iPhone iMessage Says ‘Waiting For Activation’ After iOS 13.3 Update.

If you’re getting a waiting for activation error on iMessage after connecting your iPhone to data or Wi-Fi and ensuring that the correct time is set, try rebooting your device. There’s a possibility that your iPhone has been affected by a software crash which is formidable to a simple restart. 

The error ‘iMessage waiting for activation’ on an iPhone has been one of the most common texting-related problems that were reported by users. While it’s an annoying problem, it’s actually not a serious one. In fact, you may be able to fix it on your own without any help from a technician. Highlighted below are potential solutions to iMessage waiting for activation error on an iPhone. Read on for more information.

Things to do before you start troubleshooting iMessage waiting for activation error

  • Check your internet connection. Your phone must have stable Internet access in order to access Apple’s server to complete iMessage activation process. To check if your Internet is working, open a browser app and navigate to different websites. If there’s no problem loading websites, then the Internet isn’t the problem.
  • Check the date and time. Also ensure that the date and time on your device are correct. Setting the date and time to automatic is highly recommended. If necessary, modify your date and time settings by heading to Settings-> General-> Date & Time menu and then choose the option to Set Automatically. Doing so will prompt your device to use the date and time information based on the time zone of your current location.
  • Be sure to have enough credits. If you’re using Cellular Data for iMessages, make sure that you have sufficient balance in your phone carrier. Otherwise, you may have to recharge your account with a top-up or purchase more credits if you’re on prepaid plans.
  • Check Apple server status. The next thing you should check is the current status of iMessage server. To view this information, visit Apple’s system status page. In this page, you will see a list of Apple’s services including iMessage. Before each individual service is a radio button that serves as status indicator. If this button appears green, it means that the service is currently up and available. If it appears yellow or gray, it denotes that something is wrong and thus, the service is likely unavailable at the moment. If this is what the iMessage service indicator shows, then there’s not much can be done on your end but to wait until it’s back up and available. But if the iMessage status indicator appears green but you’re still getting an iMessage waiting for activation error, this is when you need to troubleshoot and rule out individual factors that might have caused you this trouble.

ALSO READ: What to do if you cannot set up email on your Apple iPhone XS Max, email setup error?

Potential solutions to iMessage waiting for activation error

In normal circumstances, iMessage and FaceTime activation shouldn’t take long period of time to complete. However, the activation process could take up to 24 hours due to some factors.

If the activation process takes longer than 24 hours, then you’ve got a problem to fix. Below is a line-up of widely used tweaks and possible solutions to iMessage waiting activation error on an iPhone. Feel free to use this guide whenever you need help troubleshooting your device.

First solution: Refresh your Internet connection to fix iMessage with waiting for activation error.

The iMessage waiting for activation error are often attributed to Internet connectivity issues from slow browsing to intermittent connection. To fix the error, you have to address the Internet problem beforehand.

And the simplest solution is to restart and refresh the Internet connection. There are many ways for this to be done. But the simplest way is carried out either through the Wi-Fi toggle or Airplane Mode toggle. Here’s how each of them works.

  1. To refresh the Internet through the Wi-Fi toggle, go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and then toggle Wi-Fi switch off for a few seconds and then tap to turn Wi-Fi on again.
  2. To refresh the Internet through the Airplane mode toggle, go to Settings-> Airplane mode menu and then toggle Airplane Mode switch on. Doing so disables the phone’s wireless radios and associated functions including Wi-Fi. While Airplane mode is turned on, restart/soft reset the phone to clear and refresh its memory. After it reboots, head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu and then toggle the switch to turn Airplane mode off again.

Allow your phone to reconnect to Wi-Fi and once it’s connected retry activating iMessage and see if it’s working this time.

Second solution: Turn iMessage off and on.

It’s possible that the iMessage function of your phone is currently glitching and therefore needs to be restarted. In that case, turning iMessage off and then back on will likely solve the problem. So here’s what you should do then:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Select iMessage then toggle the switch to turn it OFF and then back ON.

Try that and see how it works. If it does not yield to a positive outcome and the iMessage waiting for activation error continues, proceed to the next solution.

