iMessage not working on iPhone? Here’s our guide on how to fix it

iMessage not working on your iPhone? Can’t send or receive iMessages on your iPhone? Are you unable to send group iMessage? Do you see your messages in green bubbles rather than blue ones? If the answer to any of these questions is Yes, or if you’re facing any other similar issue with iMessage on your iPhone, you’ve landed at the right place. In this article, we’ll address and fix all your iMessage problems. 

iMessage is a great feature that allows you to exchange messages between Apple devices. It’s super-easy, super-quick, and uses data rather than the text messaging plan by your network provider. However, like any other service, iMessage too can throw some unexpected problems. If iMessage is not working on your iPhone, we’ve mentioned 12 effective workarounds that will help you fix this issue. Besides, if iMessage won’t activate, does not work with phone number, or if you’re unable to use iMessage for one contact, this guide will help you fix such problems too. 

Before we jump to the list of solutions, let’s have a look at some of the possible reasons why iMessage is not working on your iPhone 11, XR, SE, or any other model.

Why is iMessage not working on my iPhone?

Some of the most common reasons why you can’t send or receive iMessages on your iPhone include:

  • Incorrect iMessage settings
  • Using an incorrect phone number 
  • Internet issues
  • Using an older version of iOS
  • Incorrect date and time settings
  • Issues with Apple’s iMessage server

Whatever be the reason, we’ve mentioned effective ways to fix iMessage problems on your device. You can follow this troubleshooting guide for any iPhone, right from the older iPhone 6s or 7 to the latest iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, as well as 12 Pro Max

Without any further ado, let’s get started with our guide on how to fix iMessage not working on the iphone problem. 

Disclaimer: Proceed at your own risk, TechieTechTech will not be responsible if anything goes wrong with your device.

How to fix iMessage not working on the iPhone problem?

1. Make sure iMessage is turned ON

If iMessage is not working on your iPhone, the first step is to make sure that you’ve turned the service ON on your device. It can be possible that you’ve mistakenly turned OFF the iMessage service on your iPhone. To verify, head to Settings > Messages and make sure that you’ve turned ON the slider next to iMessage. 

Turn ON iMessage

When you’ll turn ON iMessage, you might see a message saying “Waiting for Activation”. This should take a minute or two. However, there can be instances when iMessage won’t activate on your iPhone and you get a message saying “Activation Unsuccessful”, “An error occurred during Activation”, or any other similar message indicating that iMessage is not activated on your iPhone. If this happens to be your case, move to the next section of this troubleshooting guide. 

Now, we’re assuming that iMessage is activated on your iPhone. The next step is to check if the service is set up correctly. For this, follow the steps mentioned below.

  1. Head to Settings > Messages
  2. Tap Send & Receive
  3. You’ll see a list of email addresses and phone numbers that are configured to send and receive iMessage on your iPhone.
  4. In the section named “Start New Conversation from”, verify if there’s a tick next to your phone number. This will activate iMessage from your phone number.

Once you’re sure that iMessage is turned ON and set up correctly, but you’re still unable to use the iMessage service on your iPhone, move to other steps mentioned below.

2. Toggle iMessage

If you can’t send or receive iMessage on your iPhone, you must turn iMessage OFF, restart your iPhone, and then turn iMessage ON again. For this, first head to Settings > Messages and turn the slider OFF for iMessage.

The next step is to restart your iPhone. 

Here’s how to restart iPhone X or later models:

  1. Press the Volume Up/Volume Down button and the Side button simultaneously.
  2. Swipe the slider left to right to turn OFF your iPhone.
  3. Wait for about a minute. Now, restart your iPhone by holding the Side button until you see the Apple logo.

Here’s how to restart iPhone 6, 7, 8, or iPhone SE (2nd gen) models:

  1. Press and hold the Side button until you see the power off slider.
  2. Now, you need to drag the slider and wait for 30 seconds to allow your iPhone to turn OFF completely.
  3. Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.

