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How to activate imessage

To use iMessage or FaceTime, you need to activate them on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If you see an error message during activation, follow these steps.

When activating iMessage or FaceTime, you might see one of these messages:

  • Waiting for activation
  • Activation unsuccessful
  • An error occurred during activation
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection
  • Unable to contact the iMessage server. Try again.

Check your device settings

  1. Make sure that you’re connected to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an iPhone, you need SMS messaging to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime. Depending on your carrier, you might be charged for this SMS.
  2. Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and make sure that your time zone is set correctly.

Turn off and restart iMessage and FaceTime

  1. Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage.
  2. Go to Settings > FaceTime and turn off FaceTime.
  3. Restart your device:
  4. Turn iMessage and FaceTime back on.

Still not activated after a day?

It might take up to 24 hours to activate iMessage and FaceTime. If the issue continues after 24 hours, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your device has the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.
  2. If you’re using an iPhone, contact your carrier to make sure that you can send and receive SMS messages.
  3. If your iPhone is used with a carrier not found in the wireless carrier articles, make sure you can send and receive international SMS.
  4. Contact Apple Support.

Get more help

You can also use your email address with iMessage and FaceTime. Sign in to your Apple ID account page and review all the email addresses you have on file, including the one that you’re trying to verify. If the email address is incorrect, you can update it. Then click Resend next to the email address that you want to verify.

FaceTime is not available in all countries or regions.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

Get the warning “Cannot Send Message. iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message.”? Check this guide to fix this message not sending issue quickly.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: Mar. 16, 2021

iPhone Message Tips & Issues

iPhone Message Tips
iPhone Message Problems
iMessages Tips & Issues

What does “iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message” mean? I can’t get my messages to send and when I try that pops up. What is it and how can I fix it?

– A user from Apple Discussion

With iMessage, you can collaborate with others in a conversation, decorate messages with stickers, share a song, and more – without leaving Messages.

However, sometimes when you send an iMessage to others, you probably will get this notice: Cannot Send Message. iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message. And even occasionally, when you send text messages, you will also get into this trouble.

How to activate imessage

iMessage Needs to Be Enabled

Method 1. Enable Your iMessage

The first reason we could think about is that you have not enabled iMessage (How to Enable iMessage on iDevice and Mac) on your iPhone. Just like the words saying, you need to enable it.

Open the Settings app on iPhone > Tap on Messages > Switch iMessage to on and wait for it to activate. If you have enabled it before the problem happens, you can try disabling it firstly, and then enabling it again.

How to activate imessage

Enable Your iMessage

Method 2. Check If Apple iMessage Server Is Down

Another reason why iMessage Needs to Be Enabled to Send This Message issue comes is about the iMessage sever. If the server is not working, you can send messages. To check if it works or not, please go to Apple System Status.

How to activate imessage

Check If Apple iMessage Server Is Down

Method 3. Reset Network Settings

Sometimes, the reason why messages cannot send is related to network connection problems. You can reset network settings to fix it. Go to Settings > Tap on General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Method 4. Reset iMessage Settings

If all the above three methods do not work, the fourth way you can try is resetting the iMessage.

Step 1. Open Settings and tap on Messages > Choose Send & Receive option.

Step 2. Uncheck the email address and phone number in the section of YOU CAN BE REACHED BY IMESSAGE AT.

Step 3. Tap your Apple ID and choose Sign Out.

Step 4. Restart the iPhone, activate iMessage from the Settings, and sign in to your Apple ID again.

How to activate imessage

Reset iMessage Settings

Method 5. Erase All Content and Settings

The last way to fix iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message is resetting all settings on your iPhone, and then setting it up as new.

Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Then set it up from your iCloud backup, if you have one.

Or you can also directly restore your iPhone with iTunes. Launch iTunes and connect your iPhone with computer > Click your iPhone icon and then click Restore iPhone. Make sure you’ve turned off Find My iPhone > Choose a proper iTunes backup file and click Restore.

But no matter iCloud restoring, or iTunes restoring, neither of them support backup previewing, which means you will not know what contents the backups contain. And you need to restore them all to your iPhone, including the items you don’t need.

So to preview and selectively restoring iCloud and iTunes backups, we sincerely recommend PhoneRescue for iOS to help your get the job done.

