How to fix FaceTime waiting for activation error on iPhone 4


Suffering from a FaceTime "waiting for activation" error? So was I. The one thing I wanted to try most on my new Canadian iPhone 4 was FaceTime. I've made no secret about being jealous of Chad and Leanna, so the instant iPhone 4 was in my hand and on Wi-Fi I went to hit the FaceTime button and... found no button. I checked my Settings immediately and saw, under the FaceTime on/off toggle the chillingly cryptic words: waiting for activation. What the h3ll?

To make matters worse, Rene's was working fine. Intolerable!

Now FaceTime functions over Wi-Fi but it uses your phone number to identify and connect with other iPhone 4 users. Since my carrier, Fido was -- of course -- having problems during the iPhone 4 launch, with some people having to wait up to 24hrs for their SIM to work, I immediately thought they might be the culprit. I also did the usual trouble-shooting steps of reseting the network connections, turning my iPhone 4 on and off, removing and replacing my SIM, and even did a full restore. No luck. My phone and SMS were working fine, so Fido was looking like less of a culprit. Unfortunately.

So off to the Apple Store I went. It was the day after launch and they were still packed but the manager heard my plight, found me someone to help, and they immediately escalated me to an iPhone genius-type-person. He told me I needed the Fido 7.2 carrier update, and I'd made sure to download it. Next he took me through a few easy steps:

  1. We went on Wi-Fi
  2. We did a hard power down (holding down sleep + home until the power off slider appeared).
  3. We rebooted.

And voila, the buttons popped up and I was able to make my first FaceTime call!

If you're having the same "waiting for activation" error, try the steps above and let me know how they work for you.


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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There are 119 comments. Add yours.

Max Power says:

Thanks for the help. Worked exactly as described. :)

xen0gen says:

I had the same problem here in Sydney Aus, on Optus. I did the hard reset as described in your article, and all is well. Thanks!

macharborguy says:

on AT&T in the US. A "Slide to Shut Down" and restart did the trick. I have MMS and FaceTime back up and running.

Danboy says:

It didn't work for me.. Do you need credit on your phone to be able to use FaceTime ??

Fernando says:

Reeboot until the Apple apears? Or turn it off with the "Slide to Shut Down"?

Andrew says:

I'm in Perth AUS, on Telstra, and this didn't work for me. I've heard that it might be related to text/MMS but I confirmed with Telstra that my account has text/MMS active and I can send and receive MMS.

Ryan says:

Also note: a SMS plan is required... So if people don't have text messaging, you have to have the PPU plan.

Boots says:

Wish I could get MMS back on my 3GS... Tried everything!

DJ says:

This worked for me. Thank you very much.

Gb says:

A simple network setting reset did the trick :) thx from luxembourg

Zacariya says:

it still says waiting for activation ...i have tmobile usa and i dont wanna restore cuz im scared it might lock my phone but i did do the reboot


Zacariya, i did the restore and nothing. I've tried everything and go the same message.

Simone C says:

Thanks, but it doesn't work for me: my problem is related to the portability of number. We have to wait that Apple solve the problem.

Xbozo says:

I have a 2 iphone 4, one work but not the other one. Anyone can help pls?

Tiago from Japan says:

Guys, I've been to Apple Store here in Tokyo, i got my phone replaced since they could reproduce only with my SIM card (they've tested with others SIM then Facetime work successfully).Softbank also changed the SIM Card 3 times although, the problem remains....
I've been done all the procedures.Therefore any of them didn't work up to now.
PLEASE, let me know if you have any update.

Darryl says:

Thanks so much. It did the trick!

George says:

Thanks for the fix!!!, My buddy (Rogers) was stuck since monday trying to figure out, and since it was jailbroken he didn't want to take it to Apple, my girl's phone (Fido) same story, i just fixed them both in 2 minutes after reading ur post. THANKS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adam says:

YOU ROCK! Thank You. It didn't work at first. Then I turned off Facetime in settings, then back on, then it worked. Thanks again from another Fido customer.

hair64 says:

FaceTime is working on Tmobile
Add this source to Cydia :
Install FaceTimeMe
Also checkout this video on YouTube if you have and doubts
Cellular Data
Proxy :
MMS Max Message Size : 10458576

A says:

Work for me on my iPhone 4 from Bell

Hani says:

If my carrier dosn't support 7.2
My carrier is 7.0
Dos carrier update need MMS service . ?

