How to fix ‘Wait for Activation’ error in iMessage

Here’s how to fix the “Waiting for Activation” iMessage error.

Image via Apple

The launch of Apple’s new iPhone SE has many getting new phones or just starting to get into the Apple space. To use features like iMessage or FaceTime, all users need is an AppleID. Creating this gives unique access to Apple’s text and video-chat features with no cellular data plan required, just an internet connection. 

But even after creating an AppleID, users must wait for their device to activate to use these applications. Under normal circumstances, devices are activated quickly, usually by the end of setup but could take up to a day. In rare cases, the “Waiting for Activation” error may not go away and leave the app unusable. 

Check the Apple Server status

Devices must be activated when they’re first used. When using applications like iMessage, the device connects to Apple servers and confirms that the device is legitimate. Users can freely check the server status of Apple’s plethora of applications on Apple’s website

How to fix it

For those with this issue on apps like iMessage, there are a few ways to fix this problem:

Make sure the device is connected to the internet

It’s worth making sure that the device is connected to the internet so the device can properly communicate with the Apple servers. Go into the settings and make sure there is a Wi-Fi or cellular internet connection.

Restart the device

The first line of defense is to force close the iMessage application. This is done by opening the task manager on the phone. Depending on the device, this is done by swiping up from the bottom of the screen or by double-pressing the home button.

Once the currently opened applications are visible, swipe them up toward the top of the screen to force close them. 

From here, press the volume-up then the volume-down buttons while simultaneously holding down the power button to get the “slide to power off” prompt. Do this to turn the phone off and then hold the power button down to turn it back on.

Check and refresh iMessage connection

Within the settings of the device, users can check their iMessage connection by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple device
  2. Scroll down to the “Messages” tab
  3. Toggle the iMessage button
  4. Restart the device following the steps above
  5. Turn the device back on and toggle the iMessage button back on in the “Messages” tab in the settings

Go back to the iMessage application to check if the “Waiting for Activation” error is gone.

Sign out of the current AppleID

Another way to potentially solve this issue is to sign out and sign back in to the AppleID. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select the AppleID at the top of the screen
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Sign Out”
  4. Restart the device
  5. Open the settings again and sign back into the AppleID

Check the iMessage application to see if the error is gone.

Update to the latest version of iOS

When the device is not running the latest version of iOS, it can cause applications to not function properly. It is worth updating to the latest version of iOS whenever possible to avoid this problem. Follow the steps below to update the device:

  1. Open the Settings app on the device
  2. Open the General tab and select the Software Update tab
  3. Select download and install (make sure the device is connected to a power source and the internet)

The device should automatically restart. Once restarted, check the iMessage application to see if the error is gone.

Factory reset the device

One of the last options is to fully reset the device to factory settings and re-setup the device. This will update the device to the latest version of iOS, sign out and back into an AppleID, and refresh the iMessage connection. 

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select the “General” tab
  3. Select the “Transfer and Reset iPhone” tab
  4. Reset the device

It is highly suggested to back up the device prior to resetting. 

If the problem persists after going through all of these possible solutions, it’s recommended to go to an Apple Store or certified Apple retailer.