PhoneRescue for iOS is good at getting back various iOS data from iPhone directly, iCloud backups, and iTunes backups. While, what PhoneRescue is different, and better than iTunes and iCloud restoring are,

  • PhoneRescue supports previewing iTunes and iCloud backup files. It means you can check whether the backup contains what you want before restoring.
  • You can also selectively choose what types of data to restore. There is no need to restore the whole backup file to iPhone.
  • Supports all kinds of data, contacts, messages, photos, notes, calendars, songs, and more.

Totally getting rid of iTunes & iCloud various restoring drawbacks. So why not give it a trial now?

Step 1. Run PhoneRescue on your PC > Choose Recover from iTunes Backups or Recover from iCloud (here we taking iTunes as an example) > Click right arrow to continue.

How to activate imessage

Recover Deleted Contacts on iPhone with iTunes Backup

Step 2. Choose the iTunes backup, which contains the lost data > Click right arrow > It will pop up a screen for choosing what kind of exact data types you would like to scan. Taking Photos as an example > Click on OK button to continue.

How to activate imessage

Extract iPhone Photos from iTunes Backup

Step 3. It will start scanning all photos in iTunes backup. After finishing, select the photos you would like to recover > Click on To Device button to download them to your device directly, or To Computer button to save them to computer.

How to activate imessage

Select Photos to Recover from iTunes Backup

The Bottom Line

With these five methods, you can totally fix iMessage need to be enabled to send this message issue. When you try restoring way, sincerely recommend you giving it a trial with PhoneRescue. Also if you have found other practical methods, please share them in the comments below.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.

Activate iMessage on your iPhone to start enjoying more features, like read receipts, improved security, and free messages.

iMessage is Apple’s own messaging system that you can use to exchange messages between Apple devices. As long as your contacts use an Apple device, like an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can send and receive messages from them via iMessage.

But before you can use iMessage, you need to first activate iMessage. Doing so is fairly easy on an iPhone, and we’ll show you how to do just that.

Activate iMessage on an iPhone

To activate and use iMessage, your iPhone must be connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or mobile data. Also, you must be logged in to your iCloud account on your iPhone.

Then, follow these steps to activate the iMessage service:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap Messages.
  3. Enable the toggle for iMessage.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

iMessage is now enabled on your iPhone. You can start messaging your Apple friends using the Messages app on your phone.

To distinguish between standard SMS/MMS texts and iMessage messages, your iPhone shows iMessage messages in blue bubbles and normal SMS/MMS messages in green bubbles.

Why You Should Use Apple’s iMessage on Your iPhone

There are many reasons to switch to iMessage over traditional messaging on your iPhone. Here are some reasons why you may want to do this.

You Can Send Unlimited Messages for Free

Your carrier charges you a fee to send regular text messages, unless you have a plan that offers free messages. With iMessage, though, you can send and receive an unlimited number of messages for free.

iMessage uses your Wi-Fi or mobile data to send and receive messages. Data charges might apply.

There Are Many More Features Than Traditional Messaging

iMessage offers many features that aren’t found in your normal messaging system. Some of these features include the ability to see when someone is typing a message and to get read receipts.

You Get Better Message Security

Your iMessage messages are encrypted to ensure no trespassers can read them. Even if someone somehow manages to get into the Apple system, they can’t read your messages as they are encrypted. All they will see is scrambled text.

Support for Multiple Platforms

iMessage works across all Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Your messages sync across your devices, meaning you can read a message on your iPhone, reply to it from your iPad, and catch up on that conversion from your Mac. Everything is in sync, basically.

Fix iMessage Activation Issues

Like any other service, iMessage has its own share of issues. You might experience various issues with this service from time to time.

Most errors usually occur when you’re attempting to activate the service. These errors are:

  • Waiting for activation
  • Activation unsuccessful
  • An error occurred during activation
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection
  • Unable to contact the iMessage server

If you come across one or more of these errors while activating iMessage, try the following troubleshooting tips.

Wait 24 Hours for iMessage to Activate

Apple recommends you wait at least 24 hours after activating iMessage. This is the time period the feature needs to fully activate. Once 24 hours pass, you should be able to use iMessage on your Apple devices without issues.

Ensure a Working Internet Connection

As mentioned earlier, iMessage uses your internet connection to send and receive messages. Therefore, you should ensure your iPhone or any other device you use the feature on has a working internet connection.