Steph says:

Excellent! Your simple steps worked for me!!

Paulo Mateus says:

I love you!
Thank you very much! It worked for me in brazil! Very nice!

Quinton says:

Worked Perfect. Now i can use it, using bell mobility btw

Demetre says:

Had the same problem with Virgin, downloaded the update and facetime worked like a charm...
Thanks !

Andy B says:

This doesn't do squat... The "force reset" is nothing more than a standard reset (holding home plus power just forces the shutdown popup when an app is locked up, nothing more than powering down normally), so for those of you it worked on it was just the simple reboot that did it, nothing more.

Mike says:

Does not work. I still have the "waiting for activation" thing. I dunno what to do at this point, I've tried almost everything. I have 7.2, I've followed about 4 tutorials saying how to fix it, and nothing. Darn.

Lynn & Don says:

Hey thank you so much, it worked. We're with Rogers wireless here in Canada; we each bought a iPhone4. Mine worked immediately because I already had the proper plan with previous smart phone, but Lymn had to add to here plan and was told it would take 3 hours to activate; well 2 weeks later we tried everything except your solution.
Thank you so much.

Aziz says:

I have the same problem, but I couldn't solve it using this guide! In Settings, General, About page it says my Carrier 7.0
As I understood I have to upgrade it to 7.2, but I didn't get how to do it! Plss help!!! I need my facetime!

Hairstylist says:

I did what u said but has to switch facetime off then on and wait for a few hours but it worked I'm with fido as well

Ricardo says:

didn't work for me ..
carrier syriatel - syria

Ryan says:

Thanks man, it works perfect for me. UK iPhone 4, Virgin network.

Elv says:

Worked for my bell phone. Carrier setting update and reboot did the trick. Thanks.

david says:

My iphone 4 ios is 4.02. Carrier is Bell 7.2. I tried many time using Wi-Fi connection at home, even removing and replaceing SIM card, it still does not work. The message "Waiting for activation" is always there for several days. I upgraded the iOS to 4.1 a few days ago. The carrier becomes Bell 8.0. The behaviour changed a little. When I turn Facetime on, first it show me "Waiting for activation" for several hours and the message turns back and Facetime turns off automatically. After that, the facetime can not be turned on anymore. There is no more message "Waiting for activation" when I turn Facetime on, and it will be turned off automatically when I just re-enter the setting menu.

abc says:

I have exactly same problem with David. Tried everything but nothing works out for me (restore the phone, reboot the phone, reset all settings, reset network setting). Anyone with help?

Leon says:

Hello Ricardo, is it working for you on syriatel?

Getmovie says:
  • Make sure Wi-Fi setting is on and you are stay in a good Wi-Fi signal area.
  • Better have 5 bars GSM signal strength area for this initial setting period. (No need for future facetime calls).

1.go to settings>general>reset network settings.
2. Hold Power and Home button until power is off
3. Power on your phone by press power button
4. connect your iPhone4 to your local Wi-Fi network.
5. Go to Setting>Phone> to check if everything is fine....
For a example:
* My number is there(should not be a "unknown")
, * Facetime is on and no more "waitting for activaction" message under.
* My caller ID is on....
6. Now make a face time call, enjoy it and have fun!!
Note: If it still not work, be patient. Wait couple minutes, then try a face time call again...

David says:

Finally, I solved this problem by calling Bell customer service to enable SMS for my phone. Hope it helps for the people who have the same problem with me.

khourshed Jeddah says:

i reached here via google and it worked for me
thanks for the tip ,,,

khourshed Jeddah says:

forget to say i am here in Saudi Arabia ,,, i did translate it to arabic to techno forum with link and reference to this site

justiel says:

Thanks a lot, it works on my iphone4..Melbourne, Aus

Peter Haza says:

I actually had to disable wifi. The activation it's talking about seems to be from the provider network. So basically turn of wifi and go on 3G instead to let the provider activate.

