How to Activate iMessage

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 the service. Doing so is fairly easy on any Apple device you may have, and we’ll show you how to do just that.

Activate iMessage on an iPhone and iPad

To activate and use iMessage, your iPhone or iPad must be connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or mobile data. Also, you must be logged in to your iCloud account on your device. Since the iPad can also send text messages, the process for activating iMessage is the same as the iPhone.

So, follow these steps to activate the iMessage service:

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

Now, iMessage is enabled on your device, so you can start messaging your friends with Apple devices using the Messages app.

It’s important to distinguish between standard SMS/MMS texts and iMessage texts. Your iPhone or iPad shows iMessage messages in blue bubbles and regular SMS/MMS messages in green bubbles.

Activate iMessage on a Mac

Activating iMessage on a Mac is a different process than on iPhone and iPad. You need to go through the Messages app itself to set up iMessage. To activate iMessage on Mac:

  1. Open Messages on your Mac.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. Next, click Sign In.

iMessage Log in Window

Now you can send iMessages from your Mac with ease. If you want your messages to be synced across multiple devices, ensure you have enabled iMessage in iCloud.

You can also configure your settings to where iMessage will use your phone number to start and continue conversations even if you are on another device.

Why You Should Use iMessage on Your iPhone

There are many tempting reasons to switch to iMessage over traditional messaging on your iPhone. Here are some reasons you should switch to iMessage for all your texting needs.

You Can Send Unlimited Messages for Free

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

That’s because iMessage uses your Wi-Fi or mobile data to send and receive messages. But don’t forget that data charges might apply.

There Are Many More Features Than Traditional Messaging

iMessage offers many features that aren’t found in your regular messaging system. Some of these features include knowing when someone is typing a message and getting read receipts. In addition, iOS 16 enables even more iMessage features, such as deleting, editing, and marking messages as read.

You Get Better Message Security

Your iMessage conversations are encrypted to ensure no trespassers can read them. Even if someone somehow manages to get into Apple’s 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 up-to-date.

Fix iMessage Activation Issues

Man using iPhone

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

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

  • 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

However, there are some potential workarounds to fix some of these issues. So, if you encounter 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 activate fully. 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 the internet works, open a web browser and launch any website on your device. 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.

To disable a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap the General option.
  3. Scroll down to VPN and tap it.
  4. Disable the Status option.

Turn iMessage Off and On Again

It’s worth toggling iMessage off and then back on to see if it starts functioning. You can do this the same way you enabled iMessage the first time:

  1. Open Settings and tap Messages.
  2. Disable the iMessage option.
  3. Wait for about 10 seconds.
  4. Enable the iMessage option.

Set the Correct Date and Time on Your Device

Make sure your iPhone or iPad has the correct date and time options configured on it. This is important for many instant messaging services, including iMessage.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap the General option.
  3. Select Date & Time.
  4. Turn on the Set Automatically option to enable automatic date and time on your iPhone.

Reset Your Device’s Network Settings

If iMessage still doesn’t work, there’s a chance your device’s network settings have an issue. In this case, you can reset your network settings and reconfigure them.

Doing so removes your saved Wi-Fi networks, but you can always re-connect to any network you want, provided you have the password for it.

To reset the network settings on your iPhone or iPad, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap General, then tap Transfer or Reset iPhone (or iPad).
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset Network Settings.

Update Your Device

No matter the issue, if you’re using an older version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, you should update your device to the latest software available. The latest version should fix the bugs and any other issues that were present in the older versions, which can potentially fix your iMessage problems.

To update your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings and tap General.
  2. Tap the Software Update option.
  3. Wait for your iPhone to check the latest update.
  4. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.

If you’re on a Mac, you can go to System Settings > Software Update to check for any new macOS version available for your machine.

Use an Exclusive Messaging Service on Your Apple Devices

If you haven’t already, go ahead and enable iMessage on your iPhone and other Apple devices. This will help you stay in touch with your friends and family who also use this messaging service on their Apple devices.

You can do much more with iMessage than with traditional messaging systems. You can even install applications within iMessage and play games to kill time and keep the conversations engaging.

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