To check if your device’s internet works, open a browser on your device and launch a website, like Google. If the site loads, your internet works just fine.

If the site fails to load, there’s probably an issue with your internet connection. Speak to your internet service provider and see if they can help you.

Disconnect From Any VPN

If iMessage fails to send or receive messages, consider switching off your VPN app. VPNs transmit your data through a middleman server, and this can sometimes cause issues with the apps that use the internet.

You do not pay for iMessage. If Wi-Fi is unavailable, iMessages will be sent over cellular data. Cellular data rates might apply.

When activating iMessage or FaceTime, you might see one of these messages:

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

Check your device settings

  1. Make sure that you’re connected to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network. If you're using an iPhone, you need SMS messaging to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime. Depending on your carrier, you might be charged for this SMS.
  2. Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and make sure that your time zone is set correctly.

Turn off and restart iMessage and FaceTime

  1. Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage.
  2. Go to Settings > FaceTime and turn off FaceTime. your device.
  3. Turn iMessage and FaceTime back on.

Still not activated after a day?

It might take up to 24 hours to activate iMessage and FaceTime. If the issue continues after 24 hours, follow these steps:

You can use the phone number of your iPhone with Messages and FaceTime on your Mac, iPad, or iPod touch.

Set up your phone number

  1. Go to Settings > Messages and make sure that iMessage is on. You might need to wait a moment for it to activate.
  2. Tap Send & Receive. If you see “Use your Apple ID for iMessage,” tap it and sign in with the same Apple ID that you use on your Mac, iPad, and iPod touch.
    How to activate imessage
  3. In the "You can receive iMessages" section, make sure that your phone number and Apple ID are selected.
  4. Go to Settings > FaceTime and make sure that your phone number and Apple ID are selected in the "You can be reached by FaceTime at" section.

On your other devices, you can now turn on the phone number that you just set up:

If you use this feature and share your Apple ID with someone, you can’t prevent them from seeing your conversations. Instead of using the same Apple ID as someone else, set up Family Sharing.

Remove your phone number

If you don’t want calls or messages for your iPhone on your iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can remove your phone number. There are two ways to do this:

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Select your Apple ID at the bottom of the screen and tap Sign Out. Then go to Settings > FaceTime, select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out.
  • If the phone number that you want to remove belongs to an iPhone that you can’t access, change your Apple ID password. This removes all phone numbers from your iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. Calls or messages for the removed numbers won’t appear on those devices anymore.

Turn your phone number on or off for your Mac

After you set up your phone number, you can turn it on or off for Messages and FaceTime on your Mac.

  1. Open Messages or FaceTime. If asked, sign in with the Apple ID that you’re using with Messages and FaceTime on your iPhone.
  2. For Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. For FaceTime, choose FaceTime > Preferences, then click Settings.
  3. Turn your phone number on or off:
    • To turn on your phone number, select it and your Apple ID in the list. If you don’t see your phone number, get help with your settings or contact Apple Support. If you see a number that isn’t yours, change your Apple ID password.
    • To turn off your phone number, deselect it in the list.
  4. If you want recipients to see your phone number and not your Apple ID, select your phone number from the “Start new conversations from” or ”Start new calls from” pop-up menu.

How to activate imessage

Turn your phone number on or off for your iPad or iPod touch

After you set up your phone number, you can turn it on or off for Messages and FaceTime on your iPad or iPod touch.

  1. For Messages, go to Settings > Messages and make sure that iMessage is on. If asked, sign in with the Apple ID you’re using with Messages and FaceTime on your iPhone. Then tap Send & Receive.
  2. For FaceTime, go to Settings > FaceTime. If asked, sign in with the Apple ID that you’re using with Messages and FaceTime on your iPhone.
  3. Turn your phone number on or off:
    • To turn on your phone number, select it and your Apple ID in the “You can be reached” section. If you don’t see your phone number, get help with your settings or contact Apple Support. If you see a number that isn’t yours, change your Apple ID password.
    • To turn off your phone number, uncheck it.

