How to fix iMessage Waiting for Activation error on iPhone 11 after updating to iOS 13.2.3

Setting up iMessage on an iPhone is supposed to be an easy process for as long as you’ve met all primary requisites like a valid Apple ID. Nonetheless, there are many factors that can make it a bit complicated. There are many indicators that would manifest on your device if iMessage isn’t working as intended. Tackled in this post is on the iMessage Waiting for Activation error, following a recent iOS update implementation. Read on to find out what to do if you would bump into the same issue when attempting to set up and use iMessage on your iPhone 11.

Troubleshooting iMessage waiting for activation error on an iPhone 11 after installing new iOS update

Before you start ruling out software-related factors that might have hindered your iPhone from activating iMessage after the recent update, check the phone’s date and time. For real-time services like iMessage to work, your device must have correct date and time information. To ensure that the date and time information on your iPhone is correct, configure your device to automatically obtain this information based on your current location’s time zone. If everything is good with the date and time settings and yet your iPhone is still stuck on waiting for activation error when trying to activate iMessage, try the following methods to eliminate the possible causes.

First solution: Restart iMessage and FaceTime.

Like other built-in features, iMessage could also end up misbehaving from an update. Usually, the transpiring symptoms are just minor and thus can easily be remedied by restarting the affected system. That said, restarting iMessage can be considered among the first potential solutions to try. In this case, you can restart both iMessage and FaceTime features on your iPhone as these are associated features. Many iPhone owners have also found wonders from this tweak, so it wouldn’t hurt if you’d give it a try on your end and see the result.

To turn off iMessage on your iPhone 11, just follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Messages.
  3. Tap the switch next to iMessage to turn the feature Off.

turn off imessage on iphone

To turn off FaceTime on your iPhone 11, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select FaceTime.
  3. Tap the switch next to FaceTime to turn the feature Off.

When both iMessage and FaceTime are turned off, restart or soft reset your iPhone. After your iPhone reboots, turn iMessage and FaceTime back on.

Second solution: Soft reset your iPhone.

If the first tweak doesn’t yield positive results and your device remains stuck on the waiting for activation error, the next method you can try is a soft reset. Performing a soft reset on an iPhone can help clear out random software errors and likewise, fix apps and services that are suddenly acting up from an update. On iPhones, a soft reset is also a way of dumping junk files cached in the phone’s internal memory and thereby improves performance of your device. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold both the Side button and Volume Up button for a few seconds.
  2. Release both buttons when the Slide to Power off bar appears.
  3. Swipe or drag the bar to turn your device off.
  4. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button and then release when the Apple logo appears.

Allow your phone to finish the boot sequence and then reconnects to Wi-Fi internet. Once it’s connected, retry activating iMessage and see if the error is gone already.

Third solution: Refresh your internet connection.

Network connectivity issues such as slow internet connection or intermittent Wi-Fi access can also be the underlying cause of the problem. If your internet connection is not stable, your device won’t be able to establish a secure connection with the Apple server and thus, it couldn’t complete the iMessage activation process. To rectify random internet issues, refresh your phone’s internet feature. And you can start with the Wi-Fi toggle. Here’s how:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll to and select Wi-Fi.
  3. Toggle the Wi-Fi switch to turn the feature off.
  4. After a few seconds, toggle the switch to turn Wi-Fi back on again.

wifi imessage waiting for activation

Alternatively, you can use the Airplane mode trick to simultaneously restart all wireless connections of your iPhone. Just refer to these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature ON. Doing so disables your iPhone’s wireless radios and associated features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 
  4. While Airplane Mode is turned on, reboot or soft reset your iPhone to clear out network cache.
  5. After it reboots, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn it OFF again.

toggle airplane mode imessage

Your iPhone will then re-establish Wi-Fi signals. Once the signal has become stable, reconnect to your Wi-Fi network to get back online and use online services, particularly iMessage.

