How to fix iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” | error on iMessage and FaceTime

Today’s post will show you the troubleshooting steps that you can do if you’re having trouble with “An error occurred during activation” on your iPhone 8. This specific error usually occurs due to a number of possible causes. You’ll need to do a set of steps in order to narrow down the root cause.

“An error occurred during activation” error is among the errors one can get on his or her Apple device if there’s a problem with iMessage or FaceTime activation. These are the other similar errors:

  • Waiting for activation
  • Activation unsuccessful
  • An error occurred during activation
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection

If you’re getting any of these errors on your iPhone 8, this guide should help.

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How to fix iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” | error on iMessage and FaceTime

Are you getting iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” error? This troubleshooting guide should give you ideas what to do about it.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #1: Confirm date and time are correct

Apple services use standard time and date in order to work. Updates are timestamped by servers and if your device has incorrect time and date settings, activation and update errors may not work. To ensure that your iPhone 8 has correct date and time, you can manually set it to follow your network’s standard time (and timezone). Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Date and time.
  4. Enable Set Automatically.


iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #2: Connect to the internet

If you’re trying to activate Apple services like iMessage and FaceTime and you’re getting “An error occurred during activation” error, you have to make sure that this is not due to absence of internet connection. If you are at home, try to use your home wifi to connect to the internet. After that, try to resume the activation process and see what happens. If you can’t readily use a wifi connection for this task, make sure that your cellular data is working. In order for activation to occur successfully on an iPhone 8, you need a good working internet on the device as well as SMS. Texting is necessary to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime. Some carriers may charge you for using their SMS service to activate iMessage and FaceTime.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #3: Restart iMessage or FaceTime

If the problem remains at this time, the next move for you is to see if restarting the apps themselves — iMessage and FaceTime — will fix it. We’ve seen this troubleshooting step help in older iPhones before so you must try it here.

To restart your iMessage:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Turn off iMessage.
  4. Restart your iPhone 8.
  5. Check for the problem.


To restart FaceTime:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap FaceTime.
  3. Turn off FaceTime.
  4. Restart your iPhone 8.
  5. Check for the problem.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #4: Verify if software is up-to-date

One of the known reasons why activation of some Apple services won’t work is due to outdated software. Updates not only bring cosmetic changes to your device but they sometimes fix known bugs as well. Make sure that your device has the latest available iOS version. You can manually check for updates to see if there’s any available one right now.

To check if there’s an available iOS update:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Install updates if they’re available.
  5. Open iMessage or FaceTime and check for the problem.


iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #5: Sign back in to your Apple account

Another simple solution to “An error occurred during activation” on iPhones can be bugs associated with the current account. To check if this is the case, you can try to log out of your Apple account, restart the device, then log back in. This has proven effective in fixing this error in the past. It’s easy to do and won’t take a few minutes of your time. Here’s what you need to do exactly:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap your account name [your name]
  3. Tap Name, Phone Numbers, Email.
  4. Next to Reachable At, tap Edit, then delete your current Apple ID.
  5. Restart your iPhone.

Now you’ve removed your Apple ID and restarted the device, enter your Apple ID and see how it goes. Just follow the sign in steps after the device has restarted.

Alternatively, you can just do these steps to change your Apple ID. This does not get the benefits of a system reboot though but it may still work:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Sign in to your [device].
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  4. If you protect your account with two-factor authentication, enter the six-digit verification code and complete sign in.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #6: Enable iMessage

iMessage is usually activated along with iCloud so if your iCloud account is working now, there may be a problem with iMessage on your device. Depending on the exact problem re-enabling iMessage may help.

If you haven’t used iMessage yet on your iPhone 8, then the following steps may help to enable it:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Tap the iMessage On/Off switch. The switch will be green when it’s been turned on.
  4. Restart the device and check for the problem.


Both iMessage and FaceTime uses the same Apple servers so if one is down, the other may be down too. To do that, try to check iMessage on another iPhone, iPad, or Mac. iMessage rarely encounters server problems that result to loss of service but it’s worth checking.

If you’ve already established that there’s no iMessage issue at all, you can then check if it’s enabled or not in your iPhone. To do that, just go to Settings > Messages and ensure that the slider is all the way to the right. If iMessage is off, just turn it back on. This will initiate a reactivation request, though it may reach up to 24 hours to get a positive response.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #7: Get help from your network operator

In some cases, carriers may be the reason why iMessage or Facetime won’t activate. To ensure that you have everything covered, let your carrier know about the issue, especially since you said you recently changed your number. There may be some limiting conditions on their end that prevents iMessage and FaceTime from being activated. Also, make sure that your iPhone can receive SMS. If it can’t send or receive SMS, it’s most likely won’t be able to connect via cellular data as well. That, in turn, can cause activation problems with Apple.

By calling your carrier, you also want to know if there’s any carrier-specific updates that you need to install on your phone to activate iMessage and FaceTime. Only them can provide the answers.

iPhone 8 “An error occurred during activation” fix #8: Get help from Apple

If the problem is not coming from the network side, then it’s possible that there may be Apple servers problem. Although iMessage and FaceTime rarely have downtimes, they can still happen from time to time. Historically, outages for iMessage and FaceTime don’t last long. They usually go away on their own within a couple of hours. If you think that any of these services has been out for a long time now, we suggest that you get help from Apple.

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If you happen to have a problem with your own iPhone, let us know about it and we will do our best to post them and their solutions  in our upcoming articles. You can use this link to contact us for assistance. We can’t guarantee an answer to every question but rest assured that we will exhaust everything on our end to help you.

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