How to activate imessage

If you can’t see or select your number in Messages or FaceTime

  1. Make sure that you’re using the latest software for your Mac or iOS device.
  2. Make sure that you correctly followed the iPhone steps to set up your phone number. You should be using the same Apple ID on all of your devices.
  3. In the “You can be reached” section of Messages and FaceTime settings, make sure that there are checkmarks beside your phone number and Apple ID:
    How to activate imessage

If your phone number is unchecked and you can’t select it, or you have some other issue, follow these steps:

  1. On your Mac:
    • In Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. Click Sign Out.
    • In FaceTime, choose FaceTime > Preferences, then click Sign Out.
  2. On your iPhone, iPad, and iPod:
    • Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Tap your Apple ID, then tap Sign Out.
    • Go to Settings > FaceTime. Tap your Apple ID, then tap Sign Out.
  3. On your iPhone:
    • Go back to Settings > Messages and make sure that iMessage is turned on.
    • Tap Send & Receive, then choose “Use your Apple ID for iMessage” and sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. Using the same Apple ID, sign back in to Messages and FaceTime on your other devices.

If you still need help, change your Apple ID password and repeat the setup steps. If that doesn’t work, contact Apple Support.

How to activate imessage

An iMessage is nothing but a messaging service that comes inbuilt from the fifth version of the iOS. So, everyone having an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac of the latest iOS versions can make use of the iMessage. An iMessage is mainly helpful for iPhone users for sending instant text messages, pictures, video, contacts, and location. However, the people with iPod touch and iPad can also make use of this feature.

The only thing required for sending an iMessage is a proper wi-fi connection to the internet. You don’t even need to have any SMS or cellular plan like the Android users. However, it is quite easy to use an iMessage once you activate it. Anyone with an Apple id can enable and use it. But remember that this feature is only available for iOS users above the fifth version only.

So, you can’t expect it to work if you have the older iOS version in your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or iPod touch. In addition to that, you also need to have an Apple ID or iCloud login to use the iMessage feature. Some of you may not have set up the iMessage feature yet. There is nothing to worry about that. You can enable it whenever you need it.

Process To Enable The iMessage Feature In iOS Devices:

However, the setup process is effortless, as it may take only a few minutes. The process is the same on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

  • First, select the device’s Settings app and open it.
  • After opening it, scroll to find the Messages option and tap on it.
  • In the Messages, you will find a flipping ON/OFF switch next to ‘iMessage’. So, just flip on it if it is OFF position. Now you see that the slider turns green, thus indicating that the iMessage feature is activated on your device.
  • After that, you need to select Send & Receive. This will take you to the iMessage settings. These settings will affect which emails or phone numbers you can send and receive messages to or from.
  • Finally, you need to tap on an email or phone number to enable it. Once you enter the details, you will find checkmark next to the account. This checkmark allows the email or number to send and receive messages using the iMessage service.

Note: You can even add, remove, and select email addresses with which you wish to receive iMessages in the You can be reached by iMessage at section. However, the users also have the chance to add or remove their phone number to or from this list.

Note: On the other hand, in the Start new conversations from section, you can select the email address others will see when you send an iMessage to them.

So, this process will activate the iMessage and turn the feature ON in the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Note: The iMessages feature may take up to 24 hours for activation. The reason behind this is Apple needs to verify that the phone number and Apple ID are matching. However, there are most chances for the activation to happen in an hour only.

Will iMessage Ask For Our Personal Data?

The iMessage feature will automatically collect the user’s phone number or Apple ID or sometimes both for iPhone users. On the contrary, if you are on an iPad or iPod touch, you will have to enter an Apple ID manually.

The user’s Apple ID is the same account that they use to login to iTunes and also the App Store. So, if you do not have an Apple ID yet, you can just select the Create New Account and create one for yourself.

This feature also provides its users with the facility to add another email address to be reached at via iMessage. However, anyone can do this by just selecting the Add Another Email option and adding your required email address manually.

So, you are now made available with the feature to send iMessages between the iOS devices. You can make use of any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac that is also having the Messages app with iMessage enabled.

How To Start Using An iMessage?

Once you just enable the iMessage feature, you will be ready to use it. The only thing you need to do is just select and open the familiar green Messages app that you regularly use for sending messages or SMS or MMS.

The iMessage feature works automatically as long as you are messaging another iOS device. So, there is no need for a separate app or protocol to use it.

When Did The iMessage Feature Come Into Picture?

iMessage has first made its debut in the fifth version of the iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in 2011. So, it has been nine years since it came into the picture. However, it may look different in the earlier iOS version before the fifth one.