Third solution: Reboot your iPhone (soft reset).

Random software errors on the phone could be present and eventually affects its messaging function including iMessage activation. To clear out minor system flaws, performing a soft reset or rebooting the iPhone is recommended.

If you’re using an iPhone X or later models, restarting is carried out through these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  3. Then after 30 seconds, press the Side button again to turn your iPhone back on.

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or earlier variants, use this method:

  1. Press and hold the Top or Side button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the phone completely.
  3. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Top or Side button again to turn the phone back on.

Wait for your phone to finish rebooting and reconnects to the Internet. Once it’s connected retry activating iMessage and see if the error is gone.

Fourth solution: Install carrier settings update.

Updates can also be used as solutions to various types of system errors as they often contained patch codes or bug fixes. Should the iMessage waiting for activation errors is triggered by some network malware, installing a carrier settings update will likely solve it.

Your phone however must have stable Wi-Fi internet access in order to access the update servers. Sufficient memory or storage space is also required to store the new update files and enough battery life to complete the update downloading and installation.

Once you’ve met all the requirements, proceed with any of these steps:

  1. To check for new carrier settings update, go to Settings-> General-> About menu and then scroll to the carrier section.

An update notification will show up if a new update is available. If there’s an update and you’re all set to implement it on your phone, just refer to the onscreen commands to download and install the carrier settings update.

After installing update, reboot/soft reset your iPhone to apply the recent system changes and to refresh your apps and services. See if that fixes the iMessage activation error then.

Fifth solution: Log out and back into your iMessage account (Apple account).

Apple services including iMessage require a valid Apple ID and password in order to work. Thus, setting up an Apple ID is among the first things to do prior to using your phone. Should the iMessage activation error be attributed to minor account issues, then logging out and back into your Apple account or iCloud account will help fix it. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap Message.
  3. Go to the Send & Receive section.
  4. Then tap on your Apple ID.
  5. Select the option to Sign Out.
  6. Then turn off iMessage.
  7. While iMessage is turned off, soft reset/restart your iPhone.
  8. As soon as your phone boots up, head back to Settings-> Messages-> then turn on iMessage again.

Then sign into your iMessage account again by entering the correct Apple ID and password. If that fixes the iMessage activation error, then you’re good and set to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone. Otherwise, troubleshoot further and eliminate other causing factors.

Sixth solution: Reset all settings.

Invalid or misconfigured settings on the phone can also be the main reason as to why iMessage won’t activate on your device. To rule this out, resetting all settings on the phone can help.

This reset clears all customized settings and then restores the original options and values. Any invalid options or configurations are therefore eliminated. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Choose the option to Reset all settings.
  5. Enter your passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm that you want to reset all settings on your phone.

Allow your phone to finish resetting and then reboots itself when done. As soon as it boots up, enable the features that you want to use on your phone again including Wi-Fi. Set up iMessage again and see if the error is gone already.

Last resort: Factory reset your iPhone.

The last option and possibly the ultimate solution to the problem is a factory reset. The iMessage waiting for activation error could persist due to complex system errors like when the iMessage system gets corrupted and eventually becomes dysfunctional, or it could be an iOS bug that affected the iMessage function.

To deal with complex system issues like these, performing a factory reset or master reset on the phone is usually needed. This will erase your iPhone data along with stubborn bugs and associated errors that could not be remedied by the initial procedures.

To evade from permanent data loss, back up all your important files to iCloud or iTunes beforehand. Once the backup is secured, you can proceed with the full system reset through settings. Here’s how:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then confirm factory reset.

Your phone should reboot by itself when the reset is finished. By then you can proceed with the initial setup process. Just follow the start-up wizard to automatically set up everything on your device including iMessage.

If you’re still getting the same iMessage waiting for activation error after performing a factory reset, then you should now escalate the problem. The underlying cause of the problem is likely not on your end and so the error can’t be rectified by any tweaks.

You may contact your carrier/service provider or Apple Support for further assistance and more advanced solutions. Otherwise, you may have to consider using iMessage alternatives while waiting for Apple to roll out a dedicated fix patch.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix your iPhone with ‘iMessage waiting for activation’ error. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!