Once your iPhone has restarted, head back to Settings > Messages and turn iMessage ON. It’s one of the most simple and effective hacks to fix iMessage not working issue on iPhone as well as iPad

3. Restart the Messages App and your iPhone

If iMessage is not working on your iPhone 11, 12, or any other model, it can be due to some minor glitches on the Messages app. Particularly, if iMessage is not working on your iPhone after an update, it can be possible that you’ve left the Messages app suspended/running in the background during the update. As a result, the app can crash or get corrupted after the update has been installed. Fortunately, such glitches and bugs can be easily fixed by closing and reopening the app.

To close the Messages app on iPhone X or later models, go to the Home Screen, Swipe Up, and pause in the middle. Now, card up the Messages icon to close it.  

To close the Messages app on iPhone 8 or earlier models, press the Home button twice, and you’ll see the recently opened apps. Swipe up on the Messages app preview to close it.

After a few seconds, you can open the Messages app to check if iMessage is now working on your iPhone or not.

Also Read: How to improve the Battery Health of iPhone

4. Check if iMessage is down

If you’re not alone and many of your friends or family members are unable to use iMessage on their iPhones or iPads, it can be possible that there’s an issue with Apple’s iMessage server. Although it’s not a usual condition, this can happen occasionally. When an app/service is being repaired or under maintenance, they are out of action and aren’t available for use. To verify, you can head to Apple’s System Status Page. It will list recent outages and updates from Apple. If there’s an issue with any of Apple’s services, it will be flagged as yellow. All the services that are available and working fine with be indicated with a green blob.

Apple System Status

Sometimes, some apps or services are not availble in some specific areas. To verify this, you can head to Down Detector. It’s a trusted online service that provides detailed outage reports from the past 24 hours. It also displays an outage map to see whether you’re in an affected area. 

If the iMessage server is down, you’ll have to wait for the Apple team to fix the issues. Until then, you can communicate with your friends and family via normal texts. It’s worth mentioning that regular messages or texts will appear as green-bubble texts rather than blue ones(as in the case of iMessage).  

In case the iMessage server is working properly, but you still can’t send or receive iMessages on your iPhone, try the below steps. 

Also Read: How to fix Battery Drain on iPhone 12?

5. Check your internet connection

To send an iMessage, you must have an internet connection (Mobile Data or Wi-Fi) on your iPhone. Therefore, you must make sure that your iPhone is connected to the internet. To verify, you can try opening a website. If it doesn’t load or Safari says you’re not connected to the internet, there’s some internet issue on your iPhone. In such cases, you won’t be able to send/receive iMessages.

Using Mobile Data?

If you’re using mobile data, follow the steps mentioned to fix iMessage not working problems on your iPhone:

1. Toggle Mobile Data 

You must turn Mobile Data OFF and ON again on your iPhone to clear out minor network errors and bugs. This will help you fix data-related issues on your iPhone. 

To toggle Mobile Data,  head to Control Center and tap the Mobile Data icon. Wait for 5-10 seconds, then tap the icon again.

Alternatively, you can head to Settings > Mobile Data and turn the slider OFF for Mobile Data. Wait for 5 seconds, then turn the slider ON.

2. Check your Data Plan 

There can be situations when you’ve run out of data, and that’s why iMessage is not working on your iPhone. To verify, try opening a website on Safari or check your data plan on your mobile carrier’s official app. If the website or the carrier app isn’t loading, you’ve likely run of mobile data. 

In case you’ve got an active plan and enough data, check for network issues.

3. Data or Network issues

If you can’t send or receive iMessages on your iPhone, there could be some data/network issues. Ask your friend or a family member who’s on the same network, and verify if he/she can use mobile data. If the concern is mutual, there could be some network issues. In such a case, you can communicate over text messages for some time or switch to a Wi-Fi network (if available).

Using Wi-Fi?

If iMessage is not working on your iPhone and you’re using a Wi-Fi network, there can be some issues with the Wi-Fi network and not your iPhone. To verify, you can toggle Wi-Fi, reboot the Wi-Fi router, or forget and reconnect to the Wi-Fi network. These are some of the common ways to fix Wi-Fi issues on your iPhone. 

For detailed solutions, head to our guide on how to fix Wi-Fi not working on the iPhone problem.

6.Make sure you’ve got enough space

If the Messages app on your iPhone has got a lot of photos and videos, it can make the iMessage system work slower. In such cases, you may feel that iMessage is not working on your iPhone, but actually, it’s low/no storage that’s giving you the trouble.