So, we hope that this article guided you to activate iMessage on your iPhone or iPad or iPod. Now, you can make use of the iMessage feature to forward messages, links, pictures, and many more to other iPhone users.

How to activate imessage

Source: iMore

iMessage lets you send and receive SMS-like text messages, and MMS-style multimedia messages just like a phone through your iCloud account. Instead of just a phone number, however, it can use your email address, and it only works with other iPads, iPhones, and Macs. Before you can start using iMessage, you’ll need to set it up; here’s how you do it!

How to turn on or off iMessages for iPhone or iPad

If you set up your iPhone using iCloud, chances are iMessage was activated along with it. If not, or if you ever need to re-activate it, it’s simple to do!

  1. Launch Settings From your home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.

Tap the iMessage On/Off switch. The switch will be green when it’s been turned on.

How to activate imessage

Source: iMore

You can repeat these steps at any time to turn off the ability to send and receive iMessages.

How to turn read receipts on or off in iMessages for iPhone or iPad

Read receipts let your contacts see whether or not you’ve viewed their iMessages. While some people may consider read receipts creepy, others may find them useful for work and business situations.

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.

Tap the Send Read Receipts On/Off switch. The switch will be green when it’s been turned on.

How to activate imessage

Source: iMore

How to turn message previews on or off in iMessages for iPhone and iPad

By default, iOS will show a short preview of your iMessage on both the Lock screen and Home screen. If you’d rather have your notification only show the sender’s name, however, you can easily adjust the settings of the Messages app to do so.

    Launch Settings from your Home screen.

Tap Notifications.

How to activate imessage

Source: iMore

Tap the option you’d like. Your options are as follows:

  • Always
  • When Unlocked (Default)

How to activate imessage

Source: iMore

Any questions?

Sound off in the comments below.

Updated December 2019: Updated with the latest steps for enabling iMessages on your iPhone or iPad.

How to activate imessage

In order to send and receive iMessages to your iPhone, iMessage must be enabled.

By doing this, you will associate your phone number with the email address used for your Apple ID or iCloud account. This will allow you to send and receive the “blue text bubbles” when chatting with other iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.

When iMessage is enabled, iMessages are sent using a Wi-Fi connection or cellular data when a Wi-Fi connection is not available.

When iMessage is not enabled, you will receive all messages to your phone as SMS or MMS text messages, if already enabled — which can be beneficial for those with monthly data limits.

If you have recently bought a new iPhone and set it up using your Apple ID already, iMessage will already be enabled and ready to use.

But if iMessage isn’t enabled, here’s how to do it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $999.99 at Best Buy)

iPad (From $499.99 at Best Buy)

MacBook Pro (From $1,299.99 at Best Buy)

How to enable iMessage on iPhone

1. First, unlock your iPhone and launch Settings from the home screen.

2. In Settings, scroll until you find “Messages” and tap.

3. At the top of the screen, find iMessage.

4. If the slider on the right is green, iMessage is already enabled. If not, tap the slider to enable iMessage.

5. After activation, you will now be able to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone.

Likewise, Why won’t my iMessage activate iPhone 12? It might take up to 24 hours to activate iMessage and FaceTime. If the issue continues after 24 hours, follow these steps: Make sure that your device has the latest version of iOS or iPadOS. If you’re using an iPhone, contact your carrier to make sure that you can send and receive SMS messages.

Also know, Why is iMessage not working on my new iPhone? Reboot iMessage by going to Settings > Messages and turning off iMessage, then turn off your iPhone by pressing and holding the on/off switch, slide to power off, and then wait for your iPhone to start up again. Once you’ve rebooted, return to Settings > Messages and turn iMessage back on.

Also, Why does my iMessage say waiting for activation? Check your device settings Make sure that you’re connected to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an iPhone, you need SMS messaging to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime. Depending on your carrier, you might be charged for this SMS.

People ask also, How do I activate my iMessage on my iPhone?

  1. In Settings, scroll until you find “Messages” and tap. In Settings, find Messages.
  2. At the top of the screen, find iMessage. At the top, find the iMessage toggle.
  3. If the slider on the right is green, iMessage is already enabled. If not, tap the slider to enable iMessage.

Turn the device back on by pressing the Power button again until The Apple logo appears on the screen. Once the iPhone reboots, head over to Settings, then Messages. Toggle the switch next to iMessage back to the on position. This works to fix problems with your iMessage functionality most of the time.