Feded81 says:

I can't do it.. What can i do? Appreciate all your support

OWAIS says:

I am getting a number unknown and its not letting me change it. Please tell me what to do

kk says:

i got my facetime activated, but it was alot simpler.
i downloaded the source .
switched on delivery reports in settings-messaging-delivery report.
removed the sim after this and hard reset the phone.
put back the sim and switched on facetime. tada it works!

Ibrahim says:

Hi did not work for me Saudi Arabia the carrier is mobily and bought the iPhone with 4.0.2 ios from them with facetime but after I restored it to 4.1 lost facetime any idea

ahmad says:

saudi arabia stopped facetime its banned now if u update to 4.1 u lose it.

becki says:

heyy it didnt fricking work! do you have to use different internet wifi adresses for it to work?

NCS says:

Problem here too. We were trying to test the 'Facetime' My iphone4 to wifes iphone4. Mine is activated and Button on the dialpad available, but wife's having trouble activating the Facetime.
'Waiting for activation....' for past half hour. No joy.
-Reset. Hard rebooted.
-Network reset
-Good Vodafone(UK) signal and connected to WiFi
Thanks in advance.

Roger says:

Hi Ibrahim & Ahmad,
Incase you still have the same problem with "mobily" in KSA, first you have to jailbreak your iphone4 IOS 4.1 using Greenpoison & The check out the steps in the link below

Matt L says:

Your tip worked perfectly for me on my iPhone 4 using iOS 4.1 in Australia. Thanks!
My situation was that I was moving my number to the new microsim from an iPhone 3GS..
All I did was reboot after my carrier (Vodafone AU) had enabled my phone service on the new SIM.

Vron says:

I had the same problem. I tried rebooting, powering it off, etc with no luck... until I found the problem: In the "My Number" field my phone number was incomplete, the country code was missing.
I entered the complete phone number and now it's working. No reset needed. Ej: +52 672 3159908

Shay says:

Brazil TIM iOS 4.1 YES it did work! Thanks.

Chad69 says:

Hey guys! Had the same problem. Tried everything on this post but failed. Although I tried something else that worked.
Switch of 3G. Reset wifi. Reset the phone. Make sure wifi is full bar when u activate ur FaceTime. Activation shouldn't take that long. Hope this works

Chad69 says:

Oh. Once the FaceTime is activated. You can switch your 3G back on.

mrtn_do says:


mrtn_do says:

please report if this method worked on your fone.

Pollaris says:

Hi all,
Incredible ! I tried other tips and any didn't any effect, I followed your steps and now Facetime work's fine !!!
My operator is TIM and I am in Brazil...
Thanks a lot for your help.
Best Regards !

John says:

I entered "My own number" on international format eg: +6019xxxx. Reboot it by holding down power + home key by turn off, then turn back on. Switch on facetime in settings. And it activates.
But don't know whether it will work or not. But at lease the facetime button appear on the call session.

firdy says:

hi john...
r u from malaysia? n using celcom?i'm a celcom user.
i'm having the prob since i changed to micro sim from celcom,i've tried all the suggested methods here but all of them friends r using maxis n they have no prob at all...pls somebody from malaysia n using celcom help me!!

Edward says:

I am from Malaysia and on celcom network and experienced the facetime icon missing out of the blue. Just for your information i have also tried all the method mentioned above without any success. Could someone please help. thanks.

Ali H. Almatar says:

I was facing the same problem (waiting for activation) I solve it by adding SMS center (**50057672+966505032999#).
+966505032999 represent STC Saudi Arabia while other is common code. for all countries.
mrtn_do done same It came by auto with his good luck.

usman says:

hey i am from pakistan i cant get through it. waiting for activation. please help me out.
take care

Ian says:

This does not work.
Updated to 4.1.
No facetime. Tried your method, does not work.
Tried mtimefix, tried carrierfix....
This does not work.

Mona says:

OK this method works!!!
Simply take your SIM Card out while phone is on, and wait!!!
I did wait like 5-6 mins, when i pushed my SIM back in, it worked instantly.
I'm using iphone 4 unlocked&jb'd....all is fine....trick is to wait....
Good Luck

Freedom says:

Dear Mona,
Can you please let me know which firmware version of Iphone do you have ? 4.1 or 4.2 ? and last the what is your Telecom Provider ?
Thanks a billion

Carolin says:

Mona! Just tried your method after following loads of other instructions above and it finally worked. So simple! Thanks!!

