How to fix ‘Waiting for Activation’ error on iMessage

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If you’ve noticed a “Waiting for Activation” error message pop up on your iPhone today, you’re not alone. The common error is plaguing many iOS users, as Apple’s iCloud based services, including iMessage, FaceTime, Apple Music, the App Store, and Maps, are seeing widespread outages today.

Normally, the best way to troubleshoot a “Waiting for Activation” message is, unsurprisingly, to restart the apps, turn your phone off and back on, and re-login to your APPLE ID. 

To restart an app, double tap the home button, or swipe up to reveal a lineup of open apps running in the background, and swipe up on the iMessage or FaceTime window to close out the app. Launch the app again, and see if the message pops up. 

If that doesn’t work, you can try logging out and back into your Apple ID by going to the first submenu at the top of the Settings app, scrolling to the bottom of the screen beneath the list of devices your ID is on, and signing out. You can sign in from the same screen.

There are two possibilities outside of any user’s control, however; iMessage and FaceTime may take up to a day to activate on your Apple ID the first time, in which case you’ll just have to wait. Or there could be an anomaly, such as a service-wide outage, that has your phone confused as to the real issue. 

To find out if there’s a server-side issue, you can check Apple’s System Status page.