To do away with such issues, you must delete some old messages to free up your iMessage library. For this, you can follow either of these methods:

  1. Head to the Messages app and swipe lift the message that you don’t need any longer, and tap Delete.
  2. Head to the Messages app and tap the Edit button (three dots) in the top left-hand corner. Now, tap Select Messages and select the messages that you want to delete at once.

If you exchange a lot of images over the Messages app and want to save some space, you can head to Settings > Messages, scroll down, and turn the slider ON for Low-Quality Image Mode.

Also Read: How to fix WhatsApp not working on iPhone problem

7. Check Date and Time Settings

When iMessage is not working on your iPhone, check the date and time settings. In case the date and time aren’t set properly, some bugs or glitches can cause issues with the network functions like phone calls, texts, and iMessages. To do away with such issues, follow the steps mentioned below.

1. Go to Settings > General

2. Tap Date & Time

3. Turn the slider ON for “Set Automatically”

Check Date and Time Settings

Doing this will update your date and time settings based on your current location. 

8. Sign out and back into iMessage 

If you’re still unable to send or receive iMessages on your iPhone, you must sign out and back into your iMessage account. To do this, follow the steps mentioned below:

1. Move to Settings > Messages

2. Tap “Send & Receive”

Sign out from iMessage account

3. Now, tap “Apple ID: (your Apple ID)” and select the “Sign Out” option.

Sign in again and check if it has fixed iMessage not working on an iPhone problem. Send a message, if it turns blue, iMessage is working.

9. Update iOS

If iMessage is not working on your iPhone 11 or you just can’t send or receive iMessages on iPhone 12, check if your iOS is up to date. If you’re using an older version on iOS, there can be a bug that’s stopping iMessage to work properly.

To fix iMessage, not working issues, you must make sure that your iPhone is running the latest stable version of iOS.

1. Head  to Settings > General

2. Tap Software Update.

Update iOS

3. If any update is available, install it.

Facing any kind of issues after you’ve updated iOS?  Make sure to head to our detailed guide on how to fix iPhone not working after an update problem.

10. Reset Network Settings

It can be possible that your iPhone has run into connection issues, and that’s why iMessage is not working on your iPhone SE or iPhone 12. Therefore, you can try resetting the network settings on your iPhone to fix iMessage problems. This process will wipe off any conflicting data responsible for disturbing your iPhone’s normal functioning.

When you reset network settings on your iPhone, it will clear your saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords. These should automatically restore themselves if you’ve synchronized your Keychain with iCloud. However, the VPN information will also be reset during this process. So, make sure to note down the information somewhere. 

Here’s how to reset network settings on your iPhone:

1. Go to Settings > General

2. Scroll down and tap Reset

3. Tap Reset Network Settings

Reset Network Settings on iPhone Step 1

4. If prompted, enter your iPhone’s passcode

Reset Network Settings on iPhone Step 2

5. Now, tap Reset Network Settings to confirm your decision.

Once you’re done with the process, your phone will restart on its own and load up the default network settings. After your iPhone has restarted, check if it has helped you fix iMessage not working on the iPhone problem.

11. Factory Reset your iPhone

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has helped you fix iMessage not working on your iPhone or iMessage not working with phone number problems, you can perform a factory reset on your iPhone. Please note that you shouldn’t jump directly to this method. Make sure to try out all the other methods that we’ve mentioned on the list. If nothing helps, you can resort to this step. When you factory reset your iPhone, your device will restore to default settings. This will give a fresh start to the RAM on your iPhone.

We would like to remind you that this method will permanently delete all the stored data, including apps and saved passwords. Therefore, you must back up your iPhone data before you start with the process. If you’re a beginner and want to know how to back up your iPhone data, head to our guide on how to back up any iPhone guide.

Here’s how to erase all the data from your iPhone:

1. On your iPhone, head to Settings > General

2. Tap the Reset option present at the bottom of your screen.

3. Select Erase All Content and Settings option.

Erase All Content and Settings on iPhone step 1

4. A pop-up will appear asking if you want to back up the data or erase it right now.

Erase All Content and Settings on iPhone step 2

5. Confirm your decision. You’ll now see the Erase iPhone option available on the screen.

6. Now, confirm the reset of your iPhone to the factory settings. The process would take a few minutes to complete.

After you’ve factory reset your iPhone, it should fix the iMessage not working on your iPhone SE, 11, 12, or any other model.

