How to Fix an iPhone XR iMessage that’s not working

With iMessage, you can send and receive cool messages with photos, videos and other multimedia contents from other Apple device users. The main requirement to using iMessage is a stable Internet access via Wi-Fi or cellular data. To get started using iMessage on your iPhone, the service must be enabled or activated first. Activating of iMessage is done through Messages. Once you’ve got iMessage enabled from Messages, you’re all set to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone.

But there are some factors that can make this simple process a lot more complicated. And so you’ll just realize that something is wrong if iMessage is not working as intended on your iPhone. Often times, the emerging symptom is software-related and therefore rectifiable by some workarounds. Highlighted below are effective solutions for you to try on whenever you’ll have trouble using iMessage on your iPhone XR. Read on to learn more.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you happen to find this post while looking for a solution to a different problem, then visit our iPhone XR Help Guides page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. We may have already published articles that could help you fix your problem. Find issues that are similar to yours and feel free to use our solutions.

Fixing an iPhone XR with iMessage that’s not working

Before troubleshooting, check your Internet connection and make sure there are no ongoing connectivity issues. To test if you can connect to the Internet, open your browser app and then navigate through different websites and pages. If there’s no problem loading the websites, then the Internet is working fine and so Internet-based apps and services should also be working as intended.

But since iMessage isn’t, then you’ve got to try some ways to eliminate the possible triggers. And here are some possible solutions for you to try on.

First solution: Soft reset your iPhone XR and then toggle iMessage off and on again.

Refreshing your iPhone’s operating system is the simplest way to fix various issues inflicted by minor software errors and app glitches. Doing so will likewise clear out any corrupted apps caches and other junk files saved as cache on your phone’s memory. There’s no need to back up files beforehand because this process doesn’t cause permanent data loss. Here is how a soft reset is done on an iPhone XR:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. When the Slide to Power off command appears, release the buttons.
  3. Then drag the power off slider to the right to turn off the iPhone.
  4. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Slide/Power button again until the Apple logo appears.

Right after your phone boots up again, try to check if you are already able to send and receive iMessage on your iPhone by creating a test message and sending it to your own phone number or email address. If the symptoms persist, then toggle the iMessage feature off and on again to refresh the iMessage system. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select Messages.
  3. Tap the button next to iMessage to turn it off.
  4. While the iMessage is disabled, reboot (soft reset) your iPhone.
  5. Then head back to Settings-> Message menu and then tap the iMessage button again to turn the feature back on.

Then send yourself a sample iMessage to see if you are already able to send and receive the message on your device.

ALSO READ: What to do if you can’t send or receive emails on iPhone XR

Second solution: Refresh the internet connection on your iPhone XR.

As mentioned earlier, iMessage is a built-in iOS service that requires a stable internet connection to work properly. If the underlying cause of the issue is having poor or slow internet connection, the quickest way to fix the iMessage problem is to refresh your internet connection. There are several options that you can try to get this done. One of which is switching to different wireless network available. Here is how:

  1. Go to Settings then select Wi-Fi menu.
  2. Toggle the Wi-Fi switch to turn the feature on, if needed.
  3. Your iPhone will then search for available wireless network within range. 
  4. Select your Wi-Fi network (SSID) then follow the onscreen prompts to connect.

But if there is no other wireless network available, you can try to forget/delete the current Wi-Fi network, set it up again and reconnect. Here’s what how it’s done:

  1. Head to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu.
  2. Then tap the information “i” icon next to your Wi-Fi’s name.
  3. Tap Forget This Network option and then tap Forget Network to confirm the deletion.

After deleting the selected Wi-Fi network, restart (soft reset) your iPhone to completely refresh its system. Once it is back on, set-up your Wi-Fi network as new then reconnect.

Another way of dealing with network connectivity issues that might have triggered your iMessage feature to act up is to toggle your Wi-Fi off and on again and utilizing the Airplane Mode trick. To refresh the internet connection using the Wi-Fi trick, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select the Wi-Fi menu and toggle the switch to turn the feature off shortly then tap again to turn the Wi-Fi feature back on.

To use the Airplane Mode trick, check out these steps:

  1. Go to Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select the Airplane Mode menu and toggle the switch to turn it ON. Doing so will disable all wireless radios on your iPhone automatically including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functions.
  3. While the Airplane Mode is enabled, restart (soft reset) your iPhone XR.
  4. Then head back to Settings->Airplane Mode menu and tap the switch to turn the Airplane Mode OFF. This action will then restore your phone’s wireless functions including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

After performing any of the given methods to refresh your internet connection, check the iMessage feature and see if the problem has been resolved.

Third solution: Manage the iMessage settings on your iPhone XR.

If you recently updated your iOS or customized your phone’s settings and then iMessage stopped working, it is also possible that the iMessage settings have been misconfigured if not, overridden. To ensure that iMessage is still configured correctly, check iMessage settings on your iPhone XR and then edit them when needed. Here’s how:

  1. Select Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Send & Receive. Review and verify the contact phone number and Apple ID information.
  4. Navigate Start New Conversations From section and make sure that they are checked. Update any information when needed.

Afterwards, reboot your iPhone and create a test iMessage then send it to your own phone number to make sure that outgoing and incoming iMessage functions are already working.

Fourth solution: Log out from iMessage then log in again.

This method is known to fix any account-related issues that might have caused conflicts to your phone’s iMessage functions and caused it to stop working as intended. To clear out these types of errors, simply sign out and sign back into your iMessage account. Just follow the steps below to continue:

  1. From your Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Select Messages.
  3. Tap Send & Receive option.
  4. Then tap on the Apple ID: [your Apple ID].
  5. Select the Sign out menu.

Once you are completely logged out from iMessage, reboot your iPhone then log in again using the correct Apple ID and password.

Fifth solution: Update your iOS to the latest version available.

Complex system errors and bugs are also among the possible factors to blame, especially if the issue persists after exhausting all the potential solutions mentioned above. And updating your phone’s operating system will most likely to fix the problem. The update will not only provide new features and system enhancements but also integrate fix patches that are programmed to get rid of stubborn software bugs and malwares including those that are spoiling iMessage. If you have a stable internet connection, enough phone storage space and at least 50% battery life on your iPhone, then follow these steps to check and  install new iOS updates via OTA (over-the-air) using these steps:

  1. Go to Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update. 

An update notification will pop up once a new iOS version is available. Make sure to back up your important files prior to the update. Afterwards, follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the latest iOS update on your iPhone XR.

Still couldn’t get iMessage to work on your iPhone XR?

Perhaps your iPhone’s iMessage function has been totally corrupted and thus the problem continues after performing the above procedures. In this case, performing more advanced solutions like a full system reset or iOS restore is usually needed. But before you proceed, be sure to back up all your important files to iCloud or iTunes to evade facing permanent data loss. A factory reset and iOS restore will delete everything from your device including saved contents and tough bugs that caused the iMessage system to crash.

You may opt to carry out a factory reset via settings first or use iTunes on a computer to restore your iPhone from a recent compatible iOS backup. Otherwise, report the problem immediately to your network service provider/carrier so that they can check their system and see if the problem is on their end. You can also escalate the problem straight to Apple Support and ask them to verify the current status of iMessage server straight from their system. Should this be found to be a problem with the Apple server, then there’s not much you can do on your end but to wait until it’s fixed and working properly again.

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