In the case where the underlying cause is a corrupted Wi-Fi network, forgetting the network and adding it back would be necessary. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to your iPhone Settings-> Wi-Fi menu then make sure that the Wi-Fi switch is turned on.
  2. Scroll down to the list of available Wi-Fi networks and then select the network that your iPhone is connected to.
  3. Tap the information “i” icon next to the name of the selected Wi-Fi network.
  4. Then tap the option to Forget this Network.
  5. If prompted, tap Forget Network to confirm network deletion. The network will then be removed from the list. Repeat the same steps to forget other unused networks to prevent any of them from causing conflicts with the network in use.
  6. After forgetting the Wi-Fi network, turn OFF the Wi-Fi switch then restart your iPhone to clear its network cache. 
  7. As soon as it reboots, go back to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu then re-enable the Wi-Fi switch to view the list of available Wi-Fi networks. 
  8. Select your preferred Wi-Fi network then tap Join or Connect.
  9. If prompted, enter the correct network password to proceed.

imessage error forget wifi network

Your device will then authenticate network access based on the credentials you’ve entered. If everything is good, it will be connected to the Wi-Fi network. By then you can retry activating iMessage to see if it’s already working.

Fourth solution: Sign out and back into your Apple account.

An Apple ID serves as the primary key for you to access and use Apple services including iMessage. That said, signing into your Apple account is needed for you to activate iMessage. Considering that you’ve already signed into your account but for some reason your login session has become voided from the recent update, signing out and back into your account will likely fix the problem. So here’s what you can try next:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select your Apple ID header (typically depicted by your name on the upper display).
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen then tap Sign Out.
  4. If prompted, enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off. You can also turn on the data that you’d like to keep a copy on your device, as you would prefer.
  5. Then tap Sign Out twice to confirm that you want to sign out of your Apple ID account.
  6. After signing out, restart your iPhone then go back to Settings.
  7. Tap the option to Sign In.
  8. Enter your Apple ID and password. 
  9. If you set a two-factor authentication, enter the six-digit verification code sent to your device.

To make sure that the correct Apple ID is set up on iMessage, access and manage Apple ID settings on iMessage from the Messages app. Just follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Messages.
  3. Scroll down to the Send & Receive section then tap to select the Apple ID that’s associated with your iMessage account.
  4. Tap on your Apple ID then select the option to Sign Out.
  5. Stay on the same screen for about 30 seconds and then tap the option to Use your Apple ID for iMessages.
  6. Finally, tap to select the option to Sign In to your iMessage account.

sign out imessage

See if that solves the problem.

Fifth solution: Reset all settings to fix iMessage waiting for activation error on  your iPhone 11.

If the recent iOS update ended up messing your current system settings, chances are that some built-in features would fail or stop working as intended. To clear this out, you can reset all the settings on your iPhone to restore the default system settings without affecting your iPhone data. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Tap to select Reset all settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Tap on Reset all settings again to confirm action.

reset all settings activation error

After the reset, your phone restarts on its own and then loads up the default values and options. This denotes the need for you to re-enable necessary features, particularly those that are disabled by default in order to use them again on your phone.

Don’t forget to re-enable iMessage from the Messages app settings and see if the problem is fixed.

Last resort: Factory reset your iPhone to set up everything as new.

The problem may be deemed complex if none of the previous methods is able to fix it. To deal with major system issues on your iPhone, performing a factory reset or system restore is usually a potential solution. But the main downside from doing so is the fact that both these methods would result in the deletion of all critical data and personal information saved on your iPhone storage. On a positive note, these methods offer higher success rates when it comes to resolving major system flaws including post-update iMessage errors. Just don’t forget to back up your iPhone data beforehand. 

A faster way to carry out a factory reset is through your iPhone settings. Just follow these steps whenever you’re all set to reset and restore your device.

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings. This will erase everything from your iPhone system including all saved data on the internal memory.
  5. Enter your device passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm that you want to erase your iPhone and restore its factory default settings.

factory reset imessage

After the reset, you can use the start-up wizard to set up the key features of your phone using automatic settings/configuration.

Still stuck on iMessage waiting for activation error on your iPhone 11?

The above solutions are normally good enough to eliminate common software-related factors that can hinder the iMessage activation process. If you still cannot activate iMessage on your iPhone 11 after performing all the given procedures, then you may retry activating the service at a later time or 24 hours later. The Apple server may be congested or unavailable at the moment, hence your iMessage activation request is still pending. If this is the first iMessage and FaceTime activation attempt, it could take about 24 hours for the services to be activated. 

For further assistance, you can contact your carrier and verify if SMS services are working on your device. Or you can also escalate the problem straight to Apple Support. 

ALSO READ: Common calling and texting problems on iPhone 11 after iOS 13.2.3 update