How to fix my iPhone SE that cannot send or receive iMessage [Troubleshooting Guide]

With iMessage, you can send unlimited text, photos, videos, locations and contacts through Wi-Fi or cellular data from your iOS device to other Apple devices. To make this happen, you have to turn on or enable iMessage on your iPhone settings beforehand. iMessages appear in blue text bubbles and they are always encrypted. SMS and MMS on the other hand appear in green text bubbles and are not encrypted. For as long as your device is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, iMessage should work as intended. If Wi-Fi is not available, iMessages will be sent over cellular data. But not all people have the same positive experience with Apple’s special messaging tool.

Just like what some iPhone SE owners claimed about being unable to send or receive iMessages on their respective iOS devices. What could have possibly caused such trouble in sending or receiving messages through iMessage on the iPhone SE? If you come across this page while searching for an answer to that same question, then you should read on to determine the root cause along with some potential solutions you can try on.

Now, before we proceed with our troubleshooting, if you have other concerns with your new iPhone SE, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already published some guides and tutorials. You may also contact us by completing our iPhone issues questionnaire. This is a free consultation servicer we offer and all we need is information about the problem. So please give us that so that we can help you better. 

Possible causes of iMessage problems on your iPhone SE

Usually you will be prompted with an error message if something goes wrong when using certain apps on your iPhone. These error prompts also give you some clues on what went wrong and what needs to be done as resolution. This is the reason why it is important to read them when they show up on your screen.

What appeared to be the common causes of problems with iMessage sending and receiving are network problems. Needless to say, iMessage will not work as intended if your network connection is intermittent or unstable. The same thing happens if network connection is unavailable.

Another possible reason as to why you may not be able to send or receive iMessage is simply because the service is not supported in your account. You can check with your carrier to see if the message you are trying to send is supported. Incorrect phone number or email address for the contact is also among the possible causes as to why a message could not be sent through iMessage. Similar problems can also occur due to software glitches particularly with the Messages app on your iPhone SE. Often times a reboot on the app or iPhone itself rectifies the glitch but other instances require a more advanced solution. Faulty updates can also be the culprit. This could be the case if you experience problems sending or receiving messages after updating iOS on your iPhone.

Potential solutions and workarounds to deal with iMessage problems

Given that most of the cases are related to the software, there is a higher chance for you to fix the problem on your end. To obtain quick solution, try to determine the possible cause as much as possible. Try to think when exactly did you start having trouble sending SMS or MMS through iMessage on your iPhone? For example, did it occur after installing an update or making changes to the Messages app settings? This way you won’t waste much of your time doing some troubleshooting that are actually not necessary. So here are your options.

First solution: Restart the Messages app and your iPhone SE.

If this is the first time you encounter problems with iMessage on your iPhone, try to restart the Message app and then try again. If that won’t do any good, restart your iPhone instead.


  • To restart, press and hold the Power button until the slider appears. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power button again until the Apple logo appears.


If your iPhone SE is already running in iOS 11 platform, you can turn it off by going to Settings-> General-> Shut Down.

After the reboot, try to use iMessage again and see if it is already working as intended.

Second solution: Check your network connection.

Cellular data or Wi-Fi connection is needed for you to send a message as iMessage or MMS. If your device is not connected, iMessage services are likewise unavailable. If you are using Wi-Fi, verify and ensure that your iPhone SE is connected to your wireless network.


  • To do so, head to Settings-> Wi-Fi. Try to toggle the Wi-Fi switch to turn Wi-Fi off and then on again.


You can also access Wi-Fi settings through the Control Center. Just open the control center by swiping your finger up from the bottom of the screen and then tap the Wi-Fi icon to disable or enable the feature on your device.

If you have a poor Wi-Fi connection, you can use Wi-Fi Assist to automatically switch to cellular data. Wi-Fi assist is enabled on your iPhone by default.


  • To check on and configure this option, head to Settings-> Cellular-> scroll down then tap the slider for Wi-Fi Assist, if necessary. If you are using Cellular Data, go to Settings-> Cellular-> then make sure Cellular Data is turned on. If not, toggle the switch to turn it on.


If you still cannot connect to either Wi-Fi or Cellular data network, then you may consider performing a network settings reset instead. Doing so will reset existing Wi-Fi networks, network passwords, cellular settings, VPN and APN settings that you’ve used on your iPhone SE.


  • To reset network settings on your iPhone SE, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.


After the network settings reset, setup and configure network connections on your iPhone then try to check if iMessage is already working properly.

Third solution: Turn iMessage off and then back on.

If you are getting an alert message that says, Waiting for Activation, the following workarounds might be able to help. Here’s how it works:

  1. Head over to Settings-> Messages-> then turn off iMessage.
  2. Disable FaceTime.
  3. Sign out of your Apple ID by going to Settings-> iTunes & App Store-> tap Apple ID-> tap Sign Out.
  4. Go back to Settings then enable Airplane mode. Doing so will automatically turn Wi-Fi off.
  5. Turn On Wi-Fi again.
  6. Go back to Settings-> Messages-> then turn iMessage back ON.
  7. Enter your Apple ID and password to sign in.
  8. Go back to Settings-> then disable Airplane mode again.
  9. If you are prompted with a notification saying that “Your carrier may charge for SMS” tap OK to proceed. Otherwise, go to Messages-> turn iMessage off and then back on.

After performing all those things, reboot your iPhone and then try using iMessage to see if it’s already working as it should.

Other Options to Consider


  • Check the date and time settings on your iPhone. Verify and ensure that date and time settings on your iPhone SE are properly configured. Other iPhone users who encounter problems sending or receiving iMessage found out that the problem was due to incorrect date and time on their device. If necessary, try to configure the date and time on your iPhone manually.
  • Try sending the message again. If you are trying to send an iMessage and get an alert message that says Not Delivered, check and ensure that your iPhone is connected to your network (Wi-Fi or cellular). If it’s connected but you still get the same error, try these workarounds:


      • Tap the red (!) exclamation point next to the message.
      • Tap Try Again.
      • If you still cannot send the message, tap the red exclamation point again then select the option to Send as Text Message.


  • Contact your carrier to verify messaging rates for this matter. Also make sure that iMessage is enabled by going to Settings-> Messages-> iMessage. Sometimes, iMessage is temporarily unavailable on your iPhone or recipient’s device thus you cannot use the service at the moment.
  • Verify and ensure that your phone number is set for sending and receiving messages. It is also possible that your iMessage settings might be set to receive and start messages from your Apple ID instead of your phone number. To verify and configure this setting, go to Settings-> Messages-> tap Send & Receive. Make sure that your phone number is listed. If not, enter your phone number or  link your iPhone number to your Apple ID so you can send and receive iMessages from your phone number.


Seek More Help

If none of these worked and you still cannot send or receive iMessage on your iPhone SE, contact Apple Support to escalate the problem and at the same time ask further assistance or other recommendations as resolution.

If you haven’t done it already, you can also try to update your iPhone SE to the latest iOS version available. Doing so can help especially if the problem is triggered by some bugs or software glitches that are tough enough to withstand the basic workarounds.

Connect with us

Visit our troubleshooting page to view more solutions to other iPhone problems we have addressed in our prior posts. If you wish to reach our iOS support team for further assistance, then you may do so by filling up this form with all the required information. Be sure to provide us with the significant details of the issue that you need help with so we would be able to give you the best possible solutions and recommendations to try on.