12. Contact Apple support

Still no luck? If you’ve tried everything and iMessage is still not working on iPhone or you just can’t activate iMessage on your iPhone, you must contact Apple support. It can be possible that something’s wrong with the internal components of your iPhone. We would recommend that you head straight to the Apple store and get your iPhone diagnosed in such cases. 

It’s even better to make an appointment at Apple’s store Genis Bar so that you don’t have to wait around. 

Don’t fall for any cheaper alternatives as they can further damage your iPhone beyond repair.

Can’t Activate iMessage on your iPhone?

If iMessage won’t activate on your iPhone, shows an error during iMessage activation, or if you’re waiting too long for iMessage activation, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. At first, you must make sure that your iPhone is connected to the internet. We mentioned this process in detail in step 5 of the above section. 
  2. Make sure that your time zone is set correctly. For this, head to Settings > General > Date & Time. To avoid any issues, turn the slider ON for “Set Automatically”.
  3. Turn iMessage OFF, restart your iPhone, and turn ON iMessage again. For details, head to step 2 mentioned in the above section. 
  4. In case the iMessage service is not activated after 24 hours, verify that your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. 
  5. If nothing helps and iMessage won’t activate on your iPhone or takes forever for activation, you must contact Apple Support.

Facing some specific issues with iMessage on your iPhone?

We’ve also addressed some specific issues that users face with iMessage on their iPhones. Let’s have a look.

1. Receiving iMessage on one Apple device but not on the other?

If you’ve got an iPhone and another iOS device, like an iPad, you might have set the iMessage settings to receive and start new conversations from your Apple ID rather than your phone number. To verify, go to Settings > Messages and tap Send & Receive. In case, you don’t see your phone number, you must add your iPhone number to your Apple ID. Doing this will allow you to send and receive iMessages from your phone number. Here’s how to link your phone number to your Apple ID

2. Issues with group iMessage?

If you can’t send a group iMessage on your iPhone, it can be due to either of these reasons:

  1. It can be possible that either you’ve left the conversation or someone removed you from the group. In such a case, you can ask an existing participant of that group to add you again. Alternatively, you can start a new conversation, add the same participants, and send an iMessage to the group. For this, head to the Messages app, tap the Compose button and add the participants. Now, type your message and tap Send. 
  2. It can be possible that one of your group contacts is no longer using an iPhone. In such cases, all your contacts will turn green (instead of blue as in the iMessage) and group iMessage will no longer be supported. To check, you can start a new group message and add contacts one by one.  

We would also like to talk about another commonly reported iMessage problem here. If iMessage is not working for one contact, make sure that that contact is using an iPhone or any other Apple device. Besides, if he/she is using an Apple device, make sure you and your recipient have turned ON iMessage. If either of you hasn’t turned ON iMessage, that message will be sent as regular text. 

3. iMessage visual effects not working? 

Visual effects on iMessage

Apple introduced some interesting animated effects that you can share with others over iMessages. For example, you can send a single message with a bubble effect or fill the entire message screen with a full-screen effect like spotlight, balloons, fireworks, or confetti. If you’re trying to send animated effects in iMessage to your friend, but he’s unable to see them, or if you’re unable to see visual effects sent by someone, try the following:

1. If you’re unable to send or receive visual effects, make sure you’re using the latest version of iOS. The same rule applies to your friend or family member. Also, make sure that the recipient is using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Otherwise, your message will be sent as a regular text instead of iMessage and he/she won’t be able to see those visual effects.

2. Some animated effects won’t work if you or your recipient has turned ON the ‘Reduced Motion’ feature on the iPhone. To be on the safer side, head to Settings > Accessibility > Motion > Reduce Motion and turn the slider OFF. 

Disable Reduce Motion on iPhone

With this, we’ve come to an end of our troubleshooting guide on how to fix iMessage not working on the iPhone problem. We hope this guide has helped you fix those issues and iMessage is working properly on your iPhone now.

How did you fix iMessage issues on your iPhone? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Facing battery drain issues on iOS 14? Make sure to check our troubleshooting guide.