Alison says:

oh my god, iv only had my iphone 4 for 2 days, and i had this problem. "waiting for activation". i turned the face time off. took the sim card out while leaving the phone on. i waited 10/15 minutes, then i put the sim card back in the phone. i turned the face time on. it didnt work straight away, so i switched the phone off by holding the off and menu button at the same time. I turned the phone back on and then connected the iphone to my laptop/computer, and the face time came on straight away.
thank you Mona, this really works Alison from England UK x

Ignacio says:

Hi I have a serious fix here, I was so desperate and this worked amazingly well.
Im used to using voice commands, so, after having my Facetime stripped from me from a 4.01 to a 4.02 update,
I did this:
1. Got into voice mode by pressing the home button for a few seconds
2. Issued voice command to call my sister which has an Iphone 4 (same as me).
3. Iphone did the call and then the Facetime button appeared again on all contacts!
Possibilities of not working: (You must have Facetime enabled, and it must say "waiting for activation" I believe. If it says "facetime could not be activated or something, then disable facetime and enable again (back to "waiting for activation"). This worked in Costa Rica.

laqshya says:

my iphone4 is unlocked..bought it from US.. i am India using airtel prepaid,, i switched ON my facetime.. and all my balance was over in like an hour or so, i didnt get any warning for balance deduction or intl sms.. airtel told me that i send many intl text to some xxxxx205094… it must be facetime.. i want to active facetime but its not getting activated , its just deducting my balance.. what should i do..
appreciate help!!

jashim sarker says: ipnone4 facetime didnt work.i didnt see icon after i call.i saw "hold"button there.pls help me.tks

damji says:

heyy .. i leave in tanzania using airtel.. i bought mine from UK,
it shows 'waiting for activation' and like u wen i call someone with an iphone 4, instead of the facetime option it says hold !!!
did u get any solutions ,, is urs working ??
replyyy soon..

Mohammed (OMAN) says:

Hey im so stupid minute ago my FaceTime was on and working properly , but then my hand pressed the button and FaceTime was closed I opened it again and activation was still there ..I tried ur steps (( holding my iPhone 4.2.1 home button + close to the phone automatically switch off ) then bubble pop up sayin that the activation failed ..what I do ,, i need HELP!!

Yasser says:

I just switched facetime Off then extract the SIM then plugin it again then switched facetime On then the facetime working with me

Mark says:

And it worked for me in France, thanks.

Sanju says:

I m from india. It worked. Tq

LEO says:

I followed your hard reboot, holding down the 2 buttons until it forced the reboot, when it started again, it worked. Im in Qatar on vodafone network.

raman says:

my iphone4 is unlocked.... i am India using vodafone prepaid,, i switched ON my facetime.. and all my balance was over in like an hour or so, i want to active facetime but its not getting activated , its just deducting my balance.. what should i do.. appreciate help!!

raman says:

my iphone4 is unlocked…. i am India using vodafone prepaid,, i switched ON my facetime.. and all my balance was over in like an hour or so, i want to active facetime but its not getting activated , its just deducting my balance.. what should i do.. appreciate help!!

Paul says:

FaceTime worked for me this way when I was on 4.1 I upgraded to 4.3.2 and the career is stuck on Att instead of cellcom it doesn't update.

ststharan says:

I use iphone4.0.1 jail broken,having the facetime problem with mobitel network in srilanka,while switching on the activation tap,it shows 'waiting for activation',i think activation sms couldn't be able to sent in order to activate facetime from our mobitel please help me.plzzzzzz

sevic says:

hey I had in on and was waiting for activation like 3 months.
I have unlocked iphone 4 and O2 Slovakia sim card
I went on wifi then have done the hard restore and suddenly it worked. So tonight I am going to try facetime IP4 to Ipod 4G

GraceC says:

Hey! The tip about turning off FaceTime, the extracting the SIM card for some time, then re-inserting it and restarting FaceTime worked for me! I'm using an iPhone 4 on the Vodafone network in Australia :D

anurag says:

hi , i am using an iphone 4 unlocked purchased from singapore , have updated to latest 4.3 also ,using a postpaid bsnl sim card , but no isd and and no 3g , only using wifi but the facetime is stuck on waiting for authorisation. will it work without 3g and isd .

