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iMessage Not Working: Top Reasons and 10 Ways To Troubleshoot

a hand holding a cell phone display an imessage conversation

For iPhone users, it's no wonder that the Apple iMessage app is such a popular way to communicate. It comes built into every iPhone, iPad and Mac. Plus it’s intuitive, easy-to-use (most of the time), and perfect for sending fast, secure texts and other data messages to your friends and family members, assuming they also have an iOS device or Mac.

However, occasionally, you might find that iMessage is not working. When you can't send & receive messages from your iPhone, it can be frustrating. Not to worry. This article can help you troubleshoot and get iMessage back up and running in no time. Here are 10 reasons iMessage isn't working and how to fix it. Of course, if you need a new iPhone, our Phone Deal Finder help with that too—just answer the questions below and we'll find you the best phone deals from top carriers.

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1. You Don’t Have a Good Connection

iMessage won’t work properly if your phone doesn’t have a steady, consistent data connection. You must ensure that you have 3G, 4G, or 5G connectivity available, or be connected to a good Wi-Fi signal.

You can check to see whether you have a connection by trying to search for a webpage on Safari or any other web browser. If your phone can’t load a webpage, it means that you don’t have an Internet or cellular connection.

How To Fix

You can try several troubleshooting steps to fix this problem, either because you are out of data or your current connection is poor:

  • Try turning airplane mode on and off or turning your iPhone on and off again. Resetting your phone might solve the issue.
  • Log into a Wi-Fi network to send a message. You can do this by going to Settings, then Wi-Fi to see if there’s a free Wi-Fi network in your area.
  • If your internet connection is poor, turn your Wi-Fi setting off by swiping down, then pushing the Wi-Fi button. Your phone will then switch to 3G, 4G, or 5G cellular data.
  • You can alternatively reset your network settings by tapping Settings, General, Reset, and Reset Network Settings.

Lastly, if you still can’t send a message on iMessage, tap and hold the message you want to send within the iMessage app. Wait for the “send as text message” option to come up, then tap it. This will send your message as a text instead of through the iMessage app in its default Apple form.

2. iMessage Is Down

Sometimes, the problem isn’t your phone at all. It might be with the overall iMessage app or server. If the iMessage server is down, it won’t work for anyone. While this iMessage issue is rare, it can happen from time to time.

You can check whether the iMessage server is down by visiting the System Status page – look for iMessage. If the bubble next to it is ready, the server is down for iPhone users.

How To Fix

If the problem is with the iMessage server, there’s nothing you can do except wait. Furthermore, the broader iMessage server might not be down, but your local area might still be experiencing a server outage. Again, you just need to wait for Apple’s technicians or local tech experts to fix the issue.

Fortunately, if iMessage’s server is down, your messages should be pushed to green bubble texts rather than blue bubble iMessage texts. So you should still be able to communicate via SMS text with your friends and family members.

3. iMessage Isn’t Set Up Correctly

From time to time, iMessage might not be set up properly for your iPhone device. This can happen with a botched installation or if you need an update. If iMessage is misconfigured, your phone won’t be included on the list of devices that can use iMessage, so you won’t be able to send or receive messages.

How To Fix

Fortunately, you can fix this problem by:

  • Starting the Settings app.
  • Tapping Messages, then tapping Send and Receive.
  • At this point, picture your iPhone’s phone number is included in both sections of the page (including Start New Conversations From).

Once this is checked, iMessage should recognize your phone as a compatible device, enabling you to use the application as normal.

4. iMessage Has Glitched or Frozen

Sometimes, the iMessage app can glitch or freeze up. This can be annoying, but it can usually be solved with a few quick troubleshooting steps.

How To Fix

To fix this, double press the Home button on your iPhone, then swipe up on your iMessage app. Relaunch the app and see if that works. If that doesn’t work:

  • Reboot your iMessage app by tapping Settings, then Messages. Turn off iMessage, then turn off your iPhone by pressing and holding the on or off switch. Slide to power off and wait for your iPhone to power up again.
  • Then return to the Settings and Messages menus. Turn iMessage back on.

If that doesn’t resolve the issue, sign out of your Apple ID, then sign in again. Do this from the Settings, then Messages menus. Tap on Send and Receive. At the top of the page, tap on your Apple ID and tap Sign Out. Sign in once again to see if this fixes the problem.

5. Your iMessage Library Is Too Large

Your Messages app can hold a ton of messages, photos, and videos. This can slow down iMessage significantly, even to the point of preventing it from working properly.

How To Fix

You can reduce your iMessage library size by deleting messages and photos. You can delete messages by swiping from left to right on a selected message in the Messages list and choosing Delete.

Alternatively, tap on the Edit button in the left-hand corner of the Messages screen to delete messages manually. For long-term library maintenance, go to Settings, then Messages. Look for the Messages History section and tap Keep Messages. Then you can choose how long the Messages app retains messages before automatically deleting them.

6. Your iOS Needs an Update

Every so often, iOS needs to update. If you fail to do this, iMessage and other core apps might no longer function.

How To Fix

While iOS should update automatically, you can also manually do this by going to Settings, General, then Software Update. This will allow you to download and update your iOS in a matter of minutes.

7. Your Time Zone Is Wrong

From time to time, users encounter iMessage problems if their time zones don’t update automatically. That can cause headaches when Daylight Saving Time changes twice per year! If your time zone doesn’t update by default, iMessage will know what to do and can send messages accurately back and forth.

How To Fix

You can fix this by going to Settings, General, and Date and Time. Make sure your time zone is set to update automatically. If it isn't, set it to the "ON" setting. You should see the clock on your iPhone increase or decrease by one hour or some other metric, depending on whether you traveled through different time zones.

8. iMessage Hasn’t Activated

Whether you're on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, iMessage should activate automatically. But if it doesn’t, you may run into an error message when you try to use this platform.

How To Fix

Make sure that iMessage hasn’t been deactivated by going to Settings, then Messages. You can repeatedly turn Messages on and off to reset the application and solve the issue.

9. Your Friend Doesn’t Receive iMessages

What if your friend doesn’t receive iMessages that you send to them, even if they have an Apple device?

How To Fix

Refer them to this article so they can go through the troubleshooting options, too. They might have one of the issues listed above!

10. A Group Message Contact No Longer Has iPhone

iMessage group texts can be a great way to communicate with multiple friends or family members at the same time. But if you can no longer send messages to a group of people, it might be because one of the contacts no longer uses an iPhone. You can tell that this is the case if one of the response bubbles is green instead of blue.

How To Fix

The best way to solve this issue is to start a new conversation with the same participants. Then, your iMessage app will be able to accurately know who has an Apple device and who does not.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, fixing iMessage so it works properly isn’t too difficult once you figure out what the problem is. If none of the above iMessage troubleshooting tips works, the problem might be your device. If it's time for a new iPhone, that's where Navi can help with our Phone Deal Finder. It's free, unbiased, and it searches the Internet to show you all the best phone deals from top carriers based on your personal needs.

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