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

When you try to set up iMessage on your iPhone specially on iOS9 or iOS 8 you often might find getting an error saying “Waiting for Activation”.  Before you start trying out the below methods to get iMessage activated, you’ll need to sort few things out:

You must have in the Phone app, your number listed. On top of ‘Contacts’ you should see your number listed (My Number). If not, you’ll need to go to Settings > Phone > My Number and enter your number.

Also make sure Date and Time are correct. Set to ‘Set Automatically’ make sure the Time Zone is correct and the iPhone holds the right time.


Also make sure you’ve got a working network. Wi-fi issues can cause iMessage activation problems so have that enabled.
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.

Now you are all set to fix this iMessage error in simple methods and steps:

First Method: Contact Your Carrier

First of all make sure that your carrier support iMessage or not. Contact your Carrier support team and verify any limiting condition on your for iMessage, blocks, or filters on text messages.

Second Method: Airplane Mode

Weird Right? But you should try this method if nothing else works.

Go to Settings >scroll down and tap on Messages and turn off iMessage (also disable FaceTime)

Next turn on the Airplane mode and you will find that Wifi will be turned OFF automatically.

Now turn ON Wifi.

Go back to Messages and turn-on iMessage.


You’ll be prompted for your Apple ID if you haven’t added it yet. (else, you don’t get any notification)

Now, go back to Settings and turn OFF Airplane mode.

You will be prompted by 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.

In few minutes of time iMessage should get activated.

You’ll see a greyed out number and an email ID. A little later, the number should be checked and that’s it.

Third Method: Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in


Sometimes, you just need to sign-out of your Apple ID and then login again.

Go to Settings > Message, scroll down to where it says ‘Send & Receive’ and tap on it.

Then tap on the Apple ID and then press Sign Out.

Now switch off iMessage now.

Wait for a while (turn on/off Wifi) and then switch ON iMessage.

Enter your Apple ID details now and try to reactivate iMessage

Fourth Method: Reset or Restore

To do this method you first need to reset your location settings, then the iPhone. Reset is just a forced reboot so your data remains safe. After the reset, you’ll just login with your Apple ID and set up iMessage as new.

If this fails then you might have to restore the iPhone as new or from a backup.
Watch out how to fix iMessage Not Working issue on your iPhone:

So as to enjoy iMessage experience the setting up and activating doesn’t usually work smoothly for all users. Try these methods and see if any of them work for your iPhone.

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