F Qureshi89 says:

Doesn't work for me.. Tried Restore didn't work

Sam says:

Worked for me... Keep your phone on n take out Sim put it back works

Seren50 says:

Thanks Sam, the Sim out was what worked for me.

puneideacellular says:

I tried the same, it is not working for me

Henrik DK says:

Thats not working at all.

anon says:

Hard reboot worked. Thanks!!

Wacsshyde15 says:

Didn't work for me wither but thank you for writing the article. I'm sure it may work for soneone else. In just going to o to the apple shop like you did. :)

Senwoda says:

OKay guys I had the same problem on iPhone 4 FW 4.3.3.
My solution worked for me.
Make sure you sync you iPhone before doing this as you will lose all data.
I searched for a downgrade to 4.3.2 (as i had no issues with facetime on this firmware and followed the instructions at redmondpie. Got an error 1013 but couldn't exit recovery using tiny umbrella.
Opened iTunes and recovered and updated back to 4.3.3 facetime is back working.
Things to note are when you are changing the hosts file for the downgrade make sure you delete this change and restart iTunes before upgrading back to 4.3.3

Suchamara says:

i m from Sri Lanka. Did't work for me

Chaochoogirl says:

Didn't work for me either.

Farra_zarra4u says:

U cannot activate FaceTime if u have activate ur iphone with other sim or software u have to activate ur phone with AT&T or what ever ur iphone belong to
For exemple make a custome 4.3.3 ipwa bundle with snowbreezz safe ur baseband to unlock don't check fir expert mode only baseband mode
After restoring ur iphone with this ipwa which u made with sn0wbreezz use original sim to activate iphone in iTunes (u need only to activate u can use any I got new sim not activate just dummy sim )
Then install Cydia from jailbreak install ultrasn0w then change ur sim with ur active sim and go and click on to FaceTime button it will work 200%

Zahir says:

Facrtime Waiting for activation

SFreedom says:

it's not working for me... I even tried taking out the SIM then inserting it back...

Leeannmilne says:


kjuman says:

I am now having the same problem but that solution doesn't seem too work
Please help

Bruno says:

worked for me too.. you need to hold both buttons down until the phone turns itself off. do not use the slider to turn your phone off!

KoreyAusTex says:

holding the sleep/wake button and home button is only for one purpose, a hard reset. You hold them both down until the screen goes black (ignoring the power off slider that pops down) and then when the white apple logo pops back up you let go of both buttons. Sliding the slider just powers it off normally, there is not such thing as a hard power down.

AyYoAARON says:

I always can activate my FaceTime and IMessage in 5 minutes but I believe it's the APN. I am on T-mobile IPhone 4 iOS 5.0.1 factory unlocked. If anyone needs help with the apn I'd be likely to help

Sajid says:

Can you please provide the pan settings?

Sajidcharania says:

Can you help with providing the apn settings??

Maria says:

It didn't work for me... I had to configure my phone again and it didn't even work... :(

Donna Tomson says:

Didn't work for me either.

Farooque says:

This worked for me. Thank you very much..!!
( Vodafone Australia Tech. Support For Smart Phones )

Neeta Tiwari says:

This worked for me too! thanks!

Raj12 says:

Thanks Georgia, this helped. But I was told by Fido that update 7.2 had not been launched! Anyway, they guided me and made Facetime Activation successful. I am giving the procedure which worked for me below, hope it is useful:

- Turn off Facetime and iMessages through Settings
- Reset mobile network (Wifi): Settings / General / Reset / Reset Network Settings
- Phone re-starts on its own. Allow it
- Turn Wifi on in Settings and enter password for the selected network
- Enable Facetime in Settings
- Voila, Facetime now works!!

FYI: I was told that the problem may have arisen because I upgraded to iOS 7.0 via air directly to iPhone. Better to do it through computer.

One issue remains: Can anyone please tell me how to get the Facetime icon back on the screen?