have sufficient credit to receive SMS. If you don’t have then you should recharge your phone.
Solution 8: Check Date And Time
If you have set the wrong date and time on your iPhone then it can mess up with your connections to Apple’s servers and cause this error. So, you need to check the date and time are correct, if it is wrong then you need to correct it.
Below, follow the simple steps to correct the date and time.
Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Date & Time.
Step 2: Ensure that the Set Automatically button is turned on. If it is off then turn it on and restart your iOS device.
After restarting, check the error persist or not.
Solution 9: Sign Out Your Apple ID Account And Again Sign In
If you have inserted a new SIM card and you are receiving iMessage waiting for activation error then you should sign out from your Apple ID account as they are connected to your Apple ID account or iCloud account.
When you refresh your Apple ID account then it helps to fix the issue.
Here, learn how to sign out from your Apple ID account.
Step 1: Open the Settings app and hit on your name at the top of the screen.
Step 2: Now, hit on Sign out button at the bottom of the Apple ID page. If you are asked to enter your password to fully log out then enter it.
Step 3: Once you are signed out then restart your device.
Step 4: When it starts backing up, you need to again open the Settings app and hit the Sign in button at the top of the page.
Step 5: Now, log in to your Apple ID account again.
After this, check iMessage waiting for activation error is still coming or not.
Solution 10: Reset Network Settings
If you use Airtel SIM in your iPhone and receive iMessage activation error then you should try to reset the network settings to solve this error.
Also, if there is any problem with your cellular network or Wi-Fi then Apple will not be able to activate your iMessage. In this case, you need to reset network settings as it reset all your settings and if there is any issue then it will fix it.
Below, follow the steps to reset your network settings.
Step 1: Navigate to Settings > General.
Step 2: Then hit on Reset Network Settings.
Once the reset process gets completed, you will need to enter your Wi-Fi password and set all other settings again.
Solution 11: Verify Your Phone Number
You should check your phone number is correct by going to Settings > Phone > My Number. Now, check the phone number is not wrong. After that restart your iDevice.
Solution 12: Check For Any Restriction
When there is any restriction on your device then it will create an issue while activating iMessage. Hence, you need to check it.
Here are the steps to do the same.
Step 1: Go to Setting > Screen Time > Privacy & Content Restrictions.
Step 2: Then hit on Account Changes.
For iOS 11 and below, need to go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Accounts.
Note: Ensure that “Allow Changes” is selected to enable iMessage to work.
Solution 13: Update Your Carrier Settings
You should also check the update for your carrier settings as they timely launch the update to improve the ability to connect to your carrier network.
To check it, go to Settings > General > About. If the update is available then it will show you a pop-up message after a few seconds. Tap on Update button to update your carrier settings.
But if you don’t see the pop-up after 15 seconds then it means that there is not any update available.
Solution 14: Insert Your SIM Into Another Phone Then Reset That Phone
You will call this solution silly but it has helped some users to fix “iMessage waiting for activation” error on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
When your greyed-out phone number wouldn’t activate iMessage, then you can insert your SIM card that you are using on your main iPhone to another phone. If you find the same issue on another iPhone, then factory reset it by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Contents and Settings.
Now, insert the SIM card back into your main iPhone and then check iMessage gets activated or not. The iMessage should activate almost instantly. Note: You have to set up your main iPhone all over again.
Solution 15: Factory Reset Your iOS Device
If the above solutions are not helping to fix iMessage activation error then you should factory reset your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. But before resetting, backup your device data as it erases all your saved data.
Follow the below steps to factory reset your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Reset.
Step 2: Then tap on Erase all Contents and Settings.
Step 3: Next, tap on Erase iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.
Once the reset process will be completed your iOS device will restart. After that, iOS setup assistant will start. Choose “Set Up as New iPhone” Now, sign in with your Apple ID and then restore your device from the backup.
Solution 16: Contact Apple & Your Wireless Carrier
If you are still getting iMessage waiting for activation error then lastly, you should contact your Apple and your wireless carrier. You should first contact the Apple Store because iMessage is a feature unique to iPhones. Visit the Apple’s support website to live chat, phone calls or an appointment at the local Apple Store.
But, if your iPhone is unable to receive an SMS then you should first contact your wireless carrier. Here, I have mentioned 3 carriers’ customer support numbers. If your carrier is different then, you can search your carrier’s name in Google and “customer support” to get help.
- AT&T: 1-(800)-331-0500
- T-Mobile: 1-(877)-746-0909
- Verizon: 1-(800)-922-0204
Where there is an issue, there are solutions as well. Hopefully, the error “iMessage waiting for activation” has been fixed. In this guide, I have mentioned various solutions. You should try the solutions according to your situation.
If this guide has helped you to fix iMessage waiting for activation error then you can share it. It might help others who are going through the same error so that they can also fix it and they will be grateful to you.
Max Field is a founder of recoveriphone-data.com. He is an iOS lover and loves to write tips, tricks, fixes for errors, data recovery solutions and more related to iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes and iCloud.