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iOS: Troubleshooting FaceTime and iMessage activation

Symptoms

Learn to resolve issues with activating FaceTime and iMessage on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Resolution

iPhone automatically registers your phone number for use with FaceTime and iMessage.

  • To use FaceTime with your Apple ID, navigate to Settings > FaceTime and tap "Use your Apple ID for FaceTime."
  • To use iMessage with your Apple ID, navigate to Settings > Messages > Receive At and tap "Use your Apple ID for iMessage."

When you enable FaceTime or iMessage with an iPad or iPod touch, you need to enter a valid Apple ID and password. Other users will be able to contact you on FaceTime and iMessage using this email address.

If you see "Waiting for Activation", "Activation unsuccessful", or "An error occurred during activation"

These messages occur when your iPhone is trying to activate your phone number with iMessage or FaceTime.

To resolve these status messages, follow these steps. After each step, turn FaceTime and iMessage off and on again in Settings > Messages and Settings > FaceTime.

  1. Update to the latest version of iOS.
  2. Make sure that you have a cellular network connection with your cellular provider. You need a cellular network connection to activate iMessage and FaceTime with your iPhone phone number.
  3. Go to www.apple.com in Safari to make sure that you have a data connection. You need a data connection to activate iMessage and FaceTime with your iPhone phone number.
  4. Make sure that you can send and receive SMS. You need a valid SMS messaging plan to activate FaceTime and iMessage.
  5. Make sure that FaceTime hasn't been restricted: tap Settings > General > Restrictions > FaceTime.
  6. Set iPhone to the correct time zone: tap Settings > General > Date & Time.
    Note: If Set Automatically is on but the incorrect time zone appears, turn Set Automatically off and choose the correct time zone, date, and time.
  7. Contact your carrier to verify that there are no restrictions, blocks, or filters on text messages. Restrictions, blocks, or filters on text messaging will prevent iMessage and FaceTime registration from completing.

If "Waiting for Activation" still appears after you perform these steps, turn FaceTime and iMessage off and on in Settings > Messages and Settings > FaceTime. You may need to wait up to 24 hours to complete activation. Most attempts will take less than an hour, but some attempts may take up to 24 hours. If your issue isn't resolved after 24 hours, please contact Apple for assistance. If you've recently performed a remote wipe on your iPhone, wait 24 hours from the time you performed the remote wipe, and then turn iMessage off then back on.

You can still activate iMessage and FaceTime with your Apple ID when these status messages appear. You can see that you've activated FaceTime and iMessage with your Apple ID by tapping:

  • Settings > FaceTime > You can be reached by FaceTime at:
  • Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > You can be reached by iMessage at:

If you see "Could not sign in, please check your network connection and try again" when signing in to your Apple ID

To resolve this issue, follow these steps.

  1. Update to the latest version of iOS.
  2. Verify that you have a data connection by going to www.apple.com in Safari. You can complete Apple ID activation using Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection. If you need help connecting to Wi-Fi, follow these steps.
  3. If you're using Wi-Fi, make sure that your local Wi-Fi network is using the recommended Wi-Fi settings.
  4. Sign in to your account and ensure that the primary email address and alternate e-mail addresses have been verified. If verification is pending, follow the instructions in the email Apple sent to that email address to complete verification. Or remove the e-mail addresses from the account.
  5. If your Apple ID isn't an email address, you can change it. The Apple ID that you're using to activate FaceTime or iMessage must be an email address. Find more information on how to change your Apple ID.
  6. Tap Settings > General > Date & Time. Make sure that your iPhone is set to the correct time zone. If Set Automatically is on but the wrong time zone appears, turn Set Automatically off and choose the correct time zone, date, and time.
  7. Enable iMessage and FaceTime while connected to a different Wi-Fi network (in a different location) if a cellular data connection is not available.

You can see that you've activated FaceTime and iMessage with your Apple ID by following these steps.

  • Tap Settings > FaceTime > You can be reached by FaceTime at:
  • Tap Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > You can be reached by iMessage at:

If you see "Unable to verify email because it is already in use" when signing in to your Apple ID

To resolve this issue, follow these steps.

If you've waited 24 hours and still can't activate FaceTime or iMessage

If you're still unable to resolve the symptoms above after performing these troubleshooting steps, please contact Apple for assistance.

To sign out of your Apple ID

  1. Go to Settings > FaceTime, tap your Apple ID, and select Sign Out.
  2. Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive, tap your Apple ID, and select Sign Out.

Additional Information

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Sep 5, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 5, 2014
  • Article: TS4268
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