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How to fix iMessage that is not working on your iPhone XS, messages not delivered, scrambled or out of order

Apple’s instant messaging system, iMessage is a free service that doesn’t use the data limits set by a Telco for normal messaging. This messaging system works only between Apple devices including Mac computers and iOS devices. The users’ Apple ID will serve as the primary key for the iMessage system to handle messaging. This means that you can’t use iMessage without an Apple ID. With iMessage, you can send texts, documents, videos, photos, contact details and group messages either through Wi-Fi or mobile data network. You can access iMessage through the built-in Messages app. Once you’ve got all these primary requisites met, you’re all set to use iMessage.

But just like non-Apple instant messaging platforms, iMessage may also succumb to random flaws. In fact, a number of iPhone owners have raised various types of issues when using iMessage on their iOS devices. Among the prevalent concerns include not delivered messages and messages that are out of order or scrambled. If by any chance, you will encounter any of these symptoms while using iMessage on your new iPhone XS device, performing the subsequent workarounds may be able to help you. Read on for more detailed solutions.

For owners who are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance don’t hesitate to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS with iMessage that’s not working?

To use iMessage, you still need to set it up. If you’ve already enabled iCloud on your iPhone XS, then iMessage is likely enabled as well. Otherwise, you can enable it manually and customize it based on your personal preferences.

To activate iMessage on your iPhone XS, go to Settings-> Messages-> iMessage, then tap the iMessage switch to turn iMessage on. If the switch turns green, it means iMessage is already activated and ready for use.

If iMessage is already activated on your iPhone XS but the problem persists, try applying any of the following solutions.

First solution: Manage date and time settings on your iPhone XS.

Incorrect date and time settings can also affect your iPhone’s messaging functions. The phone’s messaging system typically collaborates with the date and time system to ensure correct time stamps are indicated on every single message you send and receive on your device. If the date and time settings are incorrect, then there’s a chance that the message time stamps aren’t real-time. This therefore results to scrambled or out-of-order messages on the phone. So here’s what you can try doing to rule time/date issues out from the underlying causes:

  1. Open Settings app from the Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Date & Time.

If the date and time settings aren’t set to automatic, enable the option to Set Automatically. You can also set your iPhone to use its current location to determine the correct time zone.

  1. To do this, go to Settings-> Privacy-> Location Services-> System Services menu, then select Set Time Zone.
  2. To check and ensure that your iPhone is showing the correct time zone, go to Settings-> General-> Date & Time-> Time Zone menu.

Meanwhile, if your iPhone XS is still showing problems with iMessage after relying on automatic date and time, then try to set it manually instead.

  • To do so, go to Settings-> General-> Date & Time menu, then toggle the switch to turn off Set Automatically.  

After doing that, modify the time zone or date and time based on the given instructions.

Second solution: Turn iMessage off and then back on.

Random glitches may also strike the iMessage system and thereby cause it to suddenly misbehave. This usually occurs when installing new updates and then some relevant data gets corrupted. To rectify these glitches, turning the feature off for a few seconds and then back on can help. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app from Home.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Toggle the switch to turn off iMessage.
  4. Soft reset/restart your iPhone XS.
  5. Then turn iMessage back on.

When iMessage is enabled, open Messages and then create a sample message to send and receive via iMessage.

Third solution: Sign out from your iMessage account and then sign in again.

Account-related problems are also among the possible triggers. If you have several Apple IDs, make sure that the Apple ID you used for iMessage is the same as the one you used to log in to the Apple ID account webpage. Otherwise, you may have to sign out and then sign in again to ensure your account credentials are correct. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Navigate to the Send & Receive section.
  4. Tap on Apple ID:[your Apple ID].
  5. Select the option to Sign Out.
  6. Reboot/soft reset your iPhone XS after successfully signing out of iMessage.
  7. Then sign back in to iMessage using the same Apple ID you used when logging in to the Apple ID account page.

Launch Messages and then create another sample message to send and receive as iMessage on your iPhone XS. See if the problem is fixed. If not, then try the next workaround.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS.

Network connectivity issues can also affect the phone’s network functions including iMessage services. To rule this out, performing a network settings reset on your iPhone XS can help. Doing so erases the current network settings including incorrect network configurations that might have caused conflict with the messaging services, particularly iMessage. So here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset network settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your device passcode if prompted to do so.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Wait for your iPhone to finish the reset and then reboots by itself. Then you can reconnect to Wi-Fi or cellular data network to go for another iMessage testing.

Fifth solution: Reset your iPhone XS to its factory default settings (master reset).

A master reset is usually needed to deal with recurring software issues. If iMessage still failed to work as expected or shows the same symptoms after exhausting all possible solutions, there’s a chance that you’re dealing with a more intricate system issue that usually requires more advanced solutions. But before performing this reset, be sure to back up all your important files because they will also be wiped out in the process. Once you’re all set, follow these steps to perform a master reset on your iPhone XS:

  1. Open the Settings app from Home.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to and tap Reset.
  4. Tap to select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. When asked, enter the correct passcode for your iPhone Xs.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm factory reset.

Your iPhone should reboot by itself when the reset is finished and then restores the default settings. To use your device again, continue with and complete the initial setup process. Be sure to enable Wi-Fi, cellular data and iMessage on your iPhone XS too.

Other options

If you have created multiple Apple IDs and that they’re all valid, then you can try using a different Apple ID on your device and see if that would fix the problem with iMessage.

Installing the latest iOS version available for your iPhone XS can also help fix the problem if it’s attributed to some software bugs or system glitches. If your iPhone XS has strong and stable Internet connection, then you can check for and download OTA updates by heading over to Settings-> General-> Software update menu. Simply follow the given instructions to install new system update on your device.

Escalating the problem to your service provider/carrier is also important especially if iMessage still failed to deliver messages or receiving scrambled messages. Doing so will help you determine whether or not the problem is on their end.

You can also contact Apple Support to check for a service outage that may be causing temporary problems to iMessage.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone 7 smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone 7. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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