Wednesday, May 07, 2014

iMessage "waiting for activation" - things you can try while mold grows on your fur

Hundreds of billions in the bank, $70 million gift for a new head of retail operations, and Apple still can’t make iMessage work. Maybe Apple needs to pay their top execs a lot less make up for their employee wage suppression cartels — because it’s clear they have a morale problem.

Yeah, I’m tired of seeing “waiting for activation” on the kids iPhones whenever we have to switch SIM cards or restore from backup. This time around it was both a 3GS running iOS 6.x and a 4S running 7.1.1.

I walked through Apple’s Troubleshooting FaceTime and iMessage activation. I love the final step: ”If you’re still unable to resolve the symptoms above after performing these troubleshooting steps, please contact Apple for assistance.” I guess they mean through the Apple Support Page or the Apple store. 

Apple’s steps didn’t work, but this time “reset network settings” worked for the 3GS device. (I’m still working on the 4s. I might just give it overnight.)

Other things you can try:

  • In Settings:Phones confirm your number is listed as phone number. (It used to show up at top of Contacts, but I no longer see that on any of our phones.)
  • While “waiting” send and receive iMessages to another iPhone (you typically can until activation fails, then you’re stuck) or to a Mavericks or Mountain Lion machine.
  • Play around with FaceTime — iMessage and FaceTime activation seem to be linked.
  • Make sure Date/Time are correct
  • In Settings:Messages:Send & Receive try removing all email addresses, so it’s just phone number.
  • Flip in and out of Airplane Mode
  • Sign out and in of iCloud account

Note Apple says you need a SIM card and SMS services to activate iMessage. That wasn’t always true but it may be true now.

Oh, and be sure to go to Apple iPhone Feedback and tell ‘em what you think of iMessage activation.

Update: I couldn’t get the 4S working tonight, but I was swapping SIMs so I gave up. Maybe it would have worked in time. I wonder if Apple’s iMessage system depends in some way on carrier cooperation, and if the carriers aren’t always cooperative.

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