6 Pro Tips to Fix iMessage Pending Activation Issue on iOS 14

Maybe you’ve recently switched from Android to iOS or from an old iPhone to a new one and are setting everything up, including iMessage. But it looks like you ran into a problem. Your iMessage gets stuck on the “Waiting for Activation” error screen and doesn’t want to work even after multiple attempts and hours of waiting. If my guess is right, here are 6 tips to fix iMessage Waiting for Activation issue in iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.

Tips to Fix iMessage Waiting for Activation Issue

You may encounter 5 familiar error messages when enabling iMessage on iOS:

  • pending activation
  • Unable to connect to iMessage server. Try again
  • An error occurred during activation
  • Activation failed
  • Login failed, please check your network connection

Regardless of which of these error messages appear on your iPhone or iPad, the solutions below can help you fix iMessage activation issues on iOS 14 or earlier.

Things To Keep In Mind If iMessage Is Not Working On Your iPhone

First of all, make sure to tick the essentials as they play an important role in successful iMessage activation.

  • iMessage activation requires a stable internet connection. So, make sure your device is connected to cellular or Wi-Fi network.
  • You will need the SMS message to activate your phone number with iMessage.
  • iMessage activation takes up to 24 hours.
  • Make sure your carrier allows you to send and receive SMS messages.
  • Only if your carrier is not mentioned Apple’s wireless carrier support pageMake sure you can send and receive international SMS.
  • Apple also allows you to use your email address with iMessage.

1. Toggle Airplane Mode

The first tip you should try is to toggle Airplane mode on and off. As funny as it may sound, Airplane mode can help fix random network related issues. So, before trying other solutions to fix iMessage activation problem on your iPhone/iPad, make sure to give it a shot.

  • On iPhone and iPad with Face ID: Swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to access the Control Center. Then tap the Airplane mode button to turn it on.
  • On iPhone and iPad with Touch ID: Swipe up from the bottom to access the Control Center and then press the Airplane mode button to activate it.

Wait for a while and then disable Airplane mode. Now, Go to ‘Messages’ under the Settings app To check if the iMessage pending activation error is gone. If the problem is solved, you are ready to go!

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2. Turn Off/Explain iMessage and Restart Your Device

If the first trick didn’t help you fix the iMessage activation issue on your iOS 14 device, turn off iMessage and restart your device. Sometimes, simply Turn iMessage toggle on and off allows you to resolve this error.

Solutions to fix iMessage activation issue on iPhone and iPad

First, go to ‘Settings -> Messages’ and turn off the toggle next to iMessage. Then follow the steps below to restart your iPhone or iPad.

  • On iPhone X, 11 and 12: Press and hold the volume down or up button and the side button. Then drag the power off slider to turn off your device. After that, press and hold the side button to restart your device.
  • iPhone SE 2, 8 or Earlier: Press and hold the power button and then drag the power off slider to turn off your device. Then press and hold the power button to turn on your device.
  • On iPad without Home Button: Press and hold the volume up or down button and the top button. After that, drag the shutdown slider to turn off your iPad. Then press and hold the top button to turn on your device.
  • On iPad with Home Button: Press and hold the top button and then drag the power off slider to turn off your iPad. Then press and hold the top button again to reboot your device.

Once your device restarts, turn on the iMessage toggle. Now, wait a bit to check if iMessage activation was successful on your device.

3. Make Sure The Time Zone Is Set Correctly

Apple recommends that users set their time zone correctly for successful activation of iMessage. So make sure to check this essential box to avoid the Pending Activation error. To do this, go to: Settings -> General -> Date and Time. Now, open the toggle Set automatically.Set your timezone correctly on iOS


  • If there’s a timezone update available, you’ll get a warning for it. To set the correct time zone, make sure you allow your iPhone or iPad to use its current location.
  • To do this go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services and then turn on the toggle next to Set Time Zone.

4. Check Apple’s System Status for iMessage

Whenever Apple’s system suffers an outage, most of its core services and features stop, including iMessage. So, be sure to check Apple’s iMessage system status to determine if it works normally.

Apple's system state for iMessage not working issue - fix

Set route to Apple’s health page. If the circle next to iMessage is green, it means it’s functional. However, if iMessage has a red or yellow circle next to it, it means the service is facing an outage. Now, the only thing you can do (you guessed it!) to get rid of this issue is to wait for the backend issues to be resolved.

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5. Reset Network Settings

As outlined above, a sloppy internet connection can be one of the main reasons iMessage isn’t working as intended on your iPhone/iPad. So make sure your Wi-Fi or cellular connection is up to the mark. If you notice that your internet connection is weak or doesn’t seem to be working well, you can reset the network settings to try and fix this issue.

Reset network settings - iMessage waiting for enabler bug fix

To do this, go to the Settings app on your device -> General -> Reset. Now, Tap on ‘Reset Network Settings’, Enter your device’s password then tap on Reset Network Settings again to confirm the action.

Note that your iOS device’s network settings will be reset to factory defaults and you will need to re-enter your Wi-Fi password. Now, enable iMessage and the Pending Activation error should be gone.

6. Update Software

If none of the above-mentioned tricks are fixing the iMessage Waiting for Activation issue, there is a good chance that outdated software is the culprit. What’s the solution? Quite simply, check for a software update.

Apple silently releases several bug fixes and performance improvements with every software update. So, hopefully updating your iOS device to the latest software version can fix the problem.

Software Update on iPhone

Go to Settings app -> General -> Software Update. Then do whatever is necessary to update the software on your iOS/iPadOS device.

Fix iMessage Pending Activation Issue on iPhone

That is all! I think you must have finally solved the iMessage activation issue on your iOS device. As far as I can tell from my experience, these tricks usually fix the iMessage not working error on my iPhone. Also, most of the time, toggling the iMessage toggle and restarting the device does the trick. If you’re still encountering any issues, let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Now, if iMessage is working fine for you but your iPhone is randomly restarting, check our handy guide to fix the problem. You can also increase the security and privacy of your iOS 14 device using the linked article.