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iMessage not working with phone number! Here’s the fix

Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Kennedy

Trying to activate iMessage on your iPhone and you found out that it is not activating with your phone number.

What could be the problem?

This is what we’ll be looking at in this article of iMessage not working with phone number.

By default, iMessage will activate more with a phone number compared to using only an apple id based on my experience.

Let’s dive into what we have here.

Why is iMessage not working with phone number

iMessage not working with a phone number is caused when the phone number is no longer active, has been disconnected or caused by a bug.

Normally, when you have your sim card in your iPhone, iMessage will always activate with the phone number but i noticed that in some occasions it won’t and below is what I found out.

But before going further into the article, please make sure that the reason why imessage not working with phone number is because you didn’t select your phone number in the option provided for you to send and receive iMessages. 

Now let’s head over to some of the reasons why you’re finding it quite difficult to have your phone number work with iMessage on your iPhone. 

And they are listed below. 

1.1. iMessage activation with phone number works faster when you’re using cellular data for the activation

By default, iMessage works using any of Wi-Fi or cellular data on your iPhone. However, it tends to activate way faster if you are using a cellular data for the activation compared to when using Wi-Fi network.

This is from my own experience.

This requires you to have an active sim card or eSim in your iPhone and make sure to subscribe to a data plan even if it is the cheapest data plan. 

If your network service provider offers a day data plan then you can go for it as long as you have a working Wi-Fi within your area or environment. 


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1.2. The sim card is not working

Don’t expect iMessage to activate if your sim card is no active or has been disconnected by the network service provider. 

Once a sim card has been disconnected by the network service provider, you can’t activate iMessage with such sim card as iMessage requires a sim card to be active and working.

1.3. Caused by a bug

There are certain occasion whereby one may be having some difficulty activating iMessage on an iPhone, the problem may not neccesarily be from the sim card or the internet connection, but rather from iMessage itself.

Restarting your iPhone will solve this problem and all you have to do is to first turn off iMessage on your iPhone and switch off your phone as well. 

Wait for a couple of seconds or two, and after which a second or two has passed, power on your iPhone and head over to the Settings. Scroll and open open Messages

Right there you will see iMessage, go ahead and enable it.

Minimize the page and wait for about five m to see if iMessage has activated with your phone number

Definitely it should activate with your phone number this time unless your phone number or sim card is having an issue. 

Most times when iMessage is not activating and which you have an active internet connection on your phone, all you have to do is to disable iMessage on your phone, switch off your phone and wait for a couple of seconds. 

After that power on your phone and head over to the settings and messages, then enable iMessage on your iPhone

Wait for a while and it should activate. 

Another way to fix this problem is to reset your phone but make sure to backup your settings. 

From what I have seen so far, it is way faster and very effective using a cellular data to activate iMessage compared to when using a Wi-Fi connection. 

Because of this, I mostly use cellular data to activate my iMessage as I’m found of switching sim cards.

Also switching off the phone and powering it on again will also help fix this problem of imessage not working with phone number.

But remember to have a valid sim card or eSim that has not been disconnected by the network service provider before going ahead to use it for you iMessage.

How to activate iMessage with phone number

To activate iMessage with a phone number, you simply need to have a sim card in your iPhone in order to activate iMessage on your phone. 

However, this is quite different if you’re using an iPad especially Wi-Fi only iPad that doesn’t have a sim card slot or support a sim card. 

On iPhone;

All you have to do is to insert a valid and active sim card in your iPhone, make sure to have an active internet connection and iMessage is enabled on your phone.

The iMessage will activate after a couple of seconds or few minutes. 

Right below iMessage you will see Addresses and which shows the Apple ID and the phone number activated with iMessage on your iPhone.

imessage not working with phone number

You can tweak it by selecting what you want to use to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone. 

I will always recommend you to use a phone number for your iMessage instead of using your Apple ID. 

Now let’s head over to iPads and see how you can use a phone number on your iPad to activate or use iMessage. 

How to add a phone number to iMessage on iPad

To add a phone number to iMessage on iPad, you must first sign into iMessage on your iPad using your iPhone Apple ID and password. 

Once you signed into iMessage using your iPhone apple id and password, all the addresses in your iPhone iMessage will be displayed on your iPad iMessage.

This applied to Wi-Fi iPad and cellular iPad even though cellular iPad does have sim card support as they have a sim card slot.

Now if only what you have is an iPad and you don’t have an iPhone, I’m sorry you have to get an iPhone in order to use a phone number on your iPad iMessage.

However, the only option you have is to only use an apple id for your iPad iMessage.

This also applied to using iMessage on mac.

You have to use your iPhone apple id and password on your mac in order to use a phone number for your iMessage.

How to remove phone number from iMessage 

To remove a phone from iMessage, simply open iMessage, tap on addresses and tap on the phone number linked to your iMessage and it will be removed.

Below is a detailed explanation on how to remove a phone number from iMessage.

Get started by opening the settings app and scroll down to messages.

Open Messages and you will see addresses below iMessage as shown in the picture below.

imessage not working with phone number

Tap on addresses to open and you will all the phone numbers and apple id linked with your iMessage.

To remove the phone number, look at the option that says You can receive iMessage to and reply from and tap on the phone number, it will display an option that ask if you’re sure to remove the phone number from your imessage and facetime.

imessage not working with phone number

Go ahead and tap on the remove button and it will remove the phone number from your iMessage account.

Is it better to use an apple id or phone number for iMessage? 

It is better to use a phone number for iMessage than an apple id as you can easily send SMS text messages when iMessage is unavailable and to protect your apple id.

The main reason I prefer to use a phone number to send and receive iMessages is to protect my apple id account.

In some circumstances especially when iMessage is unavailable and I’m in need to have the message get delivered to the recipient, I will have the iMessage sent as an SMS text message.

However, this will be possible if send as SMS is enabled on an iPhone.

So for me, it is always better to use a phone number for iMessage than to use your apple id for iMessage. I don’t recommend using apple id to send and receive iMessage in terms of security purposes.