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iMessage “Waiting for activation…” problem? Try this solution!

A number of users have reported issues with iMessage whereby they try to enable it but the phone gets stuck on “Waiting for activation…” as shown below:

So what’s the solution?

There are a number of things that work for users and they are listed here in order of ease/reported effectiveness. Before you begin however, make sure to do a full Backup of your phone, this can be done by either selecting the iCloud backup option in Settings, or ideally connecting your phone to your computer and doing an iTunes backup. Keeping your data safe is always a good idea in case your phone gets lost or stolen, liquid damaged or has a premature hardware failure. With that done, let’s begin!

1) Make sure your date and time settings are correct

Incorrect date and time will result in your phone not being able to connect to a https/secure connection, which will break iMessage as well as most webpages and apps. Turn it on in Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically

2) Do a quick settings reset

Selecting reset all settings will flush the user settings such as ringtone selection, network configuration, keyboard layout etc. Not many people change their default settings so you won’t notice much of a difference after the settings reset although you’ll have to put in your saved WiFi passwords again.

Note: make sure not to accidentally select “Erase all Content and Settings” because this will fully wipe your phone!

3) Sign out of iMessage and iCloud

A number of users reported their iMessage issues were resolved by simply signing out of iMessage and iCloud, rebooting their phone then signing back in. To do this, simply go to Settings > iMessage and turn off the toggle next to iMessage. Then go beck to Settings and scroll to your iCloud options which are usually located at the top as shown

Go to the bottom and select Sign Out

Then you’ll likely need to put in your password to turn off ‘Find My iPhone’

Once you’ve followed these steps, reboot your phone then sign back to to iCloud and iMessage. And if you still have no improvement, proceed to the nuclear option:

4) Perform a DFU software update

This is the most challenging option because you’ll need to do a full backup and download the newest software version but if your iMessage is still not working then it will be your only choice.

First up is to back up your data, saving your contacts and messages and baby/pet/food/selfie pics is likely a priority. Connect your phone to iTunes, click ‘Trust’ on both devices and then click ‘Back Up Now’. This step can take between 5-30 minutes depending on how much data you have.

Once completed, the next step is a DFU restore. This means you’ll need to put your phone into a special mode which enables the firmware to be fully wiped and updated to the latest clean version. Click Here for video guides on how to do this.

iTunes will then see your phone in recovery mode, click on Restore and the phone firmware will be updated. Then once it’s done, just click on ‘Restore from backup’ to put your data back onto the device and you should be good to go!