Unable to Send and Receive iMessage Conversations with Mobile Number

This post is to tackle the activation issue via SMS in iMessage.


This was a random problem that occur to me. I could no longer start conversations with my phone number via iMessage. iMessage fall back on my Apple ID email. I had duplicates of my existing group chats and conversation, because they are now sent to my email instead.

I went to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive, my mobile number is listed under You Can Be Reached By iMessage At but it is not checked. Only my email is listed under Start New Conversations.


In short, you have to allow Apple to activate iMessage for your mobile number.

  1. Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
  2. Tap Apple ID
  3. Tap Sign Out
  4. Go to Settings > Messages
  5. Disable iMessage
  6. Enable iMessage

You will see that the status will display Waiting for activation… before it is activated. If the status message remains, Waiting for activation… or if you see the alert, An error occurred during activation. Try again, it is likely that the SMS activation has failed.

In order to send iMessage via your phone number, it has to be activated by Apple SMS confirmation, which happens in the background. This is the source of my problem, the text message function is not working. I had to restart my iPhone for it to work. 

To test out text message function:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages >
  2. Disable iMessage
  3. Go to Messages app
  4. Send a text message to another mobile number
  5. Send a text message back to yourself from the other number

If you can send and receive via SMS, you will be able to allow Apple to activate iMessage for your number.

Hope the solution would work for anyone who is facing the same SMS activation issue as me.

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