Top 10 Ways to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation

iPhone/iPad keeps saying iMessage waiting for activation? Hope the 10 ways in this guide can help you get out of the issue.


By Demi / Updated on May 30, 2023

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iMessage Waiting for activation

How to resolve “waiting for activation” when activating iMessage and FaceTime using a phone number? I still repeat this process, and up till now iMessage or FaceTime are still not activated.

- Question from Apple Community

Released in 2011, the iMessage service enables Apple users to send and receive text, content, photos, videos, etc. Generally speaking, when you got a new iPhone, you can enjoy the iMessage service after activating it. However, it is reported that iMessage keeps saying waiting for activation. Here comes this guide, providing top 10 fixes to help you out.

iMessage Waiting For Activation

Why your iMessage says “Waiting for activation”

You will see “Waiting for activation” when your iMessage hasn’t been activated or during the activation. You may also see it if an error occurred during activation. Before fixing the issue, let’s learn about why your iMessage waiting for activation.

• Unstable Internet condition. Your iMessage cannot be activated if your iPhone doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi or there is no SIM card on your iPhone.
• A false or disabled Date & Time setting. If you turn off the date and time on iPhone or set it up wrongly, iMessage will fail to activate.
• An outdated iOS. To avoid iMessage activation unsuccessful, make sure the iOS is the latest version.

The reasons above are the main reasons that cause iMessage not activating. Luckily, you can rely on the following solutions to fix it.

10 fixes to iMessage waiting for activation

You can try the 10 fixes one after another to solve iMessage waiting for activation until the issue gets fixed.

Solution 1. Check Apple System status

Sometimes there may be something wrong with Apple server, you can go to the Apple’s System Status to check if the iMessage service is available. If it shows iMessage works properly, then head to the following solutions. If it doesn’t, you can click the link beside it to check the solutions provided by Apple.

Solution 2. Check for relative settings

There are some settings that related to activating iMessage. Make sure they’re set up properly, then try to activate iMessage again.

Check for network condition
Before activating iMessage, make sure your iPhone is under a stable Internet connection. If the cellular data and Wi-Fi are disabled, iMessage cannot connect to the Apple server, so that it cannot be activated.

Chances are that you fail to activate iMessage even your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Then you can go to any website to check if there is something wrong with the network. If there is, try to reset network settings by going to Settings on your iPhone > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Enter your password to confirm the operation.

Reset Network Settings

When it is finished, enter the Wi-Fi password and try to activate iMessage again.

Tip: The network still doesn’t work? Contact with your carrier to check if you’re not allowed to get access to network temporarily.

Check Date & Time setting
Your iPhone will fail to connect to Apple Server if you don’t set up the date and time properly, which results in iMessage showing waiting to activation correspondingly.

On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Date & Time > Choose Set Automatically.

Check if the VPN is disabled
The VPN may interface with the Wi-Fi connection so that it prevents iMessage from activating. If you’re using a VPN, disable it to see if the issue gets fixed. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Tap VPN and disconnect it.

Solution 3. Switch on & off Airplane mode

It may be work to switch on and off the iPhone Airplane mode. You can turn on Airplane mode by swiping up to open Control Center. Then, switch off the Airplane mode in one or two seconds. Now, you can try to activate iMessage again.

Solution 4. Turn off & on iMessage and FaceTime

You can turn off iMessage and FaceTime and back on later to have a try when iMessage says waiting for activation.

To turn off iMessages: Go to the Settings app on your iPhone > Messages > Turn off iMessage.


Note: Every time you restart iMessage, the network carrier will charge a fee for activating iMessage.

To turn off FaceTime: Settings > FaceTime to turn it off. Wait for some minutes, and turn on iMessage and FaceTime to activate iMessage again.

Solution 5. Restart your iPhone

When your iPhone iMessage shows waiting for activation, you can force restart your iPhone to have a try. It seems to be the simplest way but works most of the time.

For iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the Volume + button > Press and release the - button > Hold the Power button until you can see the Apple logo.
iPhone 7/7 Plus: Press both the Volume - button and the Power button for seconds until the Apple logo appears.
iPhone 6s or earlier: Hold both the Power button and the Home button for seconds until you can see the Apple logo.

Reset iPhone

Solution 6. Update iOS to the latest version

iMessage not activating may result from an outdated version of iOS. You can go to Settings > General > Software Update to have a check. If there is an update available, Tap Download and Install to update it.

iOS Software Update

Solution 7. Sign out & in your Apple ID

If you receive messages like “An error occurred during activation”, “Unable to contact the iMessage server”, or “Cloud not sign in”, signing out and in your Apple ID can be a nice try.

To sign out your Apple ID, go to Settings on your iPhone > [your name] > Scroll down and tap Sign Out > Enter the password of your Apple ID to confirm.

Sign Out Of iCloud

Now, you can restart your iPhone and sign your Apple ID again. Then, go to check if the issue iMessage waiting for activation has been fixed.

Solution 8. Activate iMessage in 24 hours

Some forums said that iMessage can be activated in 24 hours since you got a new iPhone. Therefore, if the iMessage activation still fails, you may as well wait for 24 hours and try again.

Solution 9. Factory reset your iPhone

If none of the solutions work, the last solution that you can fix the issue yourself is to factory reset your iPhone. Please note that the process will erase everything on your iPhone, it’s suggested to try the tool in the Bonus part to backup your iPhone before erasing it.

To factory reset iPhone, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Contents and Settings.

Erase All Content And Settings iOS 15

Solution 10. Contact Apple Support

If the iMessage is still not activating after trying all solutions above, then you may have to contact Apple Support. After all, the professor in Apple Support knows their products the best.

Bonus: An easy way to backup your iPhone

Since hard reset iPhone will take your iPhone data at risk, it’s necessary to backup your iPhone first. You can backup iPhone to iTunes or iCloud, but it’s more recommended you try FoneTool to backup iPhone to PC. It provides professional transfer and backup services for iOS devices.

The main features of FoneTool
✓ Support types of data backup. With FoneTool, you can easily backup photos, videos, contacts, etc. from iDevices to computer in an incremental way.
✓ Backup without Apple ID. To some degree, you’re free to backup iPhone with FoneTool because you can get rid of server connection issues that stop you from backing up iPhone with iTunes or iCloud.
✓ Kinds of backup function. You can choose to backup selective files with the Selective Backup function. The Full Backup function can help you backup everything on your iPhone.
✓ Wide compatibility. FoneTool supports iPhone (from iPhone 4 to the latest iPhone 14), iPad(including iPad 2022), and iPod. It can also work well with different versions of iOS and win 11/10/8/7/XP.

Free download FoneTool to your computer by clicking the icon below. Then, backup everything on your iPhone to PC.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to computer > Launch FoneTool and get to Full Backup > Click Get Started.

Full Backup

Step 2. Optionally, enable Backup encryption function to backup your private data.

Backup Encryption

Step 3. Choose a storage path to save the backup (You’re allowed to save the backup to a local folder, an external hard drive, NAS, etc.) > Click Start Backup to begin.

Start Backup

Want to restore the backup file? After connecting iPhone to computer, just head to Backup History page to locate the backup files > Full Restore to make it.


If you receive the prompt message iMessage waiting for activation, please follow the top 10 methods to try to fix it.

If you need to backup iPhone data, you can rely on FoneTool. Without signing in with your Apple ID, just connecting your iPhone to computer, you can backup your iPhone selectively or fully as you like. If this guide helps you, please share it with others.

Demi · Editor
Demi is an editor of FoneTool group as well as a good advisor in the area of iOS-related issues. She does well in finding solutions to people's problems. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and watching movies. She spends most of